One Love is, above all, a courageous book. Bobby Smith and Margaret Oshindele-Smith have explored a subject – a mixed race marriage - that is fraught with many different agendas and contrary viewpoints. Yet they have managed to produce a work that is thought-provoking but also extremely entertaining.
The technique they employ is straightforward. Each chapter covers a particular topic. Some are unique to the couple – Hobbies, Children. Others explore race in a wider context – diversity.
Some of the opinions will be considered fairly controversial. Bobby is particularly scathing about the way race has been used as a political football by the left, the PC brigade, the right and the extreme right. He gives forthright opinions why he believes one reason for the perpetuation of racial tension is the way liberal western society still obsesses about race. People are far too sensitive about the topic and often too quick to play the race card. He argues against the categorisation that comes with our overtly PC times – the bewildering array of ethnicity boxes in government forms.
Margaret offers a refreshing alternative. Of Nigerian Christian origin, she views England as an outsider who has faced many obstacles to assimilation in her adopted country. She accepts the positives that English culture has given the world (Shakespeare), the less noble (punk rock) but she bemoans the secularism she blames for eroding young British morals. She is also forthright about the arrogant misogyny of Yoruba culture in her native land.
There are many interesting racial debates. That these are evolving from the perspective of a white and black couple in love give a poignancy beyond the statistics quoted to back-up the arguments.
Both Bobby and Margaret are completely honest, giving this story warmth and depth. Bobby is candid about childhood bullying. Margaret is honest about the racism she has encountered, from patronising liberals to out and out peabrained fascists.
The story also works on a personal level and is frequently hilarious. Whether its Bobby championing the culinary delights of the potato, or enthusing about German Oi music, Wolves FC or Margaret’s confession to being a collector of ‘Gollywogs’, this book is a celebration of love. Love that is far stronger than any pathetic bigotry, whether from white or black mouths.
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