-The book simultaniously makes a good case for systemic racism, yet it's got an Achilles heel. The case by itself would come under "Good," but it lays out how biases can stack up against individuals, and lays out the racial wealth gap between Black and White British, step by step. I think this is a reasonable case - it's not making the case of "difference = discrimination" per se, in that per its step-by-step approach, it does look into how systemic racism can stack up. However, the counter-argument to this, and one that the book doesn't address at all, is how other minorities do so much better then. For instance, if the white majority has biases (which it probably does, in that everyone has bias of some kind), then why some groups do worse as a result (e.g. Black British and Pakistanis, as the book points out), then why do other groups do so much better (e.g. Chinese and Indians?) I kept waiting for the book to examine this and explain why that's the case, but not only does it not examine this, it doesn't even address the question. Systemic racism exists because Group A is less well off (arguably true), but systemic racism doesn't exist for Group B because it isn't less well off. I've seen what happens to people who ask why, but meh, I've got an alias here, so bite me.
-The book ends with a call to, among other things, examine your workplace and whatnot. Well, um, my workplace has me as a minority, and everyone I report to bar a single exception is female, so, um, you tell me. Somehow I don't think the call for more males in a profession that's 90% female is going to get much support, and while I'm not interested in fighting that battle, it's still got the selective issue of "unrepsentative workplace A is a problem, unrepresentative workplace B isn't").
-The book doesn't make this argument explicitly, but there is the implication of racism being a recent phenomenon, and that as soon as it's eradicated in the West, it'll be eradicated everywhere. I won't fault the book for focusing on the UK (that's its prerogative, and like I said, the history parts are the strongest suit), but I'm left to ask in some hypothetical scenario in the West, if racism was eradicated today, how that helps Rohinga in Myanmar, or Hazaris in Afghanistan, or Pygmies in Congo, or Ughyrs in China, for instance. That said, I get the feeling I'm not supposed to ask that, so okay. I'm not trying to do whataboutism, crimes in one part of the world don't excuse crimes in the other, but that's not the argumet being made.
I guess this could be labelled "stuff I completely disagree with," but fine, let's do this:
-The book declares that racism = prejudice plus power, or R = P+P. Even by its own reasoning however, I completely disagree. Systemic/institutional, maybe, but if we accept this is the definition, then I'd have to ask how I can be racist, because my level of "power" over others is really limited to how I serve people inside the workplace, but somehow, I don't think the argument of me not having power would fly if I did treat people terribly. There's also the fact that if we accept minorities can only be "prejudiced" but not "racist," then it means that every piece of flak I've got based on inherent traits isn't racist, and more importantly, when I've stepped in to help staff on the receiving end of racial abuse (usually between minorities), that it's simply "prejudice"...yeah. Sorry. I don't buy it.
-The book explicitly rejects colour-blindness. I'm not talking about the idea of "pay no attention to ethnic groups in statistics," there's a case for that, I'm talking about the very concept in its entirety. This is ironic, since I've recently come off Democracy in a Divided Australia, where it briefly delved into how identitarian approaches ended up increasing tribalism, whereas here, the opposite approach is taken. To be clear, I do agree that "I don't see colour" is a lie, everyone does, but the idea that we should treat people based on inherent traits rather than individuals, that universalism should be rejected into identitarianism, that liberalism should be replaced with tribalism, are notions that I can't get behind. The book doesn't go down as far down the rabbithole as White Fragility, but these are the implicit arguments being made.
But then, what do I know? I'm just a straight white male. 0_0