British/Jamaican | Guyanese
I identify as a heterosexual British, Jamaican & Guyanese and of no religious background.
My Dad was born in Guyana to a Portuguese father and Dutch Guyanese mother and came to England at a young age. My Mum was born in England to Jamaican parents. My late Grandmother came to England pregnant with my mum in 1961 to work in a factory and eventually become a nurse in various hospitals across London. My parents met in London around the mid 70’s.
I grew up in London (South-East) with my Mum an older Brother for the earlier years.
Growing up it was easy to say I was Black as none of my immediate family or close friends were of a mixed heritage. Both the school and where I resided consisted of predominately Black Caribbean. Any forms I filled out we’re all answered as Black British without hesitation as this is who I believed I was. My peers always stated the obvious difference of having curly hair (at the time) or a straight nose or poked fun at my surname which caused me to only use half my surname for many years. This caused a gap in my identity at a young age being limited to information of my ancestry.
I’d say I was around 20 when I was introduced to my Dads side. This is when it hit me. Meeting all my cousins and aunties/uncles, seeing all the old family pictures. This was when I realised I am mixed race. Finding out who my Great Great Grandfather was - an Englishman who migrated to Guyana and became a Bishop. All these stories helped piece the family history a little more.
The only challenges I had were personal to me. Simply not knowing. This platform has urged me to do some digging.
Being raised in an area where there wasn’t so much a mixture of cultural background It was easy to make friends with those the same as I had identified with. More of a comfort thing I guess. We’d have many things in common. Many people play it safe in life and only stick to what they know.
I don’t feel being mixed-race affects work and personal life and I don’t think there are bias attitudes towards mixed-race people.
I am unable to speak my native languages; however, I don’t feel this has affected me. I never thought I was missing out on not speaking my native language.
I connect with my Jamaican (Caribbean) side more as I’m more exposed to it on a day-to-day basis, more exposed.
I personally don’t like when people ask, ‘where are you from’, I don’t feel that my answer is confident enough.
One positive thing about being mixed-race is it’s an ice breaker a lot of the time. It can be as simple as reading your name leading to ‘Where are you from’. People tend to take an interest straight away in your background. Its exciting being able to find out family history even more so when it dives into various places around the world. Having family in different countries, also gives you a reason to go visit other places.
A negative is that being mixed-race used to be a bit of a stigma. You’d hear comments as though to say being mixed doesn’t quite make you whole. The ethnical ambiguity can easily lead to a feeling of not belonging to any one culture.
Finally, we’re in a more accepting time of interracial relationships. This only leads to more MIXEDRACEDFACES!
If I were to ever be re-born I don’t have a preference of who I’d want to be. Whatever the case I’ll embrace and say it proudly!