Multiple consciousness and multiracial futures

Striving for liberation from the middling spot through storytelling and relation

It’s estimated that in 2021, the number of people self-identifying as multiracial in the UK will rise to 2.2 million. When completing surveys and censuses, many of these people will be forced to select “Mixed Other” (MO) and then self-define their identity in a separate box. In census results, these respondents will be listed simply as “MO.” These subjects are counted as statistics; they are not counted as their whole selves. This dissertation looks at the role that storytelling and the notion of futures can play in providing an avenue for multiracial people to be themselves away from the colonial gaze, which provides a sense of impossibility of being counted as one’s “whole self.” By conducting an alternative survey and carrying out semi-structured interviews with people who identify as multiracial, I seek to employ data collection against its imperial use to bring forth the idea that for multiracial people identity is often in flux or becoming, and in relation to others and the options available in censuses are not representative of reality. I begin by exploring the history of racism and categorisation of race in three seemingly progressive nation-states built on slavery, colonialism and immigration: the UK, US and Canada. I move on to introduce concepts of storytelling and Black / Indigenous / Queer futurism to explore avenues of liberation. Via a data collection exercise and interviews, I use storytelling to show the multitude of narratives not acknowledged or accounted for by the empirical data and statistics of censuses. Finally, I look at the future for multiracial people through a combination of futurism to recentre what ways of knowing and traditional storytelling are away from colonial thought yet in touch with political realities.

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