Between two worlds

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2014-09-07 21:36Z by Steven

Between two worlds

The Guardian/The Observer

Geraldine Bedell

Britain has one of the fastest-growing mixed-race populations – but many people are still hostile towards interracial couples. We asked some of them how their lives have been affected

During the 1991 Gulf war, Richard Littlejohn wrote in the Sun that British women married to Iraqis ‘should be left to rot in their adopted country, with their hideous husbands and their unattractive children’.

Even making allowances for jingoism, this was vicious stuff – and typical of attitudes to interracial relationships for centuries. Today, the UK has one of the fastest-growing mixed-race populations in the world. According to a Policy Studies Institute report in 1997, half of all black men born here who are currently in a relationship have a white partner, and a third of black women (and one fifth of Asian men and 10 per cent of Asian women). One in 20 pre-school children in the country is thought to be mixed-race.

From Diana, Princess of Wales to Trevor McDonald, Michael Caine to Zeinab Badawi, countless celebrities have, or have had, lovers from different racial backgrounds. People of mixed race, from Zadie Smith to Halle Berry, Hanif Kureishi to Paul Boateng, are increasingly in the public eye; and in parts of our big cities, interracial relationships are so common that even to notice them is bad manners. When we set out to find couples for this article, some people thought that even taking an interest in the subject was racist…

Randall Kennedy, a professor of law at Yale University and author of a new book, Interracial Intimacies, (Pantheon) notes that African Americans take one of three views of such relationships: they see them as a positive good, decreasing segregation; they are agnostic, considering relationships a private matter – thus fending off the common assumption that successful black people want nothing more than a white partner; or they repudiate mixed relationships on politicised black-is-beautiful grounds.

The situation in Britain is less fervid than in the US, partly because of our different histories of slavery, partly because of the greater degree of residential integration here. Even so, the past couple of decades have seen a militant pro-black position that has led to mixed-race children being labelled black willy-nilly, especially for the purposes of adoption. Jill Olumide, interviewed below, has met white single mothers who have been told that they may not be suitable to raise their own children since they are unable to socialise them into ‘their’ ‘black culture’. As Paul Gilroy, the British-born Harvard academic has said, racism and this kind of anti-racism share precisely the same essentialist assumptions about totality, identity and exclusion.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown makes a powerful case in a recent book, Mixed Feelings, for awareness and acknowledgement of a new kind of Briton. People of mixed race are now 11 per cent of the ethnic-minority population, which implicates a lot of people if you include their parents and grandparents. Alibhai-Brown is wryly aware of the ‘unreal and unhelpful’ tendency of people like herself, in interracial marriages, to become ‘warriors for a cause’. It is possible, she reflects, that Britain is ‘good at’ certain types of diversity, such as food and sex; that doesn’t mean we’ve stamped out racism…

Read the entire article and interview here.

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The Social Experience of Mixed Race [Book Review]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2010-06-17 18:50Z by Steven

The Social Experience of Mixed Race [Book Review]

Jill Olumide. Raiding the Gene Pool: The Social Construction of Mixed Race. London: Pluto Press, 2002. xii + 212 pp., ISBN 978-0-7453-1764-9; ISBN 978-0-7453-1765-6.

H-Net Online
December 2002

Mohamed Adhikari, Lecturer of Historical Studies
University of Cape Town, South Africa

The author, a medical sociologist at the University of London, defines the “mixed race condition” as encompassing the “patterns and commonality of experience among those who obstruct whatever purpose race is being put to at a particular time” and describes mixed race as “the ideological enemy of pure race as a means of social stratification” (p. 2). The concept as used in this study includes not only people of mixed racial origin but also those who are perceived as mixing race as, for example, in the case of couples involved in inter-racial relationships or people adopting children of a different race.

This book explores the social experience of people who have been designated mixed race. It examines the operation of racialized boundaries and how they are promoted, sustained and constructed through changing ideologies of race and ideas of mixed race. It asserts that the mixed race condition has resulted in similar social experiences across time, place and social class and endeavors to explain why this is the case. As its definition of mixed race above illustrates, this is a strongly anti-racist tract and takes every opportunity of challenging the racial bases of social differentiation, especially the preferential treatment of people whether by officialdom or in the private domain. Olumide expresses dissatisfaction with the current state of mixed race studies and sets out to create “fresh knowledge” on the subject (p. 3). She complains that the term anti-racism “has become a very moth-eaten construct” and insists that for it to regain validity it “must endeavour to be anti-race. Nothing less will do” (emphasis in the original, p. 5). As this example indicates, the writing sometimes verges on the polemical in its anti-racial posture…

 Read the entire review here.


The Alchemy of Mixed Race – Review Essay

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, United Kingdom on 2009-11-27 01:59Z by Steven

The Alchemy of Mixed Race – Review Essay

The Global Review of Ethnopolitics
Vol. 2, no. 3-4
March/June 2003
pages 100-106

Ayo Mansaray
University of Middlesex, UK

Raiding the Gene Pool: The Social Construction of Mixed Race
Jill Olumide
Pluto Press, 2001
pp. 224 (including: foreword, notes, bibliography, index, appendix)

Rethinking “Mixed Race”
Parker & Song (eds)
Pluto Press, 2001
pp. 208 (including: foreword, notes, bibliography, index, appendix)

We are, in Britain, witnessing high levels of co-habitation, marriages and romantic liaisons between different ethnic and racial groups (Alibhai-Brown 2001: 78).  According to the latest census statistics for England and Wales, 660,000 people described themselves as being of mixed ethnicity. The largest mixed group is white and black Caribbean – 237,000, of whom 137,000 (57.5%) are aged 15 and under (ONS 2003).  Extrapolating from this data, the number of Britons involved in mixed raced situations is much greater than this number, and growing. The mixed race/ethnicity population is now the third largest minority in the UK, 14.6% of the total ethnic minority population, second to the Indian and Pakistani communities and larger than the Caribbean and African populations (ONS 2003).  Findings from the Fourth National Survey of Ethnic Minorities indicate that just over half of Caribbean men had white partners, and a third of Caribbean women had white partners. 39% of Caribbean children have one white parent, mostly a black father and a white mother (Modood, Berthoud et al. 1997: 30f.).  The statistics point to a significant phenomenon, which has gone unrecognised…

Read the entire review here.

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Raiding The Gene Pool: The Social Construction of Mixed Race

Posted in Books, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science on 2009-10-28 01:55Z by Steven

Raiding The Gene Pool: The Social Construction of Mixed Race

Pluto Press an imprint of MacMillan Publishing
February 2002
ISBN: 978-0-7453-1764-9
ISBN10: 0-7453-1764-2
5.5 x 8.25 inches
224 pages

Jill Olumide, Researcher
Swansea University, School of Health Science

High profile ‘mixed race’ stars like Tiger Woods have brought the politics of identity into the mainstream. Jill Olumide argues that we must examine the contradictions inherent in the term “mixed race” in order to reach a fuller understanding of the variety in human experience and identity. Olumide demonstrates that there are distinctive features of mixed race experience that span time and place. By comparing contemporary experiences of mixed race, collected through interviews and workshops, with those of past populations in different parts of the world, she explains how its meaning alters with national boundary, historical context, class, gender and ethnicity. Showing how different communities are linked by social ambiguity, dependency and the denial of social space, she reveals that the underlying ideology is transformed by social, economic and political change. As mixed race groups across the world call for the right of self-definition, this book reveals that it is through understanding the plurality of the category of mixed race that we are best able to transcend the idea of ‘race’ and challenge the racial axes of social division. The book includes an examination of the folklore around racism and anti-racism, and the agencies through which ideologies of race are propagated, including social welfare groups, religious groups, scientific texts, and the family.

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • 1. A Spell to Make Them Balance: Introduction
    • Dangerous Knowledge
    • Importance of Studying Mixed Race
    • Divisions
    • The Mixed race Condition
    • Group Identity
    • A Theory of Lived Experience
    • Social Construction: Passing and Being Passed
    • Passing As…
    • Structure of the book
  • 2. The Hall of Mirrors: Structures of Power
    • The Babalawo and the Sociologist
    • Ideology and State
    • Ideology For What?
    • Race and its Provenance
    • Religion and Race
    • Ethnocentricism
    • European Roots of Race Thinking
    • Spain
    • Classification and Race
    • The Ground of Racialisation in the Capitalist Era
    • A Missing Link: Whiteness as a Racial Category
    • Ethnicity
    • Women and the Racial Order
    • Endpiece
  • 3. Parallel Fictions: Writing About Mixed Race
    • ‘Natural’ Science.
    • Politics of Biology
    • Eugenics
    • UNESCO and Race
    • Stonequist and the Psychologising Tendency
    • Marginal Man Goes East
    • Mixed Race and the Question ofIdentity
    • Fostering Mixed Race
    • Proving that Mixed Race Works
    • The Mothers of Mixed Race Children
    • Counting Mixed Race
    • Multiracial People
    • Biographical and Autobiographical Writing
  • 4. Changing Illusions: Some Excerpts From the History of Mixed race
    • Patterns in the Career of mixed Race
    • Heredity
    • Division and Exploitation:Slavocracy Style
    • White Women and Black Women
    • Losing Caste
    • Group Consciousness
    • Metissage
    • Divide and Rule
    • The Mixed Race Condition and Genocide
    • The Purposeful Concept of Mixed Race
  • 5. Behind the Facade: Race Mixing
    • Background to the Research Population
    • Access and Understanding
    • Difference as Liberation
    • Bridging
    • No Positive Images
    • Parents Must Prepare
    • Knowledge is Power
    • The Wrong Parents
    • Set Up to Fail
    • Terminology
    • Not White/Black Enough
    • Siblings and step-Families
    • Conclusion
  • 6. The Balancing Act: Race Separating
    • Sanctions
    • Rejection
    • ‘Looks’
    • Abuse
    • Reputation
    • Pigeonholing
    • Repatriation
    • Suspicion of Unsuitable Combinations
    • Strategies
    • Hold Hands and Stick Together
    • Challenge-Cure Ignorance
    • Hard Work and Rightful Expectations
    • The Goodness of Mixture
    • Pass Amongst
    • Imaginary Homelands
    • Keep Your Distance
    • Humour
  • 7. The Very Foundation of Order: Social Origins of Mixed Race
    • Theorising Mixed race
    • Ethnic Leakage
    • The Slimy Category
    • Mixed race Undermines Black and White
    • Women and the Reproduction of Own-Kind
    • Family
    • Religion
    • Professionals
    • Welfare Professionals in Particular
    • Race Does Not Always Over-Determine Class
    • and Gender
    • The Need to Talk
  • 8. Communities to Conjure With: Concluding Remarks
    • Five Features of Mixed Race Ideology
    • An Ambiguous Social Location
    • A Contested Site
    • A Measure of Induced Dependency is Inolved
    • It is a Conditional State
    • It is a Point of Articulation in the Ordering of Race Gender and Other Divisions
    • Emotional Subjects
    • Giving Voice to Mixed Race
  • Notes
  • Index
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Mixed Heritage – Identity, Policy and Practice

Posted in Census/Demographics, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Reports, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2009-10-16 02:11Z by Steven

Mixed Heritage – Identity, Policy and Practice

Runnymede Trust
ISBN-10: 0-9548389-6-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-9548389-6-6
EAN: 9780954838966
40 pages
September 2007

Edited by Jessica Mai Sims

Although they are often invisible in debates on race and ethnicity, the 2001 census reveals that the ‘Mixed’ population is the third largest ethnic category in the UK, with predictions that it will become the single largest minority group recognised by the Census by the end of 2020.

Over the summer months we have developed our thinking on this area of study through a seminars, roundtables, and conferences by partnering with the CRE, CLG, and London South Bank’s Families and Social Capital Research Group. Through this partnership we have established the following series of activity that forms that basis for future work on mixed heritage, which seeks to challenge the prevalent understandings and assumptions of the people who are thought to comprise of this group.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword – Rob Berkeley
  1. Statistics: The Mixed Category in Census 2001 — Charlie Owen
  2. The Diversity of ‘the’ Mixed Race Population in Britain — Miri Song
  3. Gendering Mixed-Race, Deconstructing Mixedness — Suki Ali
  4. Thai-British Families: Towards a Deeper Understanding of ‘Mixedness’ — Jessica Mai Sims
  5. Meeting the Educational Needs of Mixed Heritage Pupils: Challenges for Policy and Practice — Leon Tikly
  6. Mixed Heritage: Perspectives on Health and Welfare — Mark R. D. Johnson
  7. Adoption and Fostering Issues: ‘Judgement of Solomon’ — Savita de Sousa & John Simmonds
  8. ‘Mixed’ Families: Assumptions and New Approaches — Chamion Caballero
  9. It’s Time for Foundation — Sharron Hall
  10. I loathe the term ‘mixed race’… — Linda Bellos
  11. People in Harmony — Jill Olumide
  • Biographical Information on Contributors
  • Bibliography

Read the entire document here.

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