What Meghan Markle means to black Brits

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2018-05-11 15:30Z by Steven

What Meghan Markle means to black Brits

The Washington Post

Karla Adam, London correspondent covering the United Kingdom

William Booth, London bureau chief

Photos by Tori Ferenc

Photo by Tori Ferenc

After she marries Prince Harry, the royal family will look a bit more like modern Britain.

LONDON—Jean Carter had never bothered to come out for a royal appearance before. But when Prince Harry and his fiancee, Meghan Markle, made a visit to Brixton this year, Carter bought a bouquet and weathered a chilly afternoon waiting for a glimpse of the couple.

Carter was glad to see Harry, the happy-go-lucky, ginger-bearded son of the late Princess Diana. As an immigrant from Jamaica, though, Carter, 72, really wanted to lay eyes on Markle, a biracial American actress who is the subject of deep fascination here.

Multiethnic Brixton is South London’s hub for a founding generation of Afro-Caribbean immigrants. It’s a crossroad so central to the story of the African diaspora that local historians call the neighborhood — with its jerk chicken grills, reggae dance halls and vibrant mural scene — the black capital of Europe. When South African President Nelson Mandela came to Britain in 1996 he went to Buckingham Palace — and Brixton.

Carter characterized the royal couple’s visit to the neighborhood as “a big statement.”

But what exactly will it mean to have a biracial member of the monarchy after Prince Harry and Markle exchange vows on May 19?…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

BBC’s Emma Dabiri says her first time in Brixton was like discovering a black utopia

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-11-19 01:14Z by Steven

BBC’s Emma Dabiri says her first time in Brixton was like discovering a black utopia

London Evening Standard

Ellen E. Jones

BBC presenter Emma Dabiri in Brixton Matt Writtle

She’s a SOAS fellow and former model, and now Emma Dabiri is fronting a new BBC show as part of the broadcaster’s Black and British season. She talks race, immigration and the politics of hair

There are many ways of being black and British. More than two million at the last count. Some of these are being celebrated, explored or simply presented this month as part of the BBC’s Black and British season. Programming strands include history, music, football and family life, all of which come together nicely in Back in Time for Brixton, which begins on Monday.

This spin-off from the hugely enjoyable social history series Back in Time For Dinner follows the Irwin family from Dagenham as they go on a time-travelling adventure through  50 years of black British life, recreating interiors, hobbies, talking points and hairdos as they go.

Giles Coren is reprising his presenting role but this time specialist expertise is provided by Emma Dabiri. She is a SOAS fellow in African Studies, a broadcaster and occasional model (her Twitter handle is @thediasporadiva), so there’s plenty to talk about when we meet in the Ritzy cinema’s café, a short walk from Brixton Tube station.

“I think sometimes, when there are attempts at diversity, it’s like, ‘Oh, we’ll just pop a black person in there and that’s diversity’,” she says of the need for the BBC’s season. “But here the emphasis is actually on black stories and black people. Representing all those different versions of blackness is really important, especially at this moment when the issue of British identity is such as it is.”

Dabiri’s own story serves as a typically atypical example. Her mother was born to white Irish parents in Trinidad, where Dabiri’s maternal grandfather worked as a civil engineer. Her father was born to black Nigerian parents in Ireland before moving back to Nigeria, and Dabiri herself was raised in her paternal grandparents’ house in Atlanta, Georgia, before returning to Dublin aged five. In summary? “So my mum was Irish but she’s Trinidadian, and my dad’s Nigerian but he’s Irish,” she laughs.

Although Dabiri, 37, has lived in Hackney since 2000, Brixton retains a special place in her imagination. The first time she ever set foot in London was as a child, when her mother brought her to Brixton to have her hair styled: “In comparison with Ireland at the time it seemed like this black utopia.”…

Read the entire article here

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Dreams of my mother…

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2015-01-04 18:43Z by Steven

Dreams of my mother…

One Love, One London

Tony Thomas

It’s October 1959; Paddington station is busy… Scanning the departures board for her train a nervous looking woman hurries towards the platform. In one hand she carries a suitcase and holding her other hand tightly is a pretty 2 year old; a mixed race child. The girls’s name was Rosemary Walter and the journey she was about to embark on would change her life forever. She could not have known it off course but she was being rejected; hidden. You see Rosie’s mother, a white woman married to a white man had had a black lover and Rosie was living proof of a relationship that was not just illicit but in those days deemed utterly shameful…

These are not my words but the word’s of George Alagiah narrating the three part series Mixed Britannia. The little girl in the story is my mother; this was the tale of the early years of my mothers life…

My mother was born in 1957 to a white mother and a Jamaican father; in 1959 at the age of two she was handed over to the National Children’s Home and transported from London to Wales; she would spend the next 16 years of her life in children’s homes across the country.

The world that my mother inhabited in her youth was not like today; there were not as many black people in the country; there was no noteable mixed race population and Wales was more or less a white’s only territory. Wherever my mother would go she would not fit in. Her hair was too frizzy, she had big lips and a big nose; there was no way that she could “pass“. She was clearly an object of curiosity to the people that she met who had never interacted with a “darkie” before. On holiday’s such as Christmas unlike the other children my mother did not have a family that would come and take her back to the family home; she would spend the holiday’s with kind Welsh and English families doing a good deed.

My mother spent most of her time in care in Wales; she was sent to London, Brixton at the age of 14 to be with her “own kind” as Brixton had become known as a place where the West Indian community congregated together and it was also where her mother lived who had become an honorary Jamaican. It was the thinking of the children’s home that as she was getting to the age of having boyfriends she should be around her own kind for mating purposes.

For my mother Brixton was as much a culture shock as Wales. My mother had a Welsh accent; she was mixed-race and had never met her Jamaican father. Although she had always sympathised with African-American struggles and her obvious “otherness” made her desire to understand that part of her she knew nothing about; she was not a part of the Jamaican community…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Ambiguous Ethnicity: Interracial Families in London

Posted in Books, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Work, Teaching Resources, United Kingdom on 2011-01-17 01:51Z by Steven

Ambiguous Ethnicity: Interracial Families in London

Cambridge University Press
January 1982
184 pages
216 x 140 mm, 0.24 kg
Paperback ISBN: 9780521297691

Susan Benson

In a society where race is a significant component of social identity and exerts an important influence on social relationships, the problems faced by couples who enter into ‘mixed’ marriages are especially difficult. The book is a study of the personal histories and everyday lives of a small number of interracial families living in and around Brixton, south London, in the early 1970s. Dr Benson sets the circumstances that confront these families within the context of wider British attitudes about race, colour and miscegenation as they developed over time. She argues that couples are obliged to make a continual series of choices between ‘black’ and ‘white’ in the course of their everyday lives. Through a discussion of these choices and of the factors which lead individuals to enter into a marriage which could be regarded with some disapproval, the book explores how people in London thought and felt about race, colour and social identity. It will be of interest to all teachers and students studying race relations, as well as to social and community workers, school teachers and administrators concerned with race relations and the inner city.

Table of Contents

  • List of maps and diagrams
  • Preface
  • 1. Racial intermarriage in England
  • 2. The pattern of interracial unions in England today
  • 3. Introducing Brixton and the borough of Lambeth
  • 4. The social world of Brixton
  • 5. The dynamics of interracial marriage choice
  • 6. Coping with opposition: the reactions of family and friends
  • 7. The construction of a domestic world
  • 8. The construction of a social universe
  • 9. Living in a divided community
  • 10. Parents and children
  • 11. Concluding remarks
  • Appendix 1. The research project: development and methodology
  • Appendix 2. The calculation of births by parental ethnic origin
  • References
  • Index
Tags: , , ,