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Natives Paperback – January 1, 2019
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A searing modern polemic from musician and political commentator, Akala
From the first time he was stopped and searched as a child, to the day he realised his mum was white, to his first encounters with racist teachers - race and class have shaped Akala's life and outlook. In this unique book he takes his own experiences and widens them out to look at the social, historical and political factors that have left us where we are today.
Covering everything from the police, education and identity to politics, objectification and the far right, Natives will speak directly to British denial and squeamishness when it comes to confronting issues of race and class that are at the heart of the legacy of Britain's racialised empire.
Akala is a hip-hop artist, writer and social entrepreneur, as well as the co-founder of The Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company.
With an extensive global touring history, Akala has appeared at numerous festivals both in the UK and internationally, and has led innovative projects in the arts, education and music across South East Asia, Africa, India, Australia and New Zealand.
Akala has also appeared on Channel 4, ITV, MTV, Sky Arts and the BBC promoting his music and poetry, and speaking on wide-ranging subjects from music, race, youth engagement, British/African-Caribbean culture and the arts, with numerous online lectures and performances that have millions of views on YouTube.
More recently known for his compelling lectures and journalism - he has written for the Guardian, Huffington Post and the Independent, and spoken for the Oxford Union and TEDx - Akala has gained a reputation as one of the most dynamic and articulate talents in the UK.
I was not born with an opinion of the world but it clearly seemed that the world had an opinion of people like me.
I did not know what race and class supposedly were but the world taught me very quickly.
I did not particularly want to spend a portion of a * studying these issues, it was not among my ambitions as a child, but I was compelled upon this path very early.
I knew that my experiences were significant but I was not yet sure how to tease meaning from them.
- Publisher : Two Roads (January 1, 2019)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1473661234
- ISBN-13 : 978-1473661233
- Item Weight : 8.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.04 x 0.94 x 7.72 inches
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Natives succeeds at showing up the hypocrisy of Britain in relation to its ideals and its actual treatment of colonial subjects. I would heartily recommend this book to any one interested in race relations in the colonial and modern era.
Top reviews from other countries
I would definitely recommend this book to purple struggling with race and identity issues. However I would equally recommend this book to wider Britain who are uncomfortable discussing race issues, to contribute towards a deeper understanding of race dynamics.
The book demonstrates that the author has a solid understanding of the subject matter, and also leaves room for opening up difficult, but necessary discussions, in the name of the title of the book.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 30, 2019
Many of those answers are explored in this incredibly compelling work; Akala talks about what it means to be mixed race (or BAME) and poor in the U.K., using personal examples from his childhood in the 80s onwards. He uses his experiences to open up a wider discussion around race and class, racism and racialised identities. His measured, cogent analysis takes on the global and the local: the legacy of colonialism, the relationship between the slave trade and the U.K. through to the way in which history is taught in schools (and from whose perspective). He writes beautifully, whether he’s talking about the slave uprisings in Haiti or being expected to ‘hero-worship’ Wilberforce by his ‘white’ teacher on a school trip.
He communicates an array of difficult, complex issues in a manner that’s convincing, informative and often surprisingly entertaining; drawing on an impressive range of research material. It’s no wonder he’s so in demand as a public speaker. But Akala isn’t just looking back at the past or reflecting on the present, he’s also posing important questions about the future, questions that implicate all of us. I ended up engaging with this on a very personal level but for any reader who’s willing this will be an impressive encounter. A skilful mix of memoir, history and social/cultural analysis this is one of those books that deserves (demands) to be widely read and just as widely discussed.
You know the sort of thing: the British empire was all about racism, but the Caliphate's enslavement of white Christians for three hundred years across North Africa barely gets a mention. I wonder why?
So many Christian men, women and children were enslaved by Muslim North Africans that the value of the Christian was so low one could swap a Christian for an onion. No doubt Akala knows all this, but for some reason chooses not to go into it.
If you want the sort of stock, woke, stuff which re-inforces what you already believe, then this book will probably work for you. If you actually want to learn something - then don't believe the hype.