My resolution for 2018 is to trace the family who don’t yet know I exist

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2018-01-22 02:48Z by Steven

My resolution for 2018 is to trace the family who don’t yet know I exist

The Guardian
2017-12-30

Georgina Lawton

Two years ago I discovered I was not related to my white father. Now, I intend to find out the origins of my blackness

When it comes to setting new year’s resolutions, I am not that bothered about losing weight, exercising more, or becoming more productive (although it would be good to finally get a grip on all those things). Instead, I have decided to make 2018 the year in which I make a serious, wholehearted attempt to trace a family who don’t yet know I exist, and to find out once and for all, in as much detail as I can, the origins of my blackness.

No one realises the difficult nature of this task more than me. As I have previously written, I was raised by two white parents who always assured me that I was related to them both, which led me to identify as white until I was about 15.

The nadir of my life came almost two years ago, when my dad died and a subsequent DNA test confirmed my deepest fears, which had wrapped themselves around my life like the tendrils of a poisonous plant. I was not related to my fantastic father; my mother had been unfaithful with a man she knows little about. It had never been spoken about…

Read the entire article here.

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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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Shedding my whiteness is a work in progress

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-09-17 02:58Z by Steven

Shedding my whiteness is a work in progress

The Guardian
2017-09-16

Georgina Lawton


Georgina Lawton … ‘In my family, whiteness has been assumed as default.’ Photograph: Alicia Canter for the Guardian

A white identity was constructed for me 25 years ago and unravelling it feels like a Sisyphean task

My black side and my Irish side compete for recognition within me, like two separate flames of a fire, dancing around each other, fighting to shine the brightest. Take the other night in London; I was out for a drink with a friend from school when we heard the melody of Irish accents from a group of guys close by, and chimed in to chat. Later, a British-African guy overheard part of the exchange and bemusedly declared that “the Irish men love black women!” Looking decidedly sheepish, the Irish lads asserted that I was Irish, to which the black guy replied, “No – she’s black.” I pretended not to hear and went to the toilet, leaving the projected shadows of who I am and who others think I am, dancing on the walls behind me.

Outside my immediate family, my blackness has been obvious and non-negotiable, but among some of my Irish family, it is up for debate or ignored entirely. A white identity was constructed for me 25 years ago and now unravelling this construct – and asking some of my Irish family to unravel it with me – feels like a Sisyphean task. Shedding my own psychology of whiteness is a work in progress, but when I am back in Ireland it’s easy to revert to default because that’s all we know…

Read the entire article here.

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Living on the borderline: how I embraced my mixed-race status after years of denial

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-08-26 18:38Z by Steven

Living on the borderline: how I embraced my mixed-race status after years of denial

The Guardian
2017-08-26

Georgina Lawton


Solomon Glave as Heathcliff in Andrea Arnold’s 2011 adaptation of Wuthering Heights Photograph: Artificial Eye

I still have yet to uncover the full truth behind my heritage, but now feel that living in a racial no man’s land can actually be fun

Wuthering Heights has been one of my favourite books since I studied it for A-level seven years ago. I was fascinated by the tumultuous (and oddly asexual) relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff, but mostly with the theme of liminality that runs through the book, and many other works of gothic literature. Liminality refers to something – or someone – that sits on the boundary between two things; it’s a middle ground between polar opposites. Kind of like being mixed race.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but I identified with Heathcliff (he’s a dark-skinned Gypsy anti-hero) because I have been straddling the borders of race liminality my whole life. Growing up brown-skinned in a white family and facing questions as to why that was, I have had to navigate many different racial identities depending on who I was with, never quite owning one…

Read the entire article here.

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What Corn Island taught me about black identity

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive on 2017-03-22 15:50Z by Steven

What Corn Island taught me about black identity

Girl Unfurled
2016-12-08

Georgina Lawton

“You’re not black here. The locals won’t call you black”.

These were some of the first words uttered to me by a (white, European, male) island inhabitant when I arrived on Big Corn Island.

“You’s a white gyal,” another friend who was born and raised on the island his whole life, told me on the bleach-white sands, one blisteringly hot day.

I remember looking at all the other people, similar in shade to me and I felt… un poco confuso (a little confused).

Why could I not be black here?!

Read the entire article here.

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‘My mum always told me I was white, like her. Now I know the truth’

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Europe, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2017-03-19 01:10Z by Steven

‘My mum always told me I was white, like her. Now I know the truth’

The Guardian
2017-03-18

Georgina Lawton


Georgina Lawton: ‘Even though I would look in the mirror and see a brown, dark-eyed girl, I couldn’t identify as black.’

As a child in a white Anglo-Irish family, Georgina Lawton’s curiosity about her dark skin colour was constantly brushed aside. Only when her father died did the truth surface

You might not think it to look at me, but my upbringing was a very Anglo-Irish affair. I grew up on the outskirts of London with my blue-eyed younger brother, British father and Irish mother. Many happy weeks of the school holidays were spent in Ireland and I was educated at a Catholic school in Surrey. We ate roast beef and yorkshire puddings on Sundays, and Thin Lizzy, Van Morrison and the Clash formed the soundtrack to our lazy weekends.

The only peculiar aspect to all this was the defining aspect of my identity. Because, although I look mixed-race, or black, my whole family is white. And until the man I called Dad died two years ago, I did not know the truth about my existence. Now, age 24, I’m starting to uncover where I come from…

Read the entire article here.

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