The last humanist: how Paul Gilroy became the most vital guide to our age of crisis

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Philosophy, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, United Kingdom on 2021-09-22 02:07Z by Steven

The last humanist: how Paul Gilroy became the most vital guide to our age of crisis

The Guardian
2021-08-05

Yohann Koshy, Assistant Opinion Editor


Prof Paul Gilroy near his home in north London. Photograph: Eddie Otchere/The Guardian

One of Britain’s most influential scholars has spent a lifetime trying to convince people to take race and racism seriously. Are we finally ready to listen?

In 2000, the race equality thinktank the Runnymede Trust published a report about the “future of multi-ethnic Britain”. Launched by the Labour home secretary Jack Straw, it proposed ways to counter racial discrimination and rethink British identity. The report was nuanced and scholarly, the result of two years’ deliberation. It was honest about Britain’s racial inequalities and the legacy of empire, but also offered hope. It made the case for formally declaring the UK a multicultural society.

The newspapers tore it to pieces. The Daily Telegraph ran a front-page article: “Straw wants to rewrite our history: ‘British’ is a racist word, says report.” The Sun and the Daily Mail joined in. The line was clear – a clique of leftwing academics, in cahoots with the government, wanted to make ordinary people feel ashamed of their country. In the Telegraph, Boris Johnson, then editor of the Spectator magazine, wrote that the report represented “a war over culture, which our side could lose”. Spooked by the intensity of the reaction, Straw distanced himself from any further debate about Britishness, recommending in his speech at the report’s launch that the left swallow some patriotic tonic.

The Parekh report, as it was known – its chair was the political theorist Lord Bhikhu Parekh – was not a radical document. It was studiously considerate. Contrary to the Telegraph front page, it didn’t claim “British” was a racist word. It said that “Britishness, as much as Englishness, has … largely unspoken, racial connotations”. This was the sentence that launched a thousand tirades, but where did this idea come from? Follow the footnote in the offending paragraph and you arrive at the work of an academic called Paul Gilroy

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Biracial Britain: A Different Way of Looking at Race

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United Kingdom on 2021-09-20 15:04Z by Steven

Biracial Britain: A Different Way of Looking at Race

Constable
2021-01-28
352 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9781472133458
Ebook ISBN: 9781472133434
Paperback ISBN: 9781472133441

Remi Adekoya, Associate Lecturer of Politics
University of York

Mixed-race is the fastest-growing minority group in Britain. By the end of the century roughly one in three of the population will be mixed-race, with this figure rising to 75 per cent by 2150. Mixed-race is, quite literally, the future.

Paradoxically, however, this unprecedented interracial mixing is happening in a world that is becoming more and more racially polarized. Race continues to be discussed in a binary fashion: black or white, we and they, us and them. Mixed-race is not treated as a unique identity, but rather as an offshoot of other more familiar identities – remnants of the twentieth century ‘one-drop’ rule (‘if you’re not white, you’re black’) alarmingly prevail. Therefore, where does a mixed-race person fit? Stuck in the middle of these conflicts are individuals trying to survive and thrive. It is high time we developed a new understanding of mixed-race identity better suited to our century.

Remi Adekoya (the son of a Nigerian father and a Polish mother, now living in Britain) has come to the conclusion that while academic theories can tell us a lot about how identities are socially constructed, they are woeful at explaining how identities are felt. He has spoken to mixed-race Britons of all ages and racial configurations to present a thoughtful and nuanced picture of what it truly means to be mixed-race in Britain today.

A valuable new addition to discussions on race, Biracial Britain is a search for identity, a story about life that makes sense to us. An identity is a story. These are our stories.

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Making Mixed Race Matter

Posted in Family/Parenting, Forthcoming Media, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Social Science, Teaching Resources, United Kingdom on 2021-09-19 01:19Z by Steven

Making Mixed Race Matter

People In Harmony
2021-08-31

People in Harmony, PIH, is hosting the first event of the Mixed Race Research Network via Zoom with a workshop and studies.
With an increasing interest and the need for Research of Mixed Race Experiences PIH is establishing a network of researchers to share information and findings.

The first event is online at 1:00pm – 4:00pm (12:00-15:00Z, 13:00-16:00 BST, 08:00-11:00 EDT) Saturday 16th October 2021 with –

  • An exploration of Black and Minority Ethnic Inter Racial Couples experiences of Race and Ethnicity constructs: their lived experiences as a Multi Ethnic Family by Mala McFarlane.
  • The mixed race war babies of black GIs and British women by Dr Lucy Bland, Professor of Cultural History at Anglia Ruskin University.
  • Opportunities to share, hear and discuss your experiences and data, of studying our field of work…

For more information, click here.

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Phil Wang: I wouldn’t be a comic if I weren’t mixed-race

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Biography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2021-09-12 23:43Z by Steven

Phil Wang: I wouldn’t be a comic if I weren’t mixed-race

BBC News
2021-09-11

Helen Bushby, Entertainment and arts reporter


Phil Wang says the face of “every Eurasian person I’ve ever seen sings with loneliness”

Phil Wang, the stand-up comic you may recall for his viral video spoofing a Tom Hiddleston advert, has been baring his soul, or at least some of it, in his new book Sidesplitter.

Wang, 31, whose TV duties include Live at the Apollo, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and Taskmaster, insists it’s not a memoir, as his life doesn’t merit one.

“I haven’t escaped a gulag or revolutionised an industry,” he explains, adding memoirs are a “saturated market” anyway.

What he really talks about in his book of essays is the impact of being mixed-race, of being “from two worlds at once”.

But although it has its serious moments, Sidesplitter is eloquently laced with laughs and bittersweet observations…

Read the entire article here.

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Sidesplitter: How to be from Two Worlds at Once

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Biography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2021-09-12 22:46Z by Steven

Sidesplitter: How to be from Two Worlds at Once

Hodder & Stoughton
2021-09-16
304 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9781529350272
eBook ISBN-13: 9781529350296
Audiobook ISBN-13: 9781529350302

Phil Wang

One of the UK’s brightest and best comedians takes an incisive look at race and belonging.

‘But where are you really from?’

Phil Wang has been asked this question so many times he’s finally written a book about it.

In this mix of comic memoir and observational essay, one of the UK’s most exciting stand-up comedians reflects on his experiences as a Eurasian man in the West and in the East. Phil was born in Stoke-on-Trent, raised in Malaysia, and then came of age in Bath – ‘a spa town for people who find Cheltenham too ethnic’.

Phil takes an incisive look at what it means to be mixed race, as he explores the contrasts between cultures and delves into Britain and Malaysia’s shared histories, bringing his trademark cynicism and wit to topics ranging from family, food, and comedy to race, empire, and colonialism.

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Making Mixed Race: A Study of Time, Place and Identity

Posted in Books, Family/Parenting, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2021-08-30 21:00Z by Steven

Making Mixed Race: A Study of Time, Place and Identity

Routledge
2021-11-24
208 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9780367462918

Karis Campion, Legacy in Action Research Fellow
Stephen Lawrence Research Centre
De Montfort University, Leicester, United Kingdom

By examining Black mixed-race identities in the city through a series of historical vantage points, Making Mixed Race provides in-depth insights into the geographical and historical contexts that shape the possibilities and constraints for identifications.

Whilst popular representations of mixed-race often conceptualise it as a contemporary phenomenon and are couched in discourses of futurity, this book dislodges it from the current moment, to explore its emergence as a racialised category, and personal identity, over time. In addition to tracing the temporality of mixed-race, the contributions show the utility of place as an analytical tool for mixed-race studies. The conceptual framework for the book – place, time, and personal identity – offers a timely intervention to the scholarship that encourages us to look outside of individual subjectivities and critically examine the structural contexts that shape Black mixed-race lives.

The book centres around the life histories of 37 people of Mixed White and Black Caribbean heritage born between 1959 and 1994, in Britain’s second-largest city, Birmingham. The intimate life portraits of mixed identity, reveal how colourism, family, school, gender, whiteness, racism, and resistance, have been experienced against the backdrop of post-war immigration, Thatcherism, the ascendency of Black diasporic youth cultures, and contemporary post-race discourses. It will be of interest to researchers, postgraduate and undergraduate students who work on (mixed) race and ethnicity studies in academic areas including geographies of race, youth identities/cultures, gender, colonial legacies, intersectionality, racism and colourism.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Introducing Birmingham
  3. The making of mixed-race in place
  4. From bun down Babylon to melting pot Britain: the manifestations of mixed-race over time
  5. Mixed-race privilege and precarious positionalities: the personal politics of identity
  6. The making of mixed-race families: past, present and future
  7. Conclusion
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Abolish race correction

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2021-08-18 15:19Z by Steven

Abolish race correction

The Lancet
Volume 397, Issue 10268 (2021-01-02)
pages 17-18
DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)32716-1

Dorothy E. Roberts, George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology; Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Several years ago my daughter sent me an alarming text. She copied the results of her routine blood work and wrote, “Look at eGFR!”. Under the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) were listed two numbers—one for non-African Americans and a higher one for African Americans. I was floored. Did this automatic adjustment mean the doctor interpreted my daughter’s eGFR differently based simply on her racial identity? The test’s categories themselves made no biological sense. “African American”, like all racialised populations, is a socially constructed grouping. In the USA, individuals with any amount of discernible African ancestry fit the definition—irrespective of the rest of their ancestral backgrounds. Although my daughter and I identify solely as Black, my mother was a Black Jamaican and my father was the son of white Welsh and German immigrants to the USA. The eGFR disregarded the fabricated nature of the racial distinction it made in calculating kidney function.

I later learned that eGFR race “correction” stems from study findings that participants who self-reported as Black, on average, released more creatinine than white participants for a given kidney function, which historically was attributed to Black people’s assumed higher muscle mass. Recent studies have challenged the muscle-mass hypothesis, but the upward adjustment for all Black patients remains embedded in eGFR calculations. Whatever the flawed rationale, there must be a better way to measure kidney function accurately than by using race—a social classification whose delineations change across time, geography, and political priorities.

Yet misguided ideas about race continue to feature in medicine. I was also dismayed when data on COVID-19 cases and deaths revealed staggering—and strikingly similar—racial disparities in the USA and the UK. As of Dec 10, 2020, the age-adjusted US mortality rates for COVID-19 for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people were more than 2·7 times higher than for white people. The greater COVID-19 burden on these populations is not surprising: it stems from structural racism that impaired their health before the pandemic—eg, disproportionate exposure to unhealthy food, environmental toxins, shoddy housing, inadequate health care, and stress from racial discrimination—and forced them into risky front-line jobs with greater exposure to infection. Yet some researchers speculated that these unequal outcomes might be caused by Black people’s innate susceptibility—potentially resuscitating the same false racial concepts that underlie race correction.

My 2011 book, Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century, challenged the resurgence of biological concepts of race in genomics, biomedical research, and biotechnologies. As I wrote: “the delusion that race is a biological inheritance rather than a political relationship leads plenty of intelligent people to make the most ludicrous statements about Black biological traits”. Since then, I have warned dozens of audiences about the dangerous persistence of this racial ideology. Yet I have encountered resistance from many doctors, who tend to defend their use of race by saying it’s only part of a nuanced evaluation of many factors meant to produce more accurate diagnoses and therapies. But the eGFR race correction isn’t nuanced at all—it’s an automatic, across-the-board adjustment. It asserts that Black people, as a race, are biologically distinguishable from all others…

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Revealing Britain’s Systemic Racism: The Case of Meghan Markle and the Royal Family

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2021-07-21 00:27Z by Steven

Revealing Britain’s Systemic Racism: The Case of Meghan Markle and the Royal Family

Routledge
2021-04-01
266 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9780367765453
Paperback ISBN: 9780367765415
eBook ISBN: 9781003167433

Kimberley Ducey, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Joe R. Feagin, Distinguished Professor and Ella C. McFadden Professor of Sociology
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

Revealing Britain’s Systemic Racism applies an existing scholarly paradigm (systemic racism and the white racial frame) to assess the implications of Markle’s entry and place in the British royal family, including an analysis that bears on visual and material culture. The white racial frame, as it manifests in the UK, represents an important lens through which to map and examine contemporary racism and related inequities. By questioning the long-held, but largely anecdotal, beliefs about racial progressiveness in the UK, the authors provide an original counter-narrative about how Markle’s experiences as a biracial member of the royal family can help illumine contemporary forms of racism in Britain. Revealing Britain’s Systemic Racism identifies and documents the plethora of ways systemic racism continues to shape ecological spaces in the UK. Kimberley Ducey and Joe R. Feagin challenge romanticized notions of racial inclusivity by applying Feagin’s long-established work, aiming to make a unique and significant contribution to literature in sociology and in various other disciplines.

Table of Contents

  • Systemic Racism: Britain Now and Then
  • Straight Out of the White Racial Frame
  • Post-Racial Duchess or Trophy Wife of Diversity?
  • White Men Ruling and the Problem with Meghan Markle
  • Feminist Counter-Framer and Anti-Racist Counter-Framer: Disrupter of Elite White Dominance
  • “Where Is This Racism You Keep Talking About?”: Sincere Fictions of the Virtuous White Self
  • Concluding Thoughts: The Royals, British Racism, and the Coronavirus Pandemic
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Lewis Hamilton: ‘Everything I’d suppressed came up – I had to speak out’

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Social Justice, United Kingdom on 2021-07-15 15:50Z by Steven

Lewis Hamilton: ‘Everything I’d suppressed came up – I had to speak out’

The Guardian
2021-07-10

Gary Younge, Professor of Sociology
University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom


Lewis Hamilton: ‘I don’t just want to be remembered as a driver.’ Styling: Law Roach. Photograph: Ike Edeani/The Guardian

He’s the most successful driver Formula One has ever seen, and its only Black star. Now Lewis Hamilton has a new mission: to change the sport that made him.

As Lewis Hamilton rose through the ranks of competitive go-karting, his father, Anthony, told him: “Always do your talking on the track.” Lewis had a lot to talk about. Bullying and racial taunts were a consistent feature of his childhood in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, a new town 30 miles north of London; his dad taught him the best response was to excel at his sport.

The trouble was he didn’t have many people to talk to about what he was going through. Lewis is mixed-race, born to a white mother, Carmen Larbalestier, who raised him until he was 12, when he went to live with his Grenadian-British father, from whom she had separated. “My mum was wonderful,” he tells me. “She was so loving. But she didn’t fully understand the impact of the things I was experiencing at school. The bullying and being picked on. And my dad was quite tough, so I didn’t tell him too much about those experiences. As a kid I remember just staying quiet about it because I didn’t feel anyone really understood. I just kept it to myself.” Sport offered him an outlet. “I did boxing because I needed to channel the pain,” he says. “I did karate because I was being beaten up and I wanted to be able to defend myself.”

I understand where he’s coming from; I too grew up in Stevenage. Hamilton’s mother and I went to the same school – though not at the same time. As close to London as it was, it might as well have been in a different universe. In London the Black experience appeared authentic; in Stevenage it felt synthetic. Race in London was something you read about in the papers; race in Stevenage was something you didn’t even acknowledge. I was 22 before I found my first Black male friend…

Read the entire article here.

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‘The Other Windrush’: the hidden history of Afro-Chinese families in 1950s London

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2021-07-09 02:19Z by Steven

‘The Other Windrush’: the hidden history of Afro-Chinese families in 1950s London

gal-dem
2021-06-30

Tao Leigh Goffe, Assistant Professor of Literary Theory and Cultural History
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York


image credit: Tao Leigh Goffe/Canva

In this extract from ‘The Other Windrush‘, writer Tao Leigh Goffe explores the history of relative Hyacinth Lee, who migrated to the UK from Jamaica.

Family history is colonial history. How, then, to understand the vernacular photographic record and what is missing about the Windrush era, itself already an omission from British history? Since the inception of the technology of photography in the 1840s, the family photo album as an heirloom to be passed down, vertically, has formed the flesh of blood relation. The family album is also a literary surface inscribed with multiple meanings about race, gender, sexuality, class and who does not belong in the family tree. The visuality of collected images forms the fleshy proof of a seemingly biological argument for bourgeois belonging and familial intimacy. Blood is proof of kinship; the family portrait is flesh, and often colonial belonging.

Because family history is inevitably colonial history, I am invested in what and who is left out of the family album and outside of colonial history. Of particular (and selfish) interest to me is the impossibility of subjects of African and Chinese heritage. Photographs of Afro-Chinese families pose a challenge to the British colonial Trinidad experiment that wished to introduce Chinese labour to the Caribbean plantation to replace Africans in the early nineteenth century.

The ‘experiment’ documented in a secret Parliamentary Papers memorandum predicted the races would not mix. African and Asian people did, of course, ‘mix’; and many subsequent channels of migration were formed from Africa meeting Asia (both China and India) in the Caribbean. Where do we see these descendants present in the routes of the Windrush generation?…

Read the entire article here.

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