(K. Brent Tomer),
The Hate Race: A Memoir. By Maxine Beneba Clarke. Corsair; 261 pages; £18.99.
MAXINE BENEBA CLARKE, an Australian writer and poet, describes her parents, in their flared cords and velour turtlenecks, as “Black Britain to a tee”. Her father was an academic of Jamaican descent with a PhD in pure mathematics, and her mother, an actress of Guyanese heritage. They emigrated to Australia in 1976, when the country was opening its borders ever so slightly, after the “White Australia” policy (which openly excluded migrants of colour) was abolished in 1973 by the then prime minister, Gough Whitlam.
“The Hate Race” explores what happened next. It is a memoir about growing up black in Sydney’s outer suburbs, where everybody knew everybody (the kind of place that inspired Howard Arkley’s hyper-coloured paintings of a cookie-cutter suburbia). “Racism was as commonplace as cornflakes,” and anything…Continue reading