5 months ago
Jamaican | Polish/Swiss-German/English “I identify myself as a mixed-race. My dad is from Jamaica and moved to London when he was around 6. My mum is White, born in London but of mixed-European heritage. She’s half-Polish, ¼ Swiss-German and ¼ English. They met in the mid-1970s, my mum was 14 and my dad was 16. On the night she met my dad, she was at an under-18s soul and funk ‘disco’. They ended up staying together for over 30 years. They’re happily divorced now and remain good friends. I do think cultural differences played a significant part in the slow demise of their relationship, especially once children came into the picture. They had very different ideas on how we should be brought up, which caused endless arguments over the years.
Before I realised colour was anything more than a Dulux chart, it used to confuse me when my dad would call himself Black. When I drew him in my pictures, I would reach for my brown Crayola and capture his complexion. I remember a conversation in the car with my dad, I must’ve been around 5 and my little brother Stefan was about 3. Stefan had gotten the idea into his head that he was White, like mum. My dad explained why he wasn’t, ‘I'm Black and your mum is White. You're a bit of me and your mum, so you're mixed-race. But just know that the world will always see you as Black. You might have it a bit easier, but you'll still have to work twice as hard to get half as far as them.’ I think there are a lot of assumptions. For example, when most people in the UK think of what constitutes mixed-race, they assume a Black/ White combo. That needs to change, which is why the Mixed Race Faces campaign is so important.
Straddling races and cultures means that, while you might never 100% ‘belong’ to either, you get an interesting and unique insight into both. I’m at peace with that fact.
If I was to be born again I would want to come back exactly the same.
It was only relatively recently (late 90s/ early 2000s) that mixed ethnicities were added as an option on census forms in the UK, which is crazy! Mixed-race relationships are becoming increasingly common, so the lines will continue to blur.” #mixedracefaces #mixed at Copeland Park & Bussey Building