English | Filipino
I identify as mixed-race. I’m an only child, brought up by my Mum and grandparents from the White side of my family in a suburb of west London. I hated looking different to my family when I was young but now I’m very happy and proud to be mixed-race. I’ve seen a lot of casual racism growing up and had many ‘what are you?’ questions. Now I have my own mixed and blended family. My partner is Ghanaian, we have a 5-year-old daughter together and from his previous relationship a step-son and step-daughter who are Ghanaian/Mauritian.
My mum is English and my dad Filipino. People usually assume that my Mum is Filipino when they learn my mix. My Mum is here in the UK and Dad lives in the Philippines, but they are still in love and speak everyday. It might not be a conventional relationship, but it is how it is and my mum visits when she can.
They met on a cruise ship. My mum was travelling solo in the late 70’s and my dad was a drummer on one of the ships she was travelling on. Sounds so romantic! They married in the Philippines and mum had me in the UK. Because my dad was constantly travelling my Mum and I lived with my grandparents.
I was quite conflicted when it came to accepting my cultural difference. I grew up feeling ‘White’ then late primary school/early secondary school my differences became more apparent and pointed out by others. Unfortunately, I tried to ignore that I was different rather than embrace it then. I felt embarrassed of my Filipino side and I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it, everyone close to me was White. Around the same time, I stopped talking to my dad, not that I saw or spoke to him much before then. I was angry at him for not being around. To be honest I probably didn’t appreciate my cultural difference fully until mid-late 20s when I decided to get a Filipino tattoo, which led me to rebuild the relationship with my dad. Now we speak via Facetime every week or so and visit every few years. So glad that my attitude to being mixed-race matured over time.
I tend to make friends with anyone I can connect with no matter the ethnicity. Romantically I’ve been more attracted to men who are not White. I’ve had White boyfriends in the past but the more I accepted my difference the more I’ve sought diversity and understanding in a partner.
I think someone who is mixed-race gets stereotyped with whichever race seems visually the most prominent. It’s more accepted in society than it used to be but stereotyping and biases definitely exist for mixed-race people. Even living in a multicultural city like London I see it, but I haven’t experienced anything personally for years.
Some experiences of being mixed can be confusing. I’ve been called a ‘Paki’ before which is miles apart from a situation when a friend told me (after pulling him up on a racist slur) that I was White and shouldn’t comment. You can be perceived and judged in so many different ways by people that know zero about you or your ethnic mix, AND those that really should.
If I were born again I’d 100% choose to be mixed-race. It gives you a perspective you couldn’t have being a single race (although some people who think they’re a single race really aren’t).
The future for those that come from a mixed-race background is a positive one because of projects like this. I think it’s important to bring our stories into light. Hopefully, gradually societies will realise we’re all just humans and our various shades and cultural nuances can all be celebrated. That said there’s still a lot of ignorance out there and I think we’d do well to educate those with a bit of kindness and humour.