British | Trinidadian
I would identify myself as a spiritual woman of colour. My parents are both British, my dad’s family are from Lancashire and my mother’s parents came to the UK from Trinidad in the ‘60s. They met at the YMCA gym in Tottenham Court Road, London My dad was a life guard and my mum did weight training. I lived in London until I was about 7 when my family moved to Margate. I lived there for 8 years until we moved again to Pembrokeshire, West Wales. So, it’s been a pretty mixed experience of places, going from a city to a town to a village, steadily being surrounded by less and less people who weren’t White.
I’m not really sure when I first began to understand I was mixed. I think I was always aware because I didn’t look much like my mum or my dad, but it wasn’t something I saw as being too different actually until I moved to Wales at 15. I was distinctly aware of the fact that there were no other Black families in the area, and that my new friends weren’t used to being friends with a mixed-race person with ‘frizzy’ hair and a ‘tan’. In Margate, being White was definitely the norm, but I did have a few Black and mixed-race friends, so it wasn’t as though I was the only one. I became even more aware when I moved back to London to study when I was 18. I was shocked at the amount of mixed-race people I saw. I think it gave me a feeling of fitting in that highlighted how out of place I had subconsciously felt before.
My friendship group is pretty mixed, I’ve got friends of all different ethnicities and backgrounds, orientations and beliefs. I don’t have many friends who I think would define themselves as spiritual, but they are definitely open-minded and accepting people which I feel is important. Growing up with very unconventional hippie parents, I haven’t always felt like that was a part of my life I could share for fear of being rejected but now I feel I’ve got people around me who know who I am and accept me for that.
I have dated people of different races and I feel that race really doesn’t play a part in choosing a partner at all, it seems odd to me to limit love to certain physical attributes. I go for people who are genuine, open and kind — those things are most important to me above race and gender.
I do think there are bias attitudes towards mixed-race people, although I didn't actually realize until I moved to London! I had never been aware of colourism and how much of a negative impact it has within the Black community. To see people openly say that they favour people of a lighter skin tone upsets me because they are saying they think there is some sort of superiority that comes with having lighter skin which I think is fundamentally quite messed up.
A negative experience I guess is not feeling like you fully belong anywhere, I think moving a lot growing up didn’t help with this either. There’s a lot of duality which can sometimes feel like you are ‘both’ but also that you are ‘neither’. When you are mixed-race, people try and figure out where you’re from a lot more than they would someone who is a just one race, and often the fact I’ve got a British accent just isn’t enough for them. I do enjoy having two cultures to learn from and be a part of though. I feel British, but when I’m with my Trini family it makes me feel very proud to be Trinidadian too.
If I had the opportunity to come back to this earth I would want to come back the same! I’m happy with where I’m at. I feel very lucky to have the family I have and to have experienced many things in not so much time. I’m looking forward to the future.
The future of mixed-race is a brilliant one, with so many mixed-race people that everyone is from everywhere. I hope it resolves conflicts and brings people peace.