An interesting part of my journey as a young multiracial person
An interesting part of my journey as a young multiracial person growing up was rejection from sort of both sides of my ethnic identity.
I am mix race, my ‘mum’ is white Irish and my dad is Caribbean and English. Being mix race was something I was aware of from a very young age. The first time I knew was around the age of 6 years old, being the only person of colour in my house hold and even family it wasn’t hard to miss. When I was 6 I remember family members (I won’t say who) asking if I needed to wash because I was already a dirty colour or if I had been on holiday and that’s why I was this colour. I remember feeling like a Outcast but my mum told me that ‘I was the perfect coffee colour’ what was that? I know she was trying to make me feel good but was is the ‘perfect coffee colour?’ why was I so different and why was no one in my family the same colour as me even my siblings.
Growing up In Hackney and attending school there were children that looked the same as me, all different races so I felt like I fitted in. I remember driving in the car with my dad and me telling I was quarter-cast. I remember this day so well we were in Lower Clapton in Hackney and he stopped the car In the middle of the road. I could feel him looking at me with anger in his eyes even sadness, he said ‘Stacey you are mix-race’ be proud of who you are. I was at this point, I loved being mix race I was now 11/12 years old and I was finding my identity. I was trying to figure out who I was. There is a saying ‘mix race girls are mixed up’ heard it all my life.
When I was in secondary school and primary school all my friends were black or mix race apart from two one was from a Turkish background and the other white British. I really embraced my ‘black side’ and completely abandoned my ‘white side’ but why? Growing I went through a lot of racial abuse from my white side of the family who had issues with my mum having a ‘black child’ I heard things, saw things and even witness things that made me not want to be apart of my white side. After years of trying to fit in I just didn’t. My cousin who is more like my sister became a mum figure to me she was on my ‘black side’ yes that’s what we use to say ‘white side and black side of the family’ she taught me so much about my culture and I felt so comfortable. I didn’t need to pretend to be something I wasn’t I was just accepted.
I won’t get into the racial abuse from family but I will say I was called ‘black monkey’ and so much more on a weekly basis.
As years went on I noticed that I identified myself as black but was being told I wasn’t black from my black friends and that actually I had a mix race privilege because I was light skinned and curly hair. I didn’t get it at first but studied and learnt about black history and it was true I did have some sort of privilege. At this point I also noticed that I was getting abuse by both white people and black people. Black monkey from my side and then getting told that I thought I was too nice because I was mix race with curly hair! What! I didn’t understand this where did I fit in? Did I even fit in?
After school and a very abusive relationship I moved to Essex. I had an abusive past but nothing prepared me for what I experienced in Essex when I was 20. I had my neighbours writing nigga on my door, leaving women’s sanitary items on my doorstep. I was verbally abused for the colour of my skin. Years on, I0 years on to be precise and my own daughter has been racially abused a number of times over the years. For years now I’ve had to deal with my daughter coming home crying about her colour, hair type and facial features. I’ve had to teach self love through crying and hearing her pull herself apart because of what people have said. I had to learn how to truly love myself in order for her to watch and learn from me.
Do you know how soul destroying it is to see your child want to be another race due to the comments being made about her?! It killed me inside to witness this, so each day since she was the age of 5 that’s nearly 8 years I’ve had to teach her about loving herself every inch of herself. I know In real life this happens daily and I get messages asking me how I deal with it. All I ask is for more inclusion, let’s teach our children about other cultures not just our own. There are many books now that include a range of different cultures and disabilities, don’t feel Uncomfortable to ask questions. Our children learn from us, what you say and talk about at home will represent what your child will say and do in school.
Here is a couple of things I want people to know about being Mix race;
- People interact with you based on who they think you are. ‘White or black’
- Others fail to accept how you self-identify - ‘Your too black’
- You feel hated by everyone
- You feel isolated - you just want to be accepted for you
- Fetishization, idealization, and demonization of the exotic “other.” - your Pretty for a black girl, your hair is nice for a black girl or you act more black then white
- There are few bone-marrow donors for mix race people
Racism is real, but when you experience this from your loved ones it breaks you.
Through it all I learnt who I am and not what society tells me I am one day then something different the next. And remember You don't need to fit a mold that other people think you should fit. I identify with both races but most of my life saw myself as black as that’s what most of society saw of me and called me daily. It is hard when you are not accepted by one race or the other. I am not mix up I am mix race who celebrates both sides of my races. But I will fight and advocate for women of colour, my children are children of colour and this is what I am - A women of colour and I am so proud.
Are you mix race? How do you identify?