Monday, 22 April 2019

Brit(ish) - on race, identity and belonging by Afua Hirsch


Reviewer: Catriona Troth

What We Thought:

This conversation is long overdue: a conversation begun in the spirit of honesty, not defensiveness, or fear, or blindness.”

Afua Hirsch is a British born woman of mixed race. On one side, the father is half Yorkshire, half German Jewish. On the other side, her grandparents were Ghanaian. She grew up in relatively privileged circumstances in the leafy London suburb of Wimbledon, going first to private school and then Oxford University.

While Hirsch acknowledges that her experience is a world away both from the brutal racism faced by her parents’ generation and the life of young black people growing up in places like Tottenham, where poverty and lack of opportunity are rife:

“I didn’t find race, race found me: in the playground, or the classroom, on the street, in the shops.”

Hirsch describes searching for an identity in Africa, first as a new graduate working for a non-profit organisation in Senegal, and later with her young family in her grandparent’s home country of Ghana. Yet what she discovers is that, though Britishness contains the threat of exclusion, there is in fact nowhere else to go. Her identity IS British.

In this wide-ranging book she addresses such topics as our failure to properly address the truth about imperialism and British involvement in the slave trade. She examines the changing policies towards interracial adoption, Home Office attitudes to immigration and the concept of the Good Immigrant. She looks at colourism and the attitudes towards black women’s hair. She looks at riots in the 1980s and the Brixit vote in 2016.

Above all, she castigates white British society for its failure to acknowledge that racism and white privilege are still facts of life – and that this affects all members of society.

“Failing to acknowledge that whiteness exists, means ignoring the burden for a white child born into a culture that tells them they are innately superior, that they are entitled.”

Rarely have I gone through a book highlighting so many passages. Hirsch brilliantly captures both the positive and negative aspects of having multiple cultural identities. On the one hand, it: “offers the possibility of full-body immersion, deep-sea diving; an experience that is difficult to pin down, but feels mystical and profound.”

On the other, “at its worse ... (it) can feel like being helplessly adrift, unable to embrace the beauty of any one place, fearful of the water, awkward on land.”

This feels like a more deeply personal book than Eddo-Lodge’s Why I Am No Longer Talking to White People About Race. As well as her own experiences, Hirsch draws upon individual experience of other black and mixed race people – like Lola who experienced some of the worst aspects of the care system and who now provides a home of teens emerging from that system.

Despite the depth of racism – structural and otherwise – in British society that it exposes, this book feels optimistic. But if we are truly to become a post-racial society, it is vital that we stop trying to pretend that we already are. We have to have the courage to have to difficult conversations, to acknowledge ugly truths about ourselves. To have humility.

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2019 JHALAK PRIZE

You’ll Enjoy This If You Loved: Natives by Akala, Why I Am No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Avoid If You Dislike: Honestly appraising the role of race in our society

Perfect Accompaniment: Jollof rice and herbal tea

Genre: Non Fiction

Available on Amazon

10 comments:

  1. Your article is so Amazing that I never stop myself from appreciating this. Thank you for posting this.

    Readers If you are looking for Free Guest Blogging Site in India visit https://techohalic.com/

    Blogging site in India
    Top Blogging sites in India
    Indian Blogging Sites

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your article is just Amazing.. I just can’t stop myself from appreciating this. Thank you for posting this.

    From SIRI (Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface) to Self Driving Cars,Artificial Intelligence( AI ) is catering to stimulate human characteristics and behaviour to the next level.For following questions visit :- http://ivedahelp.com/blog/how-artificial-intelligence-will-change-the-face-of-businesses-in-2020/

    What is the Importance of AI (Artificial Intelligence)?
    What is the role of AI in Business?
    Virtual Assistance
    Process Automation
    Efficient Sales Process
    Customized Customer Experience
    High Growth Percentage of AI Technology
    Combining Human and AI Pattern Classifiers

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for sharing such an informative Blog with us... I really like it very much..
    Readers if you guys are searching for
    PTE Academic Speaking Section | PTE Academic Speaking,
    PTE Academic Writing Section | PTE Academic Writing,
    PTE Coaching Institute In Zirakpur & Panchkula | PTE Coaching Classes, and
    PTE Exam Format | Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking Institute in Zirakpur and Panchkula ,
    PTE General Exam | PTE General Exam Format | PTE Exam Institute in Zirakpur and Panchkula ,
    PTE Young Learners Exam Format | PTE Exam format | PTE Exam Institute in Zirakpur and Panchkula ,
    Spoken English Coaching Classes in Zirakpur and Panchkula institute in Zirakpur and Panchkula ,
    Want to score higher in IELTS? Tips and Tricks to score in IELTS Institute in Zirakpur and Panchkula ,
    What is the IELTS Speaking Assessment Criteria Institute in Zirakpur and Panchkula ,
    Spoken English Coaching Classes in Zirakpur and Panchkula Institute in Zirakpur and Panchkula ,


    Call Now :- +91 8288931000

    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your article is so convincing that I never stop myself from appreciating this. Thank you for posting this. If you are looking for Amazing Branded Perfumes visit https://alatarji.net/

    It was no accident that Alatarji achieved this level of acceptance and preference. The journey started next to the holy house in Mecca in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Sheikh Mohammed Alem Atarji was one of the most successful, if not the best, perfumer in the Kingdom. His experience in Oud, Amber, Musk ... was highly regarded when he started importing Oud into the Kingdom. Muzafar Atarji took his father's work to the next level by modernizing and expanding the business.

    1) best perfume in germany
    2) buy fragrance perfumes
    3) rose scented perfume
    4) rose fragrance perfume
    5)buy rose fragrance perfume in germany
    6) best oud perfume
    7) best oud perfume for men
    8) fragrance and skincare perfume
    9) best skincare perfume
    10) best oriental perfumes of all time
    11)fresh oriental perfume
    12)best oriental fragrance perfumes for ladies
    13)oriental essence perfume
    14) oriental scent perfumes

    His fingerprints are in our daily business still visible.Muzafar was the first perfumer to build a perfume factory that manufactured oud and other ingredients. Today, Mishal Muzafar Atarji has managed to combine traditional perfume craft with modern production methods.what we have composed in the current Alatarji collection. For more visit:- https://alatarji.net/

    ReplyDelete
  5. Countries with the Best Education System in 2023

    We all are part of a free world with the free will of education as one of our basic rights. Education is one of the fundamental components of an ideal life. It is a symbolic representation of awareness in all forms and often works as an important measure of development and quality of life of a country. The economic status of a country can be enumerated by its education system and proclaim it either as an underdeveloped, developing or developed country.

    If you are planning on your further studies or looking for a guide to topmost international educational institutions, then read on. This blog comprises of a list of top 10 countries with the best education system in 2020 and which have been ranked based on certain parameters.

    First, let’s take a look at the country-wise education index featured in the human development report:
    The report was issued in 2016 and might have slight changes ever since.
    Visit :-
    http://ivedahelp.com/blog/countries-with-the-best-education-system-in-2020/

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your article is so convincing that I never stop myself from appreciating this. Thank you for posting this. If you are looking for Amazing Branded Perfumes visit https://alatarji.net/

    It was no accident that Alatarji achieved this level of acceptance and preference. The journey started next to the holy house in Mecca in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Sheikh Mohammed Alem Atarji was one of the most successful, if not the best, perfumer in the Kingdom. His experience in Oud, Amber, Musk ... was highly regarded when he started importing Oud into the Kingdom. Muzafar Atarji took his father's work to the next level by modernizing and expanding the business.

    1) best perfume in germany
    2) buy fragrance perfumes
    3) rose scented perfume
    4) rose fragrance perfume
    5)buy rose fragrance perfume in germany
    6) best oud perfume
    7) best oud perfume for men
    8) fragrance and skincare perfume
    9) best skincare perfume
    10) best oriental perfumes of all time
    11)fresh oriental perfume
    12)best oriental fragrance perfumes for ladies
    13)oriental essence perfume
    14) oriental scent perfumes

    His fingerprints are in our daily business still visible.Muzafar was the first perfumer to build a perfume factory that manufactured oud and other ingredients. Today, Mishal Muzafar Atarji has managed to combine traditional perfume craft with modern production methods.what we have composed in the current Alatarji collection. For more visit:- https://alatarji.net/

    ReplyDelete