Exploring Mixed Heritage History

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A new website, Mixed in Different Shades (http://www.mixedindifferentshades.net/), aims to inform and educate people, particularly those of mixed heritage or involved in interracial relationships, about the history and experiences of mixed heritage people around the world. The site and the subsequent book taps into the growing awareness and sense of identity that people of mixed heritage are experiencing, particularly in the West.

...further evidence of the growing number of people who are rejecting the ‘one drop’ rule that has pervaded both countries’ racial classification mentalities for decades.

A new website, Mixed in Different Shades (http://www.mixedindifferentshades.net/), aims to inform and educate people, particularly those of mixed heritage or involved in interracial relationships, about the history and experiences of mixed heritage people around the world. The site and the subsequent book taps into the growing awareness and sense of identity that people of mixed heritage are experiencing, particularly in the West.

A recent study by Leeds University, 'Ethnic population projections for the UK and local areas, 2001–2051’ which generated a spate of news stories, estimated that numbers of ethnic minorities in the UK will grow from 8 to 20 per cent of the population in 2051 and that the percentage of people identifying themselves as being of ‘mixed race’ is expected to grow substantially from the figure of 1.2 per cent of the population in the 2001 census to as high as 4.2 per cent.

The discussions in and out of the press about President Obama’s and Tiger Woods’s racial classification, both in the UK and the USA, is further evidence of the growing number of people who are rejecting the ‘one drop’ rule that has pervaded both countries’ racial classification mentalities for decades. Facebook has over 50 pages/groups dedicated to interracial and multiple-heritage interests, and a web search will reveal many websites dedicated to such matters.

The ‘Mixed In Different Shades’ project is not a scholarly social study, but aims to be popularly accessible to a wide range of people; it will cover, among other things, communities such as the Métis of the USA and Canada, and the Chestnut Ridge People and Melungeon in the USA, as well as the controversially named ‘Coloureds’ of southern Africa, which are the result of interracial mixing and have existed for decades. It will add another dimension to the multiple heritage experience for those exploring this fascinating subject. It is expected to spawn a book and a documentary series at a later stage.

Notes
1. Ethnic population projections for the UK and local areas, 2001–2051: http://www.geog.leeds.ac.uk/fileadmin/downloads/school/research/projects/migrants/WP_ETH_POP_PROJECTIONS.pdf

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Benjamin Ellis
Benjamin Ellis
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