A Mixed Race Feminist Blog Interview with Jamal Langley
Mixed Race Feminist Blog
Leeds, Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Hey. My name is Jamal Langley and I’m 22 years old. I aspire to be a public academic, which is an academic that creates knowledge that is of practical use in order to mobilise the public democratically. I think that the idea of public academia will become increasingly important in the years to come due to Trump’s presidential victory and Brexit. I see these events as resulting from the failure of the elitist experts that guide our politicians to create fair societies that work for everyone.
Next year I hope to continue my education at the University of Leeds with my PhD research on ‘Black British and Mixed Race identity: The Intersectionality between Race, Class and Political affiliation’. I wish to explore this area by trying to understand why we have simultaneously seen a rise in the activity of black liberationist groups in the UK, and the largest number of Black Minority Ethnic (BME) people voting for the Conservative party in the 2015 election. I have been unable to attract funding for my project, however I hope with your help I can crowd fund my tuition fees. I believe that my research is of real value to the black and left wing community. By gaining a better understanding of black & mixed race identity in contemporary Britain, this research hopes to foster better community mobilisation against racism. Projects such as mine are where we should invest our support if we wish to create material changes and narratives that support the world we envisage.
What was your experience of school like as a mixed race boy?
In primary school, I remember thinking I was different from the majority of the students that were white. I didn’t like this difference until we got Sky TV and I started to watch MTV Base and Channel U which depicted black culture as cool. I had Ludacris’ album “Chicken and Beer” and Dizzee Rascal’s “Boy in the Corner”. I would listen to them when I got home from school. In year 4 I wrote a short story about an alien that abducted small children to eat. My teacher thought it was a really good story and praised me for it at parents evening, however when my dad read it he took away all my rap albums. He believed that they were indoctrinating me with violent ideas. I will say myself that towards the end of primary school and at the beginning of secondary school, I do believe that the culture glorified in rap music did affect my behaviour in a mischievous way…
…How has your relationship with your parents and family influenced your racial identity?
My Mum is white British and my Dad was born in Britain, but my grandparents emigrated here from Jamaica. My parents have been split up since I was conceived, yet I have spent a lot of time with both of them. Both of my parents went on to meet new partners, who they had children with.
In a way I would say not only am I mixed race but I am also mixed class. My mum has always been working class, living in council accommodation and working in low skilled jobs when she could. My father on the other hand lives in a large house with a mortgage paid for by his partner who is a successful businesswoman. Her support has allowed my dad to go to university, work odd jobs and move onto his latest and most successful venture of selling vinyl…
Read the entire interview here.