With a black father from Barbados and a white mother from England, Nik Coppin has grown up with a foot in both worlds. He discusses the complex politics of identity where his mixed heritage means that he’s not considered part of either of the communities. With a background that is difficult to place, Coppin has been on the receiving end of many and varied forms of racism.
This was generally a warm, engaging narrative told by a man with a unique lived experience.
In this show he explores some of the ridiculous and strange racial slurs he’s experienced over the years. He explores the entire spectrum from the over-zealous political correctness of ignoring race or driving it into abstraction, all the way through to the harshest words exchanged on football fields and in pubs. He discusses some of the tactics he’s used to try disarm or expose the hypocrisy of such attacks. He also divulges the mixed reactions when he’s used language that connects to race; words that having a black heritage potentially give him licence to use.
Coppin himself seems to maintain a cheerfulness and an ability to rise above all the ludicrousness around him, even when conflict has led to legal proceedings. Playing to an audience of four Coppin didn’t let his professionalism or his level of enthusiasm diminish due to the crowd size. Coppin adapted well to an audience that perhaps varied from his normal audience of footy loving blokes. A few of his stories were a little questionable; when he tells a tale defending the honour of a female friend being harassed in a pub, the girl was described almost like a hapless object without any agency or opinion of her own, making us momentarily doubt whether Coppin’s gender politics is as finely tuned as his racial politics.
Apart from this blip, this was generally a warm, engaging narrative told by a man with a unique lived experience. An entertaining and thoughtful exploration into perception and prejudice.