In the wake of the murder of George Floyd in police custody in America in 2020 and the international wave of Black Lives Matter protests it sparked, many people found themselves seeking answers to tougher questions about racism and their own unconscious bias.
Recommended by influencers such as actor and activist Emma Watson and Me and White Supremacy’s author Layla Saad, Kalwant Bhopal’s White Privilege: The Myth of a Post-Racial Society has been a book many have turned to in the past year.
“I’m proud of the book”, says Kalwant. “It has had a great deal of impact in getting people to explore how racism works and why it is so important to disrupt racist, sexist, classist, patriarchal social structures.”
With her profile raised through the publication of White Privilege, Kalwant Bhopal has become a go-to person for academically rigorous and accessible information on racism today. In March 2021, Kalwant appeared on BBC’s Panorama episode ‘Let’s talk about race’. Kalwant was interviewed about the challenging issue of covert racism and explained how easily it is dismissed even within seemingly liberal-thinking institutions such as universities.
Kalwant has given many talks on the book in bookshops, and has run online webinars. Through these sessions she has connected with hundreds of people directly, and many thousands more through her presence on Twitter.
“If we’re truly living in a post-racial society, why is it that if you are a black student, you are less likely to leave university with a 2:1 or a first, less likely to attend an elite university and more likely to be unemployed six months after graduation?”
These are the questions that the publication of White Privilege has enabled Kalwant to take into the heart of higher education institutions, which are often blind to their own behaviour. Kalwant has presented her findings from White Privilege to staff and students at a number of universities, including the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. White Privilege has been used in many universities, such as King’s College London, to inform their work on race.
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