In the first decade of the new century mixing and mixedness have come of age. The 2001 Census recorded 237,420 White and Black Caribbeans, 78,911 White and Black Africans, 189,015 White and Asians, and 155,688 in the ‘Other Mixed’ group in England and Wales, around 660,000 in total. Since then the ‘mixed’ population has been amongst the fastest growing of all minority ethnic groups, latest estimates (mid-2009) recording almost one million ‘mixed’ people in the country, a figure that is likely to be exceeded when the 2011 Census figures are released this November. Coming on the back of official recognition, around a dozen mixed race organisations have been set up, including Bradley Lincoln’s Manchester-based social enterprise ‘Multiple Heritage Project’ (now our host website Mix-d:), Sharron Hall-Corby’s ‘Intermix’, and many others in towns and cities throughout the country including Birmingham, Sheffield, Brighton, and Exeter. Over the last decade or so there has been a huge shift in coverage by the media, the focus now being on mixed race high achievers in the arts, literature, entertainment, sport, and politics (including the election of Barack Obama to the US Presidency and of figures such as Chucka Umunna to the UK Parliament). Interracial marriage, in itself, is no longer newsworthy as it was in previous decades but has become quotidian. A new cosmopolitanism has taken root in many of our large cities, including what Paul Gilroy has called a ‘convivial culture’, the boisterous everyday interaction of Britain’s different racial/cultural groups.
By 2020, the ‘Mixed’ group is predicted to grow to 1.3 million people (a 93% increase over the two decades 2001-20), by which time it will constitute around 2% of the country’s total population, still substantially smaller than the ‘Black’ and ‘Asian’ groups but a major grouping, emblematic of Britain’s era of ‘superdiversity’.