I received a free digital copy from publicist Lydia Bernard-Brooks in exchange for an honest review.
For a long while now I have been looking for books on race and racism in Europe and the UK specifically. I was contacted back in September by Bernard-Brooks via Goodreads, asking if I would like to review this essay and jumped at the chance. I feel terrible for being so late in getting the review up, my list truly is out of control.
I was deeply touched by the author's experiences and how she is able to retain her faith in humanity. I struggle with that a lot, especially in the last six years, and I have not had anywhere near the life experiences she has had to deal with. She gives me hope that in the end, our humaness will be enough to connect everyone.
The author shares stories from her life as a Black woman born in the UK, raised in Africa, and now living in the UK once more. She explores how these experiences and interactions have shaped her own identity, how both she and others view her. She addresses head-on the need still for purposeful diversity, not simply hoping it will happen on its own. We have to overcome our unconscious AND conscious biases and fight stereotyping that we've all done because it is deeply ingrained in our societies. If we do this, we will see we have so much more in common than we thought. That is something beautiful and worth fighting for.
With majors issue surrounding race (don't even get me started on these states banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory, thereby proving the point exactly that the system as a whole is racist and needs to be completely dismantled) still at play, Mukwashi's commentary on the very institutional racism that shapes our everyday lives is crucial. The system as a whole has to be remade into something that places everyone on equitable footing.
Mukwashi masterfully weaves the many threads of her life together. In her quest to bring about change in the UK and our world as whole, she explores what it means to be. Be from the UK. Be from Africa. Be human. Be.
I found this work to be deeply personal and extremely relatable at the same time. It is beautifully written and I read it in one sitting.