100 Black British Writers Back Reni Eddo-Lodge Over Kemi Badenoch Segregation Claim

The Black Writers’ Guild is urging the government to ensure ministers “avoid spreading misinformation”.
Black Writer's Guild
Black Writer's Guild

Over 100 Black writers are calling on the government to rein in its ministers following Olukemi Badenoch’s implication that author Reni Eddo-Lodge’s work supports racial segregation.

The collective – known as the Black Writers’ Guild – is urging Whitehall to ensure that ministers are responsible with their language and “avoid spreading misinformation”.

It comes after The Spectator printed comments from Badenoch on Saturday that suggested guild member Eddo-Lodge, author of Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, advocates for racial segregation.

The open letter which includes signatures from Afua Hirsch, Nels Abbey and Malorie Blackman states: “The allegation here is not only clearly false but dangerous. It risks endangering the personal safety of anti-racist writers.

“In recent years progressive writers, politicians and activists across Europe and the United Kingdom have been physically attacked and killed by far-right extremists.”

It is in this climate that we ask the government to ensure ministers are responsible with their language, avoid spreading misinformation and apply better judgement in order to protect the lives and freedom of minorities,” the letter adds.

The Spectator article stated that Badenoch was “particularly incensed by the boom in sales of texts such as White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo and Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race”.

“Many of these books — and, in fact, some of the authors and proponents of critical race theory — actually want a segregated society,” the minister said.

Writing on Twitter on Wednesday, Eddo-Lodge announced that she had contacted the Spectator for a correction to its piece, which ran under the headline “Kemi Badenoch: The problem with critical race theory”.

The guild was formed following the death of George Floyd.

Sharmaine Lovegrove, publisher at Dialogue Books, told HuffPost UK: “I fully co-sign the letter from the BWG as I am deeply concerned by principles of free speech and representation being eroded by this government.

“By vilifying cultural experts we are in danger of suggesting there is only one narrative and that totally undermines progression and equality within our society.”

Paul Mendez, author of best-selling book Rainbow Milk, said: “The ignorance and recklessness displayed by Badenoch, as a Black woman, is unforgivable. I wish to include my name in support of Reni and other anti-racist authors.”

Jendella Benson, head of editorial at Black Ballad, told HuffPost UK: “It’s completely insulting the way that Reni’s work is being distorted. One of the most important additions to our literary landscape and the only way they can discredit her is to lie. We cannot let it stand at all; it’s an insult to our collective intelligence.”

The equalities minister also told the commons, during a general debate on Black History Month last week, that teachers who present the idea of white privilege as a fact to their students are breaking the law.

Speaking passionately at the despatch box, she described critical race theory as “an ideology that sees my Blackness as victimhood and their whiteness as oppression”.

This sparked widespread backlash with many criticising the minister as being “sad”, “inaccurate” and “disappointing”.

HuffPost UK has contacted Badenoch and The Spectator for comment.


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