Britain has the highest levels of mixed race relationships in the developed world, with nearly half of all Carribean children the country having one white parent.
Issues of race lie at the heart of ‘New Britain’, and here, within these FAB books on being of mixed race, is some insight into the lives of people of ‘dual heritage’.
Mixed Feeling: The Complex Lives of Mixed-Race Britons by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (Women’s Press Ltd)
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown questions the ways in which these topics and issues have been discussed and framed in Britian. The book is effective in this because the breadth of experience revealed in her interviews across a wide spectrum of class, gender, age and history shows up the absurdity of any generalisation in the field of human relationships. Her book aims to reflect the complex lives of this growing and increasingly visable population.
Black by Design by Pauline Black (Serpent’s Tail)
Pauline Black is the lead singer of ska band The Selecter. She is born to an Anglo-Jewish mother and Nigerian father. Although mixed-race, she was adopted by a white middle-aged couple, and experienced racism growing up, some of it even from her own family.
In her recent autobiography, Pauline tells her story – an insightful read into the hardships some mixed race people face growing up.
White Teeth by Zadie Smith (Penguin)
The story travels through Jamaica, Turkey, Bangladesh and India but ends up in a scrubby North London borough – home of the book’s two unlikely heroes: prevaricating Archie Jones and intemperate Samad Iqbal. They met in the Second World War as part of a “buggered battalion” and have been best friends ever since.
Archie marries beautiful, buck-toothed Clara, who’s on the run from her Jehovah’s Witness mother, and they have a daughter, Irie. Samad marries stroppy Alsana and they have twin sons: “Children with first and last names on a direct collision course. Names that secrete within them mass exodus, cramped boats and planes, cold arrivals, medical checks.”