Making Mixed Race: A Study of Time, Place and Identity

Posted in Books, Family/Parenting, Forthcoming Media, Monographs, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2021-10-11 23:37Z by Steven

Making Mixed Race: A Study of Time, Place and Identity

Routledge
2021-11-24
208 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9780367462918

Karis Campion, Legacy in Action Research Fellow
Stephen Lawrence Research Centre
De Montfort University, Leicester, United Kingdom

By examining Black mixed-race identities in the city through a series of historical vantage points, Making Mixed Race provides in-depth insights into the geographical and historical contexts that shape the possibilities and constraints for identifications.

Whilst popular representations of mixed-race often conceptualise it as a contemporary phenomenon and are couched in discourses of futurity, this book dislodges it from the current moment, to explore its emergence as a racialised category, and personal identity, over time. In addition to tracing the temporality of mixed-race, the contributions show the utility of place as an analytical tool for mixed-race studies. The conceptual framework for the book – place, time, and personal identity – offers a timely intervention to the scholarship that encourages us to look outside of individual subjectivities and critically examine the structural contexts that shape Black mixed-race lives.

The book centres around the life histories of 37 people of Mixed White and Black Caribbean heritage born between 1959 and 1994, in Britain’s second-largest city, Birmingham. The intimate life portraits of mixed identity, reveal how colourism, family, school, gender, whiteness, racism, and resistance, have been experienced against the backdrop of post-war immigration, Thatcherism, the ascendency of Black diasporic youth cultures, and contemporary post-race discourses. It will be of interest to researchers, postgraduate and undergraduate students who work on (mixed) race and ethnicity studies in academic areas including geographies of race, youth identities/cultures, gender, colonial legacies, intersectionality, racism and colourism.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Introducing Birmingham
  3. The making of mixed-race in place
  4. From bun down Babylon to melting pot Britain: the manifestations of mixed-race over time
  5. Mixed-race privilege and precarious positionalities: the personal politics of identity
  6. The making of mixed-race families: past, present and future
  7. Conclusion
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Sidesplitter: How to be from Two Worlds at Once

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Biography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom on 2021-10-11 18:21Z by Steven

Sidesplitter: How to be from Two Worlds at Once

Hodder & Stoughton
2021-09-16
304 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9781529350272
eBook ISBN-13: 9781529350296
Audiobook ISBN-13: 9781529350302

Phil Wang

One of the UK’s brightest and best comedians takes an incisive look at race and belonging.

‘But where are you really from?’

Phil Wang has been asked this question so many times he’s finally written a book about it.

In this mix of comic memoir and observational essay, one of the UK’s most exciting stand-up comedians reflects on his experiences as a Eurasian man in the West and in the East. Phil was born in Stoke-on-Trent, raised in Malaysia, and then came of age in Bath – ‘a spa town for people who find Cheltenham too ethnic’.

Phil takes an incisive look at what it means to be mixed race, as he explores the contrasts between cultures and delves into Britain and Malaysia’s shared histories, bringing his trademark cynicism and wit to topics ranging from family, food, and comedy to race, empire, and colonialism.

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The children born to Black American GIs and white British women during Second World War

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2021-10-10 21:46Z by Steven

The children born to Black American GIs and white British women during Second World War

The Bristol Post
Bristol, England, United Kingdom
2021-10-08

Hannah Simpson

Interracial couples dancing in England during WWII (Image: www.mixedmuseum.org.uk/brown-babies ‘Courtesy of Gregory S. Cooke Collection’)

The children, who came to be known by the British press as the nation’s “Brown Babies”, grew up in post-war Britain

During World War II, around one million American troops arrived in England to prepare for the invasion of Europe and to assist Great Britain in the fight against Nazi Germany.

Of these GIs, 130,000 were African American who landed in cities such as Bristol between 1942 and 1945.

For many Brits, this was their first time meeting a person of colour, but in Bristol, the public were incredibly welcoming to their American visitors, with some pubs such as The Colston Arms refusing to adhere to US segregation practices.

America’s stringent Jim Crow laws were not limited to the United States alone, as the army was officially segregated until 1948…

…Professor of social and cultural history at Anglia Ruskin University, Lucy Bland said: “From all accounts a lot of local people much preferred the Black GIs…

Read the entire article here.

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De Waal’s ‘extraordinary’ memoir goes to Tinder Press

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2021-10-01 18:52Z by Steven

De Waal’s ‘extraordinary’ memoir goes to Tinder Press

The Bookseller: At the Heart of Publishing since 1858
2021-09-28

Heloise Wood, Deputy News Editor

Tinder Press has landed Kit de Waal’s memoir about growing up in Birmingham in the Sixties and Seventies, Without Warning and Only Sometimes, which she described as “the story I always wanted to tell”.

Publisher Mary-Anne Harrington acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Jo Unwin at JULA. Without Warning and Only Sometimes will be published on 18th August 2022.

The memoir charts de Waal’s unpredictable childhood, growing up mixed race in Moseley, Birmingham.

Harrington said: “I have been desperate to work with Kit for years and knew she had the most wonderful story to tell, so it’s both an enormous thrill and an honour to be working with her on Without Warning and Only Sometimes. Kit takes us into the mind and heart of a girl raised to believe the world was going to end in 1975, who was never allowed to celebrate Christmas, and whose father squirreled away every penny he had to build a house in St Kitts that his wife and children were never to see.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Bernardine Evaristo on a childhood shaped by racism: ‘I was never going to give up’

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2021-09-28 01:40Z by Steven

Bernardine Evaristo on a childhood shaped by racism: ‘I was never going to give up’

The Guardian
2021-09-25

Bernardine Evaristo


Bernardine Evaristo: ‘I liked the same music as my little white pals, ate the same food, had the same feelings – human ones.’ Photograph: Suki Dhanda/The Observer

My creativity can be traced back to my heritage, to the skin colour that defined how I was perceived. But, like my ancestors, I wouldn’t accept defeat

When I won the Booker prize in 2019 for my novel Girl, Woman, Other, I became an “overnight success”, after 40 years working professionally in the arts. My career hadn’t been without its achievements and recognition, but I wasn’t widely known. The novel received the kind of attention I had long desired for my work. In countless interviews, I found myself discussing my route to reaching this high point after so long. I reflected that my creativity could be traced back to my early years, cultural background and the influences that have shaped my life. Not least, my heritage and childhood

Through my father, a Nigerian immigrant who had sailed into the Motherland on the “Good Ship Empire” in 1949, I inherited a skin colour that defined how I was perceived in the country into which I was born, that is, as a foreigner, outsider, alien. I was born in 1959 in Eltham and raised in Woolwich, both in south London. Back then, it was still legal to discriminate against people based on the colour of their skin, and it would be many years before the Race Relations Acts (1965 and 1968) enshrined the full scope of anti-racist doctrine into British law.

My English mother met my father at a Commonwealth dance in central London in 1954. She was studying to be a teacher at a Catholic teacher-training college run by nuns in Kensington; he was training to be a welder. They married and had eight children in 10 years. Growing up, I was labelled “half-caste”, the term for biracial people at that time…

Read the entire article here.

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Lewis Hamilton: ‘Everything I’d suppressed came up – I had to speak out’

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Social Justice, United Kingdom on 2021-07-15 15:50Z by Steven

Lewis Hamilton: ‘Everything I’d suppressed came up – I had to speak out’

The Guardian
2021-07-10

Gary Younge, Professor of Sociology
University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom


Lewis Hamilton: ‘I don’t just want to be remembered as a driver.’ Styling: Law Roach. Photograph: Ike Edeani/The Guardian

He’s the most successful driver Formula One has ever seen, and its only Black star. Now Lewis Hamilton has a new mission: to change the sport that made him.

As Lewis Hamilton rose through the ranks of competitive go-karting, his father, Anthony, told him: “Always do your talking on the track.” Lewis had a lot to talk about. Bullying and racial taunts were a consistent feature of his childhood in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, a new town 30 miles north of London; his dad taught him the best response was to excel at his sport.

The trouble was he didn’t have many people to talk to about what he was going through. Lewis is mixed-race, born to a white mother, Carmen Larbalestier, who raised him until he was 12, when he went to live with his Grenadian-British father, from whom she had separated. “My mum was wonderful,” he tells me. “She was so loving. But she didn’t fully understand the impact of the things I was experiencing at school. The bullying and being picked on. And my dad was quite tough, so I didn’t tell him too much about those experiences. As a kid I remember just staying quiet about it because I didn’t feel anyone really understood. I just kept it to myself.” Sport offered him an outlet. “I did boxing because I needed to channel the pain,” he says. “I did karate because I was being beaten up and I wanted to be able to defend myself.”

I understand where he’s coming from; I too grew up in Stevenage. Hamilton’s mother and I went to the same school – though not at the same time. As close to London as it was, it might as well have been in a different universe. In London the Black experience appeared authentic; in Stevenage it felt synthetic. Race in London was something you read about in the papers; race in Stevenage was something you didn’t even acknowledge. I was 22 before I found my first Black male friend…

Read the entire article here.

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‘The Other Windrush’: the hidden history of Afro-Chinese families in 1950s London

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2021-07-09 02:19Z by Steven

‘The Other Windrush’: the hidden history of Afro-Chinese families in 1950s London

gal-dem
2021-06-30

Tao Leigh Goffe, Assistant Professor of Literary Theory and Cultural History
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York


image credit: Tao Leigh Goffe/Canva

In this extract from ‘The Other Windrush‘, writer Tao Leigh Goffe explores the history of relative Hyacinth Lee, who migrated to the UK from Jamaica.

Family history is colonial history. How, then, to understand the vernacular photographic record and what is missing about the Windrush era, itself already an omission from British history? Since the inception of the technology of photography in the 1840s, the family photo album as an heirloom to be passed down, vertically, has formed the flesh of blood relation. The family album is also a literary surface inscribed with multiple meanings about race, gender, sexuality, class and who does not belong in the family tree. The visuality of collected images forms the fleshy proof of a seemingly biological argument for bourgeois belonging and familial intimacy. Blood is proof of kinship; the family portrait is flesh, and often colonial belonging.

Because family history is inevitably colonial history, I am invested in what and who is left out of the family album and outside of colonial history. Of particular (and selfish) interest to me is the impossibility of subjects of African and Chinese heritage. Photographs of Afro-Chinese families pose a challenge to the British colonial Trinidad experiment that wished to introduce Chinese labour to the Caribbean plantation to replace Africans in the early nineteenth century.

The ‘experiment’ documented in a secret Parliamentary Papers memorandum predicted the races would not mix. African and Asian people did, of course, ‘mix’; and many subsequent channels of migration were formed from Africa meeting Asia (both China and India) in the Caribbean. Where do we see these descendants present in the routes of the Windrush generation?…

Read the entire article here.

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Social Representations of Art in Public Places: A Study of Everyday Explanations of the Statue of ‘A Real Birmingham Family’

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Arts, Family/Parenting, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2021-06-29 22:20Z by Steven

Social Representations of Art in Public Places: A Study of Everyday Explanations of the Statue of ‘A Real Birmingham Family’

Genealogy
Volume 5, Issue 3
pages 59-74
First Published 2021-06-22
DOI: 10.3390/genealogy5030059

Peter J. Aspinall, Emeritus Reader
Centre for Health Services Studies
University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom


Figure 1. ‘A Real Birmingham Family’, 2014. Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/
commons/2/27/Real_Birmingham_Family_statue_-_Library_of_Birmingham_(15119604114).jpg, accessed on 1 May 2021.

This article focuses on the social/cultural representations of the statue of A Real Birmingham Family cast in bronze and unveiled in Britain’s second city in October 2014. It reveals a family comprising two local mixed-race sisters, both single mothers, and their sons, unanimously chosen from 372 families. Three of the four families shortlisted for the statue were ‘mixed-race’ families. The artwork came about through a partnership between the sculptress, Gillian Wearing, and the city’s Ikon Gallery. A number of different lay representations of the artwork have been identified, notably, that it is a ‘normal family with no fathers’ and that it is not a ‘typical family’. These are at variance with a representation based on an interpretation of the artwork and materials associated with its creation: that a nuclear family is one reality amongst many and that what constitutes a family should not be fixed. This representation destabilizes our notion of the family and redefines it as empirical, experiential, and first-hand, families being brought into recognition by those in the wider society who choose to nominate themselves as such. The work of Ian Hacking, Richard Jenkins, and others is drawn upon to contest the concept of ‘normality’. Further, statistical data are presented that show that there is now a plurality of family types with no one type dominating or meriting the title of ‘normal’. Finally, Wearing’s statues of families in Trentino and Copenhagen comprise an evolving body of cross-national public art that provides further context and meaning for this representation.

Read the entire article in HTML or PDF format.

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Raceless: In Search of Family, Identity, and the Truth About Where I Belong

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Monographs, United Kingdom, United States on 2021-03-06 22:31Z by Steven

Raceless: In Search of Family, Identity, and the Truth About Where I Belong

Harper Perennial (an imprint of Harper Collins)
2021-02-23
304 pages
5x8in
Trade Paperback ISBN: 9780063009486
E-book ISBN: 9780063009493
Audiobook ISBN: 9780063009509

Georgina Lawton

Raised in sleepy English suburbia, Georgina Lawton was no stranger to homogeneity. Her parents were white; her friends were white; there was no reason for her to think she was any different. But over time her brown skin and dark, kinky hair frequently made her a target of prejudice. In Georgina’s insistently color-blind household, with no acknowledgement of her difference or access to black culture, she lacked the coordinates to make sense of who she was.

It was only after her father’s death that Georgina began to unravel the truth about her parentage—and the racial identity that she had been denied. She fled from England and the turmoil of her home-life to live in black communities around the globe—the US, the UK, Nicaragua, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, and Morocco—and to explore her identity and what it meant to live in and navigate the world as a black woman. She spoke with psychologists, sociologists, experts in genetic testing, and other individuals whose experiences of racial identity have been fraught or questioned in the hopes of understanding how, exactly, we identify ourselves.

Raceless is an exploration of a fundamental question: what constitutes our sense of self? Drawing on her personal experiences and the stories of others, Lawton grapples with difficult questions about love, shame, grief, and prejudice, and reveals the nuanced and emotional journey of forming one’s identity.

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In Black and White: A Young Barrister’s Story of Race and Class in a Broken Justice System

Posted in Books, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Justice, United Kingdom on 2020-10-31 23:06Z by Steven

In Black and White: A Young Barrister’s Story of Race and Class in a Broken Justice System

Endeavour (an imprint of Octopus Publishing Group)
2020-08-13
272 pages
5.67 x 1.18 x 8.58 inches
Paperback ISBN-13: 9781913068301
Hardback ISBN-13 9781913068288

Alexandra Wilson

Alexandra Wilson was a teenager when her dear family friend Ayo was stabbed on his way home from football. Ayo’s death changed Alexandra. She felt compelled to enter the legal profession in search of answers.

As a junior criminal and family law barrister, Alexandra finds herself navigating a world and a set of rules designed by a privileged few. A world in which fellow barristers sigh with relief when a racist judge retires: ‘I’ve got a black kid today and he would have had no hope’.

In her debut book, In Black and White, Alexandra re-creates the tense courtroom scenes, the heart-breaking meetings with teenage clients, and the moments of frustration and triumph that make up a young barrister’s life.

Alexandra shows us how it feels to defend someone who hates the colour of your skin, or someone you suspect is guilty. We see what it is like for children coerced into county line drug deals and the damage that can be caused when we criminalise teenagers.

Alexandra’s account of what she has witnessed as a young mixed-race barrister is in equal parts shocking, compelling, confounding and powerful.

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