Introduction: Utopian Realism and Writing Beyond Race
This book may pertain to a national culture, but it is rooted in a personal experience. As I was born in 1979, the year that Margaret Thatcher came to power, Britain’s racial discourses have been an important soundtrack to my life. At times, their noise has been deafening; at others, the debates surrounding race have faded for a time, nevertheless remaining as the hum of white noise in the background of everyday encounters. Growing up in West London, I have never lived in a space that wasn’t racially diverse. From my home in Hounslow, with its ourishing British Asian community, to my contact with my wider extended family in Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush, with its strong and dynamic Afro-Caribbean and African presence, the contrapuntal rhythms of London’s diverse voices lled my school and my streets.