Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging [Book Review]

What does it mean to be British in 21st century?

Get your pen and paper ready because in today’s show I’m reviewing a unique book that takes a contemporary look at British Identity through an intersectional lens.

The book is called Brit (ish) On Race, Identity and Belonging by Afua Hirsch

Afua Hirsch  is a writer, broadcaster, and former barrister.

I’ve been holding on to this book for a while, if we’ve met in the past few months

I’ve probably mentioned that I wanted to review this book. In fact, this book was voted for by the members of The Element of Inclusion Linkedin Group to be the last book review of 2019.

In todays show we discuss several things including:

  • The complexity of British identity
  • The contradictory nature of British identity
  • Why British Identity is not what you think

Here’s some of what I share in the show:

Diversity refers to differences within groups as well as differences between groups

The author makes reference to her husband Sam and his experience as a contrast to her own, despite their shared heritage, and ongoing experience, what I like is the way their differing experience of being Black British is discussed and explored”

British identity is often misrepresented

“Stereotypes of cricket, fish and chips. Mary Poppins and drinking tea are still strong but they are constructed. Mary Poppins wasn’t mentioned in the book but the point is focusing on these constructed identities often mean that other legitimate forms of being British get overlooked.”

British identity is going to continue to change

“100 years ago, Britain was a colonial power now it’s different and in the future it’s going to be change even more. This isn’t a British thing, this applies to every country, every state, every group of people. Ignoring it, isn’t going to make it go away. ”


Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging

Register interest for the Inclusion Book Club 

Afua Hirsch Wikipedia

The Elements of Inclusion #4

Leaders must collaborate innovatively to leverage cultural expertise and drive business performance.

  • Why inclusive outcomes are driven by innovation
  • How developing a business case for diversity and inclusion specific to your organisation is a competitive advantage
  • Why novelty is at the heart of your inclusion journey

The Elements of Inclusion #3

Leaders must establish systems to ensure that everyone shares the same advantages and benefits. These processes will create incentives for inclusive behaviours.

  • How to augment your team with the tools and insights they need to prevent structural disadvantage
  • Why reinforcing generative norms ensures everyone belongs in the organisation
  • How inclusive representations can be embedded to promote an inclusive culture

The Elements of Inclusion #2

Leaders must redefine career development relationships to support inclusive performance.
  • Why traditional mentor relationships must be revised for an inclusive workplace
  • How leaders must embrace networks of developmental relationships for individual growth
  • Why established workplace norms must evolve for inclusion in the modern workplace

The Elements of Inclusion #1

Leaders must properly socialise people and socialise inclusive ideas by providing an environment for the cultural learning needed for an active role in an inclusive organisation

  • How your socialisation processes must evolve to encourage the sustainable cultivation of inclusive competencies
  • Why Leaders must consistently negotiate the line between organisational commitment and personal authenticity to promote performance
  • How developing intersectional self awareness can help leaders to leverage individual employee experiences