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‘Barack Obama had a special talent for making different kinds of people feel comfortable around him because of his biracial life experience, says Adekoya. By the same token, Adekoya himself seems poised to become one of the most important and subtle new voices in Britain’s never-ending conversation about race’ David Goodhart, Unherd
Mixed-race is the fastest-growing minority group in Britain. By the end of the century roughly one in three of the population will be mixed-race, with this figure rising to 75 per cent by 2150. Mixed-race is, quite literally, the future.
Paradoxically, however, this unprecedented interracial mixing is happening in a world that is becoming more and more racially polarized. Race continues to be discussed in a binary fashion: black or white, we and they, us and them. Mixed-race is not treated as a unique identity, but rather as an offshoot of other more familiar identities – remnants of the twentieth century ‘one-drop’ rule (‘if you’re not white, you’re black’) alarmingly prevail. Therefore, where does a mixed-race person fit? Stuck in the middle of these conflicts are individuals trying to survive and thrive. It is high time we developed a new understanding of mixed-race identity better suited to our century.
Remi Adekoya (the son of a Nigerian father and a Polish mother, now living in Britain) has come to the conclusion that while academic theories can tell us a lot about how identities are socially constructed, they are woeful at explaining how identities are felt. He has spoken to mixed-race Britons of all ages and racial configurations to present a thoughtful and nuanced picture of what it truly means to be mixed-race in Britain today.
A valuable new addition to discussions on race, Biracial Britain is a search for identity, a story about life that makes sense to us. An identity is a story. These are our stories.