Tag Archive | "mixed race"

Robert Wedderburn – Black Radical

Robert Wedderburn

Robert Wedderburn

Robert Wedderburn was born in Jamaica in 1762. His father was White Scottish, and his mother a slave. His family life was not one that involved a loving home. His father sold his mother to Lady Douglass, whilst she was pregnant with Robert. He did stipulate that when the child was born, he should be free.

Robert was raised by his maternal Grandmother. He then ran away to join the Navy. He came to England in 1778.  Living in the slum areas frequented by immigrants and outlaws he made a meagre living as a journeyman Taylor.

Robert Wedderburn and the Spenceans

In the late 1780’s he became interested in religion. He met Thomas Spence and joined the Society of Spencean Philanthropists. He first began to make a name for himself when the leader of the Spenceans, Thomas Evans was jailed for High Treason in 1817. Robert Wedderburn brought out a periodical called “The Forlorn Hope, or a call to the Supine, To rouse from Indolence and assert Public Rights”. With this he hoped to establish a free Press.

Police spies were always watching him. From their records we can see that Wedderburn opened a public meeting house in Hopkins St, Soho. Apparently his sermons were attended by around 200 hundred people each Sunday. He taught theology, morality, natural philosophy and politics.

Wedderburn was arrested for sedition. He was defending a slaves rights to rise up and kill his master. He was placed in Newgate Jail until a bail of £ 200 was raised. Shortly after the Peterloo Massacre took place. Wedderburns group declared it an act of murder committed by the magistrates and the Yeoman.

Wedderburn was also an anti Slavery campaigner. He sent the first revolutionary papers from England to the West Indies. This was called ‘The axe laid to the root , or “A fatal blow to oppressions, being an address to the planters and Negroes of the island of Jamaica“.

For this Wedderburn was arrested and found guilty of ‘Blasphemous libel’. He served 2 years in Carlisle jail. When he was released, he wrote his autobiography entitled The Horrors of Slavery”.

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It's not that Black or White…

Mixed Race

Mixed Race

I often think that my mixed heritage gives me a fantastic advantage of speaking about race issues.  A perspective that some times I feel neither Black or White people can truly understand.

Looking in the mirror every day as a child and wondering where my brown features came from was a particularly hard thing to
grapple with but apart from one time in infancy, I don’t ever remember being troubled by my ethnicity.Quite the opposite in fact, I always felt proud of who I am, despite not having much actual detail.
I was born to a White woman in the 1970′s, my Black father has never been a part of my life. I was adopted from Manchester and went to live in the Derbyshire countryside with a loving, childless, working class White couple.

Despite the obvious pitfalls that would follow. My early life was great.

Being one of the only kids with a drop of colour in the area certainly provided it’s challenges. My adoptive parents, who are the only parents I have ever known faced the normal whispering campaign by the village gossips and bigots but on the whole people were supportive of their decision to take in a “coloured” child.

I always had plenty of friends to play with, but there were experiences that revealed the racism engrained in English society
in the Seventies and Eighties.

Racist 80s

Some of the nicknames I had were Choccy, Coony, and Chalky. Seriously, this seems unreal now, but the number of mixed race guys
I have met over the years who were also dubbed “Chalky” after the Jim Davison character “Chalky White”. Although my parents tried their best to protect me from this name calling, there was a limit to what they could do.

At the time I was so woefully ignorant of the true meaning of these slurs. Yet I honestly believe that the kids who called me these names, were too. These were names picked up from the culture of their parents. Comedians such as Jim Davidson and Bernard Manning were popular in those days and “Black Jokes” were part of the “comedy” landscape. I bore it all, until puberty.


I have, like many people suffered racism, and like many mixed race people, I have suffered discrimination at the hands of Black,
White and Asian people. I probably have too many experiences of racism to go into here but indulge me, whilst I present to you a few of the ones that
stick in the mind, for your examination.

  • One School report day, my mum sat me down to discuss my distinctly average grades. Almost every class report said, Philip is intelligent , he refuses to apply himself. My mum told me that one of the Teachers had said to her “Negroes are naturally indolent, they need to be pushed at every turn”.
  • Aged about 12 I was hanging around at the other end of the village and this little kid came up to us and was chatting to us, he let me sit on his bike. I was cycling round and round in circles and suddenly his dad came running out into the garden bare chested. Saw me on the bike and shouted “get off that bike, you Black Bastard”. Naturally, stunned I jumped off the bike, dashed it to the floor and flipped him the bird and shouted “up yours” before sprinting off before retribution was visited.
  • Like so many Black and mixed race kids my ageI had no reason to love the police in the 80′s. Aged 14 I was cycling my Bike through the Village of Bradwell, suddenly a Cop car past me and pulled me over. I faced a barrage of questions such as “Where are you from”, “what’s your name” , “whats your name?…”where are you from?”, “who’s bike is that?”, “where did you buy it?”, “whats your name again?”. After explaining several times who I was, and that I was from the next village, the cop let me go on my way. when I asked him why pulled me up, he told me that a bike fitting the description had been stolen from the area, but I know that was a croc of lies because he never even took the frame number, it was just intimidation , plain and simple.
  • In Junior School I was something of a wimp, but I was turning 11, when something clicked in me. I had decided that I wasn’t going to take racism anymore, because I knew that if I didn’t start standing up for myself, I’d be in trouble when I got to high school. One sunny afternoon I was strolling around the village when I was challenged by another boy, who was in fact, a year younger than me to get off the path. In fact his words were “move Choccy!” , I just laughed and said, “No, you move.” this went on for a few minutes before we resolved to settle this like men at one o’clock on the corner of the street. He went and spread the word, lots of the older kids came down on their bikes, I’m sure they thought he was gonna beat me up, he had a reputation for being a hardnut. That day the worm turned. I battered that kid, in fact he only landed one punch in the whole fight and that was when I was trying to pull my coat off, because I’d gotten too hot from punching him repeatedly. He didn’t know my Dad had taught me a load of boxing moves. That day things largely changed forever. High School was a breeze and I had respect.


Changing 90′s 

When I was around 16/17 I used to go drinking in the Ex-Servicemans Club. It was a Private Members Club and you could be a member at 16. There were these two blokes, who used to go in there who would just sit and abuse me. They were in their mid 20′s and I was just a skinny 17 yr old so the best I could do was give them some verbal back. I have no problem naming these Idiots, because in my eyes they still haven’t paid for the abuse they gave me.

Years later I walked into the George Hotel, and was having a drink when I spotted one of these Idiots sitting in the pool room, he was clearly drunk so I thought I’d have a word. Bear in mind that I was about 24 at this point and I’d filled out considerably, strolled over to him and said “Hello there, Frank”. “oh, hello mate” he said. Well that was it, red rag to a bull time! I started shouting at him, “Don’t you want to call me Nigger, or Coon , or Wog?

“its mate now is it? , I’ve a good mind to smash you all over this place! ” He started protesting his innocence and a few other people intervened. It was totally worth it to see the cowardly reaction he gave though without the backup of his mate Mo.
You see so many of these racists had clearly identified me as being different to them, simply by the colour of my skin, to them I was Black.
Yet conversely, many Black people I have known have sneered at me or frowned upon me for being “too White”.

In the late 90′s I was at University, I had a wide social circle that included people from Norway to Nigeria, Greece to Ghana. When meeting some of the Black guys for the first time they would all greet me with the stereotypical Black handshake which consisted of a hand grasp, then sliding the fingers, then a thumb lock and flick/click of the fingers or a gimme five motion.

The maddening thing was that no two guys ever seemed to do the same shake. they always looked at me with suspicion when I couldn’t do it. You see, that despite being heavily interested in Black politics and left wing movements, I’d had little contact with Black people on the whole.

Years later in Africa, I had no such experience, no African I met in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia or Mozambique greeted me in the same way as the Black guys at Uni. Instead of regarding me with suspicion they treated me like a long lost brother.

Another example of my “Whiteboyness” came at a Jamaican wedding, my first one. I didn’t know any of the dance steps. Everyone else in the room did.. I prayed for the ground to eat me up, I dropped out, my girlfriend at the time was cringing and I can’t remember feeling so alone in a crowd. Even eating the food was an issue. what man doesn’t like “Curry Goat” , but Pigs foot? No, I wasn’t up for eating a pigs foot and again I stood out from the crowd.

Over the years I have received both plaudits and criticism from Black people over the creation of this site my motives for creating it. I have been told I’m “Not Black”. My answer is I’m not White either, and I look Black, and have been treated the same way you have. I have also pointed out that had I been living in America, or Apartheid South Africa, I would have been treated as a Black person. It bought little creedance.

You see the thing with being mixed race in Britain is that you STILL don’t actually fully fit in anywhere. My point of view is, that people of all colours need to know the struggles of peoples of African Descent, before anyone can truly begin to understand that the colour of a persons skin does not wholly define them. It is merely a part of their identity. Culture and experience actually count for much more than a superficial marker like skin colour.

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Inter Racial Couple Deported – S.O. 5 Apr. 1913 p8

A Mixed Race Couple were Deported to the United States from Canada, in part of anti-Miscegenation laws. 1913

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Black Hair – How do you look after it?

Dealing with Afro Hair

Dealing with Afro Hair

If like me, you are sitting there thinking, huh this old chestnut again then I’m sorry, but I have serious issues dealing with my black hair and how to look after it. I guess it should start by stating that I’m mixed race so my hair is neither European hair or African Hair. It is of course a mixture between the two types.

That said I have curly hair not mad tight, but curly just the same. I can grow a wicked Afro and have done on several occasions.

How to care for your Afro is another thing though. I struggle to regulate mine because my hair can’t seem to make up it’s mind as to what it actually is. Is your hair Greasy or Dry you ask, well it’s both.

Some days its so greasy it’s unbearable, other days it’s so dry its really brittle.

Regardless of how often I wash my hair it’s always the same. I can wash my hair on a Monday, and it’s greasy as hell on Tuesday.
Then by Thursday of the same week it’s dry as a bone again.

These days I’m growing my dreads back. I used to have long dreads back in the 90’s and only cut them when they got so scruffy with breakage on top. Today I’m having the same issue. The dreadlocks are forming nicely but I’m getting a lot of loose hairs that are making the natty dreads look fuzzy.

I’ve tried a couple of different waxes to try and increase the locking but with mixed results. Nothing is stopping these breakaways hairs from spoiling the look. Somedays I’m close to just cutting it all off.

One final point, is that I also struggle getting air to my scalp, when my Afro is long, or when I’m wearing dreadlocks I sometimes get sore patches on my head as the scalp isn’t getting enough air to it. I have had the same issue when wearing Cornrows.

If anyone out there can relate to these issues or even offer me some good advice on how to solve these hair problems. I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Black Britain, Black WomenComments (2)

Do Racist Attitudes Hinder Mothers of Mixed-Race Children?

mixed race child

mixed race child

ScienceDaily (Apr. 28, 2010) ? Professor Ravinder Barn and Dr Vicki Harman from the Centre for Criminology and Sociology at Royal Holloway, University of London are carrying out research into white mothers of mixed-race children. It is part of a wider study of mixed-race children and young people that has spanned more than two decades.

Parenting as an activity has become the focus for much concern at a policy and academic level, and the experiences of white women mothering mixed-race children is also receiving considerable attention.

Globalisation and migration are playing key roles in determining the social and familial landscape of contemporary western societies. Government statistics in the UK, Canada and the USA point to the increasing racial and cultural heterogeneity and the growth of the mixed-race population. Although many of these families lead relatively trouble-free lives, there is evidence of vulnerability and disadvantage for others in a number of areas including education, health, social care and the criminal justice system.

Read More >> Science Daily – Do Racist Attitudes Hinder Mothers of Mixed-Race Children?

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Dame Kelly Holmes – Athlete

Kelly holmes

Kelly holmes

Dame Kelly Holmes, DBE MBE (born 19 April 1970) is a retired British middle distance athlete. She specialised in the 800 metres and 1500 metres events and won a gold medal for both distances at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. She set British records in numerous events and still holds the records over the 600, 800, 1000, and 1500 metres distances. Born in Pembury, Kent, the daughter of Derrick Holmes, a Jamaican-born car mechanic, and an English mother, Pam Norman.

It was in the last four years of her career that Holmes had her greatest achievements. In 2002 Holmes won the 1500 m at the Commonwealth Games and the 800 m bronze at the Munich European Championships. The 2003 track season saw her take silver in the 1500 m at the World Indoor Championships and the 800 m silver medals at the World Championships and first World Athletics Final. She took part in her final major championship in 2004? she turned in a double gold medal-winning performance at the Athens Olympics, finishing as the 800 m and 1500 m Olympic Champion.

Holmes is the first British woman to win two Olympic gold medals, and the country’s first double gold medallist at the same games since Albert Hill in 1920. Her time of 3 minutes 57.90 seconds in the 1500 m final also set a new British record for the distance.

For her achievements she won numerous awards and was appointed a dame by HM The Queen in 2005. She retired from athletics in 2005 and has since made a number of television appearances.

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Dido Elizabeth Bell Lindsay-Aristocrat

Dido Elizabeth Lindsay

Dido Elizabeth Lindsay

In the 18th Century, some Black people in the Eighteenth Century were considerably more privileged than most. One such Woman was Dido Elizabeth Bell Lindsay.

Dido was the daughter of Captain John Lindsay of the Royal Navy. She was born in England to an African mother who was captured from a Spanish ship.

Dido lived in Kenwood with her Great uncle William Murray until she was at least thirty. Although she was not a servant, it seems that she had a statues slightly lower than that of a full family member. Among her tasks were tending to Cattle and Poultry.

Murray and his Wife were childless and seemed happy to raise Dido and her cousin Lady Elizabeth Lindsay, whose mother had died while she was still an infant. Authors Speculate that Dido’s role in the family might have been that of ‘Playmate or attendant to her cousin.

The Portrait by Zoffany proves that Dido grew up to be an elegant and beautiful young woman. Her high status afforded her presents at Christmas and Birthdays that were more than normal servants would get, yet certainly less than her cousin Lady Elizabeth.

When her cousin left Kenwood to marry in 1785 Dido stayed on to look after the Murrays. While she stayed there records show that she lived in some comfort. Her bed was hung with glazed Chintz, she had asses milk when she was ill and a mahogany table made for her.
(Adams p13).

After her fathers death she received One thousand pounds. In her fathers obituary, which appeared in the London Chronicle she was referred to as having an amiable disposition and accomplishments which have gained her the highest respect.
(London Times, June 9th 1788,555)

When her Great Uncle died he left her a further 500 pounds and 100 pounds per year for life. He also made certain that she was a free woman. Little is known of Dido after the death of her uncle except that we can assume that she married, in 1779 her name changes to Davinier and she left Kenwood.

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Mixed-Race Couple Confronted With Racist Question, Stalked, Then Gunned Down In Arizona

Gunned down for being in love?

Gunned down for being in love?

PHOENIX, AZ — Phoenix police say the gunning down of an interracial couple by a stranger in a local Phoenix park is being investigated as a possible hate crime. A 39-year-old white female was shot to death after being confronted with a racist question about being with her black boyfriend, Jeffrey Wellmaker.

The couple was out for a walk in La Palma Park in Phoenix early Saturday morning when a heavily tattooed man with a shaved head approached them and asked Wellmaker, “What are you doing with that white woman?”

The couple tried to ignore the question and immediately walked away. The gunman followed on foot for a short distance, then got into the passenger seat of a nearby car. The car followed the couple for approximately half a mile before the gunman fired two shots from the passenger window, and the car sped away.

Both the 39-year-old woman and 48-year-old Wellmaker were hit. The woman, who has not yet been identified by police, was transported to the hospital where she died later Saturday. Wellmaker did not sustain serious physical injury.

Phoenix police officer James Holmes says he cannot say for certain that the shooting was a hate crime, “but it does lead us in that direction just because of the fact that the suspect made a comment to the race of both victims,” explaining, “He’s bald. He’s got tattoos. He’s making a comment about a white woman with a black man. One could assume that it might be a hate crime.”

The suspect has not been identified and is described as a white male, about 5’6″, heavily tattooed. The suspect fled the scene in a white four-door car with tinted windows.

Phoenix has experienced racially motivated shootings in the past and is home to a large number of hate groups. Most notably, Balbir Singh Sodhi was shot to death four days after 9/11 because his attackers mistakenly believed he was Arab. In 2003, Avtar Singh Cheira was shot by strangers who yelled, just before shooting him, “Go back to where you came from!”

Source: Huffington Post

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