Natalie Morris: “Ideas of mixedness are binary and centred around whiteness”

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2021-04-19 17:36Z by Steven

Natalie Morris: “Ideas of mixedness are binary and centred around whiteness”

Substack
2021-04-19

Isabella Silvers

Hi, welcome back to Mixed Messages! This week I’m speaking to journalist and author Natalie Morris, who is of Jamaican and white British heritage. I first came across Natalie with Mixed Up, a series on Metro exploring the nuances of mixed identity. Continuing this vital conversation, Natalie has just released her first book, Mixed/Other: Explorations of Multiraciality in Modern Britain. Read on to hear Natalie share her own experiences, plus what she hopes everyone can take from her important work.

The author of Mixed/Other on the duality of holding two truths simultaneously and the isolation of being mixed

How do you define your ethnicity?

My dad’s family is Jamaican and my mum is white British, so I say I say mixed or mixed and Black. I’m trying to move away from ‘mixed-race’ as it implies a kind of essentialism.

The terminology changes and develops, which is good, but it can be tricky to keep up with that. There’s no wrong or right way to describe yourself, but it’s important to be open to those changes. It’s important that people also listen to what mixed people want – so many things are forced on you when you’re mixed, and it can be hard to push back against that…

Read the entire interview here.

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Why celebrating ‘mixed-race beauty’ has its problematic side

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2021-04-19 17:20Z by Steven

Why celebrating ‘mixed-race beauty’ has its problematic side

The Guardian
2021-04-08

Natalie Morris


Kim Kardashian West at a Paris Fashion Week event on 2 March 2020. Photograph: Marc Piasecki/WireImage

The trend personified by the Kardashians is driven by the aesthetics of ambiguity – and proximity to whiteness

I was insecure about how I looked when I was younger. My hair was frizzy and embarrassingly enormous. My bum stuck out too much. My lips were too big. My thighs were too big.

Everything about me – specifically my racialised features as a Black mixed woman – felt “too much”. I remember the distinct feeling of wanting to shrink myself, melt myself down into something neater, smaller, sleeker – which is how I saw my white friends, and the beautiful white people on TV.

Then, in my early 20s, soon after moving to London from my home in Manchester, I began to notice a shift in how beauty was being represented. Suddenly, faces, hair and bodies that looked like mine were plastered on shop windows, grinning down from billboards, smizing (smiling with their eyes) from the pages of magazines. Every other TV ad featured mixed models or an interracial family.

White influencers began plumping their lips, baking their skin, braiding their hair, even undergoing invasive surgical procedures to create curves where none existed. The things about myself I had wanted to disguise or alter in my youth were now in vogue – and I struggled to get my head around that. How did it become “trendy” to look like me? And should I feel pleased about it?…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed/Other: Explorations of Multiraciality in Modern Britain

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Forthcoming Media, Identity Development/Psychology, Monographs, Passing, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2021-04-03 15:38Z by Steven

Mixed/Other: Explorations of Multiraciality in Modern Britain

Trapeze
2021-04-15
240 pages
eBook ISBN-13: 978140919716
Hardcover ISBN-13: 9781409197140
Audiobook ISBN-13: 9781409197225

Natalie Morris

An exploration of what it means to be mixed race in the UK today.

  • How does it feel when your heritage isn’t listed as an option on an identification form?
  • What is it like to grow up as the only person in your family who looks like you?
  • Where do you belong if you are simultaneously seen as being ‘too much’ of one race and ‘not enough’ of another to fit neatly into society’s expectations?

The mixed population is the fastest-growing group in the U.K. today, but the mainstream conversation around mixedness is stilted, repetitive and often problematic. At a time when ethnically ambiguous models fill our Instagram feeds and our high street shop windows, and when children of interracial relationships are lauded as heralding in the dawn of a post-racial utopia, journalist Natalie Morris takes a deep dive into what it really means to be mixed in Britain today.

From blackfishing to the fetishisation of mixed babies; from the complexities of passing and code-switching to navigating the world of work and dating, Natalie explores the ways in which all of these issues uniquely impact those of mixed heritage. Drawing from a wealth of research, interviews and her own personal experiences, in Mixed/Other, Natalie’s aims to dismantle the stereotypes that have plagued mixed people for generations and to amplify the voices of mixed Britons today, shining a light on the struggles and the joys that come with being mixed.

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Racism ‘won’t go away’ even if we’re all mixed-race in the future

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Justice, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2019-06-19 00:56Z by Steven

Racism ‘won’t go away’ even if we’re all mixed-race in the future

METRO.co.uk
2019-06-18

Natalie Morris, Senior lifestyle Reporter

The idea of ‘divide and conquer’ harks back thousands of years.

Whether it is by gender, class, wealth or race, humans love walling themselves into distinct categories then using those categories to create hierarchies.

In the case of race, this hierarchical distinction ended up with slavery, countless programmes of ethnic cleansing and the retention of ‘othering’ based on the colour of skin even to the present day.

But what happens if we take away these racial categories that divide us into subgroups?

If, instead of defining as black, white, Asian or any other singular category, we defined ourselves as a little bit of everything, would it herald the dawn of a more accepting, ‘post-racial’ age?

And would that mean racism would end?…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed Up: ‘I worry about unspoken discrimination. Have you judged me before I’ve even said a word?’

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-06-12 22:48Z by Steven

Mixed Up: ‘I worry about unspoken discrimination. Have you judged me before I’ve even said a word?’

METRO.co.uk
2019-06-12

Natalie Morris, Senior lifestyle reporter

Mixed Up - Lifestyle - Natalie Morris
‘Most of my class called me an “Oreo” and bullied me mercilessly for years’ (Picture: Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

Marie Farmer is a mother and founder of a family nutrition app. She has Jamaican and Scottish heritage, but she doesn’t identify as either black or white. In fact, she hates being asked to choose.

‘There were only a handful of non-white children in my primary school, which did lead to certain issues in the playground,’ Marie tells Metro.co.uk.

‘Whenever we pretended to be the Spice Girls, I always had to be Scary because I was “brown” – even though I was clearly the best Posh.

‘When I was a bit older I remember reading the poem “Half-caste” by John Agard in a class.

‘I clearly didn’t understand the message as I was really pleased I had a name to identify myself with. I told my mum and she explained why it was a racist term, so I quickly switched to saying I was mixed.

‘That was the first time it occurred to me that being mixed could be controversial. I don’t remember anyone before that pointing out that I was different and that it was a bad thing.’…

Read the entire article here.

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New documentary ‘Being Both’ explores mixed-race identity

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Mexico, United Kingdom on 2019-04-29 16:24Z by Steven

New documentary ‘Being Both’ explores mixed-race identity

METRO.co.uk
2019-04-29

Natalie Morris, Senior lifestyle Writer

The UK’s fastest-growing ethnic group is comprised of anyone with parents who have two of more different ethnicities – and the varieties within that group are almost endless.

The realities of being mixed-race are unique and often overlooked in mainstream narratives, but documentary maker Ryan Cooper-Brown wants to change that. His new short documentary film Being Both tackles issues that directly relate to the mixed-race experience, from displacement and family conflict to racism and fetishisation.

But the film is also brimming with hope and shines a light on the many positives that come with having mixed heritage.

The eight-minute film condenses a series of compelling stories from the mixed-race community. It is an intimate and uplifting short that captures the shared challenges, emotions and histories of mixed-race people from the UK, Denmark, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Germany and Japan

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed Up: ‘Being white-passing has definitely entitled me to privileges’

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, United Kingdom on 2019-04-18 00:51Z by Steven

Mixed Up: ‘Being white-passing has definitely entitled me to privileges’

METRO.co.uk
2019-04-17

Natalie Morris, Senior lifestyle Writer

Siobhan Lawless
(Picture by Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

Siobhan Lawless is a writer. She is Jamaican and Irish, with east and south Asian elements thrown in for good measure.

‘My mum is second generation Jamaican and my dad second generation Irish – although my great grandparents on my mum’s side are also part Indian and Chinese,’ Siobhan tells Metro.co.uk.

‘On dad’s side, nana is from Longford and grandpa was from County Galway in Ireland. On mum’s, grandma and grandad are from St Catherine’s and St Elizabeth, parish towns in Jamaica.

‘Both sides of my family came from large households and farming backgrounds. They came to England as immigrants in their teens and early twenties, hoping Britain would open up more opportunities for their children – even though this move came with its own challenges.’…

…For so many mixed-race people, where you fit in the world depends on how other people perceive you. For Siobhan, her lighter skin places her closer to whiteness, but there are complications alongside the privilege….

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed Up: ‘You don’t get to tell me that I’m not really black’

Posted in Africa, Articles, Autobiography, Europe, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-04-17 23:48Z by Steven

Mixed Up: ‘You don’t get to tell me that I’m not really black’

METRO.co.uk
2019-03-27

Natalie Morris, Senior lifestyle Writer


Kristian has never lived in any country for more than five years. (Picture by Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

Kristian Foged has never lived in one country for more than five consecutive years. With influences from Uganda, Denmark and The Seychelles, his cultural experience couldn’t be more varied.

‘“Where are you from?” has always been a complicated question for me,’ Kristian tells Metro.co.uk.

‘My mix is firstly one of ethnicity, with my mom being from The Seychelles and my dad from Denmark. But it is also a mixed heritage and cultural upbringing.

‘While my mom’s side of the family is fully Seychellois, my grandparents emigrated from The Seychelles to Uganda when they were young, which meant my mom was actually born in Uganda and has spent her whole life there.

‘On the other side of the world, my dad was born in Denmark, and became an engineer because he wanted a job he could do anywhere. Eventually, he ended up in Uganda and met my mom.

‘Since my first four or five years in Uganda, I have moved back and forth between Uganda, Denmark and Greenland, before finally moving to study at university in England in 2010.

‘My moving around as a kid has actually meant I have never lived in any country for more than five years in a row. In fact, if I make it past this summer, London will be my new record!’

Being mixed-race is important to Kristian. The transiency of his upbringing made fitting in a constant battle, but it also generated a strong desire to form a solid sense of identity. No matter where in the world he moved, that sense of self could come with him…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed Up: ‘Racism made me feel sub-human. I used to pretend to be anything but black’

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-03-29 02:25Z by Steven

Mixed Up: ‘Racism made me feel sub-human. I used to pretend to be anything but black’

METRO.co.uk
2019-03-20

Natalie Morris, Senior lifestyle Writer


(Picture by Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

Welcome to Mixed Up, a series that aims to elevate the under-heard narratives of mixed-race people

Billie Dee Gianfrancesco is half white and half black Caribbean.

She spent her childhood hating and denying her blackness, until a total breakdown in her mid 20s forced her to reassess her identity.

‘My mother was born in Hackney in London, my grandmother was a part of the Windrush generation and came to London from Dominica to be an NHS nurse,’ Billie tells Metro.co.uk.

‘We aren’t sure who my grandfather is or where he came from, but DNA tests show that he was black and that he probably came from somewhere in the Caribbean.

‘My father is white Australian, and I was born in Sydney. My parents divorced when I was five and I moved to Norfolk in the UK in 1998 when I was eight, with my mother, Italian-Australian step-dad, and younger sister.

‘I spent my entire life, up until the last few years, really struggling with my identity.’…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed Up: ‘I have been accepted by black people and distanced by white people’

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-03-29 02:09Z by Steven

Mixed Up: ‘I have been accepted by black people and distanced by white people’

METRO.co.uk
2019-03-13

Natalie Morris, Senior lifestyle Writer


(Picture by Jerry Syder for Metro.co.uk)

Elliott Reid is an osteopath with English and Jamaican heritage. He doesn’t believe in the concept of race – he sees it as nothing more than a social construct.

‘Specifically, I descend from the Maroons, the freedom fighters of Jamaica who resided in the eastern mountains of the island,’ explains Elliott.

‘My family names are chiselled into the Emancipation War Monument in Sam Sharpe Square in Montego bay; a monument to all those who fought in the greatest fight for freedom in the British Caribbean, as 60,000 Africans fought the English on Christmas Day, 1831

Read the entire article here.

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