Italian | Burkina Faso
I identify as mixed-race, spiritual & straight. My mum is from Burkina Faso & my dad is from Italy. They met in Montpellier, in the South of France. I grew up in a tiny little village of 500 inhabitants in the South of France.
I always knew was mixed-race as I was neither Black nor White. But I really recognised and embraced my mixed identity a few years ago when I arrived in London. Before that in my head I identified as White. My parents managed combining their different cultures quite well. My dad being someone quite open minded and easy going adapted to my mum’s African culture. Also, I think Italian & the Burkinabé culture are quite similar as they are very family orientated cultures.
I have experienced challenges based around my mixed identity. I think not being able to look up to someone similar to me while growing up made me question myself a lot.
My social environment does not play a part in how I choose my friends/partners. I don’t think being mixed-race has had an effect on my work/personal life in London but maybe it did when I was in France. In London I don’t feel different because there are so many different people that no one cares. If anything, I feel like being mixed-race is a perk. I am not sure it would be the same if I were to go back to South of France but hopefully things are changing.
I don’t think there are bias attitudes/stereotypes aimed at mixed-race people. If any, the bias would be directed toward one of the origins of the mixed-race person. For me it would be bias against Black people or bias against White person and I would be included in it as I am in the middle.
In Burkina Faso they speak French but sadly I don't speak any of the local dialects despite me visiting Burkina often. it is a shame because I cannot really speak with my Grandmother who doesn't speak French. I speak Italian but not fluently.
I feel that I am more French. It is the country where I was born and the culture that I know best. But then again depending the situation I can feel very Italian or very Burkinabé. I can even feel very British sometimes. When asked where I’m from I like to say that I’m from around the world but that my nationality is French.
I remember one time when I was in Year 7 at school I invited a friend for a sleepover. When her dad picked her up the next day he told her she could not come back to my house because I was mixed-race. I was angry, but not at him. I was angry at me because I was not White. Now I realise that it was him who had an issue not me.
What I really like about being mixed-race is that often people mistake me for their own people. Depending how I do my hair but I people have identified me as Indian, Ethiopian, Brazilian, Algerian, Egyptian etc.. thinking I was from their country. I like that I can be from anywhere.
I think being mixed in today’s society is great. We can take the best of different culture. Also, I think we are the reflection of the future. I am sure one day most people will be mixed race.
If I had the opportunity to be reborn I would choose to be mixed-race again. As I said earlier we are the future!