British | Zambian

Peter Bray.jpg

Till I was 8, I remember being treated as a ‘brown’ person and being different to where everyone else was from. It was part of my identity, part of my thing, that I was from somewhere else. It was around this time that suddenly it dawned on me, because we used to go back to Zambia every two years, I realised that people there were looking at me funny. I was born in a really rural part of Zambia. I just realised that all the kids in the village who were always in bare feet, there was a crowd that always followed me and my brother around. They were just all staring. It was on that trip that I had a series of realisations. That I wasn’t from there either. As far as they were concerned, I was a white person. So I questioned, what was I? In the place that I was growing up, I was treated like I was someone else but in that place that I was from, when I went there, to the place that I identified as being from, as far as they were concerned, I wasn’t from there either and I was an alien. So I was an alien wherever I went and the kind of identity thing that I had been used to didn’t feel honest. I felt like a fraud. You kind of align your behaviours to be like, congruent with your identity. It is so confusing.

If I had to sum up my experience of being mixed race it would be with the word ‘discovery’. I think it is really important to keep questioning assumptions. The truth is defined by what stands up to really rigorous investigation. You should never be scared to rigorously investigate,question and try and disprove what you currently think. Because if it is true it will stand up to the process of thinking, lets assume the opposite, that  I’m wrong about this fundamental core belief. What you are left with after the long process of doing that will I hope, be the truth.