Mixedness
& mixing

New perspectives on mixed-race Britons

A CRE eConference · 4-6 September 2007

Not Black Enough (Lin King,)
31 August 2007

Not black enough

Posted on: Friday 31 August 2007

I was born in 1949 to a white woman and a black father. I was put into care from birth. I do not think that this was unusual at the time. Although I do not know of any research to substantiate this, I believe the pressure on white women to give mixed race babies up existed at that time. The pressure may still exist, as the care system today, is full of mixed race, hard to place children.

I was not aware of 'difference' until the age of six or seven when I suffered verbal and sometimes physical abuse from other children. Shocking though that was for someone so young there was, at the age of 11 the realisation that adults also held negative views about 'difference'. At this point as a look back I accept that thousands of black people will have had similar experiences to me. What was different was that black people also held negative views about me. I believe that mixed race people like me experience a kind of racism that unique to our situation. It is a contentious issue but one that needs to be explored.

Black people even now ask about my origins; who is your father? Who is your mother? Where were you born? It seems important to establish purity, kinship, and sameness. They look down on us; sucking their teeth as we walk past. I am sure there is no need to explain what this gesture means but it happened to a much younger mixed race woman than myself and she was shocked that other black people should view her in this way.

Why should this be? It is because we do not fit into white society nor do we fit into black society. To white society we are black but to black society we are not black enough.

 

About the author

Lin King is a mixed-race woman born to a white Irish mother and an African Caribbean father in post war Britain.

5 Comments
For Elena,

As I said in my piece, the psychological aspects of racism need to be explored more fully.

I didn't say it was the mother's fault or the carer's fault. Racism is a malaise of the whole of society and no-one as far as I can see can be free of it so to speak.

I have read Fanon in detail and he also points to childhood influences.

If you would like to talk further by all means be in touch.
Isabel.

For Merfyn,
I don't exactly get the point you are making? Please clarify.

Isabel Adonis
10 September 2007


For Isabel Adonis.

Stop fantasising. Putting you in care would have meant putting your two elder sisters in care also.

Merfyn Monplaisir
10 September 2007


Hi there,

i was born in Dublin to a white mother and black father (whom i have never met) and put up for adoption in 1975 and subsequently raise din an all white family. Up until i left Dublin in the late 90s i was considered black - then i come here and i “ain't black enough”. the only direct racist abuse i have received has been form black people who assume that i think i am better than them because i am lighter skinned than they are – I have had black people stop, and give out to me for walking down the street with my white friends…

To say i was confused, is an understatement - i spent my whole youth in Dublin dying to get out and live in a mixed society where i would be accepted by the black community as one of their own – that a very rude awakening! I have now accepted that I will never fully be part of either group, as far as those groups are concerned.

Franz Fanon – HUGE fan – first mixed race thinker I came across and his insight and wisdom stays with me where ever I go.



Siobhan McKenna
05 September 2007


Lin King: On point. Absolutely correct.

Isabel Adonis: Get a grip. Race conflict is not the fault of your or any particular mother/carer. It is a societal matter that is effective b/c it is internalised by those discriminated against and those doing the discriminating. Read Black Skin White Mask by Franz Fanon (psychoanalyst, philosopher and activist)

Elena
05 September 2007


Race conflict is not actually about colour (though everywhere it is) but stems from our first relationship with our mother or our first carer.All racial ideologies stem from this primal relationship of origin and belonging.
Change will only come when we all accept our own individual mixedness and our own ambiguous feelings and that means everybody.
This is a however a complex psychological issue which needs to be explored fully. The location of racism by and large is in white people: they have the power and this is what makes it particularly damaging to everybody else.
Thankyou for your piece. I was born in 1951 in London to a Guyanese father and a Welsh mother who were themselves not free of prejudice. Unusually for the time my parents didn't put me into care, because my mother herself was brought up in care and knew how awful it was for her.

Isabel Adonis
02 September 2007


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