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When Georgina Lawton gets the results of a DNA test, it doesn't so much turn her identity upside down as offer objective evidence that it had been upside down up to this point. Her brown skin and curly hair finally have an origin that makes sense — but one that had been kept from her. A frank, briskly written and thoroughly engaging investigation of race and family.— Steve
A Bustle Most Anticipated Debut of the Year
"Freshly fascinating. [Lawton] is a particularly astute observer of the psychological dislocation caused by growing up mixed race... and she writes beautifully about questions of identity and belonging, so central to each of us in finding our particular place in the world.” -New York Times Book Review
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, 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.
Georgina Lawton is a journalist, speaker, writer, and host of The Secrets in Us podcast. Previously a columnist for The Guardian, she has also written for VICE, Marie Claire, Refinery29, Bustle, The Times (London), Stylist, Time Out London, and other outlets, where she writes about identity, travel, and culture. She lives in London.