‘Growing up in Ireland I was the only black person’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Europe, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-09-30 14:28Z by Steven

‘Growing up in Ireland I was the only black person’

The Irish Times

Anthea McTeirnan

Lorraine Maher, aged nine and today, who is curating the exhibition of photos of mixed-race Irish people at the London Irish Centre in Camden.

A new exhibition in London challenges the perceptions of what Irish people look like

Lorraine Maher’s son Aaron died from cancer two years ago. Aaron, who along with his brothers, Dwayne, Darnel and Rù-ffel, had visited his mother’s homeplace in Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, many times and met his Irish family often, was proud to be Irish. Aaron would have chosen to play soccer for the Republic of Ireland, no doubt about that. He was also a fervent Tipperary supporter.

Maher visits his grave often.

“In the graveyard in London, he has his Irish flag and his Tipperary flag on his grave with his St Lucia flag.”

His dad is from St Lucia, and Aaron was proud of his dual heritage.

Aaron’s photograph is on his gravestone, too. “I see people looking at the grave like they are thinking: what has Ireland got to do with him?”

But Aaron was proud of his Irishness, she says. “He had two heritages and both made him proud.”

Even though it is now more common in Britain to use the term “dual heritage” rather than “mixed race”, Maher is not completely sold on the newer description.

“It is challenging because my only heritage is Irish,” she says. “So that is what the conversation I wanted to have is about. For mixed-race Irish people our ancestry, our roots, our blood are Irish.”…

…Maher was never an “immigrant”. She grew up in 1960s-1970s Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, where she was the only black person she knew. After Presentation Convent Primary, she moved to Scoil Mhuire in Greenhill.

“I’m mixed race. I identify as a black woman from Ireland, who is quite pale,” she laughs. “The only heritage I ever had was Irish heritage.” Maher is aware of her other ancestry, “but it is not important at the moment for me”, she says…

Read the entire article here.

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Intermarriage and Mixed Parenting, Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing: Crossover Love

Posted in Books, Europe, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs on 2016-09-28 14:35Z by Steven

Intermarriage and Mixed Parenting, Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing: Crossover Love

Palgrave Macmillan
262 pages
eBook ISBN: 978-1-137-39078-3
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-137-39077-6
Softcover ISBN: 978-1-349-48271-9
DOI: 10.1057/9781137390783

Rashmi Singla, Associate Professor
Department of Psychology and Educational Research
Roskilde University, Denmark

Marriages across ethnic borders are increasing in frequency, yet little is known of how discourses of ‘normal’ families, ethnicity, race, migration, globalisation affect couples and children involved in these mixed marriages. This book explores mixed marriage though intimate stories drawn from the real lives of visibly different couples.

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Black History Month – #IMIRISH Exhibition Launch

Posted in Arts, Europe, Forthcoming Media, Live Events, United Kingdom on 2016-09-19 00:08Z by Steven

Black History Month – #IMIRISH Exhibition Launch

London Irish Center
50-52 Camden Square
London, United Kingdom, NW1 9XB
2016-10-06 through 2016-10-31, 19:00 BST (Local Time)

#Iamirish a Photography Exhibition launching a series of workshops and debates linking those of mixed race heritage to their Irish family ancestry.

The Exhibition will be opened by Dan Mulhall, Ireland ’s Ambassador to the UK.

This project will map the roots, lives and experiences of mixed race Irish people creating intimate portraits which challenge perceptions of what it looks like to be Irish and open up people’s minds to the wonderful diversity of the Irish people.

Launching the project in October to coincide with Black History Month, in the centenary year of Irish Independence, is a unique and powerful opportunity to weave these celebrations of Black and Irish heritage together and put diversity in full focus.

2016 marks the centenary of the Republic of Ireland, an opportunity to remember the country’s history and the heritage and traditions of its people. This project embraces that spirit to celebrate the voices and the lives of independent, Irish people everywhere who happen to be mixed race. Drawing strong lines between the portraits and their family crests, we seek to dispel the idea that if you are from a non-white community, you are automatically an immigrant.

‘For mixed race Irish people in reality our ancestry, our roots, our blood are Irish and we are proud of it.’

For more information, click here.

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Luck O’ the Irish: Black Artists from the Emerald Isle

Posted in Articles, Arts, Europe, Media Archive on 2016-09-10 21:16Z by Steven

Luck O’ the Irish: Black Artists from the Emerald Isle


Rhonda Nicole, Managing Editor

U2 graced us with one of the greatest songs in the history of music, “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” and spammed everyone’s Apple devices with an album many never asked for (2014’s Songs of Innocence). Sinéad O’Connor teased as she sang “I Want Your (Hands On Me),” teared up as she crooned “Nothing Compares 2 U,” and tore up a photo of the pope. The Cranberries begged to let it “Linger,” while Hozier pleaded “Take Me to Church” (interestingly, O’Connor did as well, although it was a completely different song). Scan any pop or rock radio station, and you’re bound to hear a tune or two from Irish musical acts. The Corrs, The Frames, Enya, and countless others have dominated the American musical landscape for decades, becoming as essential a part of popular music experience as your standard issue garage band-turned Grammy darling.

Whereas other European countries have gifted us with a rather diverse cadre of acts of color—British artists like Omar Lye-Fook, Corinne Bailey Rae, Lianne La Havas, Estelle, and Brand New Heavies; Ben l’Oncle Soul, Les Nubians, and Corneille from France; and Belgium’s Zap Mama, Jean-Louis Daulne, and Technotronic’s Ya Kid K (by way of the Democratic Republic of Congo), Ireland, not all that surprisingly, hasn’t produced nearly as many. According to the 2006 Irish census, just around 1% of the country’s population self-identified as black. Still, black actors, athletes, writers, and politicians have made an impact on Irish culture, be they Irish-born or immigrants from various parts of Africa and the Caribbean. And black Irish musicians, though perhaps not as readily recognizable here in the U.S., are equally as notable as their British and French counterparts…

Read the entire article here.

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A look at historical multiracial families through the House of Medici

Posted in Articles, Biography, Europe, History, Media Archive on 2016-09-04 22:11Z by Steven

A look at historical multiracial families through the House of Medici

OUPblog: Oxford University Press’s Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Catherine Fletcher

Catherine Fletcher is author of The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de’ Medici.

The Medici, rulers of Renaissance Florence, are not the most obvious example of a multiracial family. They’ve always been part of the historical canon of “western civilization,” the world of dead white men. Perhaps we should think again. A tradition dating back to the sixteenth century suggests that Alessandro de’ Medici, an illegitimate child of the Florentine banking family who in 1532 became duke of Florence, was the son of an Afro-European woman. Sometimes called Simunetta, she may have been a slave in the household of his grandmother Alfonsina Orsini de’ Medici. The historical sources are elusive, but by pursuing them we can learn much about the history of race.

It’s easy to get the impression that mixed-race families are a new phenomenon. Pew Research Center reported last year that 6.9% of US adults are multiracial, and that the numbers are growing. In Britain the numbers are also growing, though smaller overall (2%) and one in 10 UK couples is of mixed ethnicity.*

Historical and archaeological research, however, shows that mixed-race families have been around very much longer…

Read the entire article here.

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The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de’ Medici

Posted in Biography, Books, Europe, Media Archive, Monographs on 2016-09-04 20:45Z by Steven

The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de’ Medici

Oxford University Press
336 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9780190612726

Catherine Fletcher, Historian, Author, AHRC/BBC New Generation Thinker 2015

  • The first-ever biography of Alessandro de’ Medici, arguably the first black head of state
  • Draws on extensive archival research of first-hand sources
  • An accessible and dramatic retelling of Renaissance politics and rivalry

Ruler of Florence for seven bloody years, 1531 to 1537, Alessandro de’ Medici was arguably the first person of color to serve as a head of state in the Western world. Born out of wedlock to a dark-skinned maid and Lorenzo de’ Medici, he was the last legitimate heir to the line of Lorenzo the Magnificent. When Alessandro’s noble father died of syphilis, the family looked to him. Groomed for power, he carved a path through the backstabbing world of Italian politics in a time when cardinals, popes, and princes vied for wealth and advantage. By the age of nineteen, he was prince of Florence, inheritor of the legacy of the grandest dynasty of the Italian Renaissance.

Alessandro faced down family rivalry and enormous resistance from Florence’s oligarchs, who called him a womanizer-which he undoubtedly was—and a tyrant. Yet this real-life counterpart to Machiavelli’s Prince kept his grip on power until he was assassinated at the age of 26 during a late-night tryst arranged by his scheming cousins. After his death, his brief but colorful reign was criticized by those who had murdered him in a failed attempt to restore the Florentine republic. For the first time, the true story is told in The Black Prince of Florence.

Catherine Fletcher tells the riveting tale of Alessandro’s unexpected rise and spectacular fall, unraveling centuries-old mysteries, exposing forgeries, and bringing to life the epic personalities of the Medicis, Borgias, and others as they waged sordid campaigns to rise to the top. Drawing on new research and first-hand sources, this biography of a most intriguing Renaissance figure combines archival scholarship with discussions of race and class that are still relevant today.

Table of Contents

  • Family tree
  • Glossary of names
  • Timeline
  • Maps
  • A note on money
  • Prologue
  • Book One: The Bastard Son
  • Book Two: The Obedient Nephew
  • Book Three: The Prince Alone
  • Afterword: Alessandro’s Ethnicity
  • Acknowledgements
  • Bibliography
  • Notes
  • Index
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From White to Yellow: The Japanese in European Racial Thought, 1300-1735

Posted in Books, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2016-08-22 23:44Z by Steven

From White to Yellow: The Japanese in European Racial Thought, 1300-1735

McGill-Queen’s University Press
November 2014
712 Pages, 6 x 9
32 b&w photos
ISBN: 9780773544550

Rotem Kowner, Professor
Department of Asian Studies
University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa, Israel

An examination of the evolution of European racial views of the Japanese.

When Europeans first landed in Japan they encountered people they perceived as white-skinned and highly civilized, but these impressions did not endure. Gradually the Europeans’ positive impressions faded away and Japanese were seen as yellow-skinned and relatively inferior.

Accounting for this dramatic transformation, From White to Yellow is a groundbreaking study of the evolution of European interpretations of the Japanese and the emergence of discourses about race in early modern Europe. Transcending the conventional focus on Africans and Jews within the rise of modern racism, Rotem Kowner demonstrates that the invention of race did not emerge in a vacuum in eighteenth-century Europe, but rather was a direct product of earlier discourses of the “Other.” This compelling study indicates that the racial discourse on the Japanese, alongside the Chinese, played a major role in the rise of the modern concept of race. While challenging Europe’s self-possession and sense of centrality, the discourse delayed the eventual consolidation of a hierarchical worldview in which Europeans stood immutably at the apex.

Drawing from a vast array of primary sources, From White to Yellow traces the racial roots of the modern clash between Japan and the West.

Table of Contents

  • Figures
  • Note on Translations and Conventions
  • Acknowledgments
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • PHASE ONE SPECULATION: Pre-Encounter Knowledge of the Japanese (1300-1543)
    • 1 The Emergence of “Cipangu” and Its Precursory Ethnography
    • 2 The “Cipanguese” at the Opening of the Age of Discovery
  • PHASE TWO OBSERVATION: A Burgeoning Discourse of Initial Encounters (1543-1640)
    • 3 Initial Observations of the Japanese
    • 4 The Japanese Position in Contemporary Hierarchies
    • 5 Concrete Mirrors of a New Human Order
    • 6 “Race” and Its Cognitive Limits during the Phase of Observation
  • PHASE THREE RECONSIDERATION: Antecedents of a Mature Discourse (1640-1735)
    • 7 Dutch Reappraisal of the Japanese Body and Origins
    • 8 Power, Status, and the Japanese Position in the Global Order
    • 9 In Search of a New Taxonomy: Botany, Medicine, and the Japanese
    • 10 “Race” and Its Perceptual Limits during the Phase of Reconsideration
  • Conclusion: The Discourse of Race in Early Modern Europe and the Japanese Case
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Intimate Bonds: Family and Slavery in the French Atlantic

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery on 2016-08-16 01:01Z by Steven

Intimate Bonds: Family and Slavery in the French Atlantic

University of Pennsylvania Press
August 2016
304 pages
6 x 9
6 illus.
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8122-4840-1
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-8122-9306-7

Jennifer L. Palmer, Assistant Professor of History
University of Georgia

Following the stories of families who built their lives and fortunes across the Atlantic Ocean, Intimate Bonds explores how households anchored the French empire and shaped the meanings of race, slavery, and gender in the early modern period. As race-based slavery became entrenched in French laws, all household members in the French Atlantic world —regardless of their status, gender, or race—negotiated increasingly stratified legal understandings of race and gender.

Through her focus on household relationships, Jennifer L. Palmer reveals how intimacy not only led to the seemingly immutable hierarchies of the plantation system but also caused these hierarchies to collapse even before the age of Atlantic revolutions. Placing families at the center of the French Atlantic world, Palmer uses the concept of intimacy to illustrate how race, gender, and the law intersected to form a new worldview. Through analysis of personal, mercantile, and legal relationships, Intimate Bonds demonstrates that even in an era of intensifying racial stratification, slave owners and slaves, whites and people of color, men and women all adapted creatively to growing barriers, thus challenging the emerging paradigm of the nuclear family. This engagingly written history reveals that personal choices and family strategies shaped larger cultural and legal shifts in the meanings of race, slavery, family, patriarchy, and colonialism itself.

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The Leopard Boy, A Novel

Posted in Books, Europe, Media Archive, Novels on 2016-08-10 01:37Z by Steven

The Leopard Boy, A Novel

University of Virginia Press
January 2016 (Originally published in 1999 as L’Enfant Léopard)
304 pages
Paper ISBN: 9780813937908
Cloth ISBN: 9780813937892
Ebook ISBN: 9780813937915

Daniel Picouly

Translated and Afterword by:

Jeanne M. Garane, Professor of French and Comparative Literature
University of South Carolina

October 15, 1793: the eve of Marie-Antoinette’s execution. The Reign of Terror has descended upon revolutionary France, and thousands are beheaded daily under the guillotine. Edmond Coffin and Jonathan Gravedigger, two former soldiers now employed in disposing of the dead, are hired to search the Parisian neighborhood of Haarlem for a mysterious mixed-race “leopard boy,” whose nickname derives from his mottled black-and-white skin. Some would like to see the elusive leopard boy dead, while others wish to save him. Why so much interest in this child? He is rumored to be the son of Marie-Antoinette and a man of color–the Chevalier de Saint-George, perhaps, or possibly Zamor, the slave of Madame du Barry, mistress of Louis XV.

This wildly imaginative and culturally resonant tale by Daniel Picouly audaciously places black and mixed-race characters–including King Mac, creator of the first hamburger, who hands out figures of Voltaire and Rousseau with his happy meals, and the megalomaniac Black Delorme, creator of a slavery theme park–at the forefront of its Revolution-era story. Winner of the Prix Renaudot, one of France’s most prestigious literary awards, this book envisions a “Black France” two hundred years before the term came to describe a nation transformed through its postcolonial immigrant population.

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Planning for German Children of Mixed Racial Background

Posted in Articles, Europe, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Work on 2016-07-30 19:58Z by Steven

Planning for German Children of Mixed Racial Background1

Social Service Review
Volume 30, Number 1 (March 1956)
pages 33-37
DOI: 10.1086/639959

Hans Pfaffenberger (1922-2012), Professor of Psychology
University of Trier, Trier, Germany

Translated by Susanne Schulze

On January 1, 1955, there were approximately four thousand mischlingskinder2 in the West German Republic. This number is still increasing by 250 to 350 a year. More than 70 per cent of the children are living with their mothers, and about 5 per cent with other relatives—grandparents, aunts, etc. About 12 per cent are in institutions, about 10 per cent in foster homes. The remaining children have been adopted, either by American families or, in a few cases, by German families, or they have emigrated to the United States with their mothers, who have married. According to the social agencies responsible for them, 90 per cent of the children remaining in Germany are well cared for. In 10 per cent of the cases, special services have been found necessary, but these have been general services—better housing, convalescent care, etc.—unrelated to the special situation of these children as children of mixed racial background.

The approximately four thousand children of mixed racial background pose many problems for child welfare agencies, and it is good to know that many attempts are being made to find solutions and to suggest remedies. Not all of these suggestions, of course, are equally acceptable, and it seems that the time is ripe to examine some of them in relation to the situation of these children, as it is known through reliable reports, and in the light of some basic considerations.


Many people are suggesting general solutions that would supposedly “clean up” with one stroke all of the emerging problems or at least would cover them up; for example, it has been suggested that the problem be solved through adoption abroad, through emigration of the mothers with their children, through emigration of the mischlingskinder, or through segregation of all these children in order to rear them together. Many strong objections to these general solutions may be raised. Recently several welfare organizations, as well as individuals with long years of experience, have warned against adoption abroad, including in the United States, especially when children of mixed racial background are concerned. A most careful investigation of the potential adoptive family seems definitely indicated.3 When we consider the social and economic circumstances of these children, as well as the attitudes of the community toward them, transplanting them to America through adoption or through marriage of the mother…

Read or purchase the article here.

1 From Newes Beginnen (New Beginning [periodical of the Workers’ Welfare Association, published by National Headquarters of the Organization, Bonn]), VIII (August, 1955).

2 Mishlingskinder refers to children of mixed racial background. The children considered in this article are those born to German women and nonwhite soldiers stationed in Germany.

3 See U. Mende, “Adoption deutscher Kinder durch amerikanische Staatsangehörige,” Unsere Jugend, May, 1955, S. 207; E. Hochfeld and M. A. Valk, “Experience in Intercountry Adoptions” (New York: International Social Service, American Branch, 1953).

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