A space for openness, honesty, discussion and learning. A space where no subject is taboo and no question’s a stupid question. Where I, as a British, mixed race woman in her 40s, explore some of the subjects whizzing around my head, at a time when I’ve never known so much discourse and discovery about race.
I’m still buzzing as I write today’s blog. I’ve just put down the phone to Alan Clifford, the BBC Radio Nottingham presenter. I had a really healthy, challenging chat with him today as I reviewed the news for his Sunday morning show (available on BBC Sounds if you’d like to listen).
I chose three news stories from this last week and what I loved about it, was that they opened up conversations about race, division, representation and equality. Alan asked some questions that I think a lot of people would probably ask too. Is literacy on the decline because of “text speak”? Doesn’t all this talk of race on social media bring more division? Isn’t it hard to keep up with the ever changing language about racial identity?
It made me realise how much I often luxuriate in my own echo chamber. So many of the people I speak to are joining me in educating themselves about race and diversity and are on the same page as me in terms of recognising the injustices and ways society needs to improve. Alan gave me the chance to publicly challenge the perceptions of many people who don’t agree, or aren’t aware, or aren’t interested. And that’s what Oo! That’s A Bit Racey! is all about – sparking conversation, debate, and, ultimately, change.
On the back cover of The Mothers, by Brit Bennett, Roxane Gay is quoted as saying “The Mothers has stayed with me since I first read it….”. It stayed with me too. It was one of those books I had to sit with for a moment after I turned the last page. For a novel set around a church community, if felt almost prayer-like when I finished it. I had to sit and reflect on it, in silence, with respect.
Happy New Year to everyone, and a huge thank you to everyone who’s read and supported That’s a Bit Racey this year. It wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without a round-up post….so here are my personal reflections on 2020. It’s going to be tricky to do this without using cliches, but what a year!
On top of the glorious readings of some of her passages, and her captivating descriptions of Nigeria, where her inspiration, research, and personal experiences come from, I was touched by some of the other messages she had for us.
Female relationships, were a special element to Chimamanda’s interview and this is what I would like to reflect on for this week’s blog.
Myself and two fellow new Trustees, inspirational women who I can’t wait to meet, are bringing new perspectives to this charity that has already achieved so much as it celebrates its fifth anniversary. It’s a time when Nottingham is bursting with creativity, and also a time that the world needs a little more help to stay positive, inspired and empowered.
I’ve been following The Nottingham City Of Literature for a while. It’s an organistion I admire, for many reasons, all very meaningful to me. Focused on inspiring and supporting the people of my home town, its aim is to “build a better world with words”. I couldn’t think of a more praise worthy goal. It’s one I truly believe in and one I genuinely feel is possible.
This week’s blog is in celebration of this excellent organisation and what “building a better world with words” means to me.
This week’s post is a straight forward book review of a novel that was anything but. “Such a Fun Age” by Kiley Reid was a fun read. It was more than that too. It posed some important questions and held the mirror up to some common truths about the world we live in.
To celebrate the first female, mixed heritage, Asian, African Caribbean vice President of the United States being officially in post (three cheers for Kamala Harris!), today’s blog has to be about representation.
Knowing that my daughter will watch the news and see a little of herself in the Vice President of the United States is hard to describe. It’s comforting, reassuring, empowering, exciting and more, because she is represented.
So why is representation so important?
Here are the top five reasons from my point of view…..
By now I think you all know that I’m only reading books written by Black authors for a year. I celebrate it almost every day on Instagram and do a little dance every time I discover a writer of colour I wouldn’t have otherwise heard of. I’ve read some brilliant books and have at least three on the go at any one time nowadays.
Well, it’s got me thinking about other areas of my life, where I’ve followed the crowd, and the crowd has followed the norm, and the norm has been White. There are plenty of areas that could do with a little Black equity.
When I’m in the mood to treat myself, there are two shopping categories I gravitate towards. Number one, books (no surprise there) and number two, fashion.
How many items of clothing do you think I’ve bought from Black fashion designers? Please, please, please don’t let this be true……but I have a horrible feeling it might be none.