Jackie Kay on putting her adoption on stage – and getting a pay rise for her successor

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-08-25 02:02Z by Steven

Jackie Kay on putting her adoption on stage – and getting a pay rise for her successor

The Guardian
2019-08-07

Peter Ross


‘I think it’s really scandalous to pay your national poet five grand’ … Kay in Glasgow. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

When Scotland’s national poet travelled to Nigeria to ask her birth father if he ever thought of her, he said no. Does it hurt to put this on stage? And should the next ‘makar’ be on £30,000?

Before Jackie Kay was a writer, she was a character. “When you’re adopted,” she explains over lunch in a Glasgow cafe, “you come with a story.” Her adoptive mother Helen – fascinated by her possible origins – encouraged young Kay to speculate about her birth parents. It was known that her father was Nigerian, her mother a white woman from the Scottish Highlands. Were they, perhaps, torn apart by racial prejudice in 1960s Scotland?

There was tragic romance to that idea, and a fairytale quality in the notion that Kay, offspring of forbidden love, should come to live with John and Helen, two people who had plenty of love – not to mention songs and stories – to share. Little wonder that Kay has come to think of herself as a creature not only of genetics but of the imagination. As Scotland’s national poet writes in her beautiful memoir Red Dust Road, she is “part fable, part porridge”.

Red Dust Road, adapted for the stage by Tanika Gupta, is to be presented at the Edinburgh international festival. I catch some scenes in a National Theatre of Scotland rehearsal room: Stefan Adegbola and Sasha Frost are running through the moment when Kay, visiting Nigeria, meets her birth father Jonathan. “Did you ever think of me in all those years?” Frost asks. “No, of course not,” Adegbola replies. “Why would I? It was a long time ago.” This exchange feels brutal, but Kay looks on impassive. She lived it…

Read the entire interview here.

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“You think you’re Black?” Exploring Black mixed-race experiences of Black rejection

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2019-08-06 21:54Z by Steven

“You think you’re Black?” Exploring Black mixed-race experiences of Black rejection

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Published online 2019-08-05
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2019.1642503

Karis Campion, Research Associate
Department of Sociology
University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom

Utilizing interview data with thirty-seven British people of Mixed White and Black Caribbean heritage, this paper draws upon the concept of “horizontal hostility” to describe how Black mixed-race experiences of Black rejection impact on self-perceptions and expressed ethnic identities. In demonstrating the effects of being excluded from a relatable collective Black identity, the paper argues that horizontal hostility is critical in the project of theorizing mixed-race. Experiences of horizontal hostility represent significant turning points in mixed-race lives as they can prompt reconsiderations of mixed-race positionings within the broader Black imagined space. Beyond the benefits that horizontal hostility offers to mixed-race studies, it provides insights into conceptualisations of Blackness – as a collective racial identity, community and politics. The article unpacks how, when and why its boundaries are policed, adding to debates relating to the future formation and maintenance of ethnic group identities and categories more generally.

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Red Dust Road

Posted in Africa, Autobiography, Forthcoming Media, Gay & Lesbian, Live Events, United Kingdom on 2019-08-06 20:50Z by Steven

Red Dust Road

National Theatre of Scotland
2019-08-10 through 2019-09-21


Elaine C. Smith and Sasha Frost

Based on the soul-searching memoir by Scots Makar Jackie Kay, adapted by Tanika Gupta, and directed by Dawn Walton.

“You are made up from a mixture of myth and gene. You are part fable, part porridge

Growing up in 70s’ Scotland as the adopted mixed raced child of a Communist couple, young Jackie blossomed into an outspoken, talented poet. Then she decided to find her birth parents…

From Nairn to Lagos, Red Dust Road takes you on a journey full of heart, humour and deep emotions. Discover how we are shaped by the folk songs we hear as much as by the cells in our bodies.

Opening at the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2019, and at HOME, Manchester in September 2019

Touring to Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling and Eden Court Theatre, Inverness in autumn 2019.

For more information, click here.

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Brown Girl In The Ring

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Europe, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2019-07-29 01:54Z by Steven

Brown Girl In The Ring

Riposte: A Smart Magazine for Women
2019-07-24

Lou Mensah, Writer, Photographer and co-founder of Shade Podcast


Maya Series Cenote IV. Aubrey Williams, Copyright Aubrey Williams Estate

Charting parallels between childhood and motherhood by Lou Mensah.

My mother, English and late father, Ghanaian. My partner is Irish and my nieces and nephews, Jamaican and Turkish.

Summer 2009. It was 5.30am as we were packing up the car at the stairwell of our flat to emigrate from Hackney to Ireland, when a local Zimbabwean Indian man, Jack, offered help with the baby as we loaded the car. I could have cried at his kindness. As I handed her over, he said in the most gentle tone “come here, my little joy of bundle” and that was it, I wanted to stay in the place we called home, in the flat where my only child was born, by the flower market where I walked during labour, where the stall holders kissed me and wished me luck with the birth.

I grew up in suburban England during the 70’s, when the National Front lads would chase family members for a, “fucking kicking in”; a time when my parents marriage and my very existence as a mixed race child would have been illegal in South Africa under the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, under the apartheid regime later to be supported by the British Government…

Read the entire article here.

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The school experiences of mixed-race white and black Caribbean children in England

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Teaching Resources, United Kingdom on 2019-07-16 00:26Z by Steven

The school experiences of mixed-race white and black Caribbean children in England

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Published online 2018-10-01
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2018.1519586

Kirstin Lewis
Department of Educational Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London, London
School of Education, University of Durham, Durham, United Kingdom

Feyisa Demie, Honorary Fellow
School of Education
University of Durham, Durham, United Kingdom

This research aims to explore the school experiences of mixed white/ black Caribbean children in English schools. The overarching findings of this research confirm that although the mixed-race population as a whole is achieving above the national average, the mixed white/ black Caribbean group is consistently the lowest performing mixed-race group in the country. Views of pupils, their parents and teachers in two London secondary schools suggest various reasons why mixed white/ black Caribbean pupils might continue to be the lowest performing mixed group in the country. These included experiences of marginalization and invisibility in school life, the low expectations that teachers held about them, the lack of knowledge about how to support them at school and how all these issues were exacerbated by the friendship groups they mixed in. This research paper discusses these critical factors in detail and their implications for policy and further research.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Borderliners

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Audio, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-07-13 21:38Z by Steven

Borderliners

BBC Radio 4
2019-07-06

In a new poem for Radio 4, Hannah Lowe explores the mysteries surrounding the lives of her Chinese Jamaican family.

The term ‘borderliner’ was once a derogatory term for having mixed heritage. “Between ‘bi-racial’ and ‘bounty,'” Hannah writes, “I find the label ‘borderliner’ which the dictionary tells me, means uncertain or debatable.” Using this term and its troubling history as the basis for a new poetic form, the poem reflects on borders and borderlines, both physical and psychological.


Hannah Lowe

Drawing on half-memories and imagined images from her family history, Hannah Lowe re-creates moments from the lives of her Jamaican Chinese father who came to the UK by ship in 1947 and became a professional gambler, her Chinese grandfather who moved to Jamaica as a legacy of indentured labour in the Caribbean, and most elusive of all the mystery surrounding the life of her Jamaican grandmother of whom she has only one photograph.

Producer: Jo Wheeler
Reader: Burt Caesar

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4

Listen to the story (00:27:39) here.

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Racism ‘won’t go away’ even if we’re all mixed-race in the future

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Justice, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2019-06-19 00:56Z by Steven

Racism ‘won’t go away’ even if we’re all mixed-race in the future

METRO.co.uk
2019-06-18

Natalie Morris, Senior lifestyle Reporter

The idea of ‘divide and conquer’ harks back thousands of years.

Whether it is by gender, class, wealth or race, humans love walling themselves into distinct categories then using those categories to create hierarchies.

In the case of race, this hierarchical distinction ended up with slavery, countless programmes of ethnic cleansing and the retention of ‘othering’ based on the colour of skin even to the present day.

But what happens if we take away these racial categories that divide us into subgroups?

If, instead of defining as black, white, Asian or any other singular category, we defined ourselves as a little bit of everything, would it herald the dawn of a more accepting, ‘post-racial’ age?

And would that mean racism would end?…

Read the entire article here.

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Chris Abani: Face Value in Brooklyn

Posted in Africa, Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2019-06-19 00:18Z by Steven

Chris Abani: Face Value in Brooklyn

Restless Books
Brooklyn, New York
2014-05-19

attachment-537a688ae4b0e957bf2ed29e

We were thrilled to welcome our friend and contributor Chris Abani to New York this weekend to participate in Lit Crawl NYC. Chris came to discuss his forthcoming contribution to our series, The Face, and to read from his work-in-progress…

…When I tell people that my mother was a white English woman and my father Igbo, they look at me skeptically. It’s a pause that really means; are you sure? You’re so dark. It’s a pause that I’ve heard only in the West. In Nigeria most people know on meeting me that I’m not entirely African. Nigeria has a long history of foreigners coming through—the Portuguese in the 14th century, North Africans as far back as the 12th century, Tuaregs and Fulani to name just a few. In fact in the late 80’s and early 90’s the civil war in Chad caused the very light skinned Chadians to pour into Nigeria as refugees. It was a disturbing sight to see hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of homeless Arab looking people begging for food in the streets and markets. The public outcry was so severe that the military government began a program of forced repatriation. Army trucks rolled into markets and soldiers would round up these refugees an, with no thought of separating families, after all they all looked alike, and drive them back to the border. I once found myself being pushed into one such truck but my fluency in several Nigerian languages saved me. I was often confused for being Lebanese, Indian, Arab, or Fulani. But not in England or America. In these places I am firmly black, of unknown origin…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed Up: ‘I worry about unspoken discrimination. Have you judged me before I’ve even said a word?’

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-06-12 22:48Z by Steven

Mixed Up: ‘I worry about unspoken discrimination. Have you judged me before I’ve even said a word?’

METRO.co.uk
2019-06-12

Natalie Morris, Senior lifestyle reporter

Mixed Up - Lifestyle - Natalie Morris
‘Most of my class called me an “Oreo” and bullied me mercilessly for years’ (Picture: Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

Marie Farmer is a mother and founder of a family nutrition app. She has Jamaican and Scottish heritage, but she doesn’t identify as either black or white. In fact, she hates being asked to choose.

‘There were only a handful of non-white children in my primary school, which did lead to certain issues in the playground,’ Marie tells Metro.co.uk.

‘Whenever we pretended to be the Spice Girls, I always had to be Scary because I was “brown” – even though I was clearly the best Posh.

‘When I was a bit older I remember reading the poem “Half-caste” by John Agard in a class.

‘I clearly didn’t understand the message as I was really pleased I had a name to identify myself with. I told my mum and she explained why it was a racist term, so I quickly switched to saying I was mixed.

‘That was the first time it occurred to me that being mixed could be controversial. I don’t remember anyone before that pointing out that I was different and that it was a bad thing.’…

Read the entire article here.

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Interraciality in Early Twentieth Century Britain: Challenging Traditional Conceptualisations through Accounts of ‘Ordinariness’

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-06-03 16:41Z by Steven

Interraciality in Early Twentieth Century Britain: Challenging Traditional Conceptualisations through Accounts of ‘Ordinariness’

geneology
Volume 3, Number 2
24 pages
DOI: 10.3390/genealogy3020021

Chamion Caballero, Visiting Senior Fellow
London School of Economics


Unknown Anglo-Chinese family, Liverpool, c.1930s. Image courtesy of Yvonne Foley. Foley has campaigned for greater recognition of the brutal repatriation of Chinese seaman by the British government in 1945–1946, many of whom were consequently forced to leave their white wives and children behind. See http://www.halfandhalf.org.uk/.

The popular conception of interraciality in Britain is one that frequently casts mixed racial relationships, people and families as being a modern phenomenon. Yet, as scholars are increasingly discussing, interraciality in Britain has much deeper and diverse roots, with racial mixing and mixedness now a substantively documented presence at least as far back as the Tudor era. While much of this history has been told through the perspectives of outsiders and frequently in the negative terms of the assumed ‘orthodoxy of the interracial experience’—marginality, conflict, rejection and confusion—first-hand accounts challenging these perceptions allow a contrasting picture to emerge. This article contributes to the foregrounding of this more complex history through focusing on accounts of interracial ‘ordinariness’—both presence and experiences—throughout the early decades of the twentieth century, a time when official concern about racial mixing featured prominently in public debate. In doing so, a more multidimensional picture of interracial family life than has frequently been assumed is depicted, one which challenges mainstream attitudes about conceptualisations of racial mixing both then and now.

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