Behind The Book
Presentation from the Barbados launch of I'm Tired of Racism
As you know, I recently launched I’m Tired of Racism in Barbados, almost a year after it was originally published. As part of the launch, I shared some thoughts on the genesis of the book - part of which is in this newsletter - and the publishing process. I thought you might like to see them.
Behind the Book: ITOR Barbados Launch 28 October 2023
Welcome everyone, I really appreciate you being here. Thank you for being here to celebrate the Barbados launch of "I'm Tired of Racism: True Stories of Existing While Black", originally published just over a year ago.
If you'd asked me 10 years ago if I would ever publish a book about racism, I'd probably have said no. And if you'd asked me the same question 5 years ago, I'd probably have given the same answer. Yet, standing here today, it seems unthinkable to have done anything else.
I've experienced racism, of course, but I didn't talk about it in public spaces. This book is one sign that that has changed.
When people ask me about the genesis of the book I have a few answers - and they're all part of the truth.
One answer is that my interest in exploring racism and its legacies started when I decided to research colourism back in 1998, having observed that racial politics in Barbados seemed different from those in other islands, and having wondered why. That research eventually became my first book in print, "Exploring Shadeism", released five years ago.
Another answer is that I started paying more attention to it in 2016 when I wrote an article about racism and the election of the orange one in the US. The less said about him, the better.
And yet another is that when George Floyd was murdered and I wrote an essay titled "While Black: Thoughts on the Assumption of Wrongness" published on Medium in May 2020 it opened the floodgates for me to begin processing experiences of racism I'd had through my life, starting as a child in Trinidad, progressing through life in Barbados, France and the UK, and continuing online when I became a freelance writer. I soon discovered that people were interested in these stories and wanted more, which led to the next pivotal moment…
Because you could also say that deciding to launch an anti-racism newsletter on Substack in August 2020, where much of the book material originated was another starting point, perhaps the closest one.
All of those are true, but the real answer to why I ended up writing this book is much simpler. It's because someone asked me to.
Here's how it happened.