Thinking in Colour: A BBC Radio Collection of Documentaries on Race, Society and Black History

Posted in Audio, Barack Obama, Biography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, Social Justice, United Kingdom, United States on 2021-12-16 17:53Z by Steven

Thinking in Colour: A BBC Radio Collection of Documentaries on Race, Society and Black History

BBC Digital Audio
ISBN: 9781529143560

Gary Younge, Professor of Sociology
University of Manchester

Gary Younge Gary Younge (Read by) Robin Miles (Read by) Amaka Okafor (Read by) Full Cast (Read by) Ricky Fearon (Read by)

Gary Younge explores race, society and Black history in these five fascinating documentaries

Author, broadcaster and sociology professor Gary Younge has won several awards for his books and journalism covering topics such as the civil rights movement, inequality and immigration. In this documentary collection, the former Guardian US correspondent turns his attention to current American political and social issues, including populist conservatism, and African-American identity.

In Thinking in Colour, he examines racial ‘passing’: light-skinned African-Americans who decided to live their lives as white people. Looking at the topic through the prism of Nella Larsen’s 1929 novella Passing, Gary hears three astonishing personal stories, and probes the distinction between race and colour.

Recorded shortly after the historic 2008 election, The Documentary: Opposing Obama follows Gary as he travels through Arkansas and Kentucky, talking to people who see Barack Obama’s presidency as nothing but bad news, and hearing their hopes and fears for the future.

In The Wales Window of Alabama, Gary recounts how the people of Wales helped rebuild an Alabama church, where bombers killed four girls in 1963. Hearing of the atrocity, sculptor John Petts rallied his local community to raise money, and subsequently created a new stained glass window that has become a focus for worship and a symbol of hope.

In Ebony: Black on White on Black, we hear the history of Ebony, the magazine that has charted and redefined African-American life since its launch in 1945. But what is its place in the world today, and does it still speak to contemporary African-Americans?

And in Analysis: Tea Party Politics, Gary assesses the Tea Party movement, a US right-wing protest group that objects to big government and high taxes. He finds out what sparked this grass-roots insurgency, who its supporters are, and analyses its impact.

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“Who Inherits?”: A Conversation Between Tao Leigh Goffe and Hazel V. Carby

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2020-02-04 20:22Z by Steven

“Who Inherits?”: A Conversation Between Tao Leigh Goffe and Hazel V. Carby

Public Books

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

Over the decades of her transatlantic career, distinguished Yale University professor emerita of American and African American studies Hazel V. Carby has considered how one negotiates ancestral ties to two islands intimately entangled by empire, Britain and Jamaica. Her new book, Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands, is her answer to that question.

As Hazel explains in Imperial Intimacies, hers was an unlikely path to academia. She started out training as a ballerina and went on to teach at a secondary school in East London. When she moved to the West Midlands to pursue a master’s degree and then a PhD at the University of Birmingham, her life was altered forever by the influence of a mentor—Stuart Hall, esteemed professor and cofounder of the university’s Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies—who also negotiated a family history strung between Britain and Jamaica.

Hazel and I sat down to speak about the publication of Imperial Intimacies, a book that, she realized, she had been writing her whole life. We discussed the influence of books such as Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park and Octavia Butler’s Kindred. Like Dana, the main character in Butler’s Afrofuturist novel—who finds herself teleported into the plantations of the antebellum past, meeting her black and white ancestors—Hazel traces her African and European Carby lineage. She does so through meticulous research on her ancestors in England, Wales, and Jamaica.

Hazel speculates on the subjectivity of one of her white forbears: an English man named Lilly Carby, who arrived in Jamaica in 1788 as a member of the British Army. What can Hazel possibly inherit from him, when her other ancestors were his property? Her experimental rendering in Imperial Intimacies presents the reader with a kaleidoscopic view of the ongoing coloniality of the present…

Read the entire interview here.

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A Mixed Race Feminist Blog Interview with Isabel Adonis

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-01-16 15:37Z by Steven

A Mixed Race Feminist Blog Interview with Isabel Adonis

A Mixed Race Feminist Blog

Nicola Codner
Leeds, Yorkshire, United Kingdom

About Isabel Adonis

I’m a private tutor, artist and writer and I live in Wales. My mother was a white Welsh woman and my father was a black man from Georgetown in Guyana. He was quite a well-known writer and artist. I was born and brought up in London until I was six when my father began working in Khartoum in the Sudan. I lived and went to school there until I was nine when my parents bought a house in Wales. For the next nine years I lived and went to school in Wales and travelled to Africa in the holidays. After five years in the Sudan my father worked in different universities in Nigeria. My parents split up when I was seventeen and my father returned to the Caribbean. My mother did not remarry. In my twenties I trained as a teacher but because of an incident at the school, which I think was race related I decided I would never teach. I have four grown up children.

Do you remember when you first came to understand that you are mixed race?

Yes, around the time that ethnic monitoring was introduced in the UK in the early nineties. I had no notion of being mixed race prior to that. I was not brought up to call myself anything. However I do not call myself mixed race now. I leave it to others to do that kind of thing. I resist being categorised in this way, since it is problematic. Identification functions by inclusion and therefore exclusion. I’m not happy with that…

Read the entire interview here.

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Dreams of my mother…

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2015-01-04 18:43Z by Steven

Dreams of my mother…

One Love, One London

Tony Thomas

It’s October 1959; Paddington station is busy… Scanning the departures board for her train a nervous looking woman hurries towards the platform. In one hand she carries a suitcase and holding her other hand tightly is a pretty 2 year old; a mixed race child. The girls’s name was Rosemary Walter and the journey she was about to embark on would change her life forever. She could not have known it off course but she was being rejected; hidden. You see Rosie’s mother, a white woman married to a white man had had a black lover and Rosie was living proof of a relationship that was not just illicit but in those days deemed utterly shameful…

These are not my words but the word’s of George Alagiah narrating the three part series Mixed Britannia. The little girl in the story is my mother; this was the tale of the early years of my mothers life…

My mother was born in 1957 to a white mother and a Jamaican father; in 1959 at the age of two she was handed over to the National Children’s Home and transported from London to Wales; she would spend the next 16 years of her life in children’s homes across the country.

The world that my mother inhabited in her youth was not like today; there were not as many black people in the country; there was no noteable mixed race population and Wales was more or less a white’s only territory. Wherever my mother would go she would not fit in. Her hair was too frizzy, she had big lips and a big nose; there was no way that she could “pass“. She was clearly an object of curiosity to the people that she met who had never interacted with a “darkie” before. On holiday’s such as Christmas unlike the other children my mother did not have a family that would come and take her back to the family home; she would spend the holiday’s with kind Welsh and English families doing a good deed.

My mother spent most of her time in care in Wales; she was sent to London, Brixton at the age of 14 to be with her “own kind” as Brixton had become known as a place where the West Indian community congregated together and it was also where her mother lived who had become an honorary Jamaican. It was the thinking of the children’s home that as she was getting to the age of having boyfriends she should be around her own kind for mating purposes.

For my mother Brixton was as much a culture shock as Wales. My mother had a Welsh accent; she was mixed-race and had never met her Jamaican father. Although she had always sympathised with African-American struggles and her obvious “otherness” made her desire to understand that part of her she knew nothing about; she was not a part of the Jamaican community…

Read the entire article here.

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Concepts, terminology, and classifications for the ‘mixed’ ethnic or racial group

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2014-03-11 21:39Z by Steven

Concepts, terminology, and classifications for the ‘mixed’ ethnic or racial group

Journal of Epidemiolgy and Community Health
Volume 64, Issue 6 (2010)
Pages 557-560
DOI: 10.1136/jech.2009.088294

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

Background: The way to categorise people born of inter-ethnic and racial unions – the ‘mixed’ group – remains unclear and requires new insights, given the increasing size and complexity of the group and its emerging health profile.

Methods: A mixed methods research study focussing on ethnic options of young ‘mixed race’ people (n=326) recruited in colleges and universities investigated respondents’ preferences with respect to concepts, terminology, and classifications.

Results: The overwhelming generic term of choice was ‘mixed race’, widely interpreted by respondents to include mixed minority groups. Respondents were able to assign themselves in a valid way to a 12-category extended 2001 England and Wales Census classification for ‘mixed’, which collapses into five main groupings and also maps back to the census categories. Amongst options tested for census purposes, multi-ticking performed poorly and is not recommended.

Conclusions: A more finely granulated classification for ‘mixed’ is feasible where needed but this requires more extensive testing before it can be judged preferable to a ‘tick one or more’ option that has been shown to have poor reproducibility in validation surveys.

Read or purchase the entire article here.

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2011 Census: Key Statistics for England and Wales, March 2011 (Ethnic Group)

Posted in Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Reports, United Kingdom on 2012-12-11 15:52Z by Steven

2011 Census: Key Statistics for England and Wales, March 2011 (Ethnic Group)

Office for National Statistics (ONS)
Census 2011
Ethnic Group: Part of 2011 Census, Key Statistics for Local Authorities in England and Wales Release
Release Date: 2012-12-11

Figure 3: Ethnic groups by English regions and Wales, 2011

Ethnicity across the English regions and Wales
Figure 3: Ethnic groups by English regions and Wales, 2011

For more information, click here.

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A Longitudinal Study of Migration Propensities for Mixed Ethnic Unions in England and Wales

Posted in Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2012-03-25 20:35Z by Steven

A Longitudinal Study of Migration Propensities for Mixed Ethnic Unions in England and Wales

The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
Bonn, Germany
Discussion Paper No. 6394
February 2012
21 pages

Zhiqiang Feng, Research Fellow
University of St. Andrews

Maarten van Ham, Professor of Urban Renewal
Delft University of Technology and IZA

Paul Boyle, Professor of Geography and Sustainable Development
University of St. Andrews

Gillian M. Raab, Research Fellow
University of St. Andrews

Most studies investigating residential segregation of ethnic minorities ignore the fact that the majority of adults live in couples. In recent years there has been a growth in the number of mixed ethnic unions that involve a minority member and a white member. To our knowledge, hardly any research has been undertaken to explicitly examine whether the ethnic mix within households has an impact on the residential choices of households in terms of the ethnic mix of destination neighbourhoods. Our study addresses this research gap and examines the tendencies of migration among mixed ethnic unions in comparison with their co-ethnic peers. We used data from the Longitudinal Study for England and Wales. Our statistical analysis supports the spatial assimilation theory: ethnic minorities move towards less deprived areas and to a lesser extent also towards less ethnically concentrated areas. However, the types of destination neighbourhood of minority people living in mixed ethnic unions varied greatly with the ethnicity of the ethnic minority partner.


Residential integration is regarded as a measure of structural assimilation of ethnic minority populations and has drawn long-standing interest from academic studies (Park and Burgess 1969; Lieberson 1963; Massey 1985; Allen and Turner 1996). Residential integration is not only an indicator of the degree of ethnic assimilation, but also further enhances social and cultural integration. Conversely, ethnic segregation is deemed to hinder social interaction with majority populations, and to marginalise ethnic minority populations. Hence the British government has increasingly promoted community cohesion and residential integration.

While a body of research has examined aggregate levels of residential segregation of ethnic minority groups and the cross-sectional residential locations of ethnic minority populations at the individual level, few studies have examined the determinants of the actual residential migration of ethnic minorities in relation to characteristics of neighbourhoods of origin and destination (Finney and Simpson 2008). Little is known about how ethnic minority people move between neighbourhoods with different levels of concentration of their own groups and with different levels of deprivation. Most existing studies of ethnic segregation ignore the fact that the majority of adults live in couples. In recent years there has been a growth in the number of mixed ethnic families that involve a minority member and a white member (Feng et al, 2010). However, to our knowledge, almost no research has been undertaken to explicitly examine whether the ethnic mix within households has an impact on tendencies of residential migration between different types of neighbourhood. In the US, a few studies which examined the residential locations (but not mobility) of ethnic populations, have taken the ethnic mix within households into account. Ellis et al. (2006) used cross-sectional data in the US and came to the conclusion that mixed-ethnic households are less likely to live in minority ethnic neighbourhoods. White and Sassler (2000) also used US census data and found that Latinos and blacks who married a white spouse were more likely to reside in higher status neighbourhoods, while in contrast the marriage of a white person to a non-white person seemed to result in them residing in a lower-status neighbourhood than they might otherwise have done. Although Ellis et al (2006) argued that their results are more likely due to mixed-ethnic couples choosing to live in mixed-ethnic neighbourhoods, rather than mixed neighbourhoods ‘creating’ these couples, it is difficult with cross-sectional data to come to any firm conclusion about this. The same is true for the study by White and Sassler (2000) due to the use of cross-sectional data. In their review of geographies of mixed ethnic unions, Wright et al (2003) called for further research on migration of mixed ethnic unions in a longitudinal perspective.

With this study we fill this gap, and use longitudinal data from the Office for National Statistics Longitudinal Study (ONS LS), to explore whether minority people in mixed ethnic unions were more likely to move to areas which are less concentrated in their own group than ethnic minorities living in mono ethnic unions. In our analyses we also take the level of deprivation of neighbourhoods into account…

…In the past decades Britain has witnessed a growing ethnic diversity in populations. In England, for example, the percentage of ethnic minorities has risen from 4.6 % to 8.6 % between 1981 and 2001 (Rees and Butt 2004). It is estimated that nearly a million people report themselves as having a mixed-ethnic identity in Britain today (CRE 2006). Along with the trend in diversity the number of marriages and partnerships between people of different ethnic groups is also on the rise (Aspinal 2003; Coleman 1985; 2004; Voas 2009; Song 2010). The one per cent census sample from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Longitudinal Study (LS) reveals that the total number of mixed ethnic unions reached 5,139 in 2001 in England and Wales, a 46 Per cent increase from 1991 (Feng et al. 2010)…

…The ONS LS was a unique and very rich dataset. However, we acknowledge that the data has some limitations. We did not have information on migration between two censuses. Some couples might move more than once between 1991 and 2001. The British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) is a panel dataset which provides annual information for sample couples. However, the number of mixed ethnic unions in the BHPS is too few for a meaningful statistical analysis. The other limitation is the self reported ethnicity can change over time. It is not a big problem for South Asians as they reported their ethnic identity very consistently over time. But the consistency was not high for Black Others who were part of the Black group in our analysis (Platt et al 2005). Therefore our results here should be treated with caution…

Read the entire paper here.

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Black Welsh Identity: the unspeakable speaks.

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2011-10-06 01:06Z by Steven

Black Welsh Identity: the unspeakable speaks.

British Broadcasting Corporation
North West Wales

Isabel Adonis, Writer and Artist

Isabel Adonis was born in London and brought up in Llandudno, the Sudan and Nigeria. She spent 21 years in Bethesda before returning to Llandudno. She helped found Timbuktu, a new international arts and literary journal.

This piece won the best article award for 2002 in New Impact magazine.

“I am a woman. When I look in the mirror I see a woman. When other people look at me they see a woman. I know what a woman is and I am one. Once when I was a child, in Africa, I had my hair cut very short and the other children started calling me ‘El Walad’ – The Boy. It was very distressing, but I didn’t start feeling like a boy, and the children wouldn’t have been teasing me if they had really thought I was one.

If anyone asks me what it feels like to be a woman, I’m stuck for an answer. There doesn’t seem to be any other thing for it to be like or unlike; it feels normal, natural, un-problematic. It doesn’t feel like anything at all: – what does it feel like to be human?…

…I am Welsh. My mother was born and brought up in North Wales, speaking Welsh. I have lived most of my life in Wales. When I look in the mirror I see brown skin and African features. When other people look at me they see an exotic, a foreigner.

If anyone asks me what it feels like to be a black Welsh woman, I’m stuck for an answer. It doesn’t feel like anything at all; it feels like being human. I am my natural colour, and I live in my natural home, no problem.

But as soon as I step out of the front door, there is a problem. Most of the people who meet me are thrown into confusion and conflict. They like to think of themselves as being tolerant, accepting, unprejudiced etc. so they try to treat me as normal although their senses scream out that I am different. They try to be sensitive, avoid the word ‘black’, avoid the subject that is always on their minds. Many prefer to avoid me if possible, they find it a strain…

Read the entire essay here.

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Does the British State’s Categorisation of ‘Mixed Race’ Meet Public Policy Needs?

Posted in Census/Demographics, New Media, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2010-04-08 23:50Z by Steven

Does the British State’s Categorisation of ‘Mixed Race’ Meet Public Policy Needs?

Social Policy & Society
Volume 9, Number 1 (January 2010)
pages 55-69

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

The England and Wales 2001 Census was the first to include ‘Mixed’ categories which have now been adopted across government. The four ‘cultural background’ options were highly prescriptive, specifying combinations of groups. This paper assesses how satisfactorily these analytical categories captured self-ascribed cultural affiliation based on the criteria of validity, reliability and utility of the data for public services. Finally, the paper asks whether we now need a census question on ethnic origin/ancestry in addition to—or instead of—ethnic group or whether multi-ticking or a focus on family origins might give more useful public policy data and better measure the population’s ethnic diversity.

Read the entire article here.

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Sugar & Slate

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Women on 2009-12-22 05:16Z by Steven

Sugar & Slate

Planet Books
January 2002
192 pages
ISBN-10: 0954088107
ISBN-13: 978-0954088101
8.1 x 5.8 x 0.6 inches

Charlotte Williams, Professor of Social Work
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia

Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year, 2003

A mixed-race young woman, the daughter of a white Welsh-speaking mother and black father from Guyana, grows up in a small town on the coast of north Wales. From there she travels to Africa, the Caribbean and finally back to Wales. What begins as a journey becomes a fascinating confrontation with herself and with the idea of Wales and Welshness.

Sugar and Slate is a remarkable personal memoir that speaks to the wider experience of mixed-race Britons, characterised by its constant pull of to-ing and fro-ing, movement and dislocation, going away and coming back with always a sense of being ‘half home’. It is a story of Welshness and a story of Wales but above all a story for those of us who look over our shoulder across the sea to some other place.

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