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Brit(Ish).  Getting under the Skin of Britain’s Race Problem

By Afua Hirsch

Published Sep 2017

As a journalist covering social affairs, many of the ethnic minority people Afua interviews about social policy, poverty or religion are British. Still, ‘we are all, on some level, unsure of what we are’, confesses the journalist. Where an identity, nationality and sense of belonging should be clear, there is a question mark, a debate and a struggle.


Minorities should have a sense of history – because their presence is hard-wired into a country’s evolution – but they are constantly searching. And when they look for their image in art, fashion, or film, or for their stories in literature, there is almost always a blank space.


This is a book about what it feels like to feel ‘other’, and why it matters. Through the myriad stories of Afua’s life and other lives, this book reveals that an identity crisis matters, and argues that it matters for three main reasons: avoiding the destructive consequences of a sense of illegitimacy shared by a growing part of the population; re-establishing the truth about shared history; and giving a voice to counterbalance the establishment’s version of events in the medias.


This is the story of how and why this came to be, through historical accounts and the individual experiences of people whose lives manifest this fundamental tension between what we think we are, what we truly are and what we are becoming.

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