AUDIO BOOK REVIEW: Raceless by Georgina Lawton


Publication Date: February 23, 2021
Format: Audio
Genre:  Race, racism, race studies
Narrator: Georgina Lawton

Publisher: Harper Audio         
8 hours 7 min
Buy: Kindle | Audio


Raised in sleepy English suburbia, Georgina Lawton was no stranger to homogeneity. Her parents were White; her friends were White; there was no reason for her to think she was any different. But over time her brown skin and dark, kinky hair frequently made her a target of prejudice. In Georgina’s insistently color-blind household, with no acknowledgement of her difference or access to Black culture, she lacked the coordinates to make sense of who she was.

It was only after her father’s death that Georgina began to unravel the truth about her parentage - and the racial identity that she had been denied. She fled from England and the turmoil of her home-life to live in Black communities around the globe - the US, the UK, Nicaragua, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, and Morocco - and to explore her identity and what it meant to live in and navigate the world as a Black woman. She spoke with psychologists, sociologists, experts in genetic testing, and other individuals whose experiences of racial identity have been fraught or questioned in the hopes of understanding how, exactly, we identify ourselves.

Raceless is an exploration of a fundamental question: What constitutes our sense of self? Drawing on her personal experiences and the stories of others, Lawton grapples with difficult questions about love, shame, grief, and prejudice, and reveals the nuanced and emotional journey of forming one’s identity.


Its taken me some time to be able to digest this book and write a review.  I felt very connected to Georgina Lawton story in that I am a white Jewish Latinx woman raised in an environment that did not address my Latinx heritage at all.  While it was never denied it was also pushed to the side as a non issue since I present as white.  It wasn't until I got older and constantly found myself feeling disconnected that I realized that a piece of me was missing and until I connected with it I wouldn't feel whole. 

Georgina Lawton tells us the story of her upbringing, raised as white even though she was bi-racial it wasn't until after her fathers death that the truth came to the surface.  Her extended family and friends weren't surprised by her revelation but pushed it to the back saying they didn't want to distress her parents.  However Georgina was distressed and decided to travel and live in predominately black places to try to figure out her place and her identity.  

What she discovered was not only who she is but also the effect of white supremacy and white beauty standards have done to cultures of color.  White beauty standards are seen as pretty and wearing black hair in a natural style is seen as unkempt or messy.  Many black cultures try to avoid the sun hoping to stay lighter and thus been seen as better.  She also briefly touched on the hair care industry in regard to extensions that many black women use for different styles and the way in which poor women of color are exploited and paid virtually nothing for their long hair which is then sold for 10 to 15 times the price that was paid for it.  

Overall this book really brought forth how important knowing who you are and where you come from effects your identity.  Even for those who are adopted the need to be seen and validated is very important.  To celebrate and investigate the culture of the child you are raising without negating a part of them or thinking that part isn't as important.  This book is beautifully honest and at times hard to listen to because of the emotion it brought up.  

I am so happy that Georgina and her mother were able to work through their differences and come to an understanding of what happened and why.  It doesn't make what happened right but it sheds light on where her parents may have been coming from.  I believe this is an important look at race and identity. 

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