Pakistani | Trinidadian
I identify as mixed-race, British and Muslim. My Mum is Pakistani born in the UK and my Dad is Trinidadian and was born in Trinidad. He converted to Islam before meeting my Mum. When I was younger, I used to spend time with both sides of my family. My parents split when I was 11 and from then I saw less of my Dads’ side and more of my Mothers. The majority of my life I have lived with my Pakistani family and I grew up closely around my Grandparents and Uncle’s so I was fortunate enough to learn and understand Urdu, but please don’t ask me to speak it, I’m terrible! I’m trying to learn more. I’ve always been aware that I’m different from a young age, a lot of my experiences with racism from has been from Pakistani’s.
My experience during primary school was being called ‘kala kutta’, ‘black bastard’, fake Pakistani and at the time these things seemed absurd to me because I lived the exact same life as them, ate the food, wore the same clothes, understood the same language went to the same Masjid, but just because my Dad was Black I wasn’t considered to be one of them. I had a similar experience at secondary school. I faced racism for being Muslim, I wasn’t considered ‘Black’ enough by my White friends because in their eyes I didn’t act like a Black person should. I was always asked which did I prefer being Trinidadian or Pakistani? This was mad confusing because I was like, why can’t I just be both? Which is me! I’ve always known I’m different because of how I’ve been treated.
I think South Asians definitely have a certain level of privilege over Black people and they tend to take cover behind the umbrella of POC and BAME to hide their anti-Black views, like they can’t be racist because they’re also people of colour. Which is laughable really. I feel like there needs to be more discussions about this in the South Asian community. I don’t know if people are scared to talk about it, in fear being labelled racist, or because they haven’t realised their own privileges and don’t see themselves as the issue. I was raised a Muslim and grew up around Islamic values. The Masjid my family go to in Seven Sisters is extremely diverse and I think that’s the beauty of Islam, colour isn’t an issue and not a point of judgement, diversity is celebrated you only have to read the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) final sermon to understand that. So it’s frustrating when I see how much racism there is amongst Muslims, where nationality is placed in front community and humanity.
Of course being mixed-race and light skinned I am subjected to fetishism I find a lot of the time, people will pick out a certain part of me to focus on whilst completely dismissing everything else that I am. It’s like I am in this box of all these stereotypes and labels then now when it suits you, you want to pick and choose what you want me to be.
Overall, I love being mixed-race & Muslim. The food, the celebrations, the culture, the style of clothing, everything is so colourful. If I had the chance to be reborn I’d comeback as myself. Because I love being me. Flaws and all.