Interraciality in Early Twentieth Century Britain: Challenging Traditional Conceptualisations through Accounts of ‘Ordinariness’

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Family/Parenting, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2019-06-03 16:41Z by Steven

Interraciality in Early Twentieth Century Britain: Challenging Traditional Conceptualisations through Accounts of ‘Ordinariness’

Volume 3, Number 2
24 pages
DOI: 10.3390/genealogy3020021

Chamion Caballero, Visiting Senior Fellow
London School of Economics

Unknown Anglo-Chinese family, Liverpool, c.1930s. Image courtesy of Yvonne Foley. Foley has campaigned for greater recognition of the brutal repatriation of Chinese seaman by the British government in 1945–1946, many of whom were consequently forced to leave their white wives and children behind. See

The popular conception of interraciality in Britain is one that frequently casts mixed racial relationships, people and families as being a modern phenomenon. Yet, as scholars are increasingly discussing, interraciality in Britain has much deeper and diverse roots, with racial mixing and mixedness now a substantively documented presence at least as far back as the Tudor era. While much of this history has been told through the perspectives of outsiders and frequently in the negative terms of the assumed ‘orthodoxy of the interracial experience’—marginality, conflict, rejection and confusion—first-hand accounts challenging these perceptions allow a contrasting picture to emerge. This article contributes to the foregrounding of this more complex history through focusing on accounts of interracial ‘ordinariness’—both presence and experiences—throughout the early decades of the twentieth century, a time when official concern about racial mixing featured prominently in public debate. In doing so, a more multidimensional picture of interracial family life than has frequently been assumed is depicted, one which challenges mainstream attitudes about conceptualisations of racial mixing both then and now.

Read the entire article in HTML or PDF format.

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Mixed Race Britain in The Twentieth Century

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2018-05-25 02:20Z by Steven

Mixed Race Britain in The Twentieth Century

Palgrave Macmilan
552 pages
26 b/w illustrations
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-137-33927-0
eBook ISBN: 978-1-137-33928-7
DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-33928-7

Chamion Caballero, Visiting Senior Fellow
London School of Economics

Peter J. Aspinall, Emeritus Reader
University of Kent, United Kingdom

  • Presents a comprehensive history of racial mixing in Britain during the twentieth century
  • Contrasts ‘ordinary’ voices sourced from archival material from across the twentieth century with official media and government accounts of racial mixing in Britain
  • Formed the foundations of the popular BBC Two television series Mixed Brittannia that explored the history of Britain’s mixed-race community

This book explores the overlooked history of racial mixing in Britain during the course of the twentieth century, a period in which there was considerable and influential public debate on the meanings and implications of intimately crossing racial boundaries.

Based on research that formed the foundations of the British television series Mixed Britannia, the authors draw on a range of firsthand accounts and archival material to compare ‘official’ accounts of racial mixing and mixedness with those told by mixed race people, couples and families themselves.

Mixed Race Britain in The Twentieth Century shows that alongside the more familiarly recognised experiences of social bigotry and racial prejudice there can also be glimpsed constant threads of tolerance, acceptance, inclusion and ‘ordinariness’. It presents a more complex and multifaceted history of mixed race Britain than is typically assumed, one that adds to the growing picture of the longstanding diversity and difference that is, and always has been, an ordinary and everyday feature of British life.

Table of contents

  • Introduction; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • ‘Disharmony of Physical, Mental and Temperamental Qualities’: Race Crossing, Miscegenation and the Eugenics Movement; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • Mixed Race Communities and Social Stability; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • ‘Unnatural Alliances’ and ‘Poor Half-Castes’: Representations of Racial Mixing and Mixedness and the Entrenching of Stereotypes; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • Fitting In and Standing Out: Lived Experiences of Everyday Interraciality; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • ‘Tan Yanks’, ‘Loose Women’ and ‘Brown Babies’: Official Accounts of Mixing and Mixedness During the Second World War; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • ‘Undesirable Element’: The Repatriation of Chinese Sailors and Break Up of Mixed Families in the 1940s; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • Conviviality, Hostility and Ordinariness: Everyday Lives and Emotions in the Second World War and Early Post-war Years; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • Redefining Race: UNESCO, the Biology of Race Crossing, and the Wane of the Eugenics Movement; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • The Era of Mass Immigration and Widespread Population Mixing; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • ‘Would You Let Your Daughter Marry a Black Man?’: Representation and Lived Experiences in the Post-war Period; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • The Emergence of the ‘New Wave’: Insider-Led Studies and Multifaceted Perceptions; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • Social Acceptance, Official Recognition, and Membership of the British Collectivity; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
  • A Postscript to the Twentieth Century: Mainstream and Celebrated Limitations, and Counter-narratives; Caballero, Chamion (et al.)
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An Exploration of Racial Considerations in Partnered Fathers’ Involvement in Bringing Up Their Mixed-/Multi-Race Children in Britain and New Zealand

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Oceania, Social Science, Social Work, United Kingdom on 2016-02-17 21:04Z by Steven

An Exploration of Racial Considerations in Partnered Fathers’ Involvement in Bringing Up Their Mixed-/Multi-Race Children in Britain and New Zealand

Fathering: A Journal of Theory, Research, and Practice about Men as Fathers
Volume 13, Number 2 (2015)
26 pages

Rosalind Edwards, Professor of Sociology
University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom

Chamion Caballero, Visiting Senior Fellow
Department for Social Policy
London School of Economics

This article considers how partnered fathers’ involvement may be shaped by their understandings of the salience and impact of their children’s racial belonging where fathers do not share the same race as their (biological) children. We draw on findings from a small-scale study of fathers with a partner from a different racial background living in Britain and New Zealand, to consider their involvement with their mixed or multi-racial children. Bringing up mixed/multi-race children can involve white fathers in thinking about issues that they would not necessarily otherwise have to consider. It could, for example, mean that they supported their children’s access to minority cultural knowledge and challenge racism. Equally, bringing up mixed/multi-race children can involve fathers from racial minorities in thinking about racial considerations in different ways. Notably they may transmit racial pride and cultural history to help their children deal with prejudice from the father’s own minority ethnic group as well as racism from Whites.

Read the entire document (in Microsoft Word format) here.

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Mixed Race in Australia and the region

Posted in Identity Development/Psychology, Live Events, Media Archive, Oceania, Social Science on 2015-05-15 20:09Z by Steven

Mixed Race in Australia and the region

University of Western Australia (UWA)
2015-06-08 through 2015-06-10

Conveners: Farida Fozdar

People of ‘mixed race’ are often seen as marginal individuals managing cultural and psychological tensions, or alternatively valorised as the vanguard of an integrated, post-racial, cosmopolitan world (Edwards et al. 2012). Such dichotomies ignore the complex lived reality of being mixed – ranging from ‘passing’, to constructing multiracial identities, to embracing a cultural identity not necessarily reflected in one’s appearance (see Perkins, 2007; Paradies, 2006; Song and Aspinall, 2012; Jones, 2011). Mixed identities are not singular and fixed, but multiple and fluid (Nandi & Platt 2012; Tilbury, 2007; Paradies, 2006), often characterised by ‘ordinariness’ (Caballero, 2012). The lived experience of being ‘mixed’ is strongly influenced by political and social context (Luke and Luke, 1999). While a growing body of research exists on ‘mixed race’, more productive approaches are needed to investigate the cultural production of ‘mixedness’.

Perhaps surprisingly, Australia and the region lag behind the rest of the world in research on ‘mixed race’. There has been little public debate about the place of ‘mixed race’ in Australia and New Zealand (see Fozdar and Perkins, 2014). The subject does rate a hearing in Australia, however, in regard to people of mixed Aboriginal descent (Andrew Bolt style) (see Paradies, 2006). The social and political contexts of mixed race in Australia, New Zealand and the region offer complex histories of colonisation and migration, making this region an important counterpoint to the large bodies of research undertaken in the UK and US.

We invite papers on mixed race in Australia and surrounding countries, with a particular focus on mixed race across the life course (Csizmadia, 2012), the health and development of young people and families; cross-country comparison, and transgenerational effects. We are keen to include papers on mixed race of all types.

Invited speakers include:

  • Prof Rosalind Edwards (Southampton)
  • Dr Chamion Caballero (LSE)
  • Prof Yin Paradies (Deakin)
  • Prof David Trigger (UQ)
  • Dr Kirsten McGavin (UQ)

View the program guide here.

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Mixed race in the UK: am I the future face of this country?

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2014-11-09 18:34Z by Steven

Mixed race in the UK: am I the future face of this country?

The Telegraph
London, United Kingdom

Laura Smith

With ‘mixed race’ now the fastest-growing ethnic minority in the country, prejudice should be a thing of the past – but as one writer reveals, we’ve still got a long way to go

Where I grew up, a mixed-race family was something of an anomaly. Families, according to our neighbours – and the pictures on cereal boxes, board games and holiday brochures – meant a white mother and a white father and two children, preferably a boy and a girl, ideally blonde. The father went to work in a suit; the mother stayed home and sang along to Radio 1 while doing the housework.

My family wasn’t like that. My mother was from Guyana and wore her hair in a short Afro. She liked jumpsuits and jewellery and, shockingly, worked full-time. My father was from Scotland and wore embarrassing checked jackets from the 1960s (he was in his forties when my brother and I were born). Neither had heard of Radio 1.

My childhood memories of growing up in a mainly white, expensively heeled north London suburb include the following…

…Reaction to this social change has been contradictory, and peppered with hyperbole. On the one hand, the rise of “beige Britain” is eulogised as evidence of an open, tolerant country that’s moved beyond outdated notions of race and racism. It has become fashionable to shrug and say, “Well, we’ll all be brown soon.” On the other, it is not unusual to see alarmist articles about white people becoming the minority (two recent stories predicting that so-called “indigenous white children” would be “outnumbered” in state schools by 2037 were illustrated with images of mixed children), while in the black press there are reports about the disappearance of the Caribbean presence as increasing numbers “marry out”…

…Negative ideas around racial mixing have a long history. In Britain, concern about interracial unions reached a peak in the first half of the 20th century, when mixed neighbourhoods such as Toxteth and Tiger Bay were portrayed as immoral and dangerous, mixed children as tragic outcasts. Marie Stopes, then a prominent eugenicist, called for all “half-castes” to be “sterilised at birth”. Caballero says this notion of mixed people as divided and confused – the “marginal man” of early social science – remains. “When I started in this area I got sick of reading about how we were all psychologically traumatised and about all these broken relationships when my own parents have been together for 30 years,” she says…

Read the entire article here.

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An interview with Dr Chamion Caballero

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2014-10-31 19:07Z by Steven

An interview with Dr Chamion Caballero

University of Cambridge
Festival of Ideas

Dr Chamion Caballero, a senior research fellow at London Southbank University, is speaking at the “Mixed race: the future of identity politics in Britain” debate on 25th October. Her research formed the basis of the BBC’s recent Mixed Britannia series, fronted by George Alagaiah. With Dr Peter Aspinall of Kent University, she collected histories, photographs, images and film to highlight the voices and first-hand experiences of mixed race people. The photo is from LBSU’s coverage of the Mixed Britannia series.

Q What was the feedback from Mixed Britannia?

A The feedback from the Mixed Britannia series has been phenomenal. The BBC tells us that it received the second highest audience satisfaction score for a current affairs series and even now we continue to receive emails from viewers all around the world who inform us just how fascinating, enlightening and moving they found the programmes.

Q How did you become involved?

A In 2007, Dr Peter Aspinall (University of Kent) and I were awarded funding by the British Academy to explore the mostly overlooked experiences of mixed race people, couples and families in early twentieth century Britain, a period which we had come to understand had seen considerable public debate on racial mixing and mixedness. This project – The Era of Moral Condemnation: Mixed Race People in Britain, 1920-50 – unearthed a range of material and the strength of the findings was such that they inspired and formed the foundations of the Mixed Britannia series on which we acted as academic consultants.

Q Has it affected your ongoing research?

A Yes, absolutely. While the broadcast medium was a very successful dissemination route, it was nevertheless a temporary and partial one: the series is no longer available to view on iPlayer and, moreover, only provides an overview of the history rather than the more detailed account that we are able to provide through, for example, academic publications which are themselves accessed by a limited readership. With this in mind – alongside the awareness of what Dr Caroline Bressey calls the ‘absence of colour in British Archives’ – we recognised the need to identify new and creative ways to provide access to archival material on the lived experiences of groups whose histories remain somewhat hidden from public understandings. In 2012, we collaborated with the third sector organisation Mix-d and were fortunate to receive a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to create the ‘Mix-d Museum’, an interactive online repository of the material we had collected on racial and ethnic mixing in 20th century Britain. We are also in the process of finalising our book based on the research behind the programme to be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2015 as Racial Mixing and Mixedness in Britain: Social Constructions and Lived Experience in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Read the entire interview here.

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Mix-d: Museum: Timeline

Posted in Articles, History, New Media, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2012-06-30 21:55Z by Steven

Mix-d: Museum: Timeline

Mix-d: Museum

This work-in-progress Timeline draws on material from a British Academy project conducted by Dr. Chamion Caballero (Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research, London South Bank University) and Dr. Peter Aspinall (University of Kent) which explored the presence of mixed race people, couples and families in the early 20th century, particularly in the period 1920-1950, a time when racial mixing and mixedness tended to be viewed very negatively by British authorities.

The project sourced a range of archival material from national and local archives. It included official documents, autobiographical recordings and photo and film material to understand how social perceptions of racial mixing and mixedness emerged and the effect they had on the lives of mixed race people, couples and families themselves, as well as their place in shaping contemporary ideas and experiences.

The project’s findings indicated that while mixed race people, couples and families certainly experienced prejudice and hostility in this ‘era of moral condemnation’, they were not inherently ‘tragic’, ‘marginal’ or ‘doomed’, but simply another part of the longstanding diversity and difference that is a feature of British life.

The findings from the research formed the foundation of the three part BBC2 series ‘Mixed Britannia’ presented by George Alagiah and was also the subject of an article in The Guardian.

View the Timeline here.

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Mix-d: Museum

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2012-03-14 15:41Z by Steven

Mix-d: Museum


Chamion Caballero, Senior Research Fellow
London South Bank University

Peter Aspinall, Reader in Population Health at the Centre for Health Services Studies
University of Kent, UK

The overall aim of the project is to explore the potential of translating knowledge through technology. Working together with Mix-d, the team will draw on findings from the British Academy project to develop the ‘Mix-d Museum’, an online repository of material and interactive resources.

Hello and a big welcome to our blog! We are delighted to be working with Mix-d: to share the findings of our research on mixed race people, couples and families in early 20th century Britain through the creation of the Mix-d: Timeline. The Timeline will provide highlight many key events in the history of racial mixing and mixedness in twentieth century Britain, as well provide an insight into the everyday lives and experiences of mixed race people, couples and families during this time.

For this first blog entry, we thought we’d say a bit about why we started the research project that the Timeline will draw on and what we found along the way.

As researchers interested in mixed race people, couples and families, we were aware that the little history that had been told about this group—particularly around the interwar period—had assumed that theirs was an inherently negative or problematic experience. We were also aware that such perceptions continued to influence how mixed people, couples and families were seen in Britain today…

…We had hoped to find some records and personal accounts relating to these families and people, but what we found far exceeded our expectations. The project sourced a fantastic range of archival material, including official documents, autobiographical recordings and photo and film material, which has helped us to understand more about the experiences of these families and the effect that official attitudes to racial mixing and mixedness had on their lives…

Read the entire blog post here.

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International Perspectives on Racial and Ethnic Mixedness and Mixing

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Canada, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, Social Work, United Kingdom, United States on 2011-12-15 04:33Z by Steven

International Perspectives on Racial and Ethnic Mixedness and Mixing

224 pages
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-415-59804-0

Edited by

Suki Ali, Senior Lecturer of Sociology
London School of Economics and Political Science

Chamion Cabellero, Senior Research Fellow
Social Capital Research Group
London South Bank University

Rosalind Edwards, Professor of Sociology
University of Southampton

Miri Song, Professor of Sociology
University of Kent

People from a ‘mixed’ racial and ethnic background, and people partnering and parenting across different racial and ethnic backgrounds, are increasingly visible internationally and often construed in diametrically opposed ways. On the one hand, images of racial and ethnic diversity are posed in opposition to unity and solidarity, creating a crisis of cohesive social trust. On the other hand, there are assertions that the portrayals of segregation and conflict ignore the reality of ongoing interactions between a mix of minority and majority racial, ethnic and religious cultures, where multiculture is an ordinary, unremarkable, feature of everyday social life.

This interdisciplinary volume brings internationally well-respected researchers together to explore the different contexts and concepts underpinning discussions about mixedness and mixing. Moving beyond pathologically focused research about confused identities and a dualistic black-white conception of mixedness, the book includes chapters on:

  • Multiraciality and race classification
  • Mixed race couples
  • Mixedness in everyday life
  • Mixed race politics

International Perspectives on Racial and Ethnic Mixedness and Mixing develops theoretical perspectives and presents intellectually shaped empirical evidence that can deal with complexity and normalcy in order to move the debate onto more fruitful grounds. It is an important book for students and scholars of race and ethnicity.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction / Suki Ali, Chamion Caballero, Rosalind Edwards and Miri Song
  2. Multiraciality and census classification in global perspective / Ann Morning
  3. Mixed race across time and place: an international perspective / Ilan Katz
  4. Scaling diversity: mixed-race couples, segregation and urban America / Steven Holloway
  5. The geography of mixedness in England and Wales / Charlie Owen
  6. From ‘Draughtboard Alley’ to ‘Brown Britain’: the ordinariness of mixedness in British life / Chamion Caballero
  7. How mixedness is understood and experienced in everyday life / Peter Aspinall and Miri Song
  8. Finding value on a council estate in Nottingham: voices of white working class women / Lisa McKenzie
  9. How to find mixed people in quantitative datasets / Anne Unterreiner
  10. When ethnicity became an important family issue in Slovenia / Mateja Sedmak
  11. Same difference? Developing a critical methodological stance in critical mixed race studies / Minelle Mahtani
  12. Mixed race politics / Suki Ali
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‘Mixed Britannia’ – research by LSBU’s Dr Caballero informs BBC series

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2011-10-06 22:19Z by Steven

‘Mixed Britannia’ – research by LSBU’s Dr Caballero informs BBC series

London South Bank University

Research conducted by Dr Chamion Caballero, Senior Research Fellow in London South Bank University’s Families and Social Capital Research Group, has formed the foundations of a BBC2 series starting on Thursday 6 October.

Dr Caballero was an academic consultant for the three-part series ‘Mixed Britannia‘, which is presented by George Alagiah. This is part of a season of BBC programmes which explores what it means to be part of Britain’s mixed-race community.

Dr Caballero is interviewed for the final programme in the series which will air on Thursday 20 October…

…Dr Chamion Caballero says: “Despite there being a long presence of mixed race people and couples in Britain, there is still a tendency to herald their presence as part of a new multicultural phenomenon which has been dubbed the rise of ‘Beige or Brown Britain’. Yet such groups have a long history in Britain…

Read the entire article (and view a family portrait circa, 1916) here.  Find out more about the research here.

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