Thursday, 30 May 2013

I am Nobody's Nigger

I heard Dean Atta recite some of his poetry at the Mixing Matters symposium at Leeds University earlier this month. This talented young man is truly inspirational. His signature poem, I Am Nobody’s Nigger written in response to the Stephen Lawrence murder case, has inspired debate around the globe. In it he criticises those who use the term 'nigger' as though it's a piece of everyday slang rather than a word with a potent and powerful role in the history of oppression.

Click here to purchase
Check out his site and view the performance yourself ahttp://www.deanatta.co.uk/.

I also recommend that you purchase his book. It is powerful, honest and reflectful. I personally related emotionally to 'Mother Tongue' which highlights how important it is for mixed children to be taught about their cultures and languages. In my case it was my father who swallowed his tongue. The poem begins:

'Our mother has swallowed her tongue
Though selfish is never a word I could call mum
I feel she has been so by swallowing her tongue....'

There is a special poem for everyone among the 93 pages strong collection. You can follow him on twitter @DeanAtta . If you get a chance, go and see him perform; you won't be sorry! Here are his upcoming events http://www.deanatta.co.uk/events


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Sunburn

Dear Elizabeth,  

I have just come across your blog which I have read with interest.  I hope with so many mixed race people being born, the world will become a more tolerant place to grow up in and my children will be viewed for their kindness, compassion and ability, not categorised by the colour of their skin.

Sunburn

When we were kids we used to climb trees,
Get grubby hands; scrape the skin off our knees.
We jumped in deep puddles and made big mud pies,
But what you said next made me shudder inside.
You sat in the sun; I sat in the shade,
With mum’s homemade ice cream and pink lemonade.
We shared all our secrets, our comics and toys;
Had the same pin ups and kissed the same boys.
As we sat with our wine and thought of the past,
Of the fun that we’d had; a shadow was cast.
You said I was black and the dirt didn’t show,
I was speechless with shock, but you didn’t know.
As you sit in the sun, turning darker than me
I try to figure out the way that you see.
How do I tell you, will you understand?
An off hand remark, burns inside like a brand.

It is sad many people have experienced the same, but hopefully they will realise they are not alone. Maybe one day people will learn to think before they speak.

Tricia Lucas-Clarke
May 2013


Monday, 27 May 2013

Mixed Blessings

I remember back in the 70's and 80's when Black and Asian people resorted to producing their own greetings cards because the images on the mainstream cards in the shops simply didn't represent. Sadly, this problem still exists today; many of the manufacturers advise that it is not financially viable for them to produce racially diverse cards. If you can't find suitable greetings cards perhaps you could consider making your own and filling the gap in the market?


Mixed Blessings Cards
Mixed Blessings Cards started after a conversation a mum had with her mixed race daughter on her fifth birthday; she wanted to know why none of the little girls on her birthday cards looked like her! Go to this article to find out more about Gracie at Enterprising Child

So they decided to make their our own! They hope you like them and hope that they bring a smile to your face because....We all smile in the same language!


Please keep checking back as they will be adding new cards regularly. Mixed Blessings Cards



Friday, 24 May 2013

Global Love in Colour

Did you know that the statistics from the 2011 census, showed that the mixed race population is the fastest growing in Britain with more than one million people born of  mixed parentage?  12% (2.0 million) of households with at least two people had partners or household members of different ethnic groups in 2011, a three percentage point increase on 2001.  Yet, how many greeting cards can you find which depict racially mixed families?  There is most definitely a gap in the market!  This is how Michelle and Christian addressed the issue and created Colours Greetings. The first romantic greeting card brand for everyone who loves in colour

About Colours Greetings
When African American Michele Hunt met her white fiance Christian from the UK, the couple had a problem finding romantic greeting cards that could reflect their ethnic combination, and after a little bit of research they realised that there were no cards available at all for millions of other mixed couples.

http://www.coloursgreetings.com/
There has been a significant increase in interracial relationships in many parts of the world. Michele and Christian discovered that at a time when 15% of all new marriages in the USA, for example, are mixed, according to Pew Research Center Publications, no greeting card brand is able to cater to all sectors of this large and growing market, due to the very diverse nature of these relationships.
 http://pewresearch.org.  According to Michele, "Christian and I thought that it must be possible to create romantic greeting cards for all couples who are like us... couples who love in colour”. Then the two had an idea. If the great variety of ethnic combinations is the problem, why not simply make it possible for couples to customize their romantic greeting cards to fit their relationship? But what should they be able to choose? What would be a great symbol for love and romance?

The “Colours Bears”
The solution came on Valentine's Day. When Michele gave Christian a teddy bear, the answer was staring them in the face, with button eyes. In order for teddy bears to be able to represent interracial couples, though, they would need to be... ethnic bears. And so the Colours Greetings “Colours Bears” were born.

These eight teddy bears are made up of four females and males of every major race. Couples can choose the two bears that best reflect their mixed relationship, be it black and white, Asian and Middle Eastern, Southern European and Native American, or any other combination.

The Colours Greetings character based system is capable of representing any mixed relationship, no matter what its ethnic or gender make-up may be.

A Lifestyle brand for change

The lack of a romantic greeting card brand capable of representing interracial couples in all their diversity has meant that these couples were not just unable to find greeting cards that reflect their ethnic mix, they couldn't find all the other mementos, keepsakes and romantic gifts, most take for granted, either.

With Colours Greetings, millions of couples can finally send romantic greeting cards that symbolise the make-up of their particular relationship, buy ethnic plush teddy bears for each other and have wedding cake toppers they can identify with. The Colours Greetings lifestyle brand provides a wide range of romantic merchandising goods for mixed couples everywhere.

For more information on Colours Greetings, please click the links below:

URL:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ColorsGreetings
Facebook:www.facebook.com/pages/Colors-Greetings-Colours-Greeting

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com

Contact
For more information about Colours Greetings/Colors Greetings, please contact:
Christian Gorny, Company Director (Colours Greetings Ltd.), CEO (Colors Greetings LLC)
Tel: +44 (0)1633 660 042
E-mail: info@coloursgreetings.com
Michele Hunt, CEO (Colors Greetings LLC)
Tel: +1 (215) 900-2783
E-mail: info@colorsgreetings.com
Deborah Gonzalez, Esq. (Licensing Enquiries)
E-mail: dgartlaw@att.net

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Mixed Race Studies


Today I'm off to Leeds University to attend a conference entitled Mixing Matters: Critical Intersectionalities.  It promises to be a really interesting day;  a great opportunity to meet new people and to hear from scholars about Mixed Race issues. I'm sure that I will have lots more to blog about when I get back home.

Since starting my blog in February, I've come across a wide range of information from newspaper articles to books, but I have to say that I have been really impressed by the extensive and comprehensive collection of work collected by Steven Riley at Mixed Race Studies.  I highly recommend you explore the collection if you studying Mixed Race or are simply interested in finding out more. 

MixedRaceStudies.org: An Introduction

Steven F. Riley, Creator and Founder
MixedRaceStudies.org
2013-05-17

Mixed Race Studies (www.MixedRaceStudies.org) is a non-commercial website that provides a gateway to interdisciplinary English language scholarship about the relevant issues surrounding the topic of multiracialism. This site has been called by a preeminent scholar, “the most comprehensive and objective clearinghouse for scholarly publications related to critical mixed-race theory” and by and up and coming scholar “probably the singularly most valuable tool in my work.”

Me and my artist wife Julia make our home in the community of Silver Spring, Maryland, just north of Washington, D.C.

I believe it is important to note that I am—to use the term of esteemed scholar Rainier Spencer—a racial skeptic. Race, simply put, is not real and does not exist. Thus, while race is not real, the belief in it is quite real. An apt analogy would be the belief in witchcraft. There have been neither witches nor witchcraft, yet there were those who believed in the putative existence of witches and witchcraft. The absence of any proof of witchcraft did not dissuade the very real persecution of accused witches. Thus the witchcraft conjured up by so-called witches was not real, but the flames used to burn them was. The concept of race and racism is similar. Though race is not real, the belief in it makes racism—like the flames to burn witches—real.

Race is a socio-political construct that has no basis in science, biology, or math for that matter. Yet, as a socio-political construct, the saliency of race and racism is immense. It touches and influences virtually every aspect of our American lives from birth to death and has such an impact it can manifest itself paradoxically, by way of biology. Thus, as University of Pennsylvania law professor Dorothy Roberts who states, “Race is a political category that has staggering biological consequences because of the impact of social inequality on people’s health .”

I was drawn to the subject of mixed-race because it is so complex. I wanted to ask questions, and to share the answers and information I found along the way. For me, current discourses about multiracialism in pop-culture today provide us with only a cursory understanding of the lives of ‘mixed-race’ people and the societal implications of their increasing presence.

To gain an overview of the multiraciality of both the past and the present, I read the anthology Mixed Race Studies: A Reader (Jayne Ofekwunigwe, ed.). It inspired me to read even more, and, as you might guess, be the source of the name of my website, MixedRaceStudies.org (MRS). I created MRS in April, 2009 after participating in a few online chat-room discussions on the former podcast Mixed Chicks Chat initially as a “repository” for definitions about race and multiraciality. My initial desire was to provide a learning platform for visitors where they could learn while I did. Like the anthology, which provides a critical examination of multiraciality, I wish to provide a similar broad critical inquiry within my website.

At present, MRS contains nearly 6,000 posts which consists of links to over 3,200 articles; 1,000 books; nearly 600 dissertation, papers and reports; nearly 300 multimedia items; over 300 excerpts and quotes, over 100 course offerings; etc. Currently, MRS receives over 1,800 visitors each day and during a monthly period, over 37,000 unique visitors and nearly ½ million page views.

For anyone who has any questions or comments about MRS, please feel free to contact me. For a list of some of my recent activities within Mixed Race Studies, see below:

Friday, 17 May 2013

Mixed Race Children and Fostering and Adoption

The Golly in the Cupboard

I recently read a book called 'The Golly in the Cupboard' by Phil Frampton about a mixed race boy born in England in 1953.  The story is one of abandonment and of a childhood spent in the care system. He managed to piece together his story so that he could write this book once he had obtained his records from Barnardo's in 1999.

Back in 1953, women were packed off miles away from their homes to have illegitimate children and society viewed mixed race relationships and their children with scorn, almost as though being mixed was a physical defect.  In 2004 Phil Frampton was interviewed by the Guardian and this article was subsequently published. Guardian Newspaper .

Today mixed race children are significantly over represented in the care system and constitute the biggest minority.  You can see from the attached statistics produced by British Association for Adoption and Fostering that they form 9% of looked after children.  

% of children in the Care System by Ethnicity 

78% (52,050) of children looked after on 31st March 2012 were white
9% (5,960) were of mixed racial background
7% (4,510) were Black or Black British
4% (2,820) were Asian or Asian British
2% (1,290) were from other ethnic groups
<1% (430) were other (refused or information not yet available)

(Statistics: England | British Association for Adoption and Fostering)

For the full report see:


Lack of foster carers and inappropriate placements mean children move too many times between families Guardian 13th May 2013 and this on top of the trauma they will have already experienced means it is very difficult for children in the care system to settle.  When a child is not able to be with their own family, there is a potential recipe for problematical identity formation and this can be even more of an issue for children who are mixed race. The complexity for fostering and adoption is discussed in the paper The diversity and complexity of the everyday lives of mixed racial and ethnic families

I understand that fostering services all over the UK are looking for people from all walks of life to become foster carers, of all ages, and from single people to large families. What matters is that they have a desire to work with children and the right skills.  If you would like to make inquiries about fostering, you can contact your Local Authority or any of the many Agencies who operate throughout the UK. I have opted to apply to St Christopher's, as I have experience of their services for teenagers through my work. So far they have lived up to their reputation and have been very clear about the role of a Foster Carer and also given us lots of opportunity to ask questions throughout the process.We have been interviewed at home and they have invited us to attend their training programme which starts in June. This will be our opportunity to find out more about the realities of fostering.

The debates about best practice in the care system continue, but in my opinion, the best approach is in the accurate matching of child to family and vice-versa.
'St Christopher's Fostering

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Global Designs for Global Children


Introducing your children to clothing which represents the different cultures of your family and friends is one way of showing them that you value the diversity.  From time to time fashion is influenced by African and Asian design and you can sometimes pick up globally influenced 'fusion fashion wear' to add to your child's wardrobe from the high street. But why not be one step ahead and check out Isossy Children?

Global Spirit for Spring/Summer 2013

Isossy Children was founded by Amanda Rabor in 2010. Isossy Children is a celebration of colour, vivacity, global influences and fashion. It offers children and their parents’ choice, style and design, which is why many of the pieces are limited edition prints. "It keeps our style unique and fresh. We want you to visit the website frequently with the knowledge that our styles and colours will change offering parents new ranges for all occasions", says Amanda.
Isossy Children

The collection is traditionally separated into Isossy Classic, Play and Occasion, covering a fantastic array of styles in wonderfully vibrant and ethnic colours.  Isossy prides itself on catering for the ever changing needs of its customers, and the new collection for spring summer 2013 has just a little bit of everything to make it truly special.

The brand is honoured to stand by its ‘Made in England’ manufacturing ethos, combined with the international African, Asian and Western cultures.  The fabrics and styling of these countries are evident within this vivacious collection.

Childrenswear brand Isossy Children continues to be the forerunner in global clothing for kids.  With its smart, casual and lively range for girls and boys, Isossy launches its new collection for Spring/ Summer 2013. 

The range sees plenty of Tween pieces for girls and boys (8-14 yrs) that look as though they’ve just stepped off the catwalk.  Key styles such as the all print pant suits for girls and boys are going to be a real player within the range. The 80s makes a comeback for girls with playful cheerleader style dresses and drop-waist box pleat detailing.  The cheerleader dresses also have unique details such as the mock waistcoat feature. 


Isossy Children
Playsuits and the iconic jumpsuits that Isossy do so well have also been updated with halterneck styles with elasticated back bodice detailing.   Picture perfect cute dresses have frilly cap sleeves and racer back is perfect for summertime. Tailoring for boys and girls has become an integral part of this ever evolving range. Easy machine-washable fabrics in soft jerseys and cottons add to the elite quality of this beautiful collection.

I really love the designs and the mix and match nature of the outfits means that you can blend African, Asian and Western designs, so that your child can see that all their cultures are valued in your family.  Not only that, but your child will most definitely not be bumping into someone else wearing the same outfit at the party. To view more of this range and to purchase, check out the website:

www.isossychildren.com
Isossy Children
Isossy Children
Isossy Children

Monday, 6 May 2013

Domestic Violence Abuse


Naomi's advice Brochure
One in four women experience Domestic Violence Abuse at some time during their lifetime.  The impact on women and children is devastating.  Naomi has kindly agreed to share her  experience in the hope that it might help others.
                                   *****
As a bubbly 17-year-old just discovering the world and in my first year in college, I met this handsome, charming, funny, quiet, good-looking young guy. At that time I never would have thought he would cause my life hell. That guy I will refer to as Mr Darkside.

At first Mr Darkside was really special; he would have respect for me and sweep me off my feet. This was my first ever serious relationship. You see he was couple years older than me; he lived on his own , had a job and he was independent, not like most guys that were my age. I thought I had found a man, a real man because I didn’t know any better back then.

I met him through some friends of mine. So every weekend we would all meet up as a group. It was fun and me and Mr Darkside started to get closer. After a while we decided that we should meet up just me and him alone. I was happy that he wanted to take things a bit further. I started to meet up with him on weekends as I had college on the weekdays. As time gradually went on he started wanting to see me on weekdays. I was happy about this as I thought back then he wanted to spend more time with me. He kept me up all night so in morning I would be so tired to go to college the next day. He would not encourage me and was fine about me staying the whole day at his house and not going to college.

Within the first year of me and him getting together I found I was pregnant. He said it would be a good idea if I had an abortion and I thought it was the right thing to do as well. He said “We were both young and we would have another chance to have a baby and that he will be by my side and there for me all the way”. This was the beginning of my abusive relationship with Mr Darkside.

After I had the abortion, at every opportunity he would throw it back at my face, blaming me over and over again for getting rid of his child and eventually, I started to believe it was my thought. This hurt as this was a choice that both of us had made. We started having arguments regularly. When we argued he would sometimes start throwing and breaking his things. I did not think anything of this as it was his own STUFF and he was doing no harm. Then he started breaking my stuff; I was upset and asked why he was doing this. Mr Darkside said “They are material things and I can easily get it back”. At that time I never realised it was an abusive relationship. He was still nice to me, but then he had that Darkside.

The nice guy that I had met was turning into a monster. The comments become insults and his breaking stuff became battering me. One day we had an argument like usual and I said something which was horrible. He attacked me and I did defend myself and hit back. He said he was sorry and was upset by what I said. I agreed at that time that I did say something wrong and we continued our relationship as I believed he would never do it to me again. I was wrong!

At first we used to fight then the fights turned into him hitting me at any opportunity he got. He would punch me, kick me, slap me, burn me, cut my hair and do anything to harm me. I have asthma and I started to have asthma attacks during the beatings he was giving me. At first he would freak out and call the ambulance but the ambulance people started to realise that something wasn’t right and started to ask questions. So then, when I had an asthma attack he started hurting me even more and one time even put a pillow over my face while I was having an asthma attack.

I did try to leave but I wasn’t ready for the change. I missed the good times that we used to have and I thought it would get better. You see Mr Darkside would tell me it was my fault, he would tell me I was the only girl he ever hit; that I never listened and also blamed his aunt’s death for him doing the things he did to me. He started biting me on my face and also leaving bruises on my face. I asked him why he did that so everybody could see and Mr Darkside said “so no other man would want me.” The visible evidence that he was abusing meant that I stayed clear from my friends and family so they didn’t know what was happening.
Read More......................Naomi's Story

This U-Tube video further demonstrates the harrowing nature of Domestic Violence U-Tube Video
Naomi, bravely manged to escape, so that her child does not have to suffer the impact of the abuse. It is well documented that children who grow up in a domestic violence situation can be severely emotionally damaged. Consequently domestic violence is one of the factors which can result in children being placed under a Child Protection Plan by Children's Social Care.

Here X Factor finalist Jahmene Douglas talks about his difficult childhood during which his violent father continually abused his mother.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p017wgvz

Thank you, Naomi for caring about other's enough to share your harrowing experience of Domestic Violence Abuse.  If you have been affected by this article in any way and would like to seek help and advice, please read Naomi's Brochure DV Brochure  and contact and/or contact National Women’s Aid on 0808 2000 247.