Thursday 1 October 2020

#BlogTour In Black and White by Alexandra Wilson

It's an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour In Black and White by Alexandra Wilson.

About the Author 

Alexandra Wilson is a junior barrister. Aged twentyfive, she is the eldest of four children. Her mother is White British, her father is Black British and her paternal grandparents were born in Jamaica and came to England as part of the Windrush generation.

Alexandra grew up on the border of East London and Essex. She studied at the University of Oxford and was awarded two prestigious scholarships, enabling her to research the impact of police shootings in the US on young people’s attitudes to the police. She went on to study for a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and her Master of Laws at BPP University in London.

Alexandra was awarded the first Queen’s scholarship by the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, a scholarship awarded to students showing exceptional promise in a career at the Bar.

Follow @EssexBarrister on Twitteron Amazon, on GoodreadsBuy In Black and White

About the book

Alexandra Wilson was a teenager when her dear family friend Ayo was stabbed on his way home from football. Ayo’s death changed Alexandra. His death compelled her to enter the legal profession to search for answers. As a junior criminal and family law barrister she finds herself navigating a world and a set of rules designed by a privileged few. A world in which barristers sigh with relief at the retirement of a racist judge: ‘I’ve got a black kid today and he would have had no hope.’

In her debut book In Black and White, Alexandra beautifully re-creates the tense court room scenes, the heart-breaking meetings with teenage clients and the moments of frustration and triumph that make up a young barrister’s life.

Alexandra speaks with raw honesty about her experience as a mixed-race woman from a non-traditional background in a profession that is sorely lacking in diverse representation. A justice system in which a disproportionately large number of black and mixed-race people are charged, convicted and sent to prison.

She shows us how it feels to defend someone who hates the colour of your skin or someone you suspect is guilty, and the heart-breaking youth justice cases she has worked on. We see what it’s like for the teenagers coerced into county line drug deals and the damage that can be caused when we criminalise teenagers. Her account of what she has witnessed as a young mixed-race barrister is in equal parts shocking, compelling, confounding and powerful.

Alexandra’s story is unique in a profession still dominated by a section of society with little first-hand experience of the devastating impact of violent crime.


The author speaks quite quickly about the impostor syndrome she often feels or felt in relation to her clearly impressive academic and career achievements, despite the lack of support from a school system and teachers, who are quick to fill young minorities and black people with a basis of insecurity. We do not expect you to achieve or be accepted, so why try? 

Another strong paragraph Wilson writes about is 'spot the black person' in the room. It's both interesting and disappointing to realise that it is an instinctual reaction to the lack of representation, because minorities are under-represented in many high profile careers, such as being a barrister.

It's a strong statement about the opposition minority groups and women face when it comes to entering into careers predominantly occupied quite often by affluent and privately educated white people, and in the highest positions the majority of these careers those positions are held by white men.

Wilson also speaks to the statistically proven inequality, because stereotypes thrust upon minorities and blacks by society, police, social and judicial systems, between black people and their white counterparts. This is especially the case for young black men. Also about the the lack of women who reach a certain level of progression in their career and are also discriminated against if they choose both career and family.

Most importantly, for me at least, is the fact that Wilson is an example and representation, which makes it more plausible for young black women to visually see that a patriarchal white society can and must accept change. BAME groups need to see their physical representations reflected back at them in more careers and jobs, especially young children and teens.

It's an engrossing statement about racism, gender and race discrimination, sexual harassment and the judicial system. Wilson does all of that without becoming preachy, angry (again those stereotypes people like to refer to) or sounding as if the obstacles in her way are insurmountable. I think the clear determined voice will make readers take note of the factual reality and the impressive path and ambition this author and young barrister lays out for her readers. I enjoyed it and highly recommend the read.

Buy In Black and White at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads from any other retailer. Publisher: Endeavour;  pub date 13 Aug. 2020. Buy at Octopus Books.

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