British | Mauritian
I identify myself as mixed-race, half Mauritian and half British. I’m 31 years old, living in London with my husband and working for the civil service. In my spare time, I love cooking (and eating!), reading, yoga, and exploring new places. My mums from the North West of England (Lancashire) but is also half Irish on her Dad’s side. My dad is from a small village called Roches Noires in Mauritius and moved to England when he was 21. They met at Bristol University where they were studying medicine.
I was born in Birmingham, we then moved to Mauritius from when I was 18 months until about 7 years old. We moved around a lot in England (North West, South, North East), before settling back in the North West close to my Grandma in Ormskirk (Lancashire).
I was about 7 years old when I first understood I was from a mixed-race background. We had just moved back to England and my brother and I were often the only non-White children in our schools. I remember once being asked by another girl in the queue for school dinners why I was Brown and I replied, ‘I don’t know, I was born that way!’.
As I grew up I thought more about it, and I remember studying the poem Half-Caste by John Agard in secondary school, which provoked me to think about it more.
Growing up I didn’t really make friends with only people who are culturally similar to myself. But in my working life and since living in London I have found that I am drawn to people from international backgrounds and sometimes we have more in common.
Cultural background doesn’t affect my choice in relationships. I like people who are open-minded and interested in the world, so it doesn’t matter where they’re from as long as they’re interesting!
I don’t think there are still bias specifically towards mixed-race people, but there are still stereotypes and bias towards people of colour. I think the majority of this is covert racism which is really difficult to prove and act upon. In terms of being mixed-race, sometimes people make assumptions about my culture/heritage which I have found difficult (being called a ‘coconut’ for example).
I have always regretted giving up speaking Mauritian Creole when we moved back to England, as I was so keen to fit in and be ‘English’. It was difficult in later years to have a strong relationship with my grandparents as they only spoke Creole and Indian languages I didn’t know. It also made it harder to have connections to my extended family in Mauritius.
In some ways I think my culture has had an effect on my relationships, in that I think I’ve always felt different. As I’ve got older I’ve learnt to embrace it but when I was younger it made me very shy and quiet as I hated being different from everyone else.
If I was to be born again I wouldn’t want to define the cultural background I would be born into. I think there are positives and negatives to any and every background. What’s more important is how your family bring you up and the way they encourage you to see the world.
As interracial relationships become more common there will be more mixed-race people in society which will help to normalise it. However, it’s only when people from diverse backgrounds reach positions of influence that things will truly change – in the meantime we need to help and support each other to achieve and battle prejudice together.