British | Jamaican
I identify as mixed-race, Jamaican & British. My Mum was born in the UK, her Father is mixed Jamaican & Scottish. Her mother is Jamaican. My Dad was born in the UK, both parents are British. My parents met in a club in Manchester. My dad pulled the moves out on my mum and they hit it off from there. I grew up in Manchester. I lived with my parents till I was 5. Then lived with my Mum until I was 10 and then was taken in foster care from 10 until the age of 18.
I think I first realised I was mixed-race when I was put in foster care. Social services said to me they are going to put me with someone who represents my background and can educate and show me more about it, it took me a while to grasp that at the age of 10 because I was so used to being from a White area that I wasn’t actually paying attention to the fact my family were a different colour to the other people around me because I thought I looked like all the other kids being so pale.
My mother disregarded a lot of her mixed identity growing up. She and her brothers and sisters lived in a White area. So there was never any problem mixing their cultures, but my dad was very attracted to the Jamaican culture so used to probe my mum and ask questions.
I wouldn’t say I have experienced challenges, but assumptions are one of the biggest challenges. I feel like because I don’t look like ‘what a mixed-raced person’ is supposed to look like I felt a lot of the time I had to prove my colour and background to feel like I was a part of something.
No matter what social environment we grow up in or are surrounded by we don’t pick our friends. We become close to the people around us going through the same things, so we take comfort in ‘people’. In terms of partner I would say no because you’re exposed to certain groups of people growing up but that won’t lead onto your opinion of who you pick as a partner. We focus more on qualities rather than environment.
For work purposes being mixed-race has never had an effect as I’m a teacher and they look more for skills. For my personal life I think yes. I connect more with mixed identity individuals mainly because I can relate, and it feels more personal with them.
I would never say I disregard my British side, but I connect with my mum’s Jamaican culture the most due to my foster carer being Jamaican herself and growing up in that environment was what felt like home. So now in day to day life the Jamaican culture is what I’m more familiar with.
When asked where I’m from I always say ‘I am from Manchester’ as I presume they are talking about my accent even though I know what they are trying to ask. I feel like if people wanted to know my exact background they shouldn’t be afraid to ask rather than asking such a vague question.
Being mixed-race allows meeting other individuals who are mixed-race is one of the biggest positives. You get to see a wide variety of cultures and get a greater understanding of others. I feel like with Britain being so much more multi-cultural now, being mixed race in today’s day and age is something worth talking about. It shows we are integrating and that is a beautiful thing.
In today’s world being mixed-race is far more than simply being half Black and White. It’s an identity that covers all cultures and all kinds of mixes. I do feel like I fit in more. I see more people around me with so many different mixes in them that it’s so interesting hearing other people’s stories. You start to place yourself in society as being mixed rather than someone placing you in a box of which mix you side with more.
If I were to be born again I would say I would love to have mixed cultures in me. I find it so intriguing discovering cultures and background.