Belgium has apologised for its abuse of mixed race children – it’s time for Ireland to do the same

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Work on 2019-04-18 00:03Z by Steven

Belgium has apologised for its abuse of mixed race children – it’s time for Ireland to do the same

gal-dem
2019-04-11

Charlie Brinkhurst Cuff


Image via Métis Association of Belgium / Facebook

The apology from Belgium’s prime minister, Charles Michel, for the segregation, kidnapping and trafficking of as many as 20,000 mixed-race children in the Congo, Burundi and Rwanda, is long overdue. Forcibly taken from Africa to Belgium between 1959 and 1962, métis children born in the 1940s and 50s were left stateless. If you’re not aware of the atrocities of colonialism (Belgium was responsible for the deaths of between 10 to 15 million Africans), this type of identity-destroying abuse might feel hard to comprehend – especially situated in such recent history. But in the UK, we have our own unresolved issues with the treatment of dual heritage children slightly closer to home: in Ireland.

The correlations between the cases are striking. In Belgian colonies, many métis were brought up in Catholic institutions or orphanages, away from family and sometimes removed from where they were born. “These children posed a problem. To minimise the problem they kidnapped these children starting at the age of two… The Belgian government and the missionaries believed that these children would be subjected to major problems,” Francois Milliex, the director of the Métis Association of Belgium, told RFI.

Similarly, in Ireland, it has been documented that mixed-race children were left to rot in mother and baby homes and industrial schools in the 1940s to 60s. The Catholic Church was involved – nuns and priests would often run the homes and schools. “To be Irish was to be Roman Catholic. To be Roman Catholic was to be Irish,” says Rosemary Adaser, who co-founded the Mixed Race Irish campaign and support group for victims of the homes and schools. “It wasn’t uncommon for the Roman Catholic Church to send over its priests to the Irish community in London and give them lessons in morality.”…

Read the entire article here.

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“At first we were brown and then we were half-caste and then mixed-race and then dual-heritage and then it was ok to just be black”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-12-27 22:37Z by Steven

There are mixed race people on both sides of [Corinne] Bailey Rae’s family – she has “brown cousins” on her mum’s English side as well as her dad’s. When she comments on her cousin’s shades, it reminds me that I’ve read that the term she prefers to use to describe herself is “brown” too. “At first we were brown and then we were half-caste and then mixed-race and then dual-heritage and then it was ok to just be black,” says Bailey Rae, obviously aware of the debate around how mixed-race people should define themselves, but disparaging. “I feel like I don’t really have a term if I’m really honest. That’s why I say it [brown] in like an almost silly way. As it’s almost like I’ve been labelled so many different things in the past 38 years that none of them feel familiar or satisfying.”

Charlie Brinkhurst Cuff, “Corinne Bailey Rae on her nomadic lifestyle, racial identity and pregnancy,” gal-dem, October 16, 2017. http://www.gal-dem.com/corinne-bailey-rae-on-her-nomadic-lifestyle-racial-identity-and-pregnancy/.

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Corinne Bailey Rae on her nomadic lifestyle, racial identity and pregnancy

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-12-27 02:32Z by Steven

Corinne Bailey Rae on her nomadic lifestyle, racial identity and pregnancy

gal-dem
2017-10-16

Charlie Brinkhurst Cuff


photography Kiran Gidda

If you’re a voracious reader, you’ll know something about being drawn into worlds that aren’t your own. It’s a tantalising prospect, especially for introverts. What I discovered earlier this year, is that singer-songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae has the same magical quality as an enchanting novel. It’s a strange idea but bear with me, because if you’re lucky enough to meet her and spend time with her, to listen to her music, you’ll understand what I mean. Her world, soundtracked by sweet, soulful vocals, a picked guitar and stretching across oceans thanks to her nomadic lifestyle, has just a pinch of magic – black girl magic. She’s created it in her image.

Bailey Rae was part of the soundtrack of my youth (her debut came out when I was 12), but thanks to her ageless looks it’s difficult to believe she’s not just a couple of years older. Growing up in Scotland as a mixed-race girl amongst a blisteringly white population, she offered something that I didn’t realise I needed. Her image was attainable and aspirational. Here was a black, mixed-race British woman making beautiful music with her hair in natural curls, and the type of expressiveness that made her immediately relatable. I sang three of Bailey Rae’s songs (‘Like a Star’, ‘Till it happens To You’ and ‘Choux Pastry Heart’) from her eponymous debut album Corinne Bailey Rae for my music exams – A*’s you know – and, like everyone else during the summer of 2006, had her huge hit ‘Put Your Records On’ playing on repeat for months…

…From earlier conversations I know that Bailey Rae is interested and articulate on the topic of race. She was enamoured by the Kerry James Marshall exhibition in LA and recommends to me a book by Nell Irvin Painter, on the history of white people. “My dad had come from the Caribbean, but he didn’t talk to me a lot about racism which I think was a deliberate thing because he wanted to protect us,” she says about her childhood. “He didn’t want to suggest this sort of inherent thing […] And then my mum was very engaged. I learnt about South Africa and apartheid.”

Although she admits that she and her sisters would “pick the peas out of our rice and peas”, and didn’t necessarily know their black Caribbean nana’s culture “as well as we should have done”, it’s clear that she is very in touch with her blackness. When she performs at AFROPUNK London a few weeks after our interview, a festival which loudly celebrates black culture, Matthew Morgan, the founder of AFROPUNK, tells me that Bailey Rae had been very keen to play. “She approached me multiple times,” he says. On stage she tells the crowd: “I wish this community had been here for me when I was 15.” I’m at the front of the audience, screaming every lyric back at her like an embarrassing “stan” (mega fan).

There are mixed race people on both sides of Bailey Rae’s family – she has “brown cousins” on her mum’s English side as well as her dad’s. When she comments on her cousin’s shades, it reminds me that I’ve read that the term she prefers to use to describe herself is “brown” too. “At first we were brown and then we were half-caste and then mixed-race and then dual-heritage and then it was ok to just be black,” says Bailey Rae, obviously aware of the debate around how mixed-race people should define themselves, but disparaging. “I feel like I don’t really have a term if I’m really honest. That’s why I say it [brown] in like an almost silly way. As it’s almost like I’ve been labelled so many different things in the past 38 years that none of them feel familiar or satisfying.”…

Read the entire article here.

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“She’s not exotic. She’s not from a tribe in the Amazon. She’s American”: Gina Yashere on Meghan Markle’s engagement

Posted in Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Videos on 2017-12-04 01:21Z by Steven

“She’s not exotic. She’s not from a tribe in the Amazon. She’s American”: Gina Yashere on Meghan Markle’s engagement

Channel 4 News
London, United Kingdom
2017-11-28

Cathy Newman, Presenter

Interview with author Afua Hirsch and Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff who is deputy editor of gal-dem – an online magazine written by women of colour. And from New York – the comedian Gina Yashere.

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‘If Meghan Markle had darker skin there would NOT be a wedding’ – BBC guest blasts Royals

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-11-29 02:15Z by Steven

‘If Meghan Markle had darker skin there would NOT be a wedding’ – BBC guest blasts Royals

The Daily Express
2017-11-28

Nicole Stinson

PRINCE Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement sparked a heated debate on racial identity on BBC’s Newsnight following the couple’s wedding announcement on Monday.

The ginger royal and American actress’ engagement was officially announced by his father the Prince of Wales in a statement from Clarence House.

Prince Harry had popped the question to Ms Markle earlier this month in London and their engagement has sparked a debate on race – the Suits actress is the first person of mixed race origin to marry into the royal family.

Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, who writes for the online magazine “by women of colour” gal-dem, told Newsnight: “I think if she was darker skinned it would be very unlikely that she would be marrying Prince Harry.”

Her comments were backed by columnist Georgina Lawton who added that if Harry had been next in line to the throne: “I definitely think there would have been more racism.”

She added: “The people who are commenting on this issue and saying we don’t need to discuss race and it is just two people who have fallen in love – I think you need to look at the Prince’s statement last year condemning the racial undertones of the press coverage…

Read the entire article here.

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Inside Facebook’s Totally Adorable, Kind of Racist Mixed Race Baby Community

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2016-06-27 20:53Z by Steven

Inside Facebook’s Totally Adorable, Kind of Racist Mixed Race Baby Community

Broadly
2016-06-21

Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff

Thousands of people have signed up to Instagram and Facebook communities to celebrate the beauty of multiracial children. But not everyone is convinced that they have the purest intentions at heart.

In a world plagued by racism and prejudice, some people have hit on what they believe to be a simple but obvious solution. “Biracial babies!” they coo. “And they’re so cute, too!”

This is tongue in cheek, of course, but speaking as someone whose father is white and whose mother is black Caribbean, there does seem to be a growing and pervasive fascination with multiracial people. And in particular, babies…

…Recent census figures show mixed-race people are the fastest growing ethnic minority both in the US and the UK. These numbers are only set to rise, as predictions suggest that white people will no longer make up the majority of the US population by 2043. In the UK, one University of Oxford professor has said white Britons are set to become a minority in 2066.

Like many children, the lives of multiracial babies are intimately documented on social media, but they are arguably fixated on to a larger extent than most. Their pictures are all over the internet, under hashtags such as #BiracialBabies, #KardashianKids, #MixedLove, and #Diversity. On Instagram, accounts like Beautiful Mixed Kids and Mixed Babies Feature amass thousands of followers, along with regular picture submissions from doting family members…

Read the entire article here.

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