British | African-American
I identify myself as Rob Gilbert, that sounds sarcastic but it’s not. My Dad is from Indianapolis, Indiana and is of African-American decent. My Mum is from East Anglia. I was raised between my Dad and my Mum, travelling between America, England and Germany.
My parents met when my Mum was working at a car rental desk at an airport in Germany, my Dad was traveling through carrying confidential documents for the USAF. I moved every few years until I was 25. The significant portions of my growing up were in Redondo Beach, California and Peterborough, UK.
I spoke to my parents and their respective families in their respective accents until I was sixteen. I pretty much always wanted to be a performer and am now an actor. I’m a recovering emo kid, I write music and scripts & love stand-up comedy.
I always knew my parents were from two different cultures, it was always very obvious. I do tend to date and make friends with people who are similar to me, but class, race and culture aren’t factors I use to calculate that similarity. Things like sensibility, morals, sense of humour and work ethic are more relevant to me.
I think the main bias about mixed people is others making assumptions about how we must feel about ourselves. There are a few stereotypes, but they aren’t universally accepted. It’s weird because people tell you things they consider to be defining traits of mixed people and they are always wildly different than reality but also from person to person.
I’m more actively engaging with groups that identify as safe spaces for Black people as I get older. I tend to get more overt attacks on my identity from these kinds of groups. I had an argument with a group when some people in it asserted that we ‘as Black men’ should ‘stick to our own in business and relationships’. I don’t let that slide and it makes me really angry. It’s an argument against my very existence and any mention of it is offensive. Especially if its casual because it shows a lack of respect to the point of not even bothering to think through your statements about others.
I tend to dismiss the opinions of people with very linear or traditional life styles because I assume they are handicapped by their lack of experience. That’s not always fair. It has also made me very open to hearing and interrogating other people’s thoughts and opinions to see if they can change my mind or I can learn something new. I like to debate sticky topics because my whole existence is a sticky subject.
I would always want to be mixed somehow. I really believe it frees you from a certain level of ignorance you couldn’t help but have if everybody around you when you grow up looks, talks and thinks pretty much the same.
We are already coming to the conclusion, slowly, that race, the way our society has been using it, is an artificial construct and that racial purity is more of a handicap than a virtue. This will slowly continue until society, as a whole, no longer feels the need to put so much emphasis on race. First, we have to get rid of inherently racist governing and policy making. I think mixed kids of the next generations will have an increasingly less obstructed life. Maybe I’m naive and there will be a race war where the mixed people are the secret weapon.