Does an Increasingly Mixed Race Britain Mean That British Society is Postracial?
December 14, 2012 in multiculturalism
Results of the 2011 census were published this week revealing that the number of mixed-race people in Britain has almost doubled in ten years. As a result, several journalists distributed what I’d call “unwarranted postracialism”, suggesting, for instance, that thanks to people like Jessica Ennis perceptions of race are hardly an issue any longer, and according to Sarah Mulley in The Guardian, the diversity in the census data “doesn’t contain much that would surprise most people in the UK – these changes happen all around us, all the time, and most people are just getting on with their lives.”
The fact remains that prejudice has not fallen sufficiently at all, and sadly the increase of mixed race people in Britain does not in itself rectify its stubborn persistence.
In September 2012, a first ever UK analysis of its kind revealed the broad impact that racial prejudice has on the health and well being of non-Anglophone children. Other recent studies show that racism and the belief that hereditary factors endows some races with an intrinsic superiority has increased in the past years.
However, there is a cause to celebrate that mixed race Britain has almost doubled in ten years, and that is that the more people that identify as mixed race, the more likely the flaws of the race-as-hereditary-biological factor will continue to be exposed.
Throughout history, mixed race people such as president Obama, Bob Marley, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Mellissa Harris-Perry, Mary Seacole, Frederick Douglas and August Wilson and countless others, have proven an uncomfortable thorn in the side of the social experiment called race, firstly as they are viscerally inclined to know that race is a biological fallacy (given that they do not ‘purely’ belong to one race). Also, by sheer existence, mixed race people raise a serious question around the continued racial profiling that takes place in medical research, for instance. And this despite that the world of science has in fact on several occasions declared that race is biologically quite meaningless, that it is a fallacy even, a social construct developed by mid-century Europeans to justify a financial venture.
What the census must not do is give those who are not mixed race carte blanche to report about how harmonious it is to be mixed race, or that prejudice is well of the past. It is best that people who may or may not experience racial prejudice are the judges of that.