Snakes and Ladders

If you love stunning live theatre, then GOLDENROOM recommends ‘Snakes and Ladders’ a play by Sarah Naomi Lee about three Mixed ‘race’ sisters who test the bonds of love and rivalry.

Shadeism and the ‘good or bad hair ‘polarity is demonstrated in the experiences of many people from Black and Ethnic Minority backgrounds. Shadeism refers to the prejudice against darker skin tones within the Black and Ethnic minority communities and how lighter skin is not only preferred, but favoured and sought after. The good hair- bad hair debate usually focuses on the amount or tightness of curl, with looser curls, edging towards straight hair being considered good, and tighter, kinkier hair as bad. People of mixed ‘racial’ or mixed ethnic heritage can easily find themselves on the most virulent of frontlines in this debate, and run the risk of being fetishized or demeaned based on their skin tone and hair type.

In ‘Snakes and Ladders’, the scene is set in a  hairdressing salon with an impending family wedding. Sister Amma, played by BAFTA award winning actress Cathy Tyson, can’t relax. Meanwhile Sista played by Janet Kumah, who has a lengthy stage career in West End musicals, is allergic to family life, Beyoncé and any Timotei advert. The latter most likely because sister Kitten, loves being the one ‘blessed with good hair’. Kitten is played by MOBO award winning actress Allyson Ava-Brown, recently starring as Fantine in Les Miserables.  Each sister is, in her own way, happily resigned to her place, uncritical of the standards and processes that keep them there.

Read the whole exciting review and find out when ‘Snakes and Ladders is coming to a theatre near you:

My Story: Kevin Buckley

The moving personal story of one man and his journey of faith and healing through the love of his dogs:

‘Several years passed after my divorce, depression got the better of me and I begged God, ‘If there is no one out there for me, could you at least give me a dog?’ I began thinking about dogs, large dogs that would be both companion and guard dog, German Shepherds, Rottweiler’s etc. Apparently this was not the exact direction God had planned, for two weeks or so later my neighbour’s kids found a stray female Black Lab about 2yrs old and brought her home with them.

They already had a dog, didn’t want two dogs and so I was offered the dog which I immediately declined. Two more weeks went by and I was offered the dog several times but always declined until that day when they told me they were going to give her to a trainer that was not known for his kindness. That was when I decided to “give her a try” but made no promises. The dog moved in, I named her Maria after an old girlfriend, and the rest is history.

Maria was with me for around 12 years. She went to work with me, crawled under houses with me and loved to try and lie on my chest when I was inside a cabinet installing sinks. For 12 years Maria taught me about unconditional love until she died on my bed at 10pm on the 2nd of February 2009. Maria was God’s angel trying to heal a lifetime of injuries and in most major areas, she succeeded.’

Read Kevin Buckley’s story here:

GOLDENROOM Issue 28 ‘Nature and the Environment’

The theme this month for GOLDENROOM is ‘Nature and the Environment’ which might at first thought, seem irrelevant to a Journal for Cross Cultural Relations.
The fact is however, that our ancestors had a deep and direct relationship with the natural world. Living intimately with the natural environment and relying directly upon it for survival was also a seminal influence on all aspects of the development of culture. For many people today, both modern and indigenous, that profound interaction with the natural world continues to influence their ways of life, their values, language, social structure and essential identity.
In short, through the lens of Nature and the Environment we can re-examine the reciprocal influence of the natural world has on culture, and re-think what culture- and cross cultural relations- really means. This month’s issue might will likely cause a few readers to reconsider what it means to be human- and what it means to be human on a shared planet.
Initiating that exploration we have the story of one how one man’s journey of faith and healing has been realised through the love of his dogs. Kevin Buckley’s own story is a touching reflection and moving tribute to the power of our animal companions.
Looking to the natural world to help illuminate our human condition, we have two articles that take a scientific look at critical issues in cross cultural relations. Our Feature this month examines the phenomenon and evolution of skin pigmentation and the role one little molecule, melanin, has had in shaping our misconceptions about ‘race’. In our illuminating article on Golden Animals, we present delightful cases studies of hybridisation in the animal world in order to reveal the scientific invalidity of the twin concepts of ‘race’ and miscegenation.
When we speak of the environment however, we don’t just necessarily mean the natural environment. We might also call to mind, the nature versus nurture debate and the role of the social environment. On that note and drawing on the common thread of Buckley’s story, Ben Acheson presents some hard facts in a revealing article on Adoption Parties.
From our series on Cross Cultural Counselling, we look at both the role of social and natural environment in Counselling in Oriental and Indigenous Cultures. Meanwhile our Health and Wellbeing section has everything you want to know about Ayurveda.
It isn’t all just science and analysis this month. Indulge in some natural beauty with our Four Fabulous Facials collected from the time honoured beauty rituals of different cultures. And even if space is limited, you can experience the joy and taste of growing your own food, with just a jar. If you are intrigued, head over to our You At Home section.
We feature this month in our arts and entertainment section two incredible noteworthy creations. The first is Marina Chapman’s truly incredible story of her early years being raised by monkeys, in ‘The Girl With No Name.’ It is a rollercoaster of a tale that will leave you questioning human society. As well, we couldn’t be more pleased- and somewhat proud- that playwright Sarah Naomi Lee has returned with a lengthy tour of her play, ‘Snakes and Ladders’. An award winning cast bring to the stage the tale of three Mixed ‘race’ sisters. Is it love? Or is it rivalry?
In addition to this sometimes touching, sometimes challenging and always informative content, GOLDENROOM readers can benefit from a few great offers from our sponsors.
Rather appropriately the UK’s top online provider of natural healthy and beauty products, BodyKind is celebrating their anniversary by offering our readers 10% off their purchase with this code:
And with up to 50% off in store, now is the time to stock up on great natural, and free from synthetic brands like BioCare and Nature’s Own.
For collectors of coins, old and new, The London Mint is offering our readers £5.00 off their first order with this code:
Just so you and yours can really enjoy Nature and the Environment, premium outdoor clothing supplier, Target Dry is offering 10% off orders with this code:
We are certainly looking forward to your comments on the role of nature and the environment on your experiences in cross cultural relations.
Kind Regards,
Dr. W.J.Tuinstra
Editor in Chief
Online Journal for Cross Cultural Relations


Research Participants Needed: Transracial Adoption

As well as conducting and publishing pioneering research on many aspects of cross cultural relations, GOLDENROOM places a high priority on facilitating research, by advertising calls for research participants or assistance.

Candice Presseau is a current doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology Program at Lehigh Universit and is doing her dissertation research study under the supervision of my dissertation co-chairs, Dr. Cirleen DeBlaere and Dr. Arpana Inman. This research has been approved by the Lehigh University Institutional Review Board (IRB# 397756-2).
‘I am interested in  studying the life experiences and well-being of racial minority individuals who have been transracially adopted by White parents or a White single parent. It is our hope that with this study, we can contribute to the understanding of the experiences of adopted persons raised by parents with different racial backgrounds and experiences from their own perspectives. Your participation is essential to achieving this goal, so we hope that you will take part in our study.

In order to participate, you must identify as a member of racial minority group, have been transracially adopted by White parents or single White parent, currently live in North America, and be 18 years of age or older. If you would like to participate in our study, please click on the link below and you will be directed to the online survey:

Thank you very much in advance for your time! Please feel free to pass on this link to other people who might be eligible. If you have any question about this study, please feel free to contact me at
Candice Presseau, M.A.’


Usually art imitates life, but occasionally life also imitates art. For award winning actress Halle Berry, she is nearly as famous for her turbulent personal dramas as she is for her film roles.

This month’s GOLDENROOM ICON is Halle Berry, for her her complex and challenging real life role as a Mixed ‘race’ woman, who is also Deaf, has Diabetes and has experienced domestic violence.  Furthermore her cross cultural relationships, having recently married French actor Olivier Martinez, with whom she has a son, demonstrate that a life lived without borders, is a life with limitless richness.

What Do You Think Disability Is?

‘Defining disability  turns out is no easy task and all perspectives should be respected. What was revealed proved to both challenge and support my own view on how defining disability can become very complicated where no specific boundaries, context or pretexts were set for defining the words. ‘

Thandie Ford examines Perceptions of Disability for GOLDENROOM

Please help Josh to come home.

This month’s issue of GOLDENROOM has as its theme, ‘Disability’. The following petition reveals just some of the difficulties faced by disabled people and their families.

Phil Wills’ son Josh, receives treatment at a facility that is over 260 miles from his home. His father explains why they want the NHS to provide care for Josh closer to his family:

‘My 13 year-old son Josh is happy (sometimes sad), beautiful, cheeky, observant, well behaved (sometimes not so well behaved), loving, wanting and caring.

However, Josh’s natural, endearing personality struggles against an urge to self-harm and severe autism that can make his world a confusing and frightening place.

To get to know Josh better, please watch my video.

In 2012, Josh was moved to an assessment and treatment unit in Birmingham.  This was meant to be for 6 months…he is still there.

Josh has now spent both his 12th and his 13th birthdays in the unit, 260 miles away from me and the rest of his family in Cornwall.  He has never met his little sister.

This whole experience is heartbreaking for our family.  We have been fighting to get Josh the care he needs, closer to home and his family but Kernow CCG will not provide this.  In the last few weeks they have told us he can’t come back to Cornwall and must go to another service, still over 170 miles from home.

Josh continually asks for us and when he can’t see us he becomes anxious and more likely to self injure.  Josh’s self-harming is so severe that it is life threatening.  Last year he bit his tongue so badly that a third of it then had to be removed.

We visit Josh every weekend. This is exhausting but it still never feels enough.  Whilst the staff caring for Josh do a great job, what we can’t understand is why Josh can’t receive that same level of care, closer to home, so we don’t have to travel for over 5 hours just to give him a hug.

Josh is not the only child stuck miles away from his family and loved ones. There are currently 185 children and young people with a learning disability or autism in similar situations to Josh.  I am sure every one of their parents feels just as helpless and frustrated as I do.

What is needed for Josh, and others like him, is good quality care, close to home. As we face another Summer without him, we are pleading with Kernow CCG to put the missing support and services in place allowing us to bring Josh back to Cornwall.

All I want is to have my son closer to home. 

Let’s #BringJoshHome

Thank you,