Search

Being Mixed Race in a White Country.

"Titta mamma, det finns en apa" translates as "Look mummy, there's an ape" which was said by a young boy about my mother and I on a bus in Sweden.


Assuming my mum couldn't understand Swedish, as if her skin colour dictates which languages she can comprehend, the boy's mother sat astonished, bright red and didn't say a word as my mum explained to toddler me that there are racist people in this world and not to take notice.


Struggling financially when coming to the UK at the age of 5 made me understand how much family wealth, inheritance, being white (or even male) can improve your financial situation.


Many black families struggle and have no family wealth due to the generational trauma caused by slavery. The government "reimbursed" slave owners $8000 per slave to set them free in 1833 which taxpayers paid up until 2015.


Not a penny was paid to those who were enslaved and brutalised, the British government borrowed the equivalent of £17billion to compensate slave owners whilst the slaves had to build their countries from nothing.


Kanye West stated during his South Carolina campaign rally that Harriet Tubman - an American abolitionist -


"never actually freed the slaves, she just had them work for other white people".

The lack of education infuriates me; she found slaves jobs to earn money.


Families that came from slavery, including my own, may not have had to struggle as much as they do today if the government had funded education or jobs for slaves instead.


Southampton is less ethnically diverse compared to London. I only had one black friend in primary school, and the workplace was harder for my mum in the south. White people are more likely to get higher-paying roles.


The company my mum works for, have finally acknowledged the racism, realising she is, in fact, more skilled than her white peers who had been promoted over her. Secondary school. There was only one other black person in our year.


Oftentimes I had seen him being excluded or pitied. He says that I am the only person who has properly checked up on him since school finished. Being one of few black people shouldn't feel so isolating. I would even bond with others due to our skin colour despite being different races. But that shouldn't have been a bonding factor, nor bonding because people couldn't see our tans.


When I started college, I grew in confidence. It felt a little more diverse, and it gave me the confidence to wear braids for the first time. Before this, I had straightened and damaged my hair for years to make it look more like my peers.


Being mixed race has posed unique issues. Mixed race fetishism is very prominent in today's society. Some people have seen mixed-race babies as fashionable or desirable. 'Light-skin privilege' is also prominent in society.


Differentiating from white privilege, the lighter you are from black has also led to better treatment.


I have felt at times that strangers may be treating me differently to darker people, and realise others have felt this too. The way mixed-race people have been treated has been 'sought over' throughout history and has embedded a view that being less dark is better.


During slavery, mixed slaves worked in the houses rather than the fields. Today, black people are misrepresented in the beauty community and tend to be lighter in skin tone.


The lack of accurate black representation disgusts me.


I've felt alert in Barbados simply due to my skin tone as older men have approached me, despite me being 13 in some cases. It is not the kind of attention I have received from a whiter community. Here, I was watched by a black man all day; comments were made about how my mixed background makes me 'beautiful'. It just shows the beauty ideals in black communities may be psychologically linked to the better treatment of mixed-race people.


I have spoken about different experiences on my Instagram, such as the Windrush Scandal, slavery comments and having racial slurs thrown at me while walking down a street. But I cannot comprehend the pain that other people have faced as I have had a more 'light skin' privileged perspective.



3 views