Afua Hirsch is a British woman, English by birth of middle-class mixed race parents. Brit-ish explores the many aspects of how the world is viewed from the perspective of a woman, received as black at home in the U.K. but as white by indigenous Africans.

 

She discusses the difficulties of integration encountered by black and mixed race people who have come to the United Kingdom and considers the ontological status of race as a social construct. Even those who choose not to define themselves by race have to face the fact that others frequently do.

 

She  discusses the positive side of living as a person of multiple heritages, which has enabled her to immerse herself into several communities through family connections, with the benefit of being bilingual.

William Edward Burghart Du Bois

Hirsch states that British people are inter-marrying in significant numbers. In the 2011 census almost 1 in 10 people in England and Wales described themselves as co-habiting or married in an inter-ethnic relationship. One study found 90% of black British men aged 20 and in a relationship had a partner who is not black.

 

There are now more Caribbean and white mixed-race children under the age of 5 in England and Wales than there are children of this age with two black Caribbean parents.

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These children are finding their way in a world that still often defines them by their skin colour.

It is a peculiar sensation; this double consciousness, the sense of always looking at oneself through the eyes of others.      

Afua Hirsch