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Black and white medium format portraits showing mixed race families of Britain
Over the last several centuries the untied kingdom has seen its societychange into a patterned nation of the world, with the integration of immigrantsfrom worldwide locations. The effects of this can be seen strongly today withthe mix of cultures nationwide, and this ever-changing multicultural Britaincontinues to grow. One important effect we’ve seen is not only the rise ofdifferent races, but also the rise of mixed race families in the UK.
Being a mixed race individual can itself bring many complication;receiving racism from both sides of their heritage, confusion of which culturesto belong to and ultimately the confusion of self identity. But what defines‘race’ especially for mixed race children? I set out to focus on young familieswith mixed race children, to show the innocence of these children who areoriginally unaware of ‘race’ its meaning and the prejudice with it, asultimately they just ‘look like Daddy and Mummy and that’s it!’ Theoreticallyit is us who implant their ideals when we make them think about ‘race’ and whothey are.
Eventually people won’t fita mould anymore, and these are the people who will popularize the UK. Thesesare the people within my photographs.
Jonathan, Nat &Makorae Oppang-wiafe
Nat and Jonathan areparents to 8month old Makorae who is Czech Republic white and Ghanaian black,and British. ‘ In terms of how we want to introduce Makorae into society, it’sas multicultural as possible. Mixed race people can get racism from both sides,because some people would consider mixed race to not belong to either culture,when actually they belong to two and I think Makorae is very privileged andvery lucky. Race is a social construct, races don’t actually exist, we’re soused to using the term race that we allow it to become part of our lives, whenbiological races do not exist. It would take a few 100 years for the idea ofrace as a social concept to be eliminated. If you think about race, it meansbeing in competition, who are we racing against if we are all the same? We arethe human race.’
Micheal, Gina,Nathanibl, Christian & Elliot Ashwin
The children arePhilippine and English White mixed race. ‘ I know they have said multiculturalismhas had its day just recently, but personally I think the more you make cultureintegrated is a good thing. I don’t see anything wrong with that. I think it’sgood that they have a toe in both waters. As a country I think we are moreexcepting and people don’t see it as two different things, I think you’re justBritish. I walk through a lot of mixed race areas and don’t feel any different;I think you should embrace with the people that you’re going to be with. Havingmy children mixed race I think is better for them. If you end up just stayingin the village you can end up quite closed in your thinking and your ways. Ithink diversity is good. I reckon one day we will all be the same colour. All racestogether. It’s be nice if eventually we all just came to some type of synergy.My boys find it easy to just slot straight into both lifestyles and have noissues mixing, they’re happy to be anywhere.
Karen Larkin &Ethan May
Karen is mother to 3year old Ethan who is English white and Jamaican black mixed race. I listen totheir conversation, as Karen tries to ask a 3 year old about his identity as amixed race individual. ‘ Do you think you’re black or white or mixed race?’ ‘ Ithink black,’ ‘Why do you think black?’ ‘ Because I look black,’ ‘ What colouris Daddy?’ ‘ Black’ ‘ What colour is Mummy?’ ‘ White,’ ‘and does that botheryou?’ ‘ No, I look like Daddy and mummy, and that’s it.’ ‘ He’s too young atthe moment that he doesn’t get the concept, I think when he’s older he mightrealise just what his ethnicity is, but at the end of the day he’s just Ethanand he’s lovely.’
Hilary, Anil, Evie &Jasmine Makwana
Hilary and Anil havebeen together since they were 16 and have twin girls of Indian and Englishwhite mixed race. ‘ I think what’s interesting and nice with children, is thatthey don’t see any differences, they don’t even register it, it’s theinnocence, they have no prejudice, it’s such a shame what happens as ultimatelyit’s us that teaches them the differences, we spoil it when we make them thinkabout race.’ ‘ You look at Evie and you look at Jasmine, their twins and amixture of us and yet so different, I think it just goes to show that there isno set type of anything. Not many people fit a mould anymore and I think it’sreally good.’