Being mixed race in 2009…

2 09 2009

 

ONE in 10 children in the UK now lives in a mixed race family I recently read in Lucinda Platt’s study. She is the author of the report and an academic at the Institute of Social and Economic Research at Essex University.

This for me, as I come from a mixed heritage family myself raises future hopes of a non-racist Britain.

The mixed race group is the fastest growing ethnic minority group in the UK and is expected to become the largest within 25 years.

Britain has one of the highest rates of interracial relationships in the western world. With 50 per cent of all children classed as black having a white mum or dad.

If the government statistics are right, British mixed race people will overtake Indian people to become the UK’s largest ethnic minority group within 25 years.

It is easy to celebrate the study’s findings, but there is still much to be fought for equal opportunities.

I have been bought up in Stoke-on-Trent and although mixed race is fast becoming the most accepted way to describe someone with a mixed racial background, the term ‘half-caste’ is still very much in use even by some mixed race people themselves.

So, does there need to be more discussion about the way mixed race people are described? With the increase of mixed race kids will education reflect this change?

I’ve been talking to young people who live in Stoke-on-Trent  and their experiences of being from mixed backgrounds.

Criminologist Dr William Dixon who has done studies on race and harassment‘ in Stoke-on-Trent talks about the word half-caste‘ and Professor Ken Jones who has worked at the Institute of Education in London and taught at numerous schools discusses the problems mixed race kids are facing..

What are your views, experiences of being mixed race? Your views are welcomed.

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50 responses

9 09 2009
Mike

Too many people use the phrase “half caste” as a label not really understanding the offensive meaning it has. I have spoken to friends of all races (but not mixed race) and told them that the phrase/ label is offensive and most don’t understand why!

14 09 2009
Joey

Where I live in London no one would ever use the word half-caste. I have never heard it here. If it is still hapening, which evidentially it is, we need to sort it out as a community. Peace.

14 09 2009
Beauty

Dont people understand that the word half-caste is unaccpetable. It has deep rooted connections with Slavery. Read this for anyone who doesnt understand thow offensive the word is: John Agard – Half Caste
Excuse me
standing on one leg
I’m half-caste.

Explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when Picasso
mix red an green
is a half-caste canvas?
explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when light an shadow
mix in de sky
is a half-caste weather?
well in dat case
england weather
nearly always half-caste
in fact some o dem cloud
half-caste till dem overcast
so spiteful dem don’t want de sun pass
ah rass?
explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean tchaikovsky
sit down at dah piano
an mix a black key
wid a white key
is a half-caste symphony?

Explain yuself
wha yu mean
Ah listening to yu wid de keen
half of mih ear
Ah looking at yu wid de keen
half of mih eye
an when I’m introduced to yu
I’m sure you’ll understand
why I offer yu half-a-hand
an when I sleep at night
I close half-a-eye
consequently when I dream
I dream half-a-dream
an when moon begin to glow
I half-caste human being
cast half-a-shadow
but yu must come back tomorrow
wid de whole of yu eye
an de whole of yu ear
an de whole of yu mind.

an I will tell yu
de other half
of my story.

14 09 2009
Definitive

Half-caste isn’t the only word a person from a mixed family can be called. The word ‘half-breed’ is also one. Lets hope in the next 25 years these words stop being used.

14 09 2009
Livingthedream

My teachers never understood me. Im old now, so I hope its changing for the better for kids coming into the system. Education is a powerful tool and should recognise not sterotype anyone.

21 09 2009
harlemglobetrotters

Even Barack Obama believes ‘race’ still exists in a tv interview this week?

“But Mr Obama said the objections were rooted in opposition to “big government”, not the colour of his skin, although he was sure that some people “don’t like me because of race”.

“Jimmy Carter, the former president, and black Congressmen have said that racism has fuelled the hostility towards the first African American president.” we stil have alot to do in order to get equality.

I think education should assess the problems not hide them and accept the fact we stil have major problems in the system.

21 09 2009
antiracist

whilst it is useful to know that race is a social construct it is important to understand that racism, the very essence of that construct is also deeply embedded in society and until we can eradicate racism, racial categorisation will continue to affect the life chances and well being of many.

21 09 2009
lovemusichateracism

Rage
‘What am I?’ has to be one of the most common questions many mixed-race individuals have
asked their parents at one time or another.

Watching the Black British film release Rage for the first time the other day I was struck by the pain of the mixed-race lead character Rage as he struggled to make sense of a life that had disinherited him. It was easy to dislike him as the beginning of the film, a little too cocky for my liking. However as the details of his life and relationships slowly start to unfold I felt
continually frustrated for him. When he finally challenges his mother and asks ‘What am I?’
his mother can’t really find the right words and politely informs him that the only crime her
and his father were guilty of was not thinking about the children. It’s obvious that she loves
her children but as many of us have found love is not always enough. ‘What am I?’ has to be one of the most common questions many mixed-race individuals have asked their parents at one time or another.

The film doesn’t really go down the road of trying to answer any questions regarding the subject of mixed-race but for those of us who have learned the hard way, the solutions are obvious. Try as hard as you want to push those questions to the back of your mind they will never go away until you find the answers.

Rage himself doesn’t seem to find any answers, he does what many of us do and that is to find a way to survive until he can. Rage searches for a career in Hip Hop and the soundtrack has some of the best underground UK Hip Hop around. Rage is not just a film about identity, it is also about reality. I guess there was a bit too much reality for British cinemas.

Considering it is one of the most important films to come out of the UK in a long time Rage was never highly publicised. It has already won three awards: Best First Feature at FESPACO2001;
Best Director for Nigerian born Newton I Aduaka,Best First Feature at Pan African Film Festival Los Angeles and Prix Jeunesse at Vue d’Afrique, Montreal

21 09 2009
lovemusichateracism

In the 21st Century our race and culture should not be a problem for others but it is.

It is important that you equip your children with the necessary tools to defend themselves when faced with racism.

Talk about racial issues, even if your child does not bring up the subject. Use natural opportunities, such as a television program or newspaper article that talks about race in some way. Let your child know that you feel comfortable discussing race; the positive aspects as well as the negative ones. It is important that you give your child a balanced view of race and culture, be sure to point out when things are negative and explain why. Ensure that you have an ample supply of positive portrayals of all cultures.

Even a young child needs to know that while your family celebrates difference, other families may not know many people who are different. These families are sometimes afraid of what they don’t know or understand, and may at times react in unkind ways. It can be difficult to deal with such issues, especially when your child is young and still does not know that some adults have these negative feelings, but by dealing with it you will help your child become a strong, healthy adult, preparing him or her to stand up in the face of ignorance, bias, or adversity.

Stand with your children if they are the victim of a racial incident or have problems in your community because of the unkind actions of others. This does not mean you should fight their battles for them, but rather support them and give them the tools to deal with life’s challenges.

Confront racism openly. Discuss it with your friends and family and the supportive multi-cultural community with which you associate. Ask other adults of colour that you know to share their insights with both you and your child. Above all, if your child’s feelings are hurt, let them talk about the experience with you, and acknowledge that you understand.

29 09 2009
writer222

I don’t like the word, but then you get people who are so used to it they are blind to its offensiveness.

29 09 2009
writer222

Question.
I’m in an inter-racial relationship. I’m white (male) and my other half is black (female).

Since we’ve been together I’ve increasingly become of aware of racism – particularly subtle racism. Things that aren’t overt, but make you wonder whether the person was acting differently or less helpfully or less pleasantly towards my other half because she is black. Or because her children are black.

Anyway – this creates additional concerns for us when we think about a) moving house – would she or the kids be more likely to suffer racial abuse and b) holidays – same issue. For example we were recently looking at Portugal for a holiday – two weeks in a villa type of thing – and a friend of hers who is black said – I wouldn’t go there, they’re racist.

Something that would never have been a concern for me suddenly is, and I am not much use in helping solve it because I can’t go and experience a place myself and see whether it feels like there’s more prejudice.

My question (sorry to go on) is whether there’s any advice or reviews or a site that helps give an indication about how ‘racist’ a place is. It’s probably a stupid question and far to complex. But I thought I’d look to see whether there was a website where people shared experiences at least. (Clearly you have to adjust for the variation in sensitivity to these issues when you read comments).

Anyway – any thoughts?

29 09 2009
african-american

African-American?What is up with that label? What is wrong with black Americans just being American… If you follow that logic surely white Americans should all be called European-American. In the UK people are just English or British or Scottish etc. and can be any number of colours. Bloods different from nationality.

29 09 2009
rez40

As an American, who happens to be black, I think I can help shed a bit of light on your valid question. Blacks in America have suffered an identity crisis from the day we first arrived in the USA as slaves. We have been called Negroes, coloreds, Negroes (again) Afro Americans, Blacks, and now African Americans. It is so sad I can’t just simply be referred to as an American in America, but I’m not. In my lifetime, I have been called Afro American, black, and now African American. Interstingly, when I visit Mexico, I am simply referred to as as US citizen. I identify myself as simply black because that is what I am. I remember someone who identified as African American asked me why I use this term to call myself. I told them I don’t feel any less connected to my African roots calling myself black. I grew up being called black and I am comfortable with that term. I have a great aunt (87 yrs. old) who refers to blacks as colored. I once asked her why she uses that term and she told me her parents and family always called themselves and other blacks as colored. Is there a correct term to call oneself? I really don’t think so, but I think only in America this problem exists because there remains a distorted view of what racial identity is here. Just look how mixed race people in my country are still referred to as African Americans (Tiger Woods). The US media plays a very large role in continuing to place people of mixed races in boxes that are very hard to climb out of. Remember the flack Woods received when he stated his multiracial background? He was criticized, by several black Americans, by the way, for not embracing his ONLY his black roots! I wonder how his Thai mother must have felt? I think I know. After the birth of my firstborn son, who is mixed black and Mexican, I was told to choose one race to put on his birth records. I had to fight the hospital administrators to make them understand my child is mixed race! I remember a nurse told me because my son ‘looked Mexican’ I should write in Hispanic as his race!! It is really a sad state of affairs in this country that we still can’t wrap our minds around this issue. I look forward to reading what others have to say about this.

29 09 2009
lushsista

Don’t you just hate the term “coloured”? It is such an American word and everyone has a skin colour. Pale-skin, fair-skin, olive-skin, dark-skin, I could go on forever.

“Coloured”… It’s like having a woodpecker peck my head everytime I hear the word.

29 09 2009
deze111

i agree with u Lushsista. EVERY1 is coloured. have u heard that poem about the term ‘coloured’? i cant remember the exact words but the it went something like this:

when you are ill you go green

when you are embarrased or angry you go red

when you get hurt/bruised you go purple

when you are cold you turn blue…

therefore arent u more coloured than I

i think that sums it up!!!!

cLm

29 09 2009
ladystumpz

Plz do not call me coloured.Our black ancestors thought for civil rights so they wer not call “Coloured ” as if they wer a packet of crayons but they were recognised for being a race.I m mixed race and dats wat i want to be called not coloured if u wan a b classed as black , white etc you deserve the right to be called what u want.But no one shud class ppl as coloured because that the whole point of ethnic minority identifacation is to respect other and honour are ethncity and other ppls

29 09 2009
queensha

The term coloured was used before the days of civil rights and the black power movement. The people who are using it to describe you are either still living in the 50’s era of the last century or else they’re trying to really insult you. Saying that there are still some older people such as my mother who still use the term because they live on another planet and don’t realise that the world has progressed. Queensah

29 09 2009
mulatt0

I do not take kindly to that term coloured, but I know our South African brothers and sisters have and use that name to describe themselves.

29 09 2009
bex

hi all,
I have never liked the term “coloured”.
Now i have a solid argument for occassions that i hear it.
I am white, my 6 yr old daughter is african american/british white.
Labels are boring.
We are supposed to be a civilised society, why do so many issues revolve around peoples skin colour?!
Its positively medieval.
I am teaching my child to be proud, people see her as black.
Thats their issue. We are better as a family.
Becks x

29 09 2009
bex

Hi all,
It should never stop us fighting for change and equality, racial causes have progressed so much in the last 40 years.
If we continue to battle bigotry, at least voices are being heard.
Racism doesnt just affect the black person, the mixed race person. Mixed race children experience it from both of their parents cultures.
White parents experience the same.
Bexs1975

29 09 2009
angel

Hi,

I hate the term ‘tanned’ used towards black or mixed raced people. i feel that tanned is when you have been on holiday or in the sun. I just think the turm is not very tacktful. At school there is 2 more people in my year who are mixed race and the teachers use the word tanned alot i just dont like the word.

29 09 2009
tyson

I am proud of my mixed heritage but because I look white no-one ever says anything and I normally I have to say something. I would normally say that I am either mixed race or half-cast, I don’t know the proper terminology now, when we went to Canada the term used was mulatto and to me that is so derogatory so maybe its just a generation this spread across the countries *shrugs*

so how do you describe yourself?

29 09 2009
l.u.k.e

I agree with you that mulatto is a disgusting word; it’s come up before. Half-caste is also derogatory, though not as much.

I would not use them anyway, as they do not describe my particular heritage.

29 09 2009
XxxxXjessXxxxX

I describe myself as multi-ethnic or mixed-race depending on which comes into my head first.

29 09 2009
Ashleyyyy

i describe my self as mixed race. the newest one is dual heritage..which i hear my mum and dads friends saying!

29 09 2009
Isabel Phillipson

I’d like to know what you think about the terms that are used to describe you?

29 09 2009
joshua

Every human being on the planet is mixed race, I think we need something more specific.

29 09 2009
NAZ

No they’re not.

While race is a sociological fiction with no corollary in genetics, that doesn’t mean it’s an entirely useless categorisation. So far as it can be meaningfully applied, there is some use in the term “mixed race”.

Besides “biracial” doesn’t work very well for someone like me who’s a mixture of three ethnicities. “Triracial” sound stupid, mixed race is neater.

29 09 2009
Lupe

Back in the day it used to be half-caste but it was found to be too offensive. Nowadays its mixed race which is rather neutral but importantly inoffensive. I think the way forward now is to agree on something which is positive and promotes the mixing of races, something that highlights the positive aspects of it such as the social and biological advantages that come with it. But then again, it might offend mono race people, so perhaps we should leave it neutral…

29 09 2009
myaa

I personally don’t get why a mixed race person would feel the need to call themselves brown, because that is such a misleading and defeatist identification to use. The term Brown for a mixed race person to use sounds like something they were told to use by a parent who themselves has no idea who they view their own mixed race child. So Brown to them seems ok, because it’s not black (to them), but it’s still far away from a postive mixed race identity because mainstream society doesn’t refer to any racial group as brown and mixed race people as a group have had terms like half-caste, mulatto and coloured used but never an actual colour, beause we come on more different colours than any other racial group. Also Brown is still solely a black identification to non white people, hence the Rolling Stone song Brown Sugar about a black woman.

Why not use the terms beigh or maybe grey (not something I’d advise) as that is neither black or white. Or Rainbow (being sarcastic) meaning the unification of all colours as in “Hey look at me I’m mixed race, multi-racial and multi-cultural”.

Getting back to being serious. If you are mixed race, or the offspring or a mixed race parent and a white parent, some people are always try and find ways try and question or feel bad about your identity.

30 09 2009
devonte

Is it me or are there more and more mixed race news presenters nowadays?. It seems every time I’m watching the news there is a new mixed race presenter. The newest being when I was watching the Channel 4 news today.

Feels good to see that as it gives us motivation to push forward in life.

30 09 2009
lush

i have never liked this term,or the equally offensive half-breed.

you are a whole person not a half person regardless of your ethnic background.

it really does make me cringe if i hear people using this word.

edited to correct spelling.

30 09 2009
blaze

I heard a 10 year old mixed girl use this term the other day and wondered where she`d heard it. I presumed from an older generation as surely her friends couldnt be using this as it`s outdated. It`s an offensive discription which should along with the *others* be binned.

30 09 2009
gabriella19

I think it is an old expression that is mainly used by the older generations (or their families if unwittingly passed down) as they are not aware that it is now not acceptable and offensive to most people.

I know in my experience I have heard the phrase from older people who are family and friends and they do not mean to be offensive by using the term. I now just politely explain why that term is offensive and most of the responses have been ‘oh I didn’t know that’.

I also think this applies to the phrase ‘coloured’ which my mam uses and I explained to her that now we use ‘black’. She told me that when she was younger it was offensive to use the term black.

30 09 2009
mikeyboi

lets talk about mixed race role models!

I have often thought about this when told barack obama and lewis hamilton are but the problem is I dont really hear why they are icons.

Dont get me wrong, I have read or rather listened to baraks book narrated by the man himslef and I am in no doubt he went through the same issues as the rest of us in regards to his duel heritage.

To me an icon need to do more than share experiences, they need to inspire and motivate me as a mixed race man, be an ambassador for our people. a mixed race icon needs to represent us and our interests regardless of the consequences. Unfortunately neither of the for mentioned men do.

Some even say barack and lewis are counter productive in regards to establishing our identity in the publics eye and abolishing the one drop rule. I mean lets face it, since their rise to stardom the term mixed race seems to have gone out the window and “your black” has come back with a vengeance.

Its the ones who people have never heard of who are the true icons of our people, the ones out of the public eye working behinds the scenes.

So in conclusion, to me personally a mixed race icon is someone who has made efforts to help and unite us as a people.

Peace

30 09 2009
sunkissed

Agreed. As much as I respect the lives of Obama and Hamilton etc, they don’t correct people when called black. This dissappoints me. As much as they are iconic, they are just one notch away from being mixed race icons.

As I have mentioned before, it seems to me only a matter of time that a mixed race identity becomes clear and present. You just have to look down the line at the generation below us and the one below them to see the enormous growth in our demographic group. As history has told us, things change when there are numbers.

The only question that we should be asking ourselves today is, what is a mixed race identity? For me, its acknowledging, respecting and embracing our true heritage. And its about having this respected by others.

30 09 2009
Ben

I saw Barack Obama on the Letterman Show, saying he was Black before the election. It’s very evident that Obama see’s himself as a Black man, and only feels the need to say his mixed race when he jokes about it ie being a “mut” when looking to by a dog for his daughters. Or having to explain he’s not racist towards white Americans when his ex pastor made a God Damm America speech etc. If mixed race people are looking for icons, I don’t think Obama is the right person to look towards. I think he’s a nice guy, but he is in my view the streotype of a mixed race man and experience, as in going through a confuson over his racial identity then finding his identity as a black man. Nothing wrong with that for him, or in general because all mixed race people have the right to identify how they want. But I’m just saying he’s not the right person to look towards if you want a mixed race icon, and I personally don’t view him as such and don’t expect anything form him as I don’t think he has an understanding or interest in mixed race people.

Lewis Hamilton is a different issue to Obama. I get the impression from Lewis Hamilton that he just lets the media and public refer to him as black, and keeps his view of his racial identity to himself because he doesn’t want to cause controversay or a backlash from the black community. I’ve never heard him refer to himself as black or mixed race, and when he was asked how he felt about being a role model for black kids he said something like “I’m a role model for kids of all races”. I think in private he views himself a mixed race (I could be wrong). Lewis Hamilton appears to be a passive person when it comes to the media, and sadly any mixed race person who say’s they are mixed race not black, would be deemed as denying their black heritage thus making a correct and honest statement controversal when he shouldn’t be.

30 09 2009
lux*

How many people out there say they are actually mixed race? I mean being publicly proud of it?

30 09 2009
dixon

I think it is difficult for someone who is in a high profile and responsible position to express views about being proud of their ethnic identity without it being mis-interpreted, I am certain that President Obama is very at ease and proud of his mixed-race identity but he is wise not to get into that too much because it’s obvious to me that there are some who are waiting for an opportunity to “prove” he is unfit to run the USA, if he tried to express pride in his origins I fear the right wing would twist his words to make his sound like a racist, there are already rumours being spread about him being a “black supremist/racist” who “hates all whites” as it is, which is totally obsurd, he has shown nothing but fairness to everyone…jeeeee wiz…imagine what they would say about him if he really did say or do something wrong??

30 09 2009
guardian

This is exactly the problem today. We cannot affirm our mixed race status in public as it will be deemed as a disrespect to each of our parts. However, I think if one got the ball rolling, the rest would follow suit and following a little turbulence ‘they’ will begin to understand and respect our true identity. Then we will start talking about mixed race icons.

30 09 2009
mikeyboi

In my opinion, anyone can be an icon regardless of their race. We would all like to think that growing up, youth need someone the same colour or racial background or creed to reach out to them and represent them. But shouldn’t be the case. The truth is that as youth, we look up to anyone who fills our heart with hapiness and positivity. i mean you just have to look at primary school children to see that the concept of race doesnt enter most peoples minds. We are not living in an area or in times such as the deep south during USA or Apartied South Africa. We are very privaledged to be living in a place where we all come together. Or if you are unlucky and happen to live in a part of the UK where you are left isolated, I would encourage you to one day move to London or an area with a vast mix.
I also want to add that whilst we must never erase or forget about history, we need to just look up to each other as human, it’s the only way we move forward!!.

A ‘Mixed-Race’ icon to me is someone who encourages us to be ourselves, allow us to feel proud of being huuman let alone being Mixed-Race and give us the determination of trying to settle differences in this world, starting at home first. Someone who can raise the positive chakra and increase the level of mental state of well being.

It is only through life experience that one learns that what a person looks like on the outside should never be the sole purpose of who you look up to.

In this society especially, I would like to encourage a society where race is not as important as character and personality. We must never forget who we are and where we come from but at the same time we must not always have what race we are or what mix we are in our minds.
This only leads to isolation, anger, resentment and depression. We should never keep race at the forefront all the time in everything we do. Take it from someone who has been there.

A side note, parents have a huge role in how we turn out. Raise your kids right. It really can make all the difference.

30 09 2009
priya$

In my opinion, anyone can be an icon regardless of their race. We would all like to think that growing up, youth need someone the same colour or racial background or creed to reach out to them and represent them. But shouldn’t be the case. The truth is that as youth, we look up to anyone who fills our heart with hapiness and positivity. i mean you just have to look at primary school children to see that the concept of race doesnt enter most peoples minds. We are not living in an area or in times such as the deep south during USA or Apartied South Africa. We are very privaledged to be living in a place where we all come together. Or if you are unlucky and happen to live in a part of the UK where you are left isolated, I would encourage you to one day move to London or an area with a vast mix.
I also want to add that whilst we must never erase or forget about history, we need to just look up to each other as human, it’s the only way we move forward!!.

A ‘Mixed-Race’ icon to me is someone who encourages us to be ourselves, allow us to feel proud of being huuman let alone being Mixed-Race and give us the determination of trying to settle differences in this world, starting at home first. Someone who can raise the positive chakra and increase the level of mental state of well being.

It is only through life experience that one learns that what a person looks like on the outside should never be the sole purpose of who you look up to.

In this society especially, I would like to encourage a society where race is not as important as character and personality. We must never forget who we are and where we come from but at the same time we must not always have what race we are or what mix we are in our minds.
This only leads to isolation, anger, resentment and depression. We should never keep race at the forefront all the time in everything we do. Take it from someone who has been there.

A side note, parents have a huge role in how we turn out. Raise your kids right. It really can make all the difference.

30 09 2009
nicolas

I mean the term “mixed race” seems to have become synonymous with black/white mixed people but yet it applies equally to asian/white mixed people and so on.

I’m at a stage in my life where I, infact no, WE need to decide as mixed race people how exactly we define ourselves as a collective.

Often I day dream about a mixed race association where we black/white mixies hang out, socialize etc and even start to mix within ourself. But if this was to occur would or rather could we still designate ourself as being mixed race? I mean if the concept of race mearly is a eurocentric social construct as my friend always likes to say then would the very definition of mixed race not become subjective which would propagate a loss of any identity that we have achieved thus far

I really would love with all my heart to have more physical contact with you all but at the same time I dont want us to loose the very thing that makes us what we are, the equilibrium of this spectrum known race, I mean its the magnitude of the cultural and historical contrast within us that makes we, that defines we, as a race, AS A PEOPLE!!

I believe we black/white mixes as the largest group should do more to include our mixed race brethren of the euroaisan groups and so forth.

If you dont wish to reply then its cool but please if you do have an opinion I really need to know how you feel and relate to people of other mixed races.

ONE LOVE

30 09 2009
just do it

This is an interestin point. How do we classify mixed race individuals? My view is that if we started classifying mixed race people there would be no end to it. Or maybe classifying us by the number of mixes? bi-racial? tri-racial?

30 09 2009
charl

Good point there, and one that has often come up, I knew this girl that used to live in my area and everyone thought or assumed she was half Indian and half white but in fact she was half black Afro Caribbean and half white European, it’s just that she inherited all of her white mothers long straight hair so people made that assumption on that basis.

The thing that real Euro/Asian and real half black African/Caribbean and half white European people have in common is that our physical make up is such that we are neither fully black, fully white or fully anything, we are mixed and so we face at some point the same sense of rejection from both sides, to be fair to good decent mono-racials they may or may not all really be rejecting us but it’s just that sometimes as a mixed-race person it feels like that, and that’s the issue, I have heard both Euro-Asian mixed-race people and half black half white mixed-race people say this same thing.

30 09 2009
Isabel Phillipson

Have you ever experienced any incidents about your background? I would love to know!

30 09 2009
laura

My father is black Caribbean, my mother is white English.

I was born and brought up in England and I’m English.
A few weeks ago I was outside my house cleaning my car.
My neighbour approached me and we chatted for a while.
She’s elderley, white and English. As we talked she told me that
she collected stamps, she hoped that as I was foreign any exotic stamps
I got, I could pass onto her! I was gobsmacked!!

I eneded the conversation and returned to cleaning my car.
However, the incident really upset me. It made me realise that
white English people will never accept me as being English because
I’m not white. This really depressed me.

I could blame it on her age but I feel most white people would have the
same attitude.

30 09 2009
b r a d

I think over the next few generations modern culture will go full eclipse and the unborn children of today’s society will naturally adopt highly tolerant attitudes towards non-whites. I think how soon and to what extent this happens though depends largely on how successfully non-white people adopt the culture they live in.

However, in all fairness its not just white people who behave like this at times. It also happens in Africa and am sure in the Caribbean too.

30 09 2009
>>sash>>

My partner was born in England and he gets asked all the time where he is from.
I dont think its racist. Its more down to ignorance in assuming all non white people are ‘foreign’

5 10 2009
kristin journalist

How do you categorise someone who is not 100% white nor 100% black, without offending that person?

This is the debate that I walked into the other day, when a woman pointed at me and told her son: ‘That is a half caste.’

Why she did that I will never know, but it left me feeling hurt that the phrase is still being used.

Why so hurt? The answer is in the meaning of the words. If you research the definition of half caste, it says ‘a person of mixed racial descent.’

Fair enough, but read the synonyms and it tells you: amalgam, bastard, combination, composite, compound, cross, crossbreed, half-blood, half-breed, mongrel … to name just a few.

Caste was first used in India in the sixteenth century to describe the Hindu system of hierarchy. The term half-caste indicates how pure you are racially and echoes the days of colonial slavery when words such as mulatto, quadroon and octoroon were commonplace in sales ledgers and even in post-emancipation days in the old United States census.

John Agard, from Guyana makes some brilliant points in his poem ‘Half caste’:

‘Excuse me standing on one leg I’m half-caste. Explain yuself wha yu mean when yu say half-caste. yu mean when Picasso mix red an green is a half-caste canvas.’

He goes on to say, ‘ explain yuself wha yu mean when yu say half-caste yu mean Tchaikovsky sit down at dah piano n mix a black key wid a white key is a half-caste symphony?’

OK, I understand that my caramel toned skin signifies that I am a part of more than one race, but does that mean that I am actually belonging to none?

So what should I be labelled as? My mother is white and my father is black. That means that I am a part of the two most dominant races in society. Could I technically call myself a ‘hybrid?’

Or would people find that a little big headed?

I consider myself a very lucky human. I get to eat a traditional British Sunday roast, and other days I can indulge in Caribbean, chicken, rice and peas.

I have been brought up listening to the warm sounds of reggae music by my father, and thanks to my mother I know all the rock and roll artists. I have both white and black cousins, but best of all I have two places that I can call home.

Did you know that mixed-race people account for about 1.4 per cent of Britain’s population? MINE is the fastest growing ethnic minority in the country and yet ‘mixed- race’ was included in the UK census for the first time only in 2001.

Next time, call me MIXED-RACE.

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