Review: Natives by Akala

Title: Natives – Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire

Author: Akala

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Two Roads

The Blurb

From the first time he was stopped and searched as a child, to the day he realised his mum was white, to his first encounters with racist teachers – race and class have shaped Akala’s life and outlook. In this unique book he takes his own experiences and widens them out to look at the social, historical and political factors that have left us where we are today.

Covering everything from the police, education and identity to politics, sexual objectification and the far right, Natives speaks directly to British denial and squeamishness when it comes to confronting issues of race and class that are at the heart of the legacy of Britain’s racialised empire.

Natives is the searing modern polemic and Sunday Times bestseller from the BAFTA and MOBO award-winning musician and political commentator, Akala.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

When dealing with the contentious discussion of race and racism there are few people I will turn to for answers. Being in the position as a white female I cannot begin to put myself in the position of a black person or POC because I haven’t lived there experiences. I can, however, try and learn as much as possible about racism through reading. I read as much as I can so I can try to understand a bit more. One of the people that I turn to for information is Akala. He is smart and articulate and has a way of delivering information that seems both relevant and accurate. His knowledge of the history of racism is exceptional and in his book Natives – Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire he not only offers his opinions but his thoughts are founded in historical fact.

I firmly believe that knowledge is power and you gain that knowledge through immersing yourself in reading. In Natives, Akala answered questions that I didn’t even know I had. I know much more about the Windrush generation, more about the disparity between black and white children in schools and the shocking difference in attainment – something I should have been aware of being that I work in a school, and I feel I know more about this through the lived experience of Akala and how he has dealt with systemic racism his whole life.

The overall thing that I took from reading Natives (and books of a similar ilk such as Born a Crime, Slay in Your Lane, Brit(ish), Diversify) is that we need to teach children about racism in schools. We are so quick to look at racism in America and celebrate key figures such as Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks but we need a much more realistic education in schools today that can have an impact on racism in the 21st century. Essentially, Natives needs to be studied on the curriculum

Natives – Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala is available now.

For more information regarding Akala (@akalamusic) please visit his Twitter page or YouTube channel.

For more information regarding Two Roads (@TwoRoadsBooks) please visit www.tworoadsbooks.com.

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