Creole/Native-Indian/Hindustani | Algerian/Jewish-Portuguese/Jamaican
I identify myself as a mixed-race heterosexual male, born and raised in a Dutch western society with strong Surinam roots. When I was a baby, I was baptized but when I grew older I started to get in touch with other religions, so I developed my own way of expressing my faith in God, which is non-traditional. Furthermore, my names descend from the Greek mythology, Spain, France & The Netherlands so I see myself as a citizen of the world.
My Mother & Father are both mixed-race; from Paramaribo, Surinam. My Mum is from Creole | Hindustani | Native-Indian descent & my Dad is from Algerian | Jewish-Portuguese | Jamaican descent. They met each other in Amsterdam during the 90’s. I recognised I was mixed-race quite early because all the siblings of my Mother have different shades of Black. Basically, Creole people are already mixed-race of themselves. If I particular would walk with my Mother and her sister on the streets, everybody would think that my Auntie was my Mother because she is also light-skinned with green-hazel eyes in comparison with my mother who is dark-skinned with brown eyes.
Being born and raised within a Dutch western society as a ‘Surinamese’ mixed-race definitely had an effect on my heritage. First of all, the culture & traditions you inherit of your origin are the total opposite of where you are born & raised. When you grow older you will start to notice the differences. For example; the Surinamese society is very polite & friendly while the Dutch society can be very rude & harsh sometimes. It can be very difficult to find a balance between these cultures as they do not match always.
My Father passed away when I was 6 or 7 years old so losing my Father at a young age did not make it any easier. Also, I learned that my Mother’s surname is from Scottish descent and my Father’s surname is from Dutch descent. These were inherited through slavery in various ways which made it more complicated. The only advantage I already had was that I was born in the society that I was being raised in. The only differences that arose were based on the different cultures. My Mum always said to adjust yourself and integrate in the society you live in but to never forget where you came from. Whenever I would have questions my mother always tried to give me a sufficient answer and guide me through the difficulties.
Due to the fact that I am very light-skinned, people always assume that I am a half breed (Surinamese | Dutch). While growing up it was sometimes hard to find out where I belong. Not every White person accepted me because I was Black and not every Black person accepted me because I was very light-skinned. Within my family it was also very common not to speak Surinamese with your elders. The Surinamese language ‘Sranantongo’ was seen as a language that you only speak with people of your own age, so Dutch was the main language and I had to learn ‘Sranantongo’ myself when I got older.
Based on these experiences I learned not to look at the skin-tone of a person but to really see how a person is from the inside. Therefore, my circle consists of people with ethnicities from all over the world combined with different religions, good energy and last but not least respect for each other. Also, my wife is mixed-race herself. I think that in a relationship it is very important that your partner can understand who you really are and what you represent in life with all the norms and values that you inherited from the culture.
When it comes to topics such as food, music & languages I have different influences. Maybe it has something to do with all of my heritages. For example, I can listen to all sort of music genres as long as it has been made of good quality. I am also very interested in learning different languages. When it comes to food my choice is definitely Surinamese oriented; once you go Surinamese you will never go back!
Everything comes with advantages and disadvantages. I think the best experience of being mixed-race is learning so much of different cultures which changes your perception and view upon all things. One of the benefits is that I will blend into every society. If I am in Spain, people will think I am a Latino, in Cyprus they will accept me for my Russian/Greek first name and a couple of weeks ago they thought I was a Brazilian on a local market in Amsterdam. One of the disadvantages is that not everybody will accept you for who you are. A Dutch quote states that ‘unknown remains unloved’. So if anything is unfamiliar it will be considered as a threat. As a mixed-race, you will always be different than other people. Instead of trying to do your best to fit in, even if it means losing yourself, try to find the real you and accept you for who you are. You don’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’re coming from.