Mixed Voices

This page contains articles by mixed race people and family members who have agreed to share their experiences with you, because they hope that hearing their story or/and their views will support other people who live in a mixed family.  If you would like to share your story, please contact me.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

BEING MIXED RACE: AM I A HUMAN RORSCHACH TEST?


Just last week I was standing at a bus stop when a gentleman; a complete stranger came and joined me. Nothing unusual about that, we then politely nodded at each other and a conversation started up.

Me: “Evening”
Stranger: “Evening”
Me: “it’s still quite warm isn’t it”
Stranger: “yes it is”; pause; “excuse me mate, but were do you come from?”
Me: “Ipswich”
Stranger: “no, you know, were do you originate from”
Me: “I originate from Ipswich, my mum is English and my dad is Jamaican”
Stranger, sounding surprised: “Really I wouldn’t have thought you were Black, I’d have thought you were Italian or Spanish or something”
Me, politely smiles: “yeah, I sometimes get that”

Now I wasn’t offended by this and this wasn’t the first time or probably won’t be the last time that I’ll have this conversation. I am a light skinned mixed race person with loose curly hair. I have spent most of my life with people questioning my racial identity and for a while I was left questioning it myself.

My random conversation had me asking myself why is it that people feel the need to question a complete stranger as to where they are from. I would never dream of walking up to a stranger and asking, “excuse me, where are your parents from”. My thought is there is this assumption that brown means foreign. I have a friend whose background is one English parent and one foreign born parent; the same as me but their foreign born parent is Russian, they have never had their status as being British questioned; they have not faced that assumption. A Rorschach test is a psychological test used to test peoples’ perceptions and interpretations and at times I feel that being mixed race, we face that........(continue reading here)


Monday, 2 September 2013

BLACK, WHITE AND JUST RIGHT

By author Malaika Rose Stanley November 2011

Mixed-race people have existed ever since our ancestors first set out to explore and wage war - and today, the UK has one of the largest and fastest-growing mixed race populations in the western world. Partly this is because of the greater number of people who choose to define themselves as mixed-race on census forms and elsewhere and partly as the result of more mixed marriages and relationships and more blended, adoptive and step-families.......(continue reading here)

I was born and still live in London, some people might think that’s unadventurous but there’s still so much about the city I don’t know and it’s always changing. I like a lot of the really old things like Wilton’s Music Hall in the city and the new things like the gherkin building and the millenium bridge. Also I like the fact that I’ve seen more wildlife in London than in the country – foxes at 9.00am in Waterloo, kestrels in my back garden in Hackney and cormorants swimming up the canal. Most of all what makes London special is the people here from everywhere else. I like the 24hour hot bagel shop and the Turkish restaurants in Dalston, my son loves Jamaican fried dumplings and I like the Portuguese restaurants in Stockwell. It’s the mix up that’s good, old and new; Cornelissens art shop that sells dragon blood in a jar and The Algerian Coffee shop in Old Compton Street. The City farms, my local, Hackney, of course and Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest. Isn’t that enough?

My parents were very good storytellers. My dad was from Jamaica and my mum is Welsh. this is a picture of them just before they got married in North Wales in 1954. I was born in 1962 and mixed race families were still very unusual, especially in the suburbs. I went to school at Tetherdown primary school in north London. I loved it. I was good at school and if you’d have asked me then I’d have said I’d be a writer. But I hated secondary school. It was a very old fashioned girls school that soon squashed it out of me. I don’t expect any of my teachers would believe I would ever write enough words to make a book......... (continue reading here)




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