Irish/Unknown | Jamaican
I am mixed White Irish & Jamaican, Caribbean. I am non-religious, but spiritual/gay man. My mom was adopted and is half Irish and something else we are unsure of, but we assume of Caribbean/ African descent, as she has Caribbean/African features (afro hair, mixed race skin tone skin tone) but is very light-skinned.
I knew from a very early age that I was different, as my mom was adopted into a White family as a mixed-race child. This meant that my extended family were also White. My Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and Grandparents were all White with a very English cultural background upbringing from the (60/70’s).
Growing up not far from my Moms adopted home and background, going to school and neighbourhood I was the ethnic minority. However, I feel being from a very working-class environment made it more accepting and as I became older more diversity was integrated.
My biological Father was from Jamaica but wasn’t on the scene for long, my Mom then married my Step-Father when I was 5, and since then he has been my father figure. However, he is Bajan which has its slight differences from my Jamaican heritage. Not that I’ve experienced it first-hand, but I’m told that there was tension between the Bajan and Jamaican community. My mom embraced her dual heritage but being brought up in a White household I felt she sought more acceptance and embodied the West Indies culture more.
Growing up I had racial slurs from childhood and going into my teens. The ironic thing is I had racism from both the White and Black community. My given name and chosen career I’m always told people are surprised to see me come through the door, not because I’m mixed-race but more for the fact I’m mixed White Irish and Black Caribbean. I used to see this as a negative until I became of age feeling that being different was and could be empowering.
As I’ve aged my friendship group has become more diverse and cultural than my primary school days. However, my past relationships have been varied nationalities and cultures (some mixed-race also) the majority have been White/ Mediterranean / European descent. My culture affects the way I connect with music & fashion.
People are always curious as to what my heritage is, which normally has the above story. This also makes you different and stand out from the crowd, especially the crowd and circle I grew up in. I feel being mixed-race made me stand out for modelling/ dancing opportunities / working in the states / working with children. Being the ‘token’ made me be relatable to people that others couldn’t sympathise or communicate too.
I feel that the above only affects individuals that it allows to affect. I have felt like I can’t relate to the above at times, but they have been how I seen myself in those categories. Now I feel like I’m able to have and make me on lane in the above because I am mixed-race. Now I don’t want to blend into society, I like to make and pick and choose my own trends. And I decide how and who I want to interact with work colleagues and clients. Sometimes there’s certain things only I can pull off because I’m mixed race, and I’m happy with that. I can’t be number 1 in everything, but I can for the things I want to be in.
If I had the opportunity to be reborn I would want to return the exact same way I was. Don’t get me wrong I’ve had hardship growing up (which I’m sure a lot of individuals have experienced). But due to that I have a story to tell and I feel I’m either able to educate or relate to a wider circle of people. The only thing I would like to know and still could find out, is my Moms adopted background. Even though it affects me it’s not my direct story, so it has been a joint decision to seek.
My extended family is very disjointed, it would be nice to have a closeness but getting older now realise that this isn’t always possible.