German | Pakistani

Nadim MRF.jpg

I identify myself as a British EurAsian. I am the London born son of a Pakistani fashion designer and German Mother.

My mum is from Stuttgart, Germany but now lives in Penang, Malaysia. My dad is from Lahore, Pakistan and moved back to retire there. They met at one of the Southfields tube station platforms in 1962. I grew up in between Dulwich & Wimbledon in London.

I divide my time between Turin, Italy and London and run my own businesses and, we accelerate renewable energy projects around the World.

I was about 4 or 5 years old when I first understood I was from different cultural backgrounds. I find that it’s a bit difficult to make friends with people who are culturally similar to myself as I can't  find another German Pakistani! Most of my school friends were fairly orthodox British of "anglo-saxon” heritage. At University I had a more diverse group of friends.

Cultural background does not affect my choice in choosing a partner. My wife is British from anglo-saxon heritage and my ex-wife was British from Jewish Ukrainian and Norwegian origins.

I don’t think there are bias attitudes towards mixed-race people I would think there is more against ‘pure’ Black and Asian rather than mixed-race per se. Personally I’m not sure I agree with the concept of races, I’m not a mixed anything, just a 100% human.

I think in Pakistan my relatives think I’m odd and in Germany I’m just a foreigner as my German is not good. Culturally I’m neither German nor Pakistani, I feel British. It’s difficult for people to pigeon hole me, as they don’t understand where I’m from. An example of this is when I’m in Italy, people think I’ve arrived straight from Pakistan. When they ask me about my heritage I always start with my mother is German from Baden Wurttemberg, as it always confuses them.

A negative experience I had due to my heritage was once being pulled off an American Airlines flight in an arm hold and questioned by the FBI for 7 hours because I look Middle Eastern.

I have always been very international in outlook and have travelled widely. I lived in Brazil for 3 years, Italy for 10 years, USA for 3 months and learnt 4-5 languages. As a person you need to correct prejudices and overpower people with wit and personality. However, I would not like to fight the prejudices I think exist for Black people in say the US or UK.

I do think prejudice is decreasing as more and more mixed-race people make up more and more of the population, especially in places like London. I think names are an issue, I have a full Pakistani name, but it doesn’t reflect my European heritage and the fact that I speak French, Portuguese and Italian.