Review: Book Club Brunch - Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race

Written by Shayna Manchanda and Veronica Lysaght.

Author: Reni Edlo Lodge 
Reviewed by: Shayna Manchanda and Veronica Lysaght NZBWN book club Race

Two reviews by two different NZBWN women of age, colour, and life experience.

Review by Shayna Manchanda

Until George Flyold’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement, I hadn’t heard of this book. When I first read the title, I was taken aback, which of course is the point. Its deliberately provocative. Reni wants you to sit up, take note and listen. She’s a journalist and this is a great click bait title.

Reni talks about what initiated her original blog post (with the same title back in 2014) and led to the publication of this book. She then goes on to tackle a lot of crucial and complex topics: the history of slavery and racism in Britain, structural racism, white privilege, the feminism question, how race and class are intertwined, and offers advice on what white people can do to fight racism.

This book is well-written and easy to read. Having said that, it took me a while to read. Because it elicited a very emotional response from me. This is Reni’s perspective and its steeped in emotion. It made me tear up, it made me angry. It made me sad. It made me frustrated. It made me hopeful.

Our Stories: May Lee Allen

Written by Bronwyn Huband.

In 1972 a petition was presented to the New Zealand parliament, asking for Te Reo Maori to be recognised as an official language. It took 15 more years for that to become a reality, and now the Government is aiming for one million New Zealanders to speak Te Reo by 2040.Maylee Allen

This month we caught up with May Lee Allen, on her role at Haka Works and her own ambitions for helping us all to take more of an interest in Te Reo. May Lee grew up in Papakura, South Auckland, and at primary school she was introduced to Kapa Haka, igniting her passion for Maori culture.

Our Stories: Mariken O'Donnell

Written by Jen Hacker.

While many are struggling to find the positive from months of isolating, Mariken O’Donnell found her silver lining right at the start. The Mum of Mariken ODonnelltwo says that lockdown has had unexpected benefits for her family. “My son has severe allergies,” she says. “He was really sick at the beginning of the year and then COVID hit and he’s been really healthy!”

On top of juggling family priorities, her own business and volunteering on the NZBWN board, Mariken has become a keen advocate for allergy awareness in recent years. She volunteers with UK-based charities, Anaphylaxis Campaign and Allergy UK. “My objective in being a mum and doing all this is to raise awareness that it really is life-threatening,” says Mariken.

“People tend to think that if you’ve got anti-histamines or even an epi-pen that it’ll just be fine, but that’s just not true,” she says. “If someone says “I’ve got a nut allergy” then we need to go “This is serious. Let me protect you”.”

Mariken has also started a social media page, Nutfree Adventures, to show the community that allergies don’t have to stop you from living a life that you love. “As long as you’re vigilant and prepared, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t lead a full, adventurous life.”

Our Stories: Melissa Clark-Reynolds

Written by Bronwyn Huband.

As the only one at her all-girls school, in 1979 New Zealand, who wanted to do code, Melissa Clark-Reynolds, was bussed to a boys’ school to learn, because of course it was only a class for boys.Melissa Clark Reynolds

Back then there were no computers in schools and each week the class would write their code and send it Wellington, and a week later a note would arrive back to say if the code worked or not.

Fast forward to 2020 and Melissa is now an accomplished futurist – in other words, she looks for patterns that other people can’t see to help predict what may happen in the future.

Things like:

  • Amazon buying Whole Foods,
  • The economic impact of the pandemic,
  • Changing demand on production systems for farmers (e.g. no GMO, Grass fed, carbon positive meat).

“That’s my super power. It’s more about culture anthropology with maths behind it, so a focus on people with an added focus on data.”

What's the Goss?