English | Mauritian
I identify myself as a mixed English/Mauritian and a South Londoner. I was raised Catholic and do have some religious beliefs, but I have moved towards more spirituality over the years. My mum is from Mauritius and my dad is from England. They met in Wimbledon Tesco’s in 1973. My dad was 16 and training as a butcher and my mum was 14 and used to work there part time packing the meat. They married a few years later when my mum was 17 and have been together ever since. I grew up in Streatham in South London.
I knew that my dad was English, and my mum was Mauritian as a young child. I understood that my dad’s family were different from my mums, but it was really to do with cultural differences, i.e food, music, behaviours, and how different the social events were from each side. But at the time I was very naive to it all. I didn’t actually understand I was mixed until I was around 11 years old and in my first year of secondary school. This was due to other people making me aware that my mum was a different colour to me.
Growing up in school I had a real mix of friends, ranging from Filipino/Irish mix, Spanish, Welsh, Indian, Caribbean, African and English. This has continued as I have grown up, however I would class my close group of friends mainly of white English descent. I don’t feel that me being straight, mixed or my religious beliefs have any bearing on the friends that I have. These are subjects that I rarely openly speak about. However, I have always taken an interest in people’s backgrounds.
I do not have a ‘type’. My parents had such an open approach to this, my dad always made a point of saying that it doesn’t matter what colour they are as long as they are a decent person.
My husband is half English and half Scottish, however his race did not play a part in my decision. His loyalty, supportiveness, morals and his fun attitude is what drew me to him, this is what I think it important in a partner.
I definitely think there are still bias attitudes towards mixed-race people. The biggest one of me is the amount of people who tell me that I am not mixed-race as mixed-race people are half Black and half White, and they have brown skin and curly hair. It shocks me still that people are so under educated in this subject in this day and age. I find that this is typically found in the older generations. Younger people seem to be a lot more accepting and understanding.
I think growing up, the topic of mixed-race was never really discussed. I felt quite lonely at times and it was quite hard feeling that I never quite fitted in. I have had both negative and positive reactions to being mixed. Especially having to process the negative reactions. I used to wish for a long time that life would be easier if I was just fully English. Other times I felt pressured to make a point that I was mixed so I wasn’t seen as a ‘typical white girl’. However, it was only in the last few years that I have become over accepting of myself in general and a massive part of this is being mixed. I’m so proud of my heritage that I can honestly say that it doesn’t bother me what people think.
If I had the opportunity to be born again I would want to return exactly as I am. I think the future is only going to go from strength to strength. We are moving towards a world where people have exposure to different races and have the option of dating and having families with people of a different race to them. This is already happening all over the world. I honestly believe that being mixed will become an open and accepted subject. There is always going to be such a diverse angle on this subject because no story is ever the same and that is what is so wonderful about it.