American/French/Scottish/Welsh | Indian/Mauritian
I identify as mixed, queer, very spiritual but informed by various religions instead of sticking to one. I sometimes say I am ‘complex mixed’ to differentiate from people who are biracial (i.e. half something and half something else). My mum is mixed White American and European but grew up in Africa, my Dad is Indian-Mauritian with North African heritage before that. Three of my grandparents are mixed so I have to go back quite far to get to people with one clear national identity. My parents met in London and I grew up here.
I was very young when I began to understand I was mixed. I always knew I was different and couldn’t work out why. From the ages of 5 until I was about 16 I was still trying to figure it out. Both my parents are mixed, and three of my grandparents are mixed, and throughout the last four/five generations people have been consistently moving around between different countries as well so it’s very complicated. I’m still learning now!
Growing up in mostly White spaces, nearly all of my friends were White until I was about 18. I wouldn’t say I seek out specific kinds of friends but race and sexual orientation definitely play a part. I find it much easier to form bonds with other mixed people, and women of colour, in particular, as there is so much less to have to explain. But I don’t consciously think ‘well I can’t be friends with that White man’ or anything like that, I’d say it’s more of a natural pull. Same way I’m gravitationally pulled towards Arsenal supporters.
I was in a long-term relationship with a straight White man. It’s was incredibly weird for me! Him being White and British is by far the thing I think about the most in terms of our relationship. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about breaking up with him for that reason before, even though I know it was hardly his choice to be White and male as much as it was my choice to be female and mixed. But I always thought I’d end up with somebody equally as mixed. I have dated many mixed people but it’s never worked out. I once dated a Scottish-Mauritian guy and it felt like we may as well have been cousins! It was so weird. Dating White people is something I try to work through psychologically as we are always presented with White, western guys as the default ‘Prince Charming’ and that can be a difficult thing to unpick.
I think there is still massive bias towards mixed-race people. All these stereotypes like ‘mixed people are so empathetic’ and ‘caught between two worlds’ date back to like the ‘tragic mulatto’ stereotype. And I think there are elements of truth in those stereotypes, as there always are with stereotypes, but not being able to fully own our representation is incredibly frustrating.
I also think the idea that mixed-race is ‘Black + White’ is incredibly harmful because you’re denying the existence of so many other people.
A negative for me is that it’s very hard to trace family heritage and understand your identity. A positive is that I am unique!
If I had the opportunity to be reborn either the same or fully Mauritian, I guess as that’s what I identify with most (and all Mauritians are mixed). I feel like the White side of me has been problematic and a bit of a poisoned chalice in a lot of ways, although I’m not going to pretend I haven’t benefitted from being able to exist in White spaces with relative ease. But a lot of the questions and issues I face from White perspectives have never arisen in non-White contexts.
I think in the future a lot more people will be like me (i.e. complex mixed) where both parents have been mixed. Outside of that, the stats say it all! Mixed Other is the fastest growing category on the census in this country. The future is mixed. I hate all those shlocky adverts of ‘in the future mixed-races will know world peace’ because I think humans will always find ideological differences. But it will be nice to think that the insistent ‘Where are you from?’ questions will die a death!