Wednesday, 18 April 2012

New Black Feminists UK Site

Black Feminists UK have decided to take the leap and go from being a blog to a fully functioning online resource and hub for all black feminists.
You can find us here: 
We are still in the development stages and as you can see a lot of pages are not finished at the moment.
Over the next couple of months we are hoping to create an online community page for black feminists to chat, set up our own merchandise, collate all of the feminist events happening in the UK and overseas and much more.
If you’d like to learn more about Black Feminists UK and what we do please contact us here and visit our blog for daily black feminist view points.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

FGM is not a piece of cake

By Samantha Asumadu

Yesterday another tremor occurred. Another ripple of racism, just one of the many ripples that hide under the guise of humanitarianism or in this case Art.

This is an excerpt from a Swedish news website today (below) and here an article from AlJazeera.

STOCKHOLM (FRIA TIDER). A macabre scene took place this Saturday when the Swedish minister of culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth attended a tax funded party for the most powerful cultural representatives in Stockholm. The self proclamed "anti-racist" Liljeroth, who is currently in the process of banning tax support for the only nationalist newspaper in Sweden, inaugurated the festival by cutting a cake that was supposed to depict a stereotyped African woman.

Photographs from the party at World Art Day has already been released on Facebook and is now spreading widely in social media. The shocking pictures shows how several established left-wing members of the Stockholm cultural elite celeberates together with the minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth by slicing and eating a cake depicting a stereotyped African woman.

According to sources the Minister of Culture was invited to initiate the party by doing a ”clitoridectomy” on the cake.’

The cake was part of a World Art Day celebration and meant to protest female circumcision, according to the Moderna Musset museum. The cake was created by artist Makode Aj Linde who also played the cake's head. I have collated some of the reactions from both women & men of African descent and European women below. Not often enough do women of African descent get their voices heard, today won’t be one of those times. Please feel free to comment on this piece, any insightful comments will be moved in to the body of the piece and credited. Thanks

Sincerae Smith wrote:
"OK, the rant is going to start briefly. I'm not putting it up on here but Google or Bing if you like "Swedish Culture Minister Accused Of Racist Cake-Cutting" and see the video. It's very offensive and racist. Africans and others are shocked and one Tweeted that she's just traumatized. You know I am tired of the peasant and degraded level of thinking of too many people now. I am tired of the so-called "activists" of every stripe who claim they are helping people, the world, etc. and nothing gets better. I am tired of people who might brush me off as she's just another "angry black woman." Ah, walk in my shoes for about 5 hundred years. I am tired of people who pretend and play with other's lives. I am tired of those who say they stand for one thing when really what they stand for is appalling. I am tired of people trying to justify a wrong into a right. I am tired of people with their low class, lying, hypocritical, debased outlook, and no morality or decency. Plus they don't want to change. It's always in the end about looking out for number 1, being bigger than anyone else, using people, and pretending. The worse part is, "we're only trying to help." Well, I'm not tricked by your innocent looking eyes. There comes a point when Sesame Street and Mr. Roger's thinking needs to stop for all of the apologists out there too. I am sick and tired of if it all. If you are silent about wrong-doing, if you are friendly with the people who do things and will not repent of their wrong-doing you're passively supporting it. The age of prophets is over, but we need some because I see zero chance for humanity if this continues. I going to say God doesn't like ugly. Humans can't see your heart, but He can. Also I am tired of the people who are trying to do good end up being the ones who get demonized."

Saria Khalifa wrote:
THIS IS EXTREMELY OFFENSIVE and seems quite pointless .. if it was meant to highlight female genital mutilation you would expect at least some facts, statistics, information or perhaps even a more truthful representation of the issue. instead it seems to be poking fun of an issue that is already so culturally charged that a lot pf professionals don’t want to broach the issue (even if that means they are failing on their child protection duties). Never mind the effect that this could have on women and girls who could already be traumatised by their past experiences of female genital mutilation… DISGUSTING!!! not only should the insensitive people cutting the cake be ashamed the artist should to. I am sure there are more sensitive and positive ways to put across a message.. surely artists can be more creative than to resort to shock tactics..

O.O wrote: 
This is simply horrific. People are laughing at the dismembered body of a black wo/man, I can't quite tell, 'comically' screaming in agony, taking pictures! And is it me or do they start with the genitals? WTF!!

Sam Asumadu wrote: 
Its horrific and have had to defend my anger to some swedish women on twitter. I felt sick this morning New African Women tweeted it, now there are articles written, anger levels going up, rightly. People are getting over the aftershock of Invisible Children using Africans pain for their own purposes, pocket and self promotion. Now this. Please note he will make money out of this.

O.O wrote: 
'defend' your anger?! How is it that at 2012 we have to EXPLAIN why this makes us angry? How, How, How? How funny would it have been if it was the body of a white person they were carving up, I'm supposing it would be just as funny. I've looked at it again, and now I think it is a pregnant black woman?! Irrespective of race this is disgusting. The fact though that it is a black person is not accidental, this sort of thing never is. 'Provocative art' meant to make us think what? Complete racism pathetically trying to mask itself as something justifiable in the name of art. So so ANGRY!

Steph Phillips wrote:
This is awful. There are millions of far better ways to highlight the issue of female genital mutilation. I really don't know where to start.

Newt guy wrote:

to me this boils down to a lack of respect for those affected by the issue the cake was representing by those who were in position to make the decision to let this happen. If it were a cake of a girl who gets trafficked from Eastern Europe into prostitution, someone would've asked themselves why would that be a cake that I or my guests are supposed to eat? The question then is why wasn't that asked on this occasion? I think that is what is angering people is that this is another example of European/Western disrespect for things non-European or in this case African. It's easy to look at it as just a clever prank that someone fell for. However, if you make a hypothetical comparison of other potential circumstances where a European feminine issue were to exposed or treated in such a manner, there would be outrage. For me, this isn't about hate, but about understanding the underlying cause. The underlying cause is disrespect. I don't see how anyone can try and dance around that.

Monoio Kaizer wrote on the artist's facebook fan page: 
Well I thought I could find words to explain how dangerous this "so called" artist is to us africans. Just wondering if I could find a jew that would think this is "smart" idea to ridicule his kind the way this guy here did. Wondered also if in that case the minister would have laughed about it. Whites usually are unable to respect us or our sufferings, givent that they're actually both causing and benefiting from such sufferings, but when it's a "black" guy who acts this stupid and dares call it "provocation", well I can't find any word to express how utterly idiotic and lame this is.
I think you're a coward. I wonder how you think your pitiful show helped any woman in this world. Also you should have wondered how they'd feel seing that idiocy of yours you call "art" (are you SERIOUS???).
Who should you be provoking? is it victims of the prejudice you feed on? Or is it the imperialists for whom you're being a good house-nig**r? sorry, not a house nig**er, a restroom- nig**r because this is something even a house nig**er would feel ashamed of.

Michelle Heugh-Joseph wrote on the artist's facebook fan page:
Why do my comments keep disappearing? Cowardly I'd say. As spoken earlier ... as a black artist, there are several people that believe your mannerisms and artistic ability does not speak for black people. The cake was disgusting and for a male black man to depict such ridiuclousness is beyond me! Please feel free to comment!

Victoria Holt wrote on the artist's facebook fan page 
This is not art, this is the trivialization of an immense issue into a shock value performance piece. It's downright trashy. I hope you're proud. At the end of the day, all we are seeing is a black body being mutilated. You are making no further comment on the issue, thus you are perpetuating it.

The following are tweets collated, some were directed to @MrBasabose who was great today in replying to and retweeting peoples reactions.

@AyjayH I don't personally advocate this form of protest. Perhaps ppl have run out of ways to fight the practice?

@honestlyAbroad Fight the practice? In a gallery in Sweden? This is nothing but provocative pity porn. Promoting dehumanisation of women

@MrBasabose Then the NEW way to fight FGM is Swedish dehumanizing the "Black Woman" to HELP her?????? SMH

@AfricanViolet_2 I just saw the video. Disgusting & racist. These ppl have run out of ways to protest. Protests are now down to degradation.

@MrBasabose It's crazy YET people find grounds to JUSTIFY it smh RT @PwinthethRho: MrBasabose speechless

@piwaa I am still traumatised by the Swedish Minister of culture's exhibition!! How distasteful!! And in this day and age!! Siess!!

@lebomashile this 'artwork' is morbid & a gross expression of black woman's worth in this world: we're cake fit to be consumed.

@Anto_Prophy MrBasabose Sjoe, I can't. This is utterly disgusting!

@MrBasabose OUR equal WORLD smh RT @TishBush: "MrB HOW THE HECK DO YOU CALL THIS "ENGAGED ART"? smh

@hoestlyabroad Should I be regretful that I made my points cos he's (the artist) is black? He unveiled his artwork for an audience of Swedish people to laugh and point at. I have no wish to further debate it am afraid as I'm actually really very angry. Thanks
@AyjayH I found the artist: Makode aj linde. And most Swedes are upset by the art too.

@ahamrud to @helenlewis lots of antiracists in Sweden also reacted spontaneously against this pictures - but there is another story

@honestlyAbroad to @ahamrud he decided to unveil it @ an art gallery with a Swedish audience (who laughed & pointed)why not in Congo? or was that not the intended audience of this provocative pity porn? I know who he is, it does NOT excuse the dehumanisation of African women as art. (Re for a white audience) That really doesn't make it right, let him, you and all defending this meet me in Congo on my next trip when we go let's explain to the women we meet that the art is 4 their benefit. They should b happy

@ahamrud to @honestlyAbroad It wouldn't be the same without the white Swedish audience - they are part of the provocation

@honestlyAbroad to @ahamrud for the sake of his profile, his credentials as this will not stop one atrocity. You realise rather than help Invisible Children's efforts has succeeded in killing more in riots. This in my eyes is no different. May cause the same effect and that would be a shame. The wounds of Invisible Kids have not healed

The Commercialization of Pregnancy

This blog post first appeared on the F Word

This is the second in a series of posts by Yasmin, a pregnant feminist who is sharing her experiences of pregnancy with us, in the hope that she is not alone in her thinking!

When I have told many older women in their 40s and older that I am not finding out the baby's gender, they are generally congratulatory. Indeed, a few of my pregnant friends are also choosing the surprise option. However, many also seem totally bemused that I am prepared to forgo buying everything in either pink or blue before it arrives. How will you be able to properly prepare for it?!

For me, the early discovery of a baby's gender and the commercialization of the whole pregnancy process are, in some ways, linked. Most people on discovering their baby's gender, like it or not, use this as an opportunity to begin storing up their nursery (if they are fortunate enough to have one) with gender "appropriate" toys and clothing. I in no way want to suggest that the sexist gender stereotyping products we have today are only a new phenomena; this is clearly not true. I do, however, believe it is much more pervasive than when I was growing up in the 1980s and '90s.

Pregnancy is now a multi-billion pound industry. It increasingly pressurises women, at a time that they are arguably at their most vulnerable, to become the ultimate consumers. There are a wealth of reading materials, diets, clothes, classes, apps, you name it, that a pregnant woman can spend her time and, crucially, her money on. This is before we even begin to talk about nappy types, prams, cots, baby monitors... and the list goes on. The Baby Centre app for expectant mothers constantly reminds me that I should 'pamper' myself by taking time to have a pedicure or facial or to visit the hairdressers.

The underlying message here is that even at this time, you can still look your 'best'. More importantly, in order to do so, regular worship at the altar of these bastions of the beauty industry is a necessity. This is not to say that I think quality time for yourself is something that can be scoffed at. My concern is that it is often framed within a capitalist consumerist context. "Well-being", as pregnant women, is something we purchase at the beauty salon or from "sexy", "trendy" maternity wear outlets.

It's therefore unsurprising that when, as a feminist, I state that many of my new born's clothes will be second-hand, this is greeted with incredulity: how can I not want the best for it? My feminist principles force me to recognise that, by virtue of being a western consumer, I play an important role in a global market place. A market place that allows sweatshops to exist. Places which, as we know, primarily employ cheap female labour and in some cases child labour, where people are forced to work under inhumane conditions. I do not get it right all the time, but I do try, and this effort in itself is frowned upon as a marker of how I am unwilling to give the "best that money can buy" to my child. I am invariably met with a glib dismissal of my way of thinking, the "do gooder" in me is talked of as something that will necessarily be compromised when the baby arrives.

This increasing emphasis on the material as a means to cope with the difficulties and emotional roller coaster that is pregnancy only serves to further undermine women. If you don't feel and look great, then really who else do you have to blame when there is a wealth of consumer options available to you?

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Feminism is not All White

By Adunni Adams

Lexy Topping’s article in yesterday’s Guardian declared the advance of the feminist movement towards a world in which people are not ashamed of identifying themselves as feminists. According to the article, this advance has resulted largely from the activism of young people fighting back against the sexual objectification of women, leading to a growing coalition of ‘feminists who do not fit easily into stereotypical moulds’. Furthermore, UK Feminista is cited as the source of information about ‘dozens of new feminist organisations springing up around the UK’.

I assumed the inclusion of the phrase ‘feminists who do not fit easily into stereotypical moulds’ would lead to some mention of those organisations which do not fit into the white, middle-class heterosexual stronghold which has come to typify the feminist movement. As I continued reading, I assumed the scope of the article would include the Black, Working-Class, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender feminist organisations, most of which are not new, and most of which have so far managed to escape the attention of commentators on feminism.

The recent ‘three little pigs’ advertising campaign (promoting open journalism as a means of representing different perspectives) puts The Guardian at odds with the ‘one size fits all’ style of reporting typified by Ms. Topping’s article. The announcement that something (or anything) is happening at the grassroots level of the feminist movement – not to mention the fact that the movement has caught the attention of the mainstream media – could, and should, have reflected the true strength of the movement in its depth, dynamism and diversity at all levels.

The contact details of a representative of the Women's Networking Hub were sent to Ms. Topping, but no contact was made, even after a follow-up e-mail was sent to her. No contact was made with Blackfeminists UK, an organization with over 1100 followers on Twitter and over 150 followers on Facebook, nor with Blackfeminists Manchester. Grassroots organisations such as these are a vital part in the advance of contemporary feminism – broad, multi-faceted and inclusive – and it is remarkable that The Guardian would overlook these, and many other important groups.

Given the emphasis in the article on ‘lads mags’, it is unfortunate that Ms. Topping does not take account of the way in which the sexual objectification of women has varying connotations linked to race. A prime example of this is the apology made by Cadbury to Naomi Campbell last year, which was also covered in The Guardian. Perhaps if Ms. Topping had made contact with any one of the above mentioned groups, she would have gained insight into the impact of this and many other issues which exist at the intersection of race and gender.

Ironically, the article ends with a reflection on the economic cuts. The brunt of the cuts is not only being faced by women but specifically black women, yet articles such as these ensure that we remain invisible. I feel that my response should be heard because the feminist movement, by definition, should not privilege the needs and contributions of one group over another, which is precisely the effect this article has had, regardless of any well-meaning intentions.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Racist The Hunger Games Tweets Highlights Why Fiction Writers Need to Stop Making their Characters Ethnicity Ambiguous and Address the Issue of Race

By Donalea

Interestingly during this month’s Black Feminist UK meeting we discussed how white authors often fail to include ethnic characters or specify the ethnicity of their characters in their writing, only for the news headlines the very next day to report on the racist outbursts The Hunger Games fans had been unleashing on twitter due to the film casting black actors in some of the important roles, what are the odds!

I found the meeting discussion fascinating since I had never really thought about it before let alone noticed that I like many others in the group envision fictional characters as white (where their ethnicity is not specified). Since the discussion I have been trying to recall fiction books that I've read where the characters ethnicity is actually stated and not just me making the assumption, as well as any ethnic characters which may have appeared in these books. Needless to say I found the task hard and have only been able to come up with one book (Harry Potter).

Now it would seem this ambiguity fiction writers use to imply their characters ethnicity instead of out rightly stating it has caused quite a stir with the press picking up on the string of racist comments made by fans of The Hunger Games who are finding it hard to digest not just the amount of black actors casted as characters assumed to be white but also whether black actors can authentically portray characters written to have integrity. Thus is the case with the character Rue being played by 13 year old black actress Amandla Stenberg, having seen the film (though I have not read the books) Stenberg's character is innocent, kind and very endearing with her death being very emotional and heartbreaking to watch, though from comments made on the social network site by making Rue black this somehow discredits her characters ability to sweet and innocent, with comments including:

"EWW, rue is black? I'm not watching."

“Why does Rue have to be black? Not gonna lie, kinda ruined the movie.”

“(Ok) call me a racist but when I found out Rue was black, her death wasn’t as sad.”

“Why did the producer make all the good characters black?”

Extremely shocking and disturbingly racist comments though it does highlight that film audiences (as well as Hollywood) still hold racist perceptions of the black presence in film, with those that hold these views being more comfortable seeing Octavia Spencer play a 'feisty' maid to white employers over Stenberg playing a well mannered, kind spirited, sweet and innocent young girl.

While I can only assume from the comments made that The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins didn't specify the ethnicity of her characters, otherwise I'm sure the film's bosses would not have casted the character Rue to be black; it does bring to light how our default ethnic setting seems to be set on white. This white by default line of thinking is the privileges of white supremacy, it's what makes us generally assume that someone with a 'western' name or an ambiguous fictional character in a book are white since not specified otherwise; it’s also what has made us blasé to images of a Britain whitewashed as done on the ITV programme Midsomer Murders or the film Notting Hill.

The harsh reactions towards the casting of The Hunger Games has made me question whether literature needs to be censored more, I'm not saying we should apply over the top political correctness to publishing though why is it that we allow books to perpetuate this racist notion of whitewashing its characters (by default) yet we don't stand for it in films and TV without speaking out? It’s also important to point out that The Hunger Games is aimed at the teenage market, therefore by allowing such books to propagate this racist notion to our youth then as adults they’ll grow inclined to this way of thinking.

Food for thought.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

John Derbyshire, The National Review and the Conservative Movement

Recently a columnist for the American conservative magazine The National Review decided to write a column titled ‘TheTalk: Nonblack Version’ about some advice that he gives to his kiddies.

John Derbyshire littered his 1,500 word piece with such gems as Stay out of heavily black neighbourhoods”, “Before voting for a black politician, scrutinise his / her character much more carefully than you would a white” and “Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks”.

He also stated that some black people “go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm [white people] and that the “mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites”.

If you want to read the whole piece in its original, warped glory then head over to Taki’s Magazine, which is run right-wing socialite Taki Theodoracopulos who has himself had a bit of the dabble with the old racist remark.

Although the column was not published in The National Review and the editors can take no responsibility for Derbyshire’s actions they took the decision today to fire him calling his column “outlandish, nasty and indefensible”.

Of the incident The National Review's editor, Rich Lowry, said: “His latest provocation, in a webzine, lurches from the politically incorrect to the nasty and indefensible. We never would have published it, but the main reason that people noticed it is that it is by a National Review writer. Derb is effectively using our name to get more oxygen for views with which we'd never associate ourselves otherwise. So there has to be a parting of the ways.”

Now I’m not going to sit here and write a thousand words about why Derbyshire is a self-important, miseducated racist who uses random news stories and events and shapes them around whatever vile dialogue he wishes to spit out. I’m sure you are all intelligent people and you can figure out why Derbyshire might be a bit of a knob. I can’t stop thinking about the National Review’s response.

They fired him because of the media storm created around the article because, as everyone knows, it kills careers and reputations (well only for a few months) to be labelled as a racist and the magazine didn’t want to be linked to that. So, I can understand why, even though the offending article was written for another publication, they still had to take a strong stance. What I don’t understand is their utter surprise and shock at the fact that a man who once described himself as a racist and a homophobe, who said that women should not have the right to vote and that their attractiveness peaks at around 15-20 years old would at some point put all of those views to paper with devastating results.

Any good editor knows what his staff are like, how they work and what their weaknesses are. Lowry would have to be an incompetent fool to not know Derbyshire’s views and he would have known it could all blow up at some point.

So why did Lowry, and Taki’s Magazine, pander to Derbyshire and employ him. Well, it could have been for many reasons. It could be that they knew if he toned it down and played the whole ‘I’m just telling it like it is’ then he would appeal to the majority of American conservatives who believe Obama just looks a bit dodgy and rely on gut instinct rather actual intelligence. It could also be the case that the magazine as a whole shares the same or similar views as Derbyshire. That would not be too big of a leap. The whole conservative movement in America right now is built around politicians, writers and news anchors making quasi-homophobic, quasi-racist and quasi-sexist statements that most people can see for what they are but others believe to be statements of absolute truth. Its almost as if all these white conservatives feel like they’ve somehow been repressed for years and years by minority groups and now they’re getting their revenge. They feel they are the minority, we are the threat and they deserve to keep us down so they dedicate all of their culture to biased, poorly reported stories that confirm their narrative.

There are a lot of conservative writers that could have tripped over the invisible racism line that goes from banter and ‘telling it like it is’ to vile, disgusting hate speech. Derbyshire was just the one that had his mask ripped off him today, but there are thousands more like him, brainwashing the masses with hate speech. The National Review has just taken down one man to save the machine. They know what they’re doing.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Black / White Twins - a tired curiosity

When I read this article in the Guardian about a set of fraternal male twins, with one born 'white' looking and the other born 'black' looking, I felt the fury rise in my throat.

Because, I'm sorry, but is this 1976 South Africa, where we actually give our time and effort and direct activity of our brain cells to think about these 'questions'? Is it?

I mean, what is the assumption here - that quite light looking babies can be born to black people is a remarkable thing? Stop just about any black person on the street of London (and any metropolis in the UK probably) and ask them whether to their knowledge they have anyone in their family who could pass for a 'race' other than black and most would say yes - and if not in their family, then in a friend's.

It's really not surprising. It's really not uncommon. It's playground racism akin to 'ooooh, let me touch your bouncy hair' that drives columnists to write articles that sound to me like 'ooooh, and your son is so much lighter than you'.

Yeah, like i'm the same shade as my mum, and dad, and brother, and sister. Well, I'm not. Are you going to write an article about how my sister's hair is straighter, or how some people think she is Somalian? Is that interesting? NO, because it's not 'white'. It's not interesting that black people have variation except when that variation looks white, because that is encroaching on the ever-threatened 'whiteness' and then it's worthy of a tv programme and 2200 words in the Guardian. It's the white that is surprising, that it pops up in our (black) families. Because, you know, if white people are really black then how can we tell white people from white (but really black) people. That's scary, isn't it? Is that what this is? Or maybe you think pointing this out is a way to end racism, or something delusional and grand like that?

I wonder, because I don't think we can expect an article in the Guardian about how one fraternal twin brother has brown hair and the other has blonde hair - because that phenotype difference is common among white people, it's almost expected, it appears, even changing looks like babies born with blue eyes that changes to green and then to brown - by the way, why not write about that? As a black person, someone born black who stayed black, I think that is amazing. Why no column inches? Because my racial ignorance doesn't make headlines, does it? But white racial ignorance parading as a stab at enlightenment does.

Ok, so maybe they thought it was educational to write this article. (White) People need to know that some black people have children that look white. But come on, I think it is at Key Stage 4 / GCSE (ages 14-16) or before that we learn that mummy looks this way, daddy looks that way, and if they have four children, these genes will be passed on in this way - gene inheritance. Just in case you missed that class, don't worry, it's here thanks to BBC Bitesize.

See, but I think many, if not most, Guardian readers got to high school and stayed into the last say, two or three years and went to science class. So they know this already. It's not remarkable when a white woman has a 'black' looking child. What maybe the Guardian didn't think was that people would realise that black people might have some white in them. Because that turns everything on its head doesn't it? I mean, white people who are black, black people with white in them. This whole 'race' thing is beginning to look a little shaky, isn't it?

Oh my gosh i'm so bored by this drudge.

Just in case you think the article can't be as bad as this, here are some snippets that caught my attention as I tried unsuccessfully to read to the end:

"The boys' colour was the most obvious, and extraordinary, difference."

Like I said earlier, that is to white people who have very little insight into black experiences, to black people it's definitely within the range of normal to have some kids lighter and some kids darker.

"When James was born he was the spitting image of Errol, and I remember seeing his curly hair and thinking – he's just like his dad. It was another two hours before Daniel was born: and what a surprise he was! He was so white and wrinkly, with this curly blond hair."

I take it James didn't have blonde hair, then? And that Errol is black. And that James is therefore black, because the fullest description is of Daniel, who is white looking because THAT is the surprise, isn't it. Not the whole 'twin' thing, but the 'white' thing (but, covered this, so see above).

"It wouldn't really be possible for a black African father and a white mother to have a white child, because the African would carry only black skin gene variants in his DNA, so wouldn't have any European DNA, with white skin variants, to pass on," he (geneticist) explains.

I'm not sure this is correct. Early last year I was genuinely interested to read the story of two Nigerian parents who gave birth to a white child. So stop telling the people lies. Stop making out there's the world of difference between black and white because real scientists know that race is socially constructed and that black people and white people have more genetic difference within their respective racial groups than between.

"But most Caribbean people, though black-skinned, have European DNA because in the days of slavery, many plantation owners raped female slaves, and so introduced European DNA into the black gene pool."

Incredibly simplistic account of race relations during slavery and since in the Caribbean. ARGH!

"The Caribbean father will have less European DNA than African DNA, so it's more likely he'll pass on African DNA – but rarely, and I've worked it out to be around one in 500 sets of twins where there's a couple of this genetic mix, the father will pass on a lot of European DNA to one child and mostly African DNA to the other. The result will be one white child and one black."

I'm no biologist, but is this man trying to say that African DNA blights European DNA? When it comes to skin tone, maybe, but I'm not sure this is the case for DNA that relates to other things. Maybe it's just bad editing by the Guardian. But I know black people who have had their DNA tested and it led them right back to Ireland, not West Africa.

"Why does a child who is half-white and half-black have to be black? Especially when his skin colour is quite clearly white! In some ways it made me feel irrelevant – as though my colour didn't matter. There seemed to be no right for him to be like me."

Apart from the fact that I do think this young man does look like he has some black in him, and I do think his twin looks like he has some white in him, I'm worried that they were raised as 'white' and the other 'black', and that they were encouraged to call themselves either white or black, because if they are twins from the same parents aren't they both white and black?

"It is interesting that it was the white twin, Daniel, and not the black twin who was on the receiving end of racism – but, though it's counter-intuitive, Alyson agrees that it betrayed very deep-seated prejudices. "Those kids couldn't stand the fact that, as they saw it, this white kid was actually black. It was as though they wanted to punish him for daring to call himself white," she says."

No, it's not interesting that the white twin was experiencing overt racism. It's obvious because white is seen as superior and black is seen as inferior, but his mother is telling him that he is white so therefore has a right to call himself white and goes out into the world doing this, but his brother who is darker, is not told he has has the right to call himself white, so he doesn't and no one attacks him for wanting to 'trade-up' his race like they do with his white looking brother. That's not surprising at all to me.

I couldn't read any further, I was so disheartened.