Sunday, 15 March 2015

Writers Wanted


London, Nationwide Closes Thursday 30 April 2015 Paid (£10k-15k pro rata) Part time Artform:literature   Contact: Katy Massey tangledroots@live.co.uk

Description

Write about your life for Tangled Roots...we want your story in our next book!
Following on from the first, highly successful book, we are now seeking submissions for the next volume of Tangled Roots: True-Life Tales of Mixed and Multi-Racial Families.
We want your true stories/memoir/true-life tales, as well as your family pictures and your memories.
There are millions of mixed race households in the UK, but little published writing about what life is like for mixed families, or how there came to be so many. To fill this gap, Tangled Roots will be publishing a second volume of true stories about mixed lives.
We are also looking for photographs, anecdotes and stories for our new website.
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE MIXED RACE - ANYBODY WITH EXPERIENCE OF MULTI-RACIAL/ETHNIC HOUSEHOLDS CAN SUBMIT. If you support the idea of Tangled Roots, then your contribution is as important as anyone else's.
Bernardine Evaristo MBE ('Mr Loverman') and Charlotte Williams ('Sugar and Slate@) are already commissioned to write for this collection. Your work will appear alongside theirs and that of other renowned writers. Also, if published in the collection, you will be paid for your contribution.
  • What do we want? Short (up to 2,000 words) pieces of memoir, autobiography and true-life tales sent to tangledroots@live.co.uk. Cut and pasted into the email – no attachments please.
  • When do we want it? By April 30th 2015 to be considered for inclusion in the next book, but at any time for the website.
  • Who do we want it by? ANYONE who has experience of mixed race families in the UK.
  • NB We are aware that definitions of race and religion can sometimes overlap, therefore we welcome stories where religious tensions has/can form a significant barrier to personal relationships.
This is a chance say what you REALLY feel about race and mixture – we are open-minded about subject matter. For detailed submission Guidelines please see www.tangledroots.org.uk You can also read previously-published stories here and get writing hints and tips.

Monday, 2 March 2015

50 Shades of Beige…



by @TweetsByBilal

Been a good while since I put pen to paper. Wait this is awkward, fingers to keyboard rather, 2015 and all that. In any case, I’ve been thinking for a while about something of paramount importance. Me. (Vote Bilal..) or rather, people like me. By this I mean mixed-race people. But this is where I may lose my fellow beige skinned people who got excited that I have some enlightening news from Mixed-Daily. Actually, maybe I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about the people who are mixed ‘unconventionally’ you know – those of us who, God forbid, are mixed with two or more ethnic minorities. Madness. Those people exist?
You probably wouldn’t think so would you.. I mean as much as things have progressed and we now have our beloved beige beacons, Jess Ennis, Lewis Hamilton, etc. – where are the people like me? The 50 shades of beige people? Actually now let me ‘throw some of those shades’. Don’t be alarmed, I’m not trying to scare you into giving me a voice, I mean according to certain Arquette’s, it’s probably time we take a break in the ‘march (at the speed of a granny on a Zimmer-frame) of progress’ and start paying homage to those I can only think of as the resemblance of every FOX news Anchorwoman… *insert Virtual DJ siren noise, wheel it back up again*. However I AM saying that there is an unmistakeable gap in the representation of the experience of another type of mixed-race voice. So often the voices of those who are mixed ethnic minorities are left out of a discussion of what it means to be mixed-race. So how do we identify? Where do we fit in?
My dear mum herself is one of them. With her ‘darkskinned’ (loaded terms deh) or for a much better use of language, black, let’s use that for all skin-tones people, mum and her Oriental looking, but of shady/ambiguous origin dad, she grew up in Jamaica unaware that she would not be categorised as mixed race when she moved to the UK. Instead, she found herself coming here and for the sake of avoiding writing an extended thesis on any Monitoring Information forms just decided to self-identify as black. That was all good for her, until she found my Pakistani dad, Mr. Khan (you may have seen his name on various butchers throughout London – please – no photos). Sorry dad, as much as you claim to be Kenyan, we both know that I will never be English, works both ways bruh. Fast forward a few years and the happy couple give birth to this hybrid creation, Bilal Harry Khan, a mixture of all colours non-white, born into a society where to be mixed-race was a progression from being ‘half-caste’ but the term is still loaded with connotations of being ‘half’ white and ‘half’ otherOther. Horrible word. To grow up wondering what your Dadami just said to you in Urdu and just assuming it was ‘more food?’ and then going back to your Nana’s yard and being loaded with curry goat and rice and peas is a great thing. (You half white people are slyly jealous now aren’t you? Pub food is good and that but…) Sorry. That was a joke, if you know me that was ‘Bilal-funny’, not actually funny, but if you’re smirking/rolling your eyes you lot are empathising. But to grow up like that in a society where the ‘so where are you from?’ question is almost fundamental to any social introduction can cause a lot of problems for your own interpretation of identity. Particularly when you never see or hear of much representation of anyone like you. In fact, outside of the Caribbean and Brazil, perhaps the holy grails for being mixed beige pon beige, you could almost be lulled into a false sense of security that ones genetics MUST contain at least some white in order to pass as mixed in our society. Maybe I’m TOO different. A question that all too often passed through my mind, even growing up in a place like Brent, apparently the most multicultural borough in the whole of London I’ll have you know. Great Ikea there as well.
But, It’s obviously a very personal experience, depends entirely on the interaction with both sides of your parentage, the area you’re from, the school you went to, the food you ate, and *insert the rest of the infinite variables that created you here* but regardless, speaking from my own life, the experience of being mixed with a number of ethnic minorities in a still capitalist white patriarchal society with no recognisable space for yourself , not even on a form – and don’t give me that ‘other’ nonsense, cannot fail to put you at a disadvantage.
Now please don’t all jump at once and vote me as champion for all colours of the Dulux beige colour chart. I prefer being a keyboard warrior. But don’t we all think that it’s about time we change our perceptions of what it means to be ‘mixed-race’ in Britain today? It’s 2015, in the urban sprawl where society is increasingly multicultural, perhaps it is time we open up further representations of what it means to be mixed, that being mixed is not just about being half-white, that indeed #ITooAmMixed @Tweetsbybilal
For more articles by Bilal and to follow his blog, please click here