Exploring the history and experiences of mixed heritage persons and inter-racial relationships across the world

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Aborigines and First Nations

March 2nd, 2017

Aborigine. What comes to mind? Yes, indeed, the indigenous peoples of Australia. However the term comes from a Latin word aborigines, derived from ab (from) and origo (origin, beginning). The use of the word in English which is generally accepted as meaning “first or earliest known person, animal, or plant of a country or region' pre-dates the English settlement of Australia with the arrival of the First Fleet in Botany Bay in 1788. Today when used to refer to the indigenous people of Australia it is capitalised (Aborigine not aborigine) and more often then not as 'Aboriginal Australian'.

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Missing Brazil?

February 25th, 2017

Brazil, the ‘land of the brown people’ or so people love to think but despite falling from 53% of the population to 43% according to the 2010 census, people considering themselves white are still the largest group in Brazil.

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Colonialism’s Losers – The Poor Whites

January 9th, 2012

In March, 2010, South Africa’s President Zuma’s made his third visit to a poor white Afrikaner informal settlement in Bethlehem, Pretoria West. Many people were surprised by the fact that such a community existed believing that all whites benefited socially and economically from Apartheid. This phenomenon is not unique to South Africa and examples of European hardship and poverty can be found in just about all the colonies of all nations even during the height of colonial power.

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The Results are in: Fail

December 28th, 2011

If I were the boss of me, I would fire me!  If every person who has liked the Mixed in Different Shades Facebook page were to generate a dollar profit then I would have earned some 3,900 dollars profit from 18 months of live service – 216 dollars a month!  That’s way below minimum wage!  If each website visitor generated 10 cents, then the site would be earning less than 10 dollars a day, not good results considering not only the time commitment but the monetary investment as well.  To make matters worse, this hypothetical earnings are just that, hypothetical.

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The Deadly Trade

December 4th, 2011

Whole villages wiped out, minor tribes completely erased, civilisations destroyed; millions of people died when the conquerors of the new world arrived with ‘old world’ diseases. There is no doubt that the Americas gained so much in the Columbian Exchange, the term used to describe the widespread exchange of animals, plants, culture, humans between the East and the West, and it was true, sadly, of infectious diseases. The Americas were said to be free of smallpox, typhus, measles, influenza, bubonic plague, cholera, malaria, mumps, yellow fever, and whooping cough, which were common throughout Europe and Asia when the Europeans arrived. However, the sailors, the explorers, the missionaries and later the colonialists also came in contact with diseases that they were too were not immune to.

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Having No Colour

November 29th, 2011

Recently in the news, there was a story of an African couple who conceived a white baby. To many at first, the mother must have cheated on her spouse but later many believed the child to be an albino. However, this appeared not to be the case. The baby born to the Tshibangu family is said to have a slight genetic effect due to inheriting a set of genes from the parents that accumulated into a lighter, whiter skin tone. It is believed that 12 different genes influence skin colour. It is also possible that both parents have had European ancestors that they may be unaware of and this may have caused a throwback. This is not the first time that a similar case has come to the press’ attention, in 2010, there was another case within a Nigerian family but in that case albinism was not ruled out as it is the most common recessive disorder in Nigeria.

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Is ‘Arab’ A Race?

November 27th, 2011

Recently, in the last few chapters, I have mentioned the large Arab trade links that formed the centre of the infamous Silk Road or Silk Route. The Silk Route is the term used for a series of trade routes that connected Asia particularly India and China to Southern Europe and North and East Africa. Being the centre of such a big trading network meant that the Arabs spread far and wide but also meant that many foreigners came to their land.

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A Question of Race

November 11th, 2011

A reader recently raised an issue with me when on a recent teaser I posted on Facebook regarding the mix of the majority of the Seychellois people.  This got me thinking about the difference there is between anthropological definitions and the everyday definitions people use.  To make matters worse people, the definition of some terms mean different things to different people.  For example, the term Asian in the US tends to be used for Oriental Asian people whereas in the UK it more often used to refer to those who are from or descended from the Indian subcontinent.  What about the term Latino?  To many of us living outside the Americas, Latino says the brown people descendants of European/Amerindian such as the ‘pardo’ Brazilians and the Mexicans.  Attempting to stipulate white Latino or black Latino seems alien to many of us.

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MIDS Update

November 5th, 2011

I woke up this morning with the realisation that some of you, my precious readers, may think that I have given up on the project since I have not done much recently.  I will assure you that I have not turned my back on this project but after over a year of investment in time and money, reality has set in and I have had to try and get a job.  Mixed In Different Shades has been relegated to hobby/pastime status hence the lack of action.

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The Assimilados

July 27th, 2011

The term ‘Assimilado’ was used by the Portuguese colonialists to describe colonial subjects that had rejected their respective native cultures and taken on the more ‘civilised’ Portuguese one. The French colonialists also had an assimilation policy, for example, the assimilated were called évolués (literally, the evolved ones) in Algeria. The other colonialists, especially the British, did not have a specific formal system of assimilation. In return for obtaining such a status, the Assimilado obtained certain privileges not available to the ‘savage’ natives.

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In Search of Pastures New aka the Poor Man’s Burden

July 24th, 2011

Say you were unlucky to be born a peasant prior to the Industrial revolution but after the decline of Feudal Europe and you tried hard to see what the future held for you, you might have been not very encouraged by what you saw.  You were likely to see that you would spend the rest of your life like your parents before you and their parents before them, working hard but living in perpetual poverty.  If you were an ambitious and clever person you might have realised the established class systems in your country of your birth would forever restrict your place in society and the only escape was to move somewhere else.  Being poor would mean that the only resource you had was your labour and so you might have considered selling your labour for a pittance in return for the opportunity to start again somewhere else in the world.  Somewhere you would have the chance to change what fate seems determined to hand to you.

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Coolies – Racism, Tradition Or Culture?

July 4th, 2011

On 4 August 1972, the then President of Uganda, Idi Amin, gave Uganda’s 80,000 Indians 90 days to leave the country. Idi Amin used the Indophobic social climate of Uganda to justify his actions, which were secretly applauded throughout Eastern and Southern Africa. Indians, it was claimed were hoarding wealth and goods to the detriment of indigenous Africans.

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The Tour is Postponed

June 29th, 2011

As you have probably worked out from the silence, the tour has not happened.  Due to various reasons including financial ones, the tour has been postponed.  It is difficult to see the tour happening as I was initially planning with what is going on in my life.  The project has failed to deliver the kind of income I had hoped and so it may be that I will be re-entering the job market in the near future.  MIDS will then become a part-time project and the tour will happen in drips and drabs over the next few years unless the project suddenly becomes profitable.

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More on the Tour

March 1st, 2011

Well here we are on the 1st of March and I know should be somewhere else on this amazing planet.  Originally I was meant to start the MIDS Tour at the end of January, then the middle of February and now the plan is before the end of this month.  The Christmas holidays, my marriage separation and other personal matters have kept me not only from finalising the tour arrangements but also to a lack of solid production for the project.

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MIDS 6 Month Review

February 7th, 2011

Today is my birthday and just over a year and a month ago I handed in my 6 months’ notice to resign and it is over 6 months since I released ‘Mixed In Different Shades’ on an unsuspecting world.  Now would be a good time to stop and review the situation.  I must admit I expected to be in a better position with the project than I am now.

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African Atlantic ‘Mestizo’ Islands

January 14th, 2011

Writing the chapters on the islands of Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe off the West coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean, I was struck by the fact that the islands were said to be uninhabited when discovered in most cases by the Portuguese. My research into Zanzibar and other Indian Ocean islands made this seem unusual so I took a little detour and looked at the other islands off the coast of Africa in the Atlantic.

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On Mules and Mutts

November 30th, 2010

MuleUsing the word Mulatto to describe a mixed white and black individual in the English speaking world is very likely to be met with some disdain, if not downright outrage.  This is because most people believe that the word’s origins are said to derive from the old Latin word for mule.  There is some argument as to whether this is in fact true since the Arabic word ‘muwallad’ meaning ‘of mixed ancestry’ is a possible candidate and may have been imported into the Portuguese and Spanish languages with interactions with the Arab world particularly the Moors.  Outside the English speaking world both Mulatto and Mestizo seem to be interchangeable and acceptable.

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The ‘One Drop Rule’ Mentality

November 15th, 2010

Among many black people in the USA and in the UK, there are many who criticise mixed individuals for claiming to be mixed instead of black.  I regard that as an inferiority complex brought on by a slave mentality.  Many justify their criticisms with the fact that ‘society’ see mixed people as black and so mixed people must ‘accept’ that classification.  In other words ‘if massa say you is black, you is black’.  I don’t think so and just to make sure it is understood, mixed people are not white either.  I find that worrying that so many people still see themselves as inferior simply on the basis of their outward appearance.

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We Won’t All Be Brown

November 10th, 2010

Smiling Young Mixed Race LadyMaybe it is because I have started on this project that I am sensing a growing awareness from mixed race people in the UK, the US and other places in Europe.  Whilst this is all good, there are some things that are being said by mixed race people that make me uncomfortable to say the least.  Things like ‘mixed women are the most beautiful’, ‘mixed kids are the cutest’ and the one I particularly dislike is the statement that we will all be ‘brown’ (used here as a proxy colour for all mixed race individuals) in the future.

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Caribbean Racism

October 27th, 2010

Working on the Dominican Republic chapter, I was fascinated by the racism in that region.  In a nutshell, the Puerto Ricans, from the island just east of the Dominican Republic and whose population mainly self-identify as white discriminate against the Dominicans who mainly self-identify as mixed.  The racial discrimination that the Dominicans show towards their fellow islanders, the Haitians, has even been investigated by United Nations who declared that the discrimination is very evident in Dominican Republic society.  Haiti whose people mainly identify as black, as most of the other Caribbean islands with large ex-slave populations, has the honour of being the first independent Latin American country and the first black led republic in the world.

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Statistics and A Pinch of Salt

October 18th, 2010

“Women care about the race of their partners far more than men, all things equal (in fact, much of the literature suggests men are not concerned about race very much when you control for other background variables).” (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2010/10/female-race-consciousness-as-prudence/).

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Ancestry, why is it important?

October 9th, 2010

How many times have you been the doctor and asked about your family’s medical history particularly pertaining to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer?  The study of genetics, especially in the medical field, has highlighted the existence of genetically inherited diseases such as Huntington’s disease and Cystic fibrosis .  Some disorders are more prevalent in particular communities than others such as Sickle Cell which is more common in people of African descent as it originally evolved as defense against malaria.

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Chinegro – the next big mix?

October 5th, 2010

Many years ago I remember catching a program on TV that was seeking to introduce bachelors working in Alaska to women around the USA.  This was because Alaska had a serious shortage of eligible women and many men were failing to find wives or even girlfriends.  Many Asian countries, particularly China now have a similar problem with recent estimates by the Chinese State Population and Family Planning Commission stating that there will be 30 million more men than women in 2020.

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Covering Angola In France

September 27th, 2010

Well I am in what I had hoped would be sunny France to see my sister, catch some sun and test my international working strategy.  Apart from some small problems with wireless range it looks like as long as I have a reasonable internet connection and a fairly quiet spot to work in, I can work in any country in the world.  Facebook didn’t like it and I had to verify my account which worried me a bit but worked out.

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Why ‘Mixed In Different Shades’?

September 16th, 2010

I wouldn’t be human if I did not stop and doubt my motivations once in a while.  When you gamble your money and time on a project as large as this, it is especially worthwhile in the early days when you have a chance to cut your losses and run.  Despite the slow start, I thought I would share my thoughts on why I think MIDS is a worthwhile project.

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