Day three of the bookathon… (only another 5 to go, but if you behave I’ll give you a break soon.

Brit(ish), by Afua Hirsch

In Britain, we are taught not to see race. We are told that race does not matter. We have convinced ourselves that if we can contort ourselves into a form of blindness, then issues of identity will quietly disappear.

The premises of this book lie in ‘the question’: where are you from?

Afua Hirsch is a British citizen, but because she is the daughter of a black Ghanaian woman and white English man, all her life she’s questioned her identity, is she white? is she black? what does it mean to be British? … people will ask you, where are you from… where are you really from?

It’s superbly well written, informative and easy to ready… but don’t think it’s an easy read. It’s well researched, personal and universal at the same time and asks profound questions on the issues of belonging and what is our identity?

Why is it more of a question of citizenship? Is your identity your culture? what you look like? your traditions? Your past? Is it a choice? And when you come from two different cultures… do you have to choose? do you pick one above the other?

She writes the book as a memoir, her story, her experience of growing in white privileged Wimbledon, life as a minority at Oxford University, her attempt to find herself living and working in Africa and why that didn’t work out… I found it absolutely riveting. I wanted to say brilliant but it’s the wrong word. Let’s just say it’s a brilliant book, that deserves to be widely read.

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