British | Indian
When I have to tick boxes, I say I’m from mixed British/Asian heritage, but in general conversation I just refer to myself as mixed-race. No one in my immediate family really practices any religion but my mum, sister and I all wear a kara, which is a symbol of Sikhism.
My mum is from India but was the first in her family to be born in the UK. My dad is a British Jew. They met through work. My mum was a fashion designer and my dad used to sell trimmings wholesale. I was lucky enough to be born and bred London.
I went to a small Catholic girls’ school, where 90% of the students were White, so I knew from early that I wasn’t quite the same as everyone else. But actually understanding the reality of being mixed-race didn’t happen until much later. Before visiting India for the first time in 2016, my boyfriend, who is also mixed-race, and I had a conversation about identity. We spoke about Otherness and being unable to assimilate fully into any one culture. It was a weird moment for me because I’d never vocalised these feelings before. Up until then I’d accepted I wasn’t White but never questioned why I found most family scenarios uncomfortable - British and Indian. The ensuing trip only validated my feelings. I went to India expecting acceptance but instead felt Whiter than ever.
My closest friends are all White. This is most likely due to my environment growing up. But even beyond race, religion and so on we’re all very different from one another, and for me I actually think that that is what makes us work. You don’t have to be mixed-race or non-White to be open minded and accepting of the world and its diversity!
I feel like I’m going to contradict myself here but when it comes to boyfriends/partners there is a bond of different, more intricate kind than that of your friends. So bearing that in mind, I sort of feel like that the most fulfilling and wholesome relationship I could have would be with someone from a mixed background. There are certain experiences (like the feeling of displacement I mentioned above) that can only be truly understood by other mixed-race people, and for me that mutual understanding is so important.
I think people still believe that being mixed-race means you’re half White half Black, which is frustrating because it means people that don’t fit in that stereotype are left in limbo having to involuntarily validate their existence.
A negative about being mixed-race is being unable to identify with either of my parents wholly. My father once told me I wasn’t mixed-race, I’m British and shouldn’t have any issues surrounding identity, which was overwhelming to say the least. Saying that, it’s 100% a blessing being from a mixed background. I find I’m automatically more open to diversity and view difference as a positive, not something to fear or defame.
If I had the opportunity to be reborn I’d quite like to be a dog at some point. Napping and walking are actually a couple of my favourite things.
We are a rapidly growing sector of society and I don’t think we’re far off from running out of appropriate tick boxes entirely. I can’t wait until it actually isn’t possible to label everyone. We’re all human!!