‘Black people are like white people; they are shaped as much by their nationality as by their race, by their local environment as much by the colour of their skin.’ – Tomiwa Owolade
Tomiwa Owolade is a rising star of literary and cultural criticism in the UK. On August 1 he comes to Intelligence Squared where he will talk about his first book This Is Not America. In conversation with commentator Inaya Folarin Iman, he will argue that too much of the debate around race in Britain today is viewed through the prism of American ideas and history that don’t reflect the challenges and achievements of the increasingly diverse Black British population.
While acknowledging that the murder of George Floyd in 2020 led to a necessary racial reckoning worldwide, Owolade will argue that Britain has been too ready to follow the lead of America. He will urge us instead to understand that there are crucial differences between Britain and America, and that our communities and cultures are distinguished by language, history, class, religion and national origin. Arguing that both the reactionary right and the progressive left get race in Britain wrong, he will set out a bold new framework for understanding race in Britain today.