Scottish | Nigerian
I identify as dual heritage or mixed-race. I am a Scottish Nigerian Londoner, I was born in Edinburgh and moved to West London when I was 5. My Mum is Scottish, and my Dad is Nigerian, they met at a reggae bar in 1980s Edinburgh when my Dad was visiting his brother who studied at Edinburgh University.
I can’t remember the exact moment I identified as mixed-race but definitely around 6 years old as kids at school would be surprised my Mum was White or when I would travel on the train to Scotland with my Mum and people would stare a lot. Also, at my school someone said my Dad was ‘really Black’. I knew that I wasn’t like my Mum or Dad and that I was different somehow. The first 5 years of my life I lived in Edinburgh and I remember enjoying living there. When I was 5 I remember some kids in the playground calling us names and I knew they were racist comments. Me and my older sister just left, but I remember feeling like we were obviously different and not accepted.
Moving to London, was interesting. The energy was so different to Edinburgh and I found the people less friendly. London is such a melting pot, so I remember people’s personalities and vibes a lot more. I remember feeling like even though there was diversity, I didn’t quite fit in anywhere and even though I made friends with people from all backgrounds and races I never felt like I belonged anywhere. Deep down I think a part of me was always looking for someone who was ‘like me’ and could understand that sense of being between 2 worlds.
My parents didn’t combine their cultures and I don’t think they really understood their cultural differences or were able to communicate effectively together. Apart from being racially different they are also just completely different personalities and split up when I was a child.
Most of my life I have been projected onto, assumptions made, and my identity was a discussion point while others didn’t get that same spotlight. It made me feel badgered and even harassed at times. I am always asked where I am from, what is my mix and which parent is which. It can get tiring. I have found that both Black and White people can view me with a level of intrigue as if I am something or someone that needs to be studied. I’ve had teachers assume I am Jamaican and literally tell me ‘Oh you’re Jamaican, we’re doing a project, can you tell me about Jamaica’. Men have hinted because of my complexion I am some sort of sexual plaything and that has really upset me.
When I was 5 we moved to London and unfortunately next door to a man who lived with his Mum who had a National Front affiliation. There were various racially abusive incidents towards my family including dog poo being put on our doorstep and in the end my Dad threatened the man. This resulted in my Dad being arrested and my family becoming a lot more insular.
I have a really diverse group of friends. I choose people from their vibes and it is important to me to have people in my life who do not project on to me. I choose to be around open-minded people especially those who are aware of the worlds social and historical journey so that we can relate openly and discuss our experiences. Friends who are also from mixed families and backgrounds I find I can converse with openly on life. Its refreshing as they can be more aware and less rigid in how they see people and the world.
My cultural mix has definitely enabled me to appreciate both sides of my heritage.
I love everything I have grown in. I love my skin, my hair, my Fathers’ Nigerian culture, food, history and African spirituality. I love my Scottish culture and embracing the nature and history of my Mother’s side.
Maturing and seeing the absolute beauty in my experience and identity as a woman of dual heritage. Realising it puts me in a very unique and powerful position to see the world through and beyond race and embrace my identity as a person of dual heritage but also as a soul who genuinely sees other people in their essence and not as a product of how they look.
Being mixed means that more than ever you are thrown into the deep end of complex human interaction, social polarity, psychology & both overt and subtle post-colonial exchanges. You can see beyond the lines and from many different standpoints. You are a bridge between 2 worlds. I’ve always felt this world isn’t always ready to see and hear that bridge, that conversation. But I believe we are now doing that and I’m excited to see where that will go. I am definitely more aware of people who are judgemental and also those who buy into the ideas that mixed-race people somehow think they are better or are more beautiful. There is so much variation and beauty in the world and the comments can become tiring and close-minded. A part of me is quite fed up of the racial constructs our society has created and how it keeps us all looking at each other through a certain lens.
If I had the opportunity to be reborn I would want to be me, through and through. I love who I am. I would just want to embrace my experience and accept my place in the world a lot earlier and not allow people to affect me if they project onto me who they think I am and what they think a person of dual heritage is about.