Sunday, June 20, 2021

Publicist Gift | But Where Are You Really From?: On Identity, Humanhood and Hope


I received a free digital copy from publicist Lydia Bernard-Brooks in exchange for an honest review.

Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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.

Highly recommended.


  1. Slightly off-topic (apart from saying that I have some race related books in the pipeline...) but I posted the first of a series on things I found researching my ancestry recently - including a Queen Mary link (no, we're NOT related!) and a slavery link too (still processing that one!!)...

    1. Good to know, I am interested to see what you will be reading soon!

      I will find the post as soon as I am done here, I am very interested to see what you found!

    2. Two posts so far - both under the Label 'Looking Backwards'.

    3. Thank you! I went over and tried to find them but hadn't had luck yet. And wasn't sure what list they'd be on!

  2. Sounds wonderful. Man, we have so far to go when it comes to racism- it's so engrained sometimes I feel like we'll never REALLY make progress. but you make a good point- we have to hope our humanness, in the end, will be enough. Oh, and deport all the Neanderthals. Kidding...

    1. You're right though, our country was specifically set up for wealthy white dudes. They're outnumbered but so powerful, it feels like we will never be able to remake the system into something better. But, we have to try!

  3. books like this are building blocks of a new and different society... hopefully

  4. As you asked... Kind of... I'll share some of the Race related books on my Wish List. So, take a breath [lol]:

    Sugar in the Blood: A Family's Story of Slavery and Empire: A Family Memoir by Andrea Stuart
    There Ain't No Black in the Union Jack: The Cultural Politics of Race and Nation by Paul Gilroy
    The Interest: How the British Establishment Resisted the Abolition of Slavery by Michael Taylor
    The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture by David Brion Davis
    Under Fire: Black Britain in Wartime 1939–45 by Stephen Bourne
    Bury the Chains: The British Struggle to Abolish Slavery by Adam Hochschild

    I do have others about the American side of things but I thought you'd already be on top of that... [grin]

  5. I found myself nodding in agreement as I read your review. Institutional racism is the enemy of an egalitarian society that serves the needs of all its citizens. Its eradication is a necessary step toward building a society that works for all of us. It seems that the author of this essay gets that and is working to make it so. So should we all.

    1. Yes! Those in power won't give up that power easily but we can't stop trying to build a better world.


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