& mixing

New perspectives on mixed-race Britons

A CRE eConference · 4-6 September 2007

Forum: Day 3, Participation
Participation in public life
Posted on: 06/09/2007 01:11:00
Posted by: Hamish
Whether it's voting, standing for political office or less traditional forms of citizen participation such as school governors thee are plenty of efforts to increase participation by ethnic minorities (Rob Berkley describes this well in today's expert opinion). Do these initiatives reach people who are mixed-race? Do they need to?

Re:Participation in public life
Posted on: 06/09/2007 08:52:00
Posted by: Jasvinder
Role models are important,however they have to be at least prepared to put across their positive mixed heritage...how else will young people who are raised for example in white culture or black culture be able to understand and comeout about their identity and feel good about this?

Re:Participation in public life
Posted on: 06/09/2007 09:42:00
Posted by: Isabel Adonis
What I want to say is complex and I almost hesitate to say it... You are raising the issue of participation for a mixed race person/s and I want to say that in order for the mixed person to really fit into society we need a new society where the individual is important.

What I see is a society based exploitation and posessiveness: in schools competition and conformity underpin human activity which is socially and racially devisive. I could go on. The point I am making is that public life must also be in question. To be successful in this society means to a large extent that you accept these values.

Being critical of the society leaves me an outsider and I have little or no agency or participation in it. However, I have had considerable influence in the things I have done outside the mainstream. Teaching my children at home for instance. Tutoring individual children who were failing in the system. I have never failed any of them.
Running women's workshops and workshops for the elderly.

Change in society requires a different way of looking; someone said here "thinking outside the box", though I'm writing in a little box now! I think Audre Lorde said - much quoted that " the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house".


Re:Re:Participation in public life
Posted on: 06/09/2007 14:14:00
Posted by: toby
I think i am in agreement with what you're saying. if i understand it correctly, that is! in order to join public life, or participate in it, you must play a game that is devisive and exploitative. as a mixed person with a 'white' parent and a 'black' parent, i do not feel that this game does either side any favours. it leaves me cold.
By joining politics, you join the scrum, and as a minority you are buried by it.
i have recently been invited to be a school governor, due to my work in the local area with children, and the fact that men are underrepresented in the primary school system. positive non-white role models are even thinner on the ground, and in London that simply isn't good enough.
i hope that i can bring something positive and useful to the role, but i am definitely wary that the 'system' could prove the most frustrating issue to deal with.

Re:Re:Re:Participation in public life
Posted on: 06/09/2007 15:38:00
Posted by: Isabel Adonis
Dear Toby, It would be great if people in charge of public life didn't confuse function and status, but unfortunately this is generally not the case. I suspect that for the mixed race person there is a need/demand for an equality which just isn't there in a racially white person. This is hard to express, but I'm saying that it's just not enough to have a few mixed race/black people around, the structure of the society also requires change.
I wonder if I have made myself clear?!

Re:Re:Re:Re:Participation in public life
Posted on: 06/09/2007 16:01:00
Posted by: toby
crystal. and i thoroughly agree. no doubt you know how difficult it is to tell the majority-or rather the function/status disorientated leaders of that majority- that their structure is wrong. which leaves us with the same old patched-up job. or revolution?!
it's especially hard when you don't have the precise answers people always want to hear, before they will move in a different direction. just look at how difficult the climate change issue is proving to get into peoples heads and lives in any meaningful way.
or for that matter, the raft of issues that this country is so static at dealing with. the list goes on and on and on....