British | Indian
I identify as mixed Indian and English. I am straight, and I am non-religious, although my family are Sikh and Christian on my Dad’s side (although not devout or strongly religious on that side at all really). My Dad is White British, and was born and grew up in Birmingham, where he still lives with my Mom. My Mom is Indian, born in Tanzania but moved to London when she was 2 years old. My grandparents are East African Indian, living in Tanzania and Kenya, but their parents were born in Punjab in India. My parents met while they worked at Virgin megastores. My Dad was my Mom’s boss. She went to university in Birmingham, where they worked.
I grew up in Birmingham, England. Throughout my childhood we went to London regularly, so it’s always felt like a second home. I went to university in Brighton and then moved to London straight after finishing. I have known I had Indian family from a very young age, and definitely knew that I was of mixed heritage by the time I was 12. It hasn’t been something that I’ve explored in depth until I was in my 20s, in terms of my feelings about being mixed and what it means, how I’m seen in society etc.
I have a mixed group of friends, who I connected with from many different places, such as university, work, online groups etc. We are mixed in terms of race, but by no means are we very diverse. Religion does not play a part, and neither does sexual orientation, although of course I have friends from different religions and sexual orientations. I have especially connected with certain people because they share my experiences as being someone from an ethnic minority background and share my goals of trying to increase inclusivity in media.
I look for someone passionate and ambitious, and I can’t resist a musician. I am looking for someone funny, caring and someone who likes to go out, with a lot of energy. Race and religion are things that I think about, and how lifestyles and cultures will mesh with my own, but I would be open to relationships that I previously thought were best left alone if it was something I felt strongly.
I think people think that mixed-race just means someone of mixed Black and White heritage, and that is SO not the case. Being mixed purely means that you come from more than one ethnic heritage, and it’s time we started to recognise that and stopped using the term as a shorthand for light-skinned Black men you find attractive (I’m looking at you, Love Island). Mixed-race is not a type, you cannot fancy everyone from more than one ethnic heritage. Mixed-race people can often be seen as their other race when in groups from their other mix (i.e. Black with White group, and White with Black groups).
One negative experience is never feeling like I fit in. When I’m with my White family, I can feel Indian, whereas with my Indian family, I feel White. Indian relatives even ask why I’m so White in Punjabi when they think I don’t understand, but I do. I don’t speak Punjabi though, and I can’t dance to Bollywood music, nor do I have the beautiful thick hair of someone who is full Indian, which does make me uncomfortable and I am jealous. I wish I looked like beautiful Indian women! I sometimes feel like a fraud in the culture. One positive experience is that being mixed has given me a curiosity and deeper interest in learning about people’s cultures.
If I had the opportunity to be born again I would return exactly as me! With thicker hair. So many young people these days are mixed-race, and this is only going to continue as we have children ourselves. We are going to continue becoming visible in media, on magazines, in the houses of parliament, in space and more, proving to people that mixed-race is not one homogenous group, we are diverse, and we are successful.