Publication Date: February 23,
Genre: Race, racism, race studies
Narrator: Georgina Lawton
Publisher: Harper Audio
Length: 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
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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