British/Irish | Colombian
I identify as mixed-race, heterosexual & a Catholic. My mum is from Colombia and my dad is Irish/British. They actually met at a house party in Kentish town (London), my dad’s best friend had a Colombian girlfriend who knew my auntie, my mother was visiting on holiday at the time as my auntie had lived in England for many years. My dad’s friend invited him to the party and I guess the rest is history. I grew up in South-East London.
I was around 8 years old in regard to understanding, I always knew I was mixed of course, but in terms of understanding and noticing certain comments negative or positive I would say around 8, primary school days.
My friendship group are literally the ‘Ethnic Inbetweeners’. We are such a diverse mix, British Jamaican, Bengali (Muslim), Pakistani/Aruba, Kosovo (Muslim), Albania (Muslim), & Latino, and all we all grew up in London, so we accept and celebrate our differences.
To an extent, I guess subconsciously I have chosen to have past relationships with either women of a non-English background or someone who is mixed-race but in saying that I have also had relationships with White English women. This may be because I have found more understanding and that leads to a closer relationship when your partner can relate to you when conversing or having a point about race/being mixed-race, but race/culture does not influence me that much, when meeting potential partners, there’s a lot more to it than just race for me, as a mixed-race man myself, I think it’s only logic not to have biased mind set when it comes to my preference.
I do think there is still bias towards mixed-race people. However, I think it’s more within the communities of each race, for example being part of the Latino community is a blessing but also has some with negative comments whereby I have felt I do belong or I am accepted for being what I am. But this may stem from the fact that Colombia and similar countries still have so many issues that need to addressed in regards to race in their own country and perhaps they do not have that understanding of a diverse community yet or interracial relationships to an extent, the same can be said with Ireland however I do believe Ireland has progressed in the last say 10 years.
I think for any mixed-race person there’s always going to be somewhat of a bias attitude even in instances where by you can have positive discrimination, I don’t need someone to tell me how tropical I am, on a first meeting, I know who I am.
Also, the guessing game of where I’m from and then when I tell them comments such as ‘Really! You don’t look it’ which makes no sense as being mixed is such a unique identity and also every human is different. I think as cities like London are so diverse and the population of mixed-race people increases, I have very minimal experience of direct discrimination but yes, I’ve had the odd look or comment, but I think it’s hard to come across that kind of stuff being in London.
I think a lot of people don’t look beyond how you look and will decide whether your ‘this’ or ‘that’ I’ve had friends and family who will say ‘your White though, look at you’ and other people say ‘You’re not White at all’ and when these comments are said it’s in a tone that is not positive or welcoming, it’s a very deciding statement as if I’ve been labelled and that’s that. I think the worse I’ve had is someone calling me a mongrel as a joke, I think it hurt more that is was with such a ‘light hearted’ tone as if there was no intention of hurt and they are saying something true.
A positive is that I can mix and blend with two races and sometimes confuse people, they might have judged me on something then I open my mouth and talk fluent Spanish, I like the shock value some people get, I think now I am older I’ve embraced my mixed-race identity and the negative stuff doesn’t really affect me as I am happy being a sort of geezer Colombian Leprechaun.
I think we are going to see a lot more diverse mixed-race people in entertainment and in popular culture in general. Mixed-race people are increasingly especially in cities like London. I think mixed-race people may be able to challenge racial injustice and help certain individuals understand and accept different cultures more, and with the increase of mixed-race people in our population I believe it will help create relationships within different cultural communities to then create a better more loving society. Hopefully one day I can tick a box on the form which says ‘British, mixed other’.