All Mixed Up

28 Sep

One day this week I was sitting on my laptop filling out one of those equal ops forms for a job I was applying for, as I scrolled down to the bit where you have to cross what race you are and instantly felt my blood boil. Last time I looked I was mixed race my Mum is white British with European roots and my Dad is black British with Caribbean roots. This form made it seem like my race had been wiped out by mass genocide, leaving me with two options to tick other black or other!! I refused to tick either and left the boxes blank, those of you who know me know this is a touch subject for me!

I’m not black other and I’m not other I’m MIXED RACE!!

It would be nice if there was a box to cross that said mixed race and on most equal ops forms there are. My children are fully mixed race, as they have two mixed race parents they don’t even fall into the white and black category. How would they explain this on this type of form??? From a very young age I explained to my children their race so that they understood and always feel comfortable within their skin as they are MIXED RACE!

Over the last 20 or so years particularly in the 80’s there was a mass mix of races coming together and forming relationships black and white, white and asian, asian and black, white and chinese the list is endless. Most people assume when you talk about mixed race it is just black and white but there are lot’s of different races that mix where a person chooses confidently to define themselves as mixed race.

Being mixed race growing up in the 80’s and 90’s wasn’t easy. In the 80’s the phrase mixed race didn’t really exist in main stream society so the term “Half Caste” was used a term that never fitted right with me, I always felt that it meant half of something and half of nothing which makes no sense.

Being mixed race in the early years of school made you stand out with tough bushy hair and a white mum taking you to school some people didn’t understand how your skin could be brown. When the spice girls first came out it was cool to have crazy hair and look like Mel B which I guess from then on meant being different wasn’t so bad. In my teens it was a bit more different not black enough for the black girls and not white enough for the white ones luckily I found my own way and guess looking back I always fitted in the middle. Now knowing a lot of mixed race people I understand I’m not the only one that faced daily struggles figthing to stay true to myself a family member told me this story which just goes to show how some people how untrue to themselves people really are:

At my school,(A now well known footballer) when were like 13/14 (he was a year older)….  came up to us in our tutor room on a break and asked me and two friends what race we were or ‘what colour are your mum and dad?’ … I think he is mixed race. Anyway, he asked My friend (his mum is mixed and his dad black), so he told him… “cool”… then he asked my other friend- who’s dad is white and mum black. He lied and said ‘redskin’ dad and black mum. So anyway, I told the truth.. (white mum, black dad) and he said “SELL OUT!”

When people ask what colour I am I say “I am MIXED RACE”  I’m proud to be the colour I am, in some places over the world they do not recognise the race for example in the USA they have a black president (Who has a white mum he is mixed race) and in the UK media they are always mistaken mixed race people for black people.

I can relate to those who are mixed race that identify themselves as black maybe it’s the easier option, people always ask where are you from and when you try to explain it gets difficult (I’m part British, Italian, Polish and Jamaican it’s confusing I know). Bottom line is I am two races intertwined I will not say I’m black just to fit in forsaking my mother and heritage I’m MIXED RACE!!!

Some will say it doesn’t matter that your half white if someones going to be rascist to you it’s because you have black in you!!! I still say I’m MIXED RACE!!! A race formed of few but now with a UK population of over 1 million we are vastly increasing in size . The one thing I find special about being mixed race is that it is the only race that fully unites two seperate races taking away racial barriers. I know a lot of people find it hard being mixed race especially those that are brought up in single parent families who don’t fully have the best of both worlds when in comes to their race, culture and heritage. Having a parent who finds it difficult to manage your tough hair or can’t help you identify with your roots, yeah it’s difficult but it’s a journey we face to find out who we really are!!

In Brazil where a majority of the population are mixed race they celebrate every year on the 27th June mixed race day, all over the world there are some great and very influential mixed race people alive and passed which include Barack Obama, Bob Marley, Rio Ferdinand, Mariah Carey, Halle Berry, Craig David, Thandie Newton, Nicole Scherzinger, Gok Wan, Drake and Kelly Holmes. (So many couldn’t name them all) So I’m very proud to be MIXED RACE are you? I’m mixed race and proud

This week is also mixed race week where the talents of mixed race people are being celebrated.

When I took my kids to dulwich park a few years ago it dawned on me as I sat watching The Punch and Judy show just how many of us there actually are, Dulwich a seamilngly posh area was full of mixed race couples and their mixed race children. As i watched the show I realised 95% of the children sitting around me were mixed race times have moved on since I was a child. But I guess like everything in this world with progress we take two steps back!  I will leave you with the following poem from John Agard which I think most people who are mixed race can relate to on his distaste in the being called half caste a poem about asserting your identity

Excuse me
standing on one leg
I’m half-caste.

Explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when Picasso
mix red an green
is a half-caste canvas?
explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when light an shadow
mix in de sky
is a half-caste weather?
well in dat case
england weather
nearly always half-caste
in fact some o dem cloud
half-caste till dem overcast
so spiteful dem don’t want de sun pass
ah rass?
explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean tchaikovsky
sit down at dah piano
an mix a black key
wid a white key
is a half-caste symphony?

Explain yuself
wha yu mean
Ah listening to yu wid de keen
half of mih ear
Ah looking at yu wid de keen
half of mih eye
an when I’m introduced to yu
I’m sure you’ll understand
why I offer yu half-a-hand
an when I sleep at night
I close half-a-eye
consequently when I dream
I dream half-a-dream
an when moon begin to glow
I half-caste human being
cast half-a-shadow
but yu must come back tomorrow
wid de whole of yu eye
an de whole of yu ear
an de whole of yu mind.

an I will tell yu
de other half
of my story.

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5 Responses to “All Mixed Up”

  1. Leon Davis September 30, 2011 at 10:08 pm #

    hi, i think what we are looking for on an ethnic background sheet is mixed race (afro-european). lets see if the government can sort it.

    • supermumlover October 1, 2011 at 10:29 am #

      True Leon but I imagine this will not be high up on the list of priorties

  2. Mark Thompson October 28, 2011 at 10:08 pm #

    Another mixed up poem! http://youtu.be/ZWcaSMVSSBE

    • supermumlover October 29, 2011 at 9:47 am #

      Thanks for sharing this a chameleon is an excellent way to describe people who are mixed race as some of us really don’t know where we fit in x

  3. Andrew Dalhouse (@platzksounds) November 16, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    love this

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