British | Unknown
I identify as mixed-race and spiritual. My mum grew up in Woodley Berkshire and my dad is from Liverpool, but I believe he has roots in Cyprus. They met in Reading, England. I was raised in Liverpool, Reading & London. My mother was adopted into a White English family, I actually don't know what my adopted grandmother’s roots are. Her husband (my grandfather) is Welsh.
I realised I was of mixed-race heritage at a young age as my parents were of different races. They didn’t combine their cultures when they raised me which is why I do not know much about my father’s background. I spent a large amount of time with my mother’s adopted mother. The story is as intriguing as it is brave. I think my grandmother and my mother’s biological mother were neighbours, but I don't know this for certain. My grandmother never shied away from speaking about racial identity & differences between us. I feel that she (through her own experiences of adopting my mother) has learned that acknowledging & speaking about differences is as healthy as they are necessary. Through these conversations my grandmother helped me to identify as well as connect to Black culture beyond slavery; this was and continues to be intrinsic to my journey.
It was difficult for me at times, I think for me the challenge was & is always trying to balance conflicting and sometimes warring races as well as recognise myself as my own race with its own unique lens/experience. Social environment definitely effects your choices majorly, but I also feel how you identify with yourself & how you see yourself play a huge part too.
I am not able to speak my native languages, I do think it has somewhat affected me. I think the affect comes with identity. I have always liked the idea of being able to communicate with people beyond an aesthetic level as well as beyond speaking English. I love the dialogue POC hold with each other. I love all the different languages and how they sound. I think this can also help a person feel included in something that is bigger than themselves. On an ancestral level. I believe being able to speak your 'mother tongue' enables you to feel more connected to a place / peoples / society.
I connect with both parts of my upbringing, I love discovering the Black communities & cultures, but I am living in a White country with western rules. When asked where I’m from I often try to avoid answering, when pushed I will say the parts that I do know and try to explain that I don’t know where my mother’s family originate from.
The stereotypes that exist for us within the Black community can sometimes cause misunderstanding and judgemental opinions. To White people we will always be Black and not recognised as a part of the White community. Mixed White/Black families often don’t speak about experiences of being mixed.
Growing up with both sides of your culture in your life can allow for invaluable insight into the psychology of two different races. It can give an extremely unique and invaluable perspective.
I think there is still a long way to go, mixed-race people are still uncomfortable with claiming and standing up for being mixed-race. I think we have a lot of stigma attached to us.
If I could be born again I would come back as energy or an element (water, earth, fire, air).