I hope this week’s podcast provides some much-needed hope and optimism. They seem to be in short supply these days, but my guest, Esuantsiwa Jane Goldsmith, who recently published her first book The Space Between Black and White (a mixed-race memoir), has a refreshing, upbeat take on current events that definitely lifted my mood. She makes me want to spread around some of that optimism state side—either that or move to South London where she lives.
As you’ll hear in the conversation, this interview also hits home for me personally. Being adopted, I’ve obsessed about my identity throughout my life. Who am I, really? And am I who I am because of my environment or because of my mysterious DNA? Esuantsiwa wondered some of the same things. But for her, the questions were constantly front and center as a biracial kid who grew up in a white family in a white neighborhood where the visual impact of her brown skin and curly hair attracted constant, unwelcome questions from bystanders. “Who are you?” they asked, constantly. So, “Who am I” was a question she asked herself multiple times every day of her life.
One thing she eventually discovers about herself is that she’s a princess! It’s every adopted person’s dream come true (or maybe that’s just me). But there’s much more to her story—she writes that self-discovery is a lifelong journey, and hers makes for a wonderful memoir that I thoroughly enjoyed.
“Being Mixed-Race is often misunderstood, trivialized or rejected,” Goldsmith said. “I want to shed new light and depth on this issue through personal experience, across different countries, contexts and generations. Being Mixed-Race is about challenge, inclusion, social and political justice, equality, diversity and finding commonalities between us as well as delighting in difference. We are a growing community in the UK, sharing a valid, exciting and unique identity in it’s own right. My story is a human story: every human being can metaphorically find themselves in the space ‘in between.'”
I actually listened to the book and I recommend doing that if you happen to be going on a daily walk or something else where you have an opportunity to listen. Her voice is lovely, which you can also experience in the podcast. I hope you enjoy!
Audio editing by Sofija Jovanov.