Books On Books Collection – Tupoka Ogette

Ein rassismuskritisches Alphabet (2022)

Ein rassismuskritisches Alphabet
Tupoka Ogette
Softcover, perfect bound with endbands. H215 x W160 mm. 124 pages. Acquired from Great Book Prices, 1 March 2023.
Photos: Books On Books Collection.

The title of Tupoka Ogette’s book translates literally as “A Racism-critical Alphabet”, but “An Anti-Racist Alphabet” seems more idiomatic. More than an alphabet book, it is a workbook arising from her consultancy for companies, organizations and associations wanting to understand how racism manifests itself and how to address it. Given the consultancy’s focus on German-speaking countries, the book relates tightly to the firm’s workshops, podcasts, etc., so it is not too surprising that it hasn’t been translated into English yet.

The depth of the problem in English-speaking countries, however, results in most of the terms’ being in the English language: terms like “Ally”, “Blackfacing”, “Colorism”, “Derailing”, “Emotional Tax”, “Gaslighting”, “Happyland”, “Jim Crow”, “Liberation”, “Othering”, “Queer”, “Race-based Traumatic Stress”, “Tokenism”, “White Gaze” and “Yellowfacing”. Add to those terms such cognates as Kolonialismus, N-wort and Xenophobie and it is almost a shock that the text is not in English.

Zurück zum Anfang (“Back to the Beginning”).
“The anti-racist alphabet ends here, but the anti-racist journey, and especially your conscious decision to be an Ally, begins anew every day. Every morning you face the choice: Am I looking? Do I stand up as an ally against a racist system? Do I continue to learn? Or do I stay in good old Happyland today? If you are White, you have that choice, but you also have a responsibility.
Reminder: A person who actively and continuously stands up against a discriminatory system of which he himself is privileged and therefore not negatively affected.” P. 115.

The book’s interior display pages are striking and reminiscent of Ursula Hochuli-Gamma’s 26 farbige Buchstaben (1986) / “26 Colored Letters“, but the cover and text design are very much in the vein of professional trade books for the German market. Adapting the design for the English-language market might present more of a challenge than adapting the text.

Further Reading

Abecedaries I (in progress)“. Books On Books Collection.

Tia Blassingame“. 17 August 2022. Books On Books Collection.

Wendy Ewald“. 15 May 2023. Books On Books Collection.

Ursula Hochuli-Gamma“. 18 November 2022. Books On Books Collection.

Arial Robinson“. 15 May 2023. Books On Books Collection.

Clarissa Sligh“. 2 September 2020. Books On Books Collection.

Kendi, Ibram X. 2019. How to Be an Antiracist. London: Bodley Head.