Skip to content

June 4, 2018


Afua Hirsch: Brit(ish)

by N@ncy

UPDATE: 04.06.2020 –

  1. POWERFUL article in The Guardian today…. by Ms Hirsch
  2. with her insights about racism triggered by death
  3. of….George Floyd (25.05.2020) in Minneapolis Minnesota USA.

Who is Afua Hirsch?

She is a writer born to a British father and an Ashanti mother from Ghana. She is a broadcaster, barrister and human rights development worker. Hirsch has graduated from the Cambridge University. She studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at St Peter’s College, Oxford. She also took the Graduate Diploma in Law at the BPP Law School.

What was the ‘hook’  in the book that kept me reading?

The ‘hook’ in this book is the frank and honest prologue. Hirsch explains the different worlds that clashed when she began a relationship with her partner Sam. They lived just miles apart…but that translated into worlds apart. This was absolutely an open and sometimes brutal look at the influence one’s environment (council estates vs Wimbledon) has on future opportunities.

When did I read this book?

I could not have timed this book at a better moment
Today is the tennis clash of the year 2018: The powerful American sportswoman Serena Williams vs Siberian princess Maria Sharapova. In chapter 3 Hirsch gives the reader in ‘inside’ view of the whitest suburb in London during the whitest 14 days of the year: Wimbledon. Afua Hirsch reveals some of the most unkind comments hurled at Serena by commentators. It is heartbreaking to envisage this type of abuse. It is admirable to read how Serena Williams deals with “…the era of racism without racists….it the story of my life.” (ch 3)   UPDATE:  04.06.2018 –  Another blatant example:  “A sports journalist has been forced to apologise after asking Serena Williams if she was ‘intimidated’ by rival Maria Sharapova’s good looks ahead of their French Open showdown on Monday.”  UPDATE:  04.06.2018  – Ms Williams pulls out of the French Open due to a pectoral muscle injury.

Why is this book so engaging?

Afua Hirsch is brutally honest.  She has revealed how many black people are outside their comfort zone every day in the way they feel their bodies as dictated by the standards of what is beautiful.

What made the most impression on me?

There were too many things to mention!  I was amazed at  details that Hirsch comments on….things I would never have known or noticed. She talks about the unspoken, unwritten rules one must follow being black at work. There are things that cannot be said for fear of making colleagues feel uncomfortable.


  1. With the impressive list of accomplishments and
  2. …degrees in philosophy, politics, economics and law
  3. …still her colleagues look at her askance.
  4. It makes them feel uncomfortable when they realize
  5. Afua Hirsch has so much in common with cleaners in the building.
  6. Luckily for us Hirsch has learned to channel all
  7. her skills  to give us a book that must be read.
  8. Ms Hirsch has crossed the boundary between race and status.
  9. She has broken the rules.
  10. I am so happy she did and made me aware of the
  11. color-blind-racisim that still exists…
  12. “…racisim with a smiling face.” (prologue)
  13. #Powerful  #MustRead

Read more from non-fiction
4 Comments Post a comment
  1. joyweesemoll
    Jun 10 2018

    Oh, I love this. It combines two of my passions — an American who loves all things British and a white person who cares deeply about how to work for structural change that improves the lives of those we push to the margins. This is a book I could learn from.

    I hopped over from Nonfiction Friday. This would be great for British Isles Friday on my blog, too.


    • Jun 11 2018

      Thank you so much for your kind words! Afua Hirsch is an excelltent thinker and she express the feelings experienced by the term ‘otherness’. Every day I think about this book…every day. I will hop over to your blog…thanks for the tip!



Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. #NonficNov week 1 | NancyElin
  2. Books You Should Read About Black Lives | NancyElin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: