Thursday, 31 October 2013

Mixed Race Children and Fostering and Adoption

The Golly in the Cupboard

'The Golly in the Cupboard' by Phil Frampton is 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:

Sunday, 27 October 2013

'Becoming Mrs Kumar' a book by Heather Gupta

I recently connected with Heather Gupta and am so pleased that she wrote this post for the Mixed Race Family blog.  I can't wait to read her fictional book about mixed race family life in India.

Connect to Heather's facebook
I left England in 2000, prompted by an early mid-life crisis (I’d just turned 29) and some kind of restless Millennium bug of my own. I felt suffocated by London and the job I’d left behind – I had a really successful career going for me but somehow it wasn’t enough. I’d grown up in sleepy Devon, moved across the country to study at Newcastle and worked in London for a few years, but I was bored of it all. I needed to escape from the rat race and I thought that a round-the-world ticket and a backpacking adventure would at least allow me to gain some perspective on myself, what I wanted out of my life, and if nothing else, it would allow me to return to London recharged and re-energised. I would never in a million years have dreamt that thirteen years later, I would still be living and working in Asia, the wife of an Indian man and the mother of two adorable half Indian baby boys.

Before leaving the UK I had only dated white guys. There wasn’t any particular reason for this. I certainly had no racial “preference”, in fact I always found darker skinned men interesting and exotic looking, but I just never seemed to have the opportunity to meet anyone romantically who wasn’t strictly Anglo-saxon, even in multi cultural London. That changed once I left the UK and found myself a minority in various Asian countries, and I enjoyed meeting and connecting with local people from all kinds of different nationalities. Despite that, my few romantic encounters were initially not terribly successful.

I met my husband, Vivek, in Mumbai through mutual friends seven years after I left for that backpacking trip. In the interim I’d lived and worked in South East Asia before settling down in India. After leaving London, as the years rolled on, and my twenties rescinded into a vague memory, I did of course yearn to settle down. I did date a few Indian men, with mainly disastrous consequences, but none of them were really right, for a number of reasons. When I met Vivek, I knew that he was “the one” after a relatively short length of time. He was westernised enough to be able to handle me, an independent (and often stroppy) Brit, yet Indian enough to want us to stay in Mumbai, which I was delighted about. He’s traditional in some ways, yet thoroughly progressive in others. He loves his country, and yet he also loves mine, and like me, he’s determined to teach our children about the best of both worlds.

Now, I can’t imagine not being in a mixed race relationship. I love the fact that we have different backgrounds and experiences to draw from. I find it endlessly fascinating to see both worlds through my children’s eyes, although I can’t always give them very logical answers to their questions.

Moving to Mumbai and marrying an Indian prompted me to write my first book, Becoming Mrs Kumar, a fun, fictional account of a British woman who moves to India to live and work. I find the entire process of settling into a different culture, adapting and changing, deciding what to leave behind and what to cling to endlessly fascinating, and I wanted to capture that in a light, witty way. Certainly, Becoming Mrs Kumar is candid, and will resonate, I hope, with anyone who has lived for any length of time in a “foreign” country, especially those who have made that country their home. There are a lot of serious travel books and many deeply reflective soul searching novels in the world.  This is not one of them. It is designed for entertainment, yet also touches on deeper themes of trying to fit in, and negotiate the inevitable stresses and strains of adapting to a new and often very alien culture.

I love the fact that my children can pick and choose from the best of two different worlds. I believe that they will embrace their Indian and their British sides, confident in themselves and their ability to forge their way in a world which can be horribly judgemental. My husband and I are trying to teach them some good old fashioned British manners alongside a more spontaneous and demonstrative Indian way of self expression. We will try to help them understand why one country is so hot while the other is so chilly, why one is filled with a very obvious contrast between rich and poor, and the other is relatively more affluent, at least superficially. Who knows where they will choose to live in the future, but at the very least I hope that they will have deep respect for their heritage, both East and West. 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Black History Film: The Colour of Love Revisited

Sunday November 3rd

Southampton City Gallery Lecture Theatre
Civic Centre (Library Entrance)
Commercial Road



Feature Documentary:

The Colour of Love Revisited

In 1992 The Black and Asian Video Panel, a Southampton film company, produced The Colour of Love, a filmed studio debate which included and involved people from the local black communities and others.  The film explores issues of mixed race relationships and examines how this dynamic impacted on that community’s self-identity.  This new film revists the debate to investigate previous diverse views at a time when black and white communities were less comfortable with the prospect of inter-racial relationships.

The film will be introduced by its producer Don John and will be followed by a Q&A.

Presented as part of Southampton's Black History Month programme which is coordinated by Don John.

Southampton City Gallery Lecture Theatre
Civic Centre (Library Entrance)
Commercial Road

Don John
07977 211140

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Colour of Love

21 years ago in 1992, The Black & Asian Video Panel, a Southampton film company, produced a film called “The Colour of Love”. The film produced by Don John, was a filmed studio debate, which included and involved people from the local African/ Caribbean community and others. The film explored issues of mixed race relationships and examined how this dynamic impacted on that community’s sense of who they were, and how that community has been shaped by that experience. The film was popularly received within the African /Caribbean communities and proved to be a valuable learning experience across the city amongst all communities. 

21 years later people of mixed race are the fastest growing group in the UK.  Back then, how easy was it to be in a mixed race relationship? 
That was the subject of a new film on show as part of Southampton's Black History Month celebrations. Sangeeta Bhabra caught up with Stella and Lloyd to find out if things really have changed for the better.

A new film called "The Colour of Love Revisited", 2013 again consists of a debate featuring many of the original participants; to examine how views have changed 20 years later. 
Find out more about the new film at

Adult Supervision- A Review

Adult Supervision is a truly hilarious play which deals with mixed race family issues.  It opened at the Park Theatre on 8th October and runs until 3rd November.

The play, written by Sarah Rutherford caught my attention because it is about mixed race family issues.  I took advantage of the discount offered and went last Tuesday night with a black girl friend who is in a mixed race relationship and who has two adopted  mixed race children.

The scene was set in a converted loft in a middle class area in London. The girls night in was arranged by Natasha; the idea being to bring together a group of women with mixed race families in an effort to create a less white social environment for her adopted children. The reason offered to her guests was to watch the Obama election.

The four characters, Natasha (white woman who has adopted two Ethiopian children); Mo (white woman in a mixed relationship with a black man and two children): Angela (black woman in a mixed relationship with a white man, with child on the way) and Izzy (white woman and white child, in a new relationship with a white man).

Put this group together with a some alcoholic drinks called 'Obamatinis' and there you have a recipe for for an really interesting night. Hilarious to watch, but in reality it would have been one of those times when you wished you had stayed at home.

We both found the characters and their revelations to be really believable; comedy writers licence accepted. At times, I thought OMG! (and there were several of those moments) are they really saying that! We laughed loudly in the back row at the boldness of the play.

During the interval a mixed race man came up to us and asked us what we thought. We said that we were really enjoying the show, but he replied that he felt uncomfortable. We didn't get to the bottom of his discomfort. Perhaps he didn't relate to the characters in the way that we did, or he felt that some of the content might make some of the mainly white audience who were there on the night feel uneasy.

Sarah Rutherford writer said that 'Some of the more jaw-dropping dialogue in the play is actually pretty much verbatim stuff that has been said to me over the years; other material has come from things that I've thought or sensed but that have gone unsaid'   We both felt that there was nothing in the play that we hadn't already heard, it just hasn't been said on stage in this way before.

All said and done, I grew to like all the characters despite some of their faux pas as they all had an opportunity (as the alcohol loosened their tongues) to show their human vulnerable sides.  My only criticism is that there were too many issues to cram into one play and perhaps some of them could have been left to Adult Supervision 2.

I highly recommend that you go and see the play.  Most of the reviews have given it 4 star rating and I believe it is the first of it's kind in the UK. I am going to see it again and will be taking my mum this time. Oh! and I have to say that the theatre itself is lovely. For more information check out Park Theatre

Friday, 18 October 2013


I am pleased to be able to publish this book list which was compiled by author Malaika Rose Stanley and is a companion piece to this blog post.  I plan to update it on a regular basis, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know by posting a comment below.   UK publications are in bold and Letterbox Library is a great place to find them!


Atinuke & Lauren Tobia - Anna Hibiscus series
Adoff, Arnold – Hard to be Six
Alko, Selina – I’m Your Peanut Butter Big Brother
Aizen, Marina - Mary had a Little Lamb
Benjamin, Floella & Chamberlain, Margaret – My Two Grandads; My Two Grannies
Binch, Caroline – Silver Shoes
Bradman, Tony & Browne, Eileen - Through My WindowIn a Minute; Wait and See

Cosman, Marsha & Kendal, Kyra - Mixed Blessing
Cottringer, Anne – When Titus Took the Train
Dale, Elizabeth – When Betsy Came to Babysit
Docherty, Thomas - Ruby Nettleship and the Ice Lolly Adventure 
Elliott, Odette & McIntyre, Georgina – Sammy Goes Flying      
Evans, Shane W – Olu’s Dream
Fuller, Rachel – Waiting for Baby
Garland, Sarah – Billy and BelleEddie’s Toolbox
Graham, Bob – Oscar’s Half Birthday
Hart, Deipa & Funny Tummy Art - I Am Empathy
Hawkins, Elizabeth & Cemmick, Paul – Ben’s Birthdays
Hoffman, Mary & Northway, Jennifer – Nancy No-Size
Juster, Norton & Raschka, Chris – The Hello Goodbye Window
Marley, Cedella & Brantley-Newton, Vannessa - Every Little Thing
Monk, Isabell & Lee Porter, Janice - Hope
Nichols, Grace No, Baby, No!
Northway, Jennifer – Lucy’s Day Trip
Quarmby, Katharine & Grobler, Piet - Fussy Freya
Ryan, Leslie V - I am Flippish!
Stanley, Malaika Rose & Wilson-Max, Ken – Baby Ruby Bawled
Uff, Caroline – Lulu series
Umansky, Kaye & Sharratt, Nick – Yo Ho Ho! A-Pirating We’ll Go
Venus, Pamela – Let’s Feed the DucksLet’s Go to Playgroup
Willis Hudson, Cheryl, Ford, Bernette G & Ford, G – Bright EyesBrown Skin
Wilkins, Verna Allette & Venus, Pamela – Boots for a Bridesmaid


Aggs, John & Aggs, Patrice The Boss
Baggott, Julianna - The Prince of Fenway Park
Caldecott, Elen – How Ali Ferguson Saved Houdini        
Chang, Margaret – Celia’s Robot
Cassidy, Cathy Cherry CrushLucky StarIndigo Blue
Corder, Zizou – Lion Boy trilogy
Danziger, Paula – The Divorce ExpressIt’s an Aardvark-Eat-Turtle World
Cottrell Boyce, Frank & Berger, Joe Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again    
Dhami, Narinder – Bindi BabesBhangra Babes; Bollywood Babes
Gates, SP- The Monster in the Mudball 
Dougherty, John – Bansi O’Hara series
Hiranandani, Veera – The Whole Story of Half a Girl
Hartley, A J – Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact
Howard, Ken – The Young Chieftain 
Edwards, Nicholas – Dog Whisperer: The RescueStorm Warning
Frazier, Sundee T – Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in ItThe Other Half of My Heart
French, S Terrell – Operation Redwood
Gourlay, Candy – Tall Story
Johnson, Catherine – HeroThe Nightmare CardBrave New GirlSawbones
Lovegrove, James – The 5 Lords of Pain series
Matthews, L S - Lexi
Meddour, Wendy – A Hen in the Wardrobe; The Black Cat Detectives               
Miller, David – Leopard’s ClawSea WolfShark Island
Osborne, Mary Pope – Falling Star 
Osman, Sam - QuicksilverSerpent's Gold
Ould-Okojie, Jackie (ed) Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: The Music Man
Pielichaty, Helena – We’re the Dream Team, Right?
Rainger, Amanda Me and My Family series
Rhys, David – Where’s Gran?
Riordan, Rick – The Kane Chronicles: Red Pyramid, Throne of Fire
Scotto, Michael – Latasha and the Little Red Tornado
Stanley, Malaika Rose – Spike and Ali EnsonSpike in SpaceSkin Deep


Adoff, Jaime – Jimi and Me                                                       
Anderson, R J - Arrow
Beam, Chris – I am J
Blackman, Malorie – Noughts and Crosses trilogy                     
Brahmachari, Sita – Artichoke Hearts, Jasmine Skies
Burchill, Julie – Sugar RushSweet
Cann, Kate – Possessing RayneFire and Rayne
Chadda, Sarwat – Devil’s Kiss; Dark Goddess
Kate Costelloe – The Breakfast Club
Crutcher, Christ – Whale Talk
Dalton, Annie – The Rules of Magic
Durrow, Heidi W – The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
Elliott, Zetta – A Wish After Midnight; Ship of Souls
Evans, Diana – 26a
Freer, Echo – Magenta Orange series                                 
García, Cristina – I Wanna Be Your Shoebox
Green, Caroline Cracks
Gurtler, Janet – If I Tell
Hautman, Pete – Blank Confession
Herne, Lily – Deadlands
Hijuelos, Oscar – Dark Dude
Hoffman, Mary – Stravaganza series
Hucklesby, Jill – If I Could Fly
Johnson, Catherine – Stella; Other ColoursFace Value
Jones, Carrie and Wedel, Steve – After Obsession
Kearns, Zannah No Use Crying
Kent, Rose - Kimchi and Calamari
Larbalestier, Justine – Liar
Lee, Y S - The Agency trilogy
Lester, Joan Steinau – Black White Other: In Search of Nina Armstrong
Leitich Smith, Cynthia – Tantalize series
Magoon, Kekla – Camo Girl
Marriott, Zoë – Daughter of the Flames
Marshall, Clare C - Within
Mlawski, Shana - Hammer of Witches  
Newbery, Linda – The Sandfather
Ostow, Micol – Emily Goldberg Learns to Salsa
Pauley, Kimberly, Cat Girl's Day Off                             
Perkins, Mitali – Monsoon Summer
Phillips, Ellie Dads, Geeks and Blue-Haired Freaks
Pullman, Philip – The Broken Bridge
Rai, Bali - The CrewThe Whisper
Rees, Celia – Pirates!
Rees Brennan, Sarah – The Demon’s Surrender
Reeves, Dia – Bleeding Violet
Resau, Laura – The Indigo Notebook 
Sarkar, Donna – How to Salsa in a Sari
Senna, Danzy – CaucasiaFrom Caucasia, With Love
Smith, Cynthia Leitich – Rain Is Not My Indian Name
Shusterman, Neal – Dread Locks 
Stevenson, Sarah Jamila – The Latte Rebellion
Sturman, Jennifer – And Then Everything UnraveledAnd Then I Found Out The Truth
Thompson, Holly – Orchards
Waterhouse, Lynda – Cut Off
Wenberg, Michael – Stringz
Elizabeth E Wein – The SunbirdThe Lion HunterThe Empty Kingdom
Wolff, Virginia Euwer – The Mozart Season


Thursday, 10 October 2013

Adult Supervision

Park Theatre presents the world premiere of

Adult Supervision

by Sarah Rutherford
Sarah  said that this play is influenced by her own personal experiences. She is married to a man of Jamaican origin and is the mother 'of two amazing mixed-race children, although they go to a much more diverse school than the one in the play. Some of the more jaw-dropping dialogue in the play is actually pretty much verbatim stuff that has been said to me over the years; other material has come from things that I've thought or sensed but that have gone unsaid' 

Dates 8th October – 3rd November  

US election night 2008. A smart inner-London 'village'. For white ex-lawyer Natasha, adoptive mother to two Ethiopian children, tonight is the ideal opportunity to get to know the small handful of other 'mothers of children of colour' at their smart private school. But as the Obamatinis start to flow, the middle-class veneer begins to crack and Natasha's carefully-planned social occasion quickly unravels. Lifting the lid on a stew of racial tensions and social embarrassments, this is a hilarious, provocative and brilliantly insightful look at the new 'Beige Britain'.

Sarah has kindly offered a 20% reduction if you book to see the show between now and 15th October. To take advantage of this offer please use the code ADULT20 when booking. For more information click Park Theatre

Dark girls and slavery’s lingering fingerprints

Maurice McLeod, director of Marmoset Media is an established journalist interested in society and ways to make it fairer for all.  Marmoset Media aims to change the world with compelling content. I recently came across this article which he wrote about mixed race and shadeism
When my beautiful daughter was just eight, she corrected me when I described her to a friend as ‘black’.
“Dad, I’m brown”, she explained. “You’re black, mum’s white and I’m brown”.
While I couldn’t fault her logic, her words caused a strong emotional reaction in me. It was a mini panic, unexpected and violent. I caught my breath and tried to explain that:
“Although races don’t really exist, the world we live in has conjured them up and the shared life experience you will have with your darker skinned cousins and friends defines you all as black, regardless of skin tone.”
Good luck explaining that to an eight year old. No argument I came up with, would convince her she was anything other than brown and so I gave up.  Now she’s 22 and would define herself as mixed-race.  I’ve grown up too and realise almost everything I said to my daughter back then was wrong.
It’s still true that race is an invention, a false division of humanity, but the effects of this belief are very real and blight, not just individual lives, but entire communities.
What I now realise isn’t true is that a light-skinned ‘person of colour’ like my daughter will have identical life experiences to my darker skinned sister.
I use the term ‘people of colour’ because I’ve grown to accept people have the right to define their own race (since it’s all made up anyway). If my daughter doesn’t want to call herself black, that is certainly her prerogative. If Tiger Woods wants to say he is ‘caublasian’ that’s his prerogative too.
Looking back, I realise being black has always been a massive part of my identity. When my daughter said she didn’t share this identity, I was upset because it made me fear she was distancing herself from my part of her heritage.
I wasn’t taking into account that the growing number of mixed children in schools had led to some of them, particularly in schools with large non-white intakes, seeing themselves as a group in their own right and not a subset of black.
To much of mainstream white society my daughter, sister and Tiger Woods for that matter, are simply black.
Despite this, they will have different experiences of being non-white in the UK. (click here to read the rest of the article and Maurice's comments on Shadeism)

                            WE’RE ALL ONE RACE, THE HUMAN RACE

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Black and Mixed Race Actors Wanted


Applicants must provide: CV and Photo
Closing date: 18 October 2013

Media Volt was created in 2008 to develop and advance innovative professional theatre for young people. The company is committed to developing quality theatre experiences in a variety of settings and supporting new writers in this process.
After the success of the last year’s touring production, they are in the process of casting for a retour of “Jaded” by Suha Al Khayyat, which explores how young people respond to domestic abuse and violence. The play will be performed at small studio spaces & secondary schools in South London.
The company is looking to cast 4 actors to take part in the tour. All actors need to be in their mid-twenties who are versatile enough to switch between playing teenagers (aged 14-18) and parents (aged 35+). The play is set across three time eras reflecting three generations of one family. As a consequence all actors will be playing characters from the 1950s, 1980s and present day. The current actor requirements are:
Male actor 1 – Black actor who can convincingly play a 65 year old man. He also plays himself in the past as a younger man man. A Caribbean accent is required and the actor will require a dynamic physical range.
Male actor 2 – Mixed race (White/Black) actor who can switch between playing a south London 14 year old troubled teenage, his vulnerable 9 year old self and other smaller roles.
Female actor 1 – Mixed Race (White/Black) actress who can play a disenfranchised, borderline violent fragile south London teenager. Must have a good emotional range.
Female actor 2 – Black actress who can switch between a teenage immigrant from the 1950s to the fun loving teenager of a single parent family in the 1980s. A Caribbean accent as well as a London accent is required and the actor will require a dynamic physical range.
Provisional Timetable:
Mon. 11/11/13 –Fri 15/11/13 – 1st rehearsal week
Mon. 18/11/13 – Thr. 21/11/13 – 2nd rehearsal week
Fri. 22/11/13 – Preview
Mon. to Fri 25/11/13 to 6/12/13 (with possible extension)– Touring performances
All actors must have appropriate, enhanced DSS/CRB, less than two years old.
The company is happy to process and pay for DBS applications on behalf of the appointed actors.
Fee: £400 per week
To contact Media Volt and for more info (click here)