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Raceless: In Search of Family, Identity, and the Truth About Where I Belong

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From The Guardian’s Georgina Lawton, a moving examination of how racial identity is constructed—through the author’s own journey grappling with secrets and stereotypes, having been raised by white parents with no explanation as to why she looked black. Raised in sleepy English suburbia, Georgina Lawton was no stranger to homogeneity. Her parents were white; her friends were From The Guardian’s Georgina Lawton, a moving examination of how racial identity is constructed—through the author’s own journey grappling with secrets and stereotypes, having been raised by white parents with no explanation as to why she looked black. 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, South Africa, 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.


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From The Guardian’s Georgina Lawton, a moving examination of how racial identity is constructed—through the author’s own journey grappling with secrets and stereotypes, having been raised by white parents with no explanation as to why she looked black. Raised in sleepy English suburbia, Georgina Lawton was no stranger to homogeneity. Her parents were white; her friends were From The Guardian’s Georgina Lawton, a moving examination of how racial identity is constructed—through the author’s own journey grappling with secrets and stereotypes, having been raised by white parents with no explanation as to why she looked black. 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, South Africa, 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.

30 review for Raceless: In Search of Family, Identity, and the Truth About Where I Belong

  1. 4 out of 5

    Georgina Lawton

    is it bad to rate your own book? anyway I have. and I think it's very good :) is it bad to rate your own book? anyway I have. and I think it's very good :)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    I have so many thoughts, and I won’t do this powerful book justice, but I want you all to read it. Georgina Lawton is raised in a white family and never told why she has dark skin. Growing up in suburban England, her racial identity formation is denied of her. As an adult, Georgina travels the world living in Black communities and interviews psychologists and sociologists to uncover truths and understanding. Raceless is a fascinating, engaging, and emotional story, and one we should be reading and I have so many thoughts, and I won’t do this powerful book justice, but I want you all to read it. Georgina Lawton is raised in a white family and never told why she has dark skin. Growing up in suburban England, her racial identity formation is denied of her. As an adult, Georgina travels the world living in Black communities and interviews psychologists and sociologists to uncover truths and understanding. Raceless is a fascinating, engaging, and emotional story, and one we should be reading and talking about. I recommend it to all readers! I received a gifted copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bree Hill

    Seriously one of the best books centering ‘Identity’ that I’ve read in a long time. Georgina grew up surrounded by love and she knows that but she also grew up with two white parents and eventually a white brother and was very aware that she didn’t look like them. When she tried talking about it, it was always a subject change or dismissed. This book is about secrets and judgment and choosing not to have discussions. All the while, you have a black child who is confused as she navigates the worl Seriously one of the best books centering ‘Identity’ that I’ve read in a long time. Georgina grew up surrounded by love and she knows that but she also grew up with two white parents and eventually a white brother and was very aware that she didn’t look like them. When she tried talking about it, it was always a subject change or dismissed. This book is about secrets and judgment and choosing not to have discussions. All the while, you have a black child who is confused as she navigates the world. It’s about Georgina throwing caution to the wind and going out into the world and surrounding herself with people who look like her after years of English suburbia. It’s about finally having this discussions. It’s about hundreds of dollars for DNA testing. It’s about piecing together who you are, finally having some answers. So good!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Never Without a Book

    WOW! This book stressssssed me, Georgina, I am so so sorry you had to go through life fighting to figure out who you are. I mean her mom......Bro! ....smh full review coming later.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Charles Shires

    Georgina’s search for her identity highlights what most of us take for granted - our undisputed sense of self and where we come from. Her journey is inspiring and you can’t help but feel attached to her progression from her teenage years to the present day. Whilst many of us may not be able to directly relate to the circumstances in which she grew up in, it is hard not to be energised by her vigour and perseverance, and in doing so be influenced to overcome challenges we may be facing in our own Georgina’s search for her identity highlights what most of us take for granted - our undisputed sense of self and where we come from. Her journey is inspiring and you can’t help but feel attached to her progression from her teenage years to the present day. Whilst many of us may not be able to directly relate to the circumstances in which she grew up in, it is hard not to be energised by her vigour and perseverance, and in doing so be influenced to overcome challenges we may be facing in our own lives. Her dad seems like he was a true gentleman and a credit to the person Georgina has become today, and she has a close knit group of friends with a bond like no other. We could all do with our very own Aisling and Emilia in our lives! Lastly, I’d just like to say how much I would like to have been a fly on the wall for that confrontation in Balham - would have made for blockbuster viewing. A solid 5 stars from me!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jendella

    A sincerely moving memoir that also interrogates the limitations (and ridiculousness) of the ways we talk about race and identity and the concept of “colourblindness” that Britain can often pride itself on. I was completely hooked by Georgina’s writing, her openness and the ease with which she weaves analysis and research alongside the surreality of her personal journey (which she still makes immensely relatable). I know it’s early but it feels like one of the best non-fiction books I’ll read th A sincerely moving memoir that also interrogates the limitations (and ridiculousness) of the ways we talk about race and identity and the concept of “colourblindness” that Britain can often pride itself on. I was completely hooked by Georgina’s writing, her openness and the ease with which she weaves analysis and research alongside the surreality of her personal journey (which she still makes immensely relatable). I know it’s early but it feels like one of the best non-fiction books I’ll read this year!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Carly Findlay

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Raceless is one of those books that I didn’t want to put down, but I also didn’t want it to end. I was engrossed. A memoir by British woman. Georgina Lawton, Raceless is about the identity crisis of being born Black into a white family. Georgina was raised white. Her blackness was never discussed - and it wasn’t until after her father died of cancer that she probed her racial history. Georgina’s mother’s affair was never addressed until after her father’s death. Her father never questioned it, her Raceless is one of those books that I didn’t want to put down, but I also didn’t want it to end. I was engrossed. A memoir by British woman. Georgina Lawton, Raceless is about the identity crisis of being born Black into a white family. Georgina was raised white. Her blackness was never discussed - and it wasn’t until after her father died of cancer that she probed her racial history. Georgina’s mother’s affair was never addressed until after her father’s death. Her father never questioned it, her mother never explained it, and her wider family never provoked the topic. Through counseling, she finally interrogated her mother - which revealed a great sense of shame and catholic guilt. The book has a great insight into Black women’s hair, as well as the Vietnamese wig industry. It also explores the way ancestry websites take advantage of minority groups. It was also alarming to read just how many children are kept from knowing about their racial identity - and also the impacts it has on them. And the concept of micro aggressions was outlined so well. I also related to the book a little. My mum is black and my dad is white. But I have a rare severe skin condition called ichthyosis - which makes my skin red. I look more like others with ichthyosis than I do my parents. I was raised in Australia, with some contact with my mum’s South African friends, but mostly exposed to white people. Georgina wrote that she was “slightly overwhelmed to say the least, and very wary of appropriating an identity that was not mine to have.” - and I wrote about this very thing in both Say Hello and Growing Up African in Australia. It’s only recently I’ve explored my race, because my skin condition took a lot of space in my mind. Georgina wrote of Chrissie who had vitiligo, and so his skin colour changed due to the skin condition, and he questioned his identity a lot. I found myself nodding along when reading much of the book. Georgina wrote a lot about her mother’s shame - and the impact it had on her. She wrote that some British people have the tendency to avoid addressing difference - and I thought back to some of the ways I’ve been made to feel shame because my difference has not been addressed - due to people not seeing colour. Raceless is a really important read - especially for people who are mixed raced, and for everyone else actively working on anti racism. It’s beautiful, vulnerable, truthful writing. I want to read everything Georgina has written. I listened to the audiobook and she narrated it beautifully.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Zahrah Surooprajally

    I would recommend this book to everyone. In the era of the personal essay, it’s hard to make a mark. To be able to convey your impetus to tell your story can feel forced or too similar to the corpus of work out there, or too cliched. Which is what makes Raceless such a special book. The debut memoir takes us on a journey of a young girl from Sutton who, constantly receiving comments from strangers abroad, and inappropriate remarks from other adults, finds it difficult to believe her parents’ repe I would recommend this book to everyone. In the era of the personal essay, it’s hard to make a mark. To be able to convey your impetus to tell your story can feel forced or too similar to the corpus of work out there, or too cliched. Which is what makes Raceless such a special book. The debut memoir takes us on a journey of a young girl from Sutton who, constantly receiving comments from strangers abroad, and inappropriate remarks from other adults, finds it difficult to believe her parents’ repeated reasoning for the colour of her skin. Lawton entwines her own experiences of grief with search for identity, against a backdrop of the entire world. She delves into her own mental health and her journey through counselling. She also combines experiences of other countries with her own growing knowledge of the nuances of race. Her own story is peppered with stories of similitude, and an accessible commentary on race theory. Every chapter opens with a relevant quote of Lawton’s own choosing, my favourite, the start of chapter 5, a Bell Hooks quote which starts with “It was love’s absence that let me know how much love mattered.” The search for belonging, though harrowing at times, (there is an instant where a school friend scratches her arm in attempt to be more light-skinned), is emboldened by the loss of her father. Lawton shows the heartbreak and anguish felt by her family at the prospect of not having their father throughout the important moments of her life. What perhaps is the most heartfelt, is how she shows stoic and strong and accepting her father was until the end, through their conversations, “this is my lot”, and the actions he took to make sure they were taken care of. Lawton skilfully and tactfully navigates her own relationship with her parents, including her ever-strengthening relationship between her and her mother. She interrogates her own beliefs and explores how far our parents’ conditioning can affect us far later into life. What perhaps may be the most poignant message of the book is that it isn’t her parents’ strengths (there are many) that allows her to grow and flourish, it is rather through the understanding of their complexity, and discovery that flaws do not negate unconditional love. Lawton teaches us that growth around systemic issues like race, is anything but comfortable. But through shedding our conditioning, stepping out into the world and questioning it all – it is the most ‘transformative, educational’ thing you will ever do.

  9. 4 out of 5

    VL

    A fascinating search for identity.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    This is a book written fiercely, scorchingly, with evident painful honesty. It is extremely well written and thought provoking, particularly for this Caucasian reader, as hopefully it will also be read by others of all races: Caucasian, black, Asian, etc. The story tells of what ignoring the reality of having a mixed- race child raised in a white family leads to: a sense of alienation and unique and painful differentness on the part of the child, particularly as members of her white family contin This is a book written fiercely, scorchingly, with evident painful honesty. It is extremely well written and thought provoking, particularly for this Caucasian reader, as hopefully it will also be read by others of all races: Caucasian, black, Asian, etc. The story tells of what ignoring the reality of having a mixed- race child raised in a white family leads to: a sense of alienation and unique and painful differentness on the part of the child, particularly as members of her white family continue to ignore her half black parentage, insisting she is white, doing so throughout her childhood, and beyond. As this child transitions to early adulthood, she struggles with agonizing emotions. However, she intrepidly seeks to find the truth about her parentage, and explores what it means to be black in a white society. She also learns to own her uniqueness as she embraces her blackness after great adversity stemming from ongoing denial in her family of origin. She travels to countries where she is not exceptional for being brown, reveling in this, and finally learning how to take care of her hair (important in many ways to blacks, which is fully illuminated in the book), while also condemning racism horrifically continuing, even to the point of deprecating black hair worn naturally rather than having been chemically straightened, thus demonstrating how all disparaging and encompassing is the way whites have—for centuries—treated blacks: as if to erase them in their singleness. (And racism continues unabated in countries where being white is normative.) Georgina (“George”), the protagonist, confronts her “mum” determined to learn the truth of her parentage. She is eventually told (by her mum who is much ashamed of how George came to be conceived) of the circumstances of her birth. Over years of contentious psychotherapy between George and her mum, they both reach some resolution, and thus to feel more certain of their ongoing love of each other. During early adulthood, George loses her dad to cancer. He was not her biological father, but consistently treated her as if he were. (Both parents treated her well in childhood, loving her greatly.) She continues to idolize him throughout her narration in the book; perhaps she will one day reach a more realistic (complete with all his foibles) view of him.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    This book is very eye opening. It is a must read for any racially integrated family, especially with children. As one who looks on as an outsider of these families, it makes you rethink your thoughts and beliefs as you realize the trials and tribulations people go through when they are a mixed race. This author expresses her journey so well that others can relate and hopefully start their own if needed.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jess Witkins

    Raceless is an exceptional memoir full of research as well as deep self awareness that can only have come from the very hard work the author writes about in her journey. With a premise that, at first, seems so shocking - a mixed-race daughter raised in a white family and told she was white up through her 20s (despite years of race-based questions and experiences from the world around her) discovers her father is not her biological father and that she is, in fact, half Black - the reader learns t Raceless is an exceptional memoir full of research as well as deep self awareness that can only have come from the very hard work the author writes about in her journey. With a premise that, at first, seems so shocking - a mixed-race daughter raised in a white family and told she was white up through her 20s (despite years of race-based questions and experiences from the world around her) discovers her father is not her biological father and that she is, in fact, half Black - the reader learns that this kind of family secret is more common than we think. Georgina Lawton battles both grief and an identity crisis after DNA test results reveal she is mixed-race, half white, half Black. I can only imagine the kind of unraveling such a denial of one's own identity and lived experience would feel like for over 20 years, but Lawton has certainly shared her vulnerability, her hard won lessons, and her pursuit to undo her own implicit biases and begin to construct and reshape an identity that is of her full self. In her pursuit of this, she includes a wealth of research about racially driven social structures, microaggressions, genealogy for the African diaspora, pros and cons of DNA testing, and numerous other stories of people who've lived similar experiences. There is much to be appreciated and learned in Lawton's book, but what really captured me as an American reader (Lawton lives in England) was the concept of 'sankofa,' a West African term that roughly translates to "we must go back to our roots in order to move forward.' It is an African concept that understands claiming your past in a way that Western culture hasn't yet achieved and Lawton uses it like a call for white folks, like her own mother and other families where such secrets were kept, to reconcile their history, their privilege and bias in order not to carry it forward time and time again where people of color are the ones suffering mentally and physically because of it. It is a kind of atonement. Such an incredible book. I thank the author for writing it. And thank you to NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shana

    This book is well-balanced between the author's personal experience and tidbits of knowledge around the many and varied faces of racism. I had read a book with a similar premise recently, so I was curious to see how similar/different this one would be. Georgina Lawton was raised in a white family in a largely white community in England. Her appearance stuck out in those surroundings, but her parents never directly spoke to her about it. After her beloved father's death, she decides to use DNA te This book is well-balanced between the author's personal experience and tidbits of knowledge around the many and varied faces of racism. I had read a book with a similar premise recently, so I was curious to see how similar/different this one would be. Georgina Lawton was raised in a white family in a largely white community in England. Her appearance stuck out in those surroundings, but her parents never directly spoke to her about it. After her beloved father's death, she decides to use DNA testing to get the answers about her racial/ethnic background that were long denied to her. She learns that she has Nigerian ancestry and shares what it was like for her to have to uncover parts of her own identity in this way. The emotional impact was huge, and Lawton doesn't shy away from describing the feelings of betrayal and anger, and alongside them, a confusing sense of guilt that she should be grateful for the loving parents she had growing up. Although she never has the chance to reconcile all of this with her father, she does pursue both personal and family therapy which allows her to fully consider her identity while also working to repair the rift that was created through this huge lie of omission. Just as in the other memoir I read where the author was similarly biracial (Black/white) raised in a white family without knowledge of their Black side, I was struck by the deeply entrenched anti-Blackness at the root of these deceptions. The tremendous amount of gaslighting that takes place to pull off such a thing is staggering, and I'm glad that Lawton has a strong support system to continue to rely on. As a biracial person (Asian/white) who was largely raised by my white parent, I can't help but wonder what it would have been like to grow up having been prevented from all the available information regarding my identity. Like Lawton, I imagine I would have felt a bit like an imposter as I tried to learn in adulthood what others have since birth. And yet the experience of living in one's own skin doesn't change. Raceless left me with so many thoughts.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Louisa Donovan

    Georgina Lawton's memoir of developing her racial identity alternates between heartbreaking and heart-warming. Although pretending a dark skinned, curly headed child has the same parentage as her fair skinned, freckled brother and received equal DNA shares from her Irish mother and white British father seems far-fetched, that is exactly what the author had been told all her life. Two events that occur almost simultaneously shape this memoir; Georgina's father dying after a struggle with cancer a Georgina Lawton's memoir of developing her racial identity alternates between heartbreaking and heart-warming. Although pretending a dark skinned, curly headed child has the same parentage as her fair skinned, freckled brother and received equal DNA shares from her Irish mother and white British father seems far-fetched, that is exactly what the author had been told all her life. Two events that occur almost simultaneously shape this memoir; Georgina's father dying after a struggle with cancer and her discovery through DNA testing that she is not her beloved father's biological daughter. Either of these is life changing; the double whammy is devastating. The DNA test suggests that Georgina's father is of Nigerian heritage, so she begins to delve into what blackness looks like socially and physically in places as varied as Vietnam, Nicaragua, Brazil, New York, and London while earning her living as a blogger. Georgina's mother originally refuses to talk about her reasons for ignoring her daughter's paternity, but eventually agrees to participate in therapy that gets rather gritty at times. G's network of friends provide her with emotional support, and although nobody know her exact paternity, she develops her racial identity as a black woman raised in a white extended family that never acknowledged her differences because her parents shut off conversation on that topic when she was a baby. Raceless opened my eyes to the importance of sharing all of a child's biological and cultural background so that she can become a confident, self aware adult who knows what to expect from society. Little children with different hair texture, body type, and appearance from their family deserve to be validated as different because social norms are initially experienced based on how we look. All of us need to look at race, acknowledge differences, and move toward informed understanding of one another.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bookworm

    I had read Lawton's original essay in the Guardian UK newspaper and was curious about how it would read as a book, what she would add, what she would say. It just so happened I had this book out as a library loan not long after Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, had a well-publicized interview where she talked about racism, mental health, etc. Markle's story is not quite like Lawton's, but it seemed like this would be a timely and interesting read. For those who don't know, Lawton grew up not I had read Lawton's original essay in the Guardian UK newspaper and was curious about how it would read as a book, what she would add, what she would say. It just so happened I had this book out as a library loan not long after Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, had a well-publicized interview where she talked about racism, mental health, etc. Markle's story is not quite like Lawton's, but it seemed like this would be a timely and interesting read. For those who don't know, Lawton grew up not initially realizing she was any different from those around her until as she grew up she faced racism in the outside world while her family remained curiously silent as to why Lawton didn't quite look like her parents. After her father's death Lawton begins to unravel the mystery of her parentage and how and why her parents and extended family chose to remain silent about it--about both her biological father as well as the difficult conversations about being "different" and the specific issues of racism, misogynoir and other uncomfortable topics. Her story ranges far both in physical terms as well as being difficult emotionally. It takes a while for Lawton to get the answers from her mom, while trying to navigate the world being who she is and finding others who also have similar experiences and stories. I have to agree with the negative reviews. I thought it was more of a memoir, but it's a mix of that, social commentary, political observations, etc. Ultimately, I think the original essay was probably enough for me as a casual reader and it wasn't really necessary to read more as a book. Another reader, especially one with experiences similar to Lawton's, might find this more interesting. As mentioned, a library borrow but I think it's also skippable if you've read her essay.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amina Makele

    RATING: Four and a half stars. This book is compelling and intelligent. You’re pulled into Georgina’s story while contemplating what race really means. Through her life experiences and interviews with others who experienced similar upbringings (e.g. black children adopted by white families), you’re forced to wonder why and how we ascribe racial characteristics to people. This book asks the tough questions. If you grow up being told you’re white, at what stage does the world tell you you’re not ( RATING: Four and a half stars. This book is compelling and intelligent. You’re pulled into Georgina’s story while contemplating what race really means. Through her life experiences and interviews with others who experienced similar upbringings (e.g. black children adopted by white families), you’re forced to wonder why and how we ascribe racial characteristics to people. This book asks the tough questions. If you grow up being told you’re white, at what stage does the world tell you you’re not (and why)? And what does this even mean – when technically you’re an equal mix of both, why are you forced to identify with the minority race? Oh God, there’s so much to unpack and I can’t do it justice. All I can tell you is to read this book. OVERALL: This book is an important contribution to conversations about anti-racism and what race really means. Georgina’s experience is not unique – as you see in the book – but it is somewhat of a vacuum for us to test our racial preconceptions. As she travels the globe and sees different reactions to her blackness (while she herself is attempting to claim it), we can better understand the nuances of racial identity. I understood this book, I felt this book, and I’d urge you to order a copy. This book was kindly gifted to me by the publisher (Little Brown) in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    Raceless ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Georgina, raised by white parents with no explanation as to why she looked black and no acknowledgement of her difference or access to black culture, reflects on her lack of identity, and her loss of knowing who she was in this memoir that is out today. “Race didn’t care about my family lore, or my parents’ inability to discuss our differences. Race was dodged in its desperate burnout of me; it could not be ignored, it was inescapable.” I read a lot of memoirs, but very few have i Raceless ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Georgina, raised by white parents with no explanation as to why she looked black and no acknowledgement of her difference or access to black culture, reflects on her lack of identity, and her loss of knowing who she was in this memoir that is out today. “Race didn’t care about my family lore, or my parents’ inability to discuss our differences. Race was dodged in its desperate burnout of me; it could not be ignored, it was inescapable.” I read a lot of memoirs, but very few have impacted me as much as Raceless did. Raceless tackles many topics, including identity, race, family love, grief, and so much more. Not only does the reader learn about Georgina Lawton, were taken on a whirlwind journey of learning about DNA testing, mixed-race, and how others can be impacted by this happening. I absolutely loved reading about her unraveling the truth about her parentage, but also her travels later in life, as she visits black communities around the globe to explore her identity. The combination of research and her personal journey, made this a fascinating read. Her story was very raw, and she held nothing back. Thank you to @harperperennial for this #gifted copy in exchange for an honest review. #OliveInfluencer {image description: the cover of Raceless is shown on a shelf of all nonfiction books.}

  18. 5 out of 5

    Barnaby Haszard

    I -- mediocre white cishet bloke -- have always wondered at Black lives raised by white families as a curiosity, my concept of their experience devoid of any sense of the identity headfuck their skin colour brings on them. Until now. Lawton confesses all her family's shortcomings and all her personal struggles, as she apparently has for many years online, and offers an eye-opening insight into what it's actually like to be that person who everyone is surprised came out Black. She also canvasses I -- mediocre white cishet bloke -- have always wondered at Black lives raised by white families as a curiosity, my concept of their experience devoid of any sense of the identity headfuck their skin colour brings on them. Until now. Lawton confesses all her family's shortcomings and all her personal struggles, as she apparently has for many years online, and offers an eye-opening insight into what it's actually like to be that person who everyone is surprised came out Black. She also canvasses various other experiences at the fuzzy border of Black and white experience, such as lighter-skinned focus passing as white and lives that revolve around the global hair trade. Once upon a time, I hoped I would get together with a woman with different skin colour from my own and raise multiracial children, thinking they'd have genetic advantages; how naive and privileged that perspective was. (Never mind that I settled down with someone just as white as me and produced blonde-haired, blue-eyed kids, as I was probably always going to.) This book is further evidence, if it was needed -- and personally speaking, it always will be -- that the Black experience is underpinned by centuries and centuries of complex trauma.

  19. 4 out of 5

    smalltownbookmom

    This is the second REALLY fascinating memoir written by a biracial woman who was raised by white parents and the implications this upbringing had on their identity growing up. In Raceless Georgina was always told her brown skin was a result of a throwback gene, when in reality her white Irish mother had an affair with a Black man and never acknowledged it, even after she gave birth to a brown skinned daughter. I can’t imagine the emotional trauma of growing up having your racial identity go not This is the second REALLY fascinating memoir written by a biracial woman who was raised by white parents and the implications this upbringing had on their identity growing up. In Raceless Georgina was always told her brown skin was a result of a throwback gene, when in reality her white Irish mother had an affair with a Black man and never acknowledged it, even after she gave birth to a brown skinned daughter. I can’t imagine the emotional trauma of growing up having your racial identity go not only unacknowledged but blatantly denied. It is not until her father dies that Georgina has the courage to take a DNA test and get conclusive proof of her Nigerian ancestry. Even with the test results her mother refuses to discuss her parentage and it takes a lot of therapy for mother and daughter to reach a place of healing. Really well written memoir, with a lot of theoretical research and first hand interviews from other transracial people. Highly recommend this thought-provoking and heartfelt memoir dealing with racial identity and belonging, especially for fans of Rebecca Carroll’s Surviving the white gaze.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie

    I’m sitting here with my thoughts, allowing the words of this eye-opening memoir to wash over me. This was a powerful read, a book that left an imprint on my heart that I truly didn’t expect. Georgina pens her story within these pages, a journey to discovering her true self after growing up in a white family in a white-washed world that tried to erase her blackness, tried to strip her of an entire part of herself that was too shameful to discuss. This book opened my eyes to so many things. Georgin I’m sitting here with my thoughts, allowing the words of this eye-opening memoir to wash over me. This was a powerful read, a book that left an imprint on my heart that I truly didn’t expect. Georgina pens her story within these pages, a journey to discovering her true self after growing up in a white family in a white-washed world that tried to erase her blackness, tried to strip her of an entire part of herself that was too shameful to discuss. This book opened my eyes to so many things. Georgina’s writing flowed as smooth as silk as I devoured each page and took her pain, her struggle, and her joy upon my own heart as her powerful words hit me hard. I highly recommend picking up this memoir and reading Georgina’s story. I learned so much and have had my eyes, ears, and heart opened to even more as I navigate and explore how best to be an ally to my Black friends and family. Georgina’s story is heart-wrenchingly powerful. Please go read it! TW: Death of a Parent, Grief, Cancer, Racism, Microagressions, Identity Struggles. *I received a gifted copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Thank you to Harper Perennial for a gifted copy of this book! Raceless is a memoir about Georgina and her life growing up in a white family with dark skin and an insufficient explanation. She knows she is different but her family constantly leads her to believe she is also white. We travel with her on a journey of confusion, standing out, feeling gaslighted, facing stigma, yet working towards finding out where she fits amongst it all and making amends with her loved ones. The way the memoir is writ Thank you to Harper Perennial for a gifted copy of this book! Raceless is a memoir about Georgina and her life growing up in a white family with dark skin and an insufficient explanation. She knows she is different but her family constantly leads her to believe she is also white. We travel with her on a journey of confusion, standing out, feeling gaslighted, facing stigma, yet working towards finding out where she fits amongst it all and making amends with her loved ones. The way the memoir is written is wonderful. It is a quick read sprinkled with interactions with so many other people who grew up in a similar situation. It is her story, but also her journey finding similar stories. She also has research mentioned throughout, but without making it feel like you’re reading a research paper. I learned a lot from this book. Georgina travels the world so we get a look at the hair trade system in Vietnam, a movement in the Dominican Republic to embrace natural hair, ‘passing’ as a native in various cities/countries, and more than I had ever expected. Really enjoyed this.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Zibby Owens

    I have to say, the opening scene was suspenseful and felt like I was watching a movie. In "Raceless," the author talks about being biracial in an all-white family, with no explanation as to why she looked black. The author had fantastic parents and wonderful childhood, but her race was never addressed. This book is about the author's journey to find out who she is and how she grapples with secrets and stereotypes in being biracial. After her beloved father’s death, Georgina began to unravel the I have to say, the opening scene was suspenseful and felt like I was watching a movie. In "Raceless," the author talks about being biracial in an all-white family, with no explanation as to why she looked black. The author had fantastic parents and wonderful childhood, but her race was never addressed. This book is about the author's journey to find out who she is and how she grapples with secrets and stereotypes in being biracial. After her beloved father’s death, Georgina began to unravel the truth about her parentage—and her racial identity that had been ignored in her family. This book investigates that age-old question around "nature versus nurture" and about whether where we come from does or does not matter. This fantastic book was fascinating on so many levels and was really a love story to her dad. To listen to my interview with the author, go to my podcast at: https://zibbyowens.com/transcript/geo...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Maria P

    First, a thank you to HarperPerennial for gifting me this book as a Goodreads giveaway. This book is so much more than a memoir. It unpacks her (and ours as a reader) understanding of how racial identity is constructed. Lawton's experiences are enriched with data from psychologists, socialists, etc., and because she is a journalist, the information is presented well and very accessible. My favorite components were the sections on her travels across the globe and diaspora. Her discussions on the First, a thank you to HarperPerennial for gifting me this book as a Goodreads giveaway. This book is so much more than a memoir. It unpacks her (and ours as a reader) understanding of how racial identity is constructed. Lawton's experiences are enriched with data from psychologists, socialists, etc., and because she is a journalist, the information is presented well and very accessible. My favorite components were the sections on her travels across the globe and diaspora. Her discussions on the human hair industry in Vietnam and how colonialism has influenced beauty standards in the Dominican Republic were fascinating. I also loved the references and quotes from Black literature (i.e. Hurston, Bennett). Make sure to check out Lawton's article/reaction to the Meghan Markle - Oprah interview. Finally, thank you to Georgina for sharing your story!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brianna Gold

    I just want to say thank you to Georgina Lawton for sharing her story and her struggles and writing this amazing book. I am still dedicated to learning and listening and widening my perspective, and this book did all those things. Lawton shares her incredible story of family secrets and the racial identity she was denied her whole life as a black child raised in a white home. Knowing who we are is so important, and family plays a huge part in that. Reading of the toll of the racial erasure Lawton I just want to say thank you to Georgina Lawton for sharing her story and her struggles and writing this amazing book. I am still dedicated to learning and listening and widening my perspective, and this book did all those things. Lawton shares her incredible story of family secrets and the racial identity she was denied her whole life as a black child raised in a white home. Knowing who we are is so important, and family plays a huge part in that. Reading of the toll of the racial erasure Lawton endured was heart breaking, especially because it is told in such a personal way. It felt like a friend telling you their story while also being incredibly well-written. Not to mention there’s some real positive moments, too: reading of Lawton’s travels and her self-discovery, the love between her and her father, and the deep friendships she has with the women in her life. In addition, it was interesting for me, an American, go read about racism in other countries (mainly England) since I’ve read so many that are US-focused. This was my favorite book I read last month, and I definitely encourage everyone to read it!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nikita Garg (thebookelf_)

    Wow! Absolutely WOWed by this book. I can’t even imagine living in the author’s shoes and taking a step without any clue about my racial identity. Whatever Georgina had to go through wasn’t easy AT ALL — Grappling with stereotypes while continuously trying to figure out why is she being raised by white parents! Imagine NOT knowing where you belong? Not knowing your true identity? I loved every bit of this book. It broke my heart reading about death, comforted me when Georgina made progress with t Wow! Absolutely WOWed by this book. I can’t even imagine living in the author’s shoes and taking a step without any clue about my racial identity. Whatever Georgina had to go through wasn’t easy AT ALL — Grappling with stereotypes while continuously trying to figure out why is she being raised by white parents! Imagine NOT knowing where you belong? Not knowing your true identity? I loved every bit of this book. It broke my heart reading about death, comforted me when Georgina made progress with the truth and made me furious when others hid the truth from her. A question to ponder on — What constitutes our identity? I was lucky to listen to Georgina at Harper Perennial's first ever Bookstagrammer Book Club! Such a refreshing memoir for anyone looking to explore this genre.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Georgina Lawton was raised by a white family and she spent her whole adolescence trying to figure out why she looked Black. After two very pivotal moments in her life, she began uncovering the truth about her race and began examining why hiding one's race can be so painful and life-altering. Lawton explores every corner of this issue, from passing to natural hair styles, in this very honest and compelling memoir. I was blown away by Georgina Lawton's life story and sat reading with my jaw on the Georgina Lawton was raised by a white family and she spent her whole adolescence trying to figure out why she looked Black. After two very pivotal moments in her life, she began uncovering the truth about her race and began examining why hiding one's race can be so painful and life-altering. Lawton explores every corner of this issue, from passing to natural hair styles, in this very honest and compelling memoir. I was blown away by Georgina Lawton's life story and sat reading with my jaw on the floor most of the time. I could not believe the secrets her family kept from her and the pain she went through just to find the truth about her racial background. Her story is woven with well-done research, interviews, and her first-hand accounts of her worldly experiences. This is a powerful read and I loved it so much! Thank you to Harper Perennial for the review copy!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Shenda Anyaegbunam

    The title and synopsis of this book grabbed my attention and I got very excited.I was not disappointed and I got so much more than a good read from it. The prose is exceptional from somebody so young. Georginas bravery to sweep out from underneath that very thick carpet the secrecy surrounding her birth and identity has and will give courage to so many who are struggling with something similar situations and searching for answers around their identity . I could go on and on there is so much in th The title and synopsis of this book grabbed my attention and I got very excited.I was not disappointed and I got so much more than a good read from it. The prose is exceptional from somebody so young. Georginas bravery to sweep out from underneath that very thick carpet the secrecy surrounding her birth and identity has and will give courage to so many who are struggling with something similar situations and searching for answers around their identity . I could go on and on there is so much in this memoir from Georginas travels to her hair care and how she dealt with a cheating boyfriend. A fascinating book from a great talent

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kala (ReaderthenBlogger)

    I enjoyed listening to this memoir on audio . Georgina narrates it herself. I couldn’t imagine being one race and being raised by another race and my parents not tell me what race I am or even try to incorporate aspects of that race into our daily lives. Ignoring race doesn’t make it go away. Georgina has to battle with self identity as a child and even more so as an adult. She uses her experience to help others that have been in her situation and to educate the masses who are familiar with and I enjoyed listening to this memoir on audio . Georgina narrates it herself. I couldn’t imagine being one race and being raised by another race and my parents not tell me what race I am or even try to incorporate aspects of that race into our daily lives. Ignoring race doesn’t make it go away. Georgina has to battle with self identity as a child and even more so as an adult. She uses her experience to help others that have been in her situation and to educate the masses who are familiar with and follow her work.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ariel (ariel_reads)

    Well written autobiography on racial identity, family secrets, family trauma, and belonging. This was such an interesting book and definitely worth the read for anyone learning about the importance of race in the West. Full of exploration of nuances, the breakdown of DNA tests, and reading about Lawton's self discovery during her travel journaling, I feel like I learned a lot without the material feeling too dense. The information, emotions, and experiences all flow naturally and tie an individu Well written autobiography on racial identity, family secrets, family trauma, and belonging. This was such an interesting book and definitely worth the read for anyone learning about the importance of race in the West. Full of exploration of nuances, the breakdown of DNA tests, and reading about Lawton's self discovery during her travel journaling, I feel like I learned a lot without the material feeling too dense. The information, emotions, and experiences all flow naturally and tie an individual's experience to a global conversation that is extremely important in the 2021 context.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bridget Brooks

    Raceless is a very thought provoking, moving and interesting account of Georgina's quest to find out the truth of her identity. It is well written and engaging. Georgina was born to white parents and brought up in a close and loving family not really understanding why she looked so different to them and to her brother. It was only after her father’s death from cancer that she began to pursue the truth more actively with shocking results. Raceless details her journey. Very highly recommended. Raceless is a very thought provoking, moving and interesting account of Georgina's quest to find out the truth of her identity. It is well written and engaging. Georgina was born to white parents and brought up in a close and loving family not really understanding why she looked so different to them and to her brother. It was only after her father’s death from cancer that she began to pursue the truth more actively with shocking results. Raceless details her journey. Very highly recommended.

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