British/Irish | Grenadian
I identify as White/Black mixed race, British, Irish and Grenadian. Both my parents are British born but with parents that have different nationalities. My mother’s parents are Grenadian, and my father has an Irish Father and British Mother. My parents met in the UK in London in 1991 so it was still quite taboo for them to be together but only just becoming accepting. They faced stigma themselves. I grew up in South East London, where it is very multicultural, and I was surrounded by various ethnicities which I am grateful for.
I had always known I was mixed-race. My mother never made me forget it and although she would give me warnings about being a person of colour, I didn’t realise the conflict and that feeling of being an ‘other’ until I was 18. I didn’t know that mixed-race had a stereotype and people tried to categories me into a ‘more White’ or ‘more Black’ box and gradually found that people where obsessing more over my ethnicity than me.
My friendship group is quite diverse, especially in secondary school. Me and my best friend were mixed-race (different mixes), two White friends and two Black friends. And even now the friends I have around me varies. When looking for a partner, I long for intellectual conversation, someone who is confident and has a goal. I’m very open and so I don’t generally look at race or culture.
I think because the mixed-race population is growing so fast, and there is a misconception that mixed-race just means mixed with White and Black. That stereotype is gradually fading. When I was younger I know it was very common for White and Black mixed-race females to be called ‘lighties’ and they thought they were better than everyone, which is completely false.
I am so grateful to be mixed-race and to be a product of love. Not only that but I can speak about being mixed-race. Me and a friend arranged a talk about being mixed-race within the acting industry and the reassurance of not being alone and knowing others feel the same way, is such an amazing feeling and relieving. Being mixed-race also means that I can just be myself and gives me purpose to show who I am as a human being.
There is a struggle of finding an identity. There is no mixed-race culture but there is Black culture and White culture so therefore people want to put you in boxes. I would sometimes feel like I couldn’t express my experience as a mixed-race woman as I know sadly that Black females get discriminated, harassed and abused on a more recurring basis and their stories need to be told and rightly so. I grew up in a school that was predominantly Black, but because of my well-spoken accent, I was told I was posh. I was even told I was more White than I was Black, and at that age I agreed with the person. Once I went to university, which was predominately White, I was told I had to be Black/ go for Black roles because I was half Black, especially for the creative industry. (paralleling the one drop rule). Not only that but that I shouldn’t use the term mixed-race because it was ‘offensive’. This definitely confused me because I was being told how I should identify and at this point I was comfortable with identifying myself as mixed race like I had always done. But because I didn’t display the ‘Stereotypical, big, bold, diva, Black female’ traits, people were confused also. This is constant in the industry, you are constantly type cast because of the colour of your skin. Sometimes I feel like I’m only cast because I’m light enough to satisfy the masses but dark enough to represent and tick a box.
If I could be born again I would love to be brought back as a mermaid; half human half fish. Almost mixed-race I guess.
The mixed-race population is the fasting growing minority group in the UK set to be the biggest minority group by 2020. I think that the people will give people of mixed-race more acknowledgment and see them as people instead of trying to place them within a box. We should ALL be seen as human beings first.