English | Indian
I identify myself as a mixed-raced Australian. My mum’s English from Devon and dad is a Kenyan born Indian who grew up in Birmingham. It wasn’t until a few years ago, well into his fifties, that he visited India for the first time. They met in their first year of university up in Salford. As far as I’m aware both of their families were pretty cool with them getting together. That said, over the years Mum’s gotten pretty good at picking up when someone’s making a racial slur about her in Punjabi.
I was raised on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, which was a really idyllic place to grow up. I think part of my parent’s motivation for moving there was because they thought life would be easier for a mixed-race family, which is an interesting line of thought considering how overwhelmingly White that part of Sydney is, but I had a great childhood, so they were probably right.
I was always a Brown skinned kid but living on the coast everyone’s got a bit of a tan, so it wasn’t until puberty hit and my features started to become less European that I really thought about the fact that I was mixed-race. Racism was never that much of an issue for me and if it did pop up occasionally, my ethnicity wasn’t keeping me awake at night. While I’m ethnically Indian and proud of that fact, I don’t really identify with the culture. My dad’s family’s Sikh, but he’s not into religion, doesn’t wear a turban and very rarely speaks anything other than English. Even if there was more of an Indian influence going up I would likely have rebelled against it. I love being mixed-race and as I get older I am much more interested in my ethnic heritage, but I’ve always felt more culturally Anglo-Saxon.
Since moving to Bristol five years ago my friendship circle is still majority White but has become much more diverse. I’ve got a decent handful of mixed-race mates who I can’t help but feel a kind of kindredness toward, even if their mix is completely different to mine.
Race doesn’t play much of a role in the kind of partner I go for. As long as they get me and I get them, I find them attractive and vice versa, that’s really all that matters. I’m a sucker for blue eyes though.
As far as bias goes, I guess there can be some low-level resentment at the fact that some mixed people can move more comfortably through anglocentric spaces than someone from an entirely ethnic background, which is undeniably true, so fair play I guess.
I think you have to try much harder to get a real sense of belonging when you’re bringing two ethnicities to the table. It doesn’t matter how you feel about yourself internally, you’ll always be externally, visibly different. I hate the question ‘What are you?’, I understand that people are curious, but it only serves in instantly othering whomever it’s directed at. It’s such a daft, vague question, it doesn’t mean anything.
If reincarnation were real I’d be less concerned with what I came back as than what I was coming back to, given the rapid rate we’re destroying the planet. But assuming we can turn that around I guess I’d want to be born again more or less as I am.
Give it enough time and soon enough everyone will be mixed to some degree, which is great. We can only hope that this great mixing of races, cultures and experiences leads to a little more empathy towards our fellow man despite our differences.