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Mixed race

(160 Posts)
Doubtfuldaphne Sun 21-Apr-13 21:50:11

A silly question really..
Aibu to tick 'mixed race' on my dd's forms? My dh is half Asian half English .. He always just ticks 'white' but I feel a bit sad that he's not acknowledging his Asian background. For my dd I usually tick 'mixed'
It's not all about box ticking.. It's more acknowledging my dd's heritage..

Jinsei Sun 21-Apr-13 23:02:57

I have always ticked "mixed race" for dd, as her dad is Asian and I'm white British. However, I did this for something recently, and found out that she was astonished by my choice - turns out that she identifies herself as White.confused I will admit to having been surprised, as she is very in touch with her Asian heritage, speaks an Asian language, loves spending time in her dad's country etc. However, now she's old enough to have a view on her identity, I shall have to re-think what I write...

Punkatheart Sun 21-Apr-13 23:11:12

Complicated thing, being mixed race. I come from an Asian family who completely submerge their heritage - which makes me sad. This was formed by enormous racism when they first came to this country.

One interesting record of some people's lives is this:

An anthology of mixed race of various permutations - including an account by Johny Pitts, a BBC children's presenter.

FreudiansSlipper Sun 21-Apr-13 23:21:03

i am half Asian I sometimes tick mixed sometimes white. For ds (dad is white British) I always tick white

I am not denying my heritage sometimes it is not important other times more so (doctors forms)

Meerkatwhiskers Mon 22-Apr-13 00:28:03

I am white skinned but am mixed race white and Asian and very proud of my heritage so always ticked the mixed race box. Also don't understand why people tick white.

Do You put that on census forms out of interest? If so then they aren't getting the right information.

NishiNoUsagi Mon 22-Apr-13 00:38:00

My kids are mixed race (I'm white British, DH is Japanese). I always tick mixed-other and write british&japanese if it's a medical form as their as some diseases/conditions more prevalent in Japan, that they might not take into account if they didn't know their background.

Census forms etc I would definitely tick mixed as, well, they are grin

I think in your case though, as 1/4 is a bit more removed than 1/2 it may feel odd but you're definitely NBU! FWIW, DS1 is nearly 4 and very interested in being a bit Japanese, so I'm sure your DD will be happy that you're remembering her heritage.

CremeEggThief Mon 22-Apr-13 00:38:30

I am of Irish and Mediterranean heritage, but no boxes on the form reflect this, so I just tick Irish

That's entirely up to me, and it's entirely your DH's choice to define himself as he wishes, but YANBU to wonder.

Gossipmonster Mon 22-Apr-13 00:45:50

My DS has exactly the same heritage and his dad says white.

I always tick mixed white British and Asian as that is what he is IMO and feel its important to acknowledge his heritage.

Equally my other two DC have a father from NZ - I tick white mixed other for them.

ComposHat Mon 22-Apr-13 01:35:22

I quite like the response of the Cricket commentator and staunch opponent of apartheid John Arlott, when confronted with a form which asked for his Race he just wrote 'Human'

Softlysoftly Mon 22-Apr-13 01:42:15

ThePanthen the dds are mixed race, for them and dh I always leave it blank. Like you, when the bastards come to power I'm buying time to run.


Op unless there are medical reasons to know (eg tests on newborns related to heritage) then it's up to the dh and ultimately dcs to choose so tick nothing.

ComposHat Mon 22-Apr-13 02:06:29

Out of interest, why the shift from 'Mixed Race' to 'Dual Heritage' in some circles? I can see why 'Half Caste' is a huge no-no, but why is 'Mixed Race' falling from favour? I can see there may be a problem with the notion of homogeneous 'races' but 'Dual Heritage' strikes me as such a nebulous term that it could refer to anyone and everyone.

Could I not describe myself as 'dual heritage' as I come from a mining family on my mother's side and a bunch of uptight lower-middle class Tory arseholes on my father's side? Both sides are white British.

quesadilla Mon 22-Apr-13 05:39:29

ComposHat because rules on PC in this country dictate that no word or phrase for anything race related is safe for more than about a decade without someone deciding it sounds colonial and oppressive.

LtEveDallas Mon 22-Apr-13 05:56:32

'Officially' DH is mixed race or dual heritage - his bio father was mixed race, mother white British, but he never acknowledges that (he won't even have his fathers name spoken). I consider myself a 'mongrel' as I have no idea of the 'mix' of my historical (traveller) heritage - my eldest brother was dark and swarthy and looked like a Native American, my youngest brother is blue eyed and blond haired!

I think the box ticking exercises are just that, and pretty meaningless. There wouldn't be a box that DD could successfully tick that encompasses all possibilities, nor one for me. I generally go for 'white other' and DD for 'white british'

If they ever come for me I reckon I've got the best of all worlds - they'll take years to decide what I am - especially as birth records seem to stop at my paternal grandfather.

So yes it's just 'human' for me.

imour Mon 22-Apr-13 08:42:15

if you and your partner are not of the same race then your child will be mixed race , cant see the point of this post unless its to stir up a racist argument !

AngryGnome Mon 22-Apr-13 09:00:53

I work in higher education and actually it is pretty useful for us to collect info on our students. It affects how, where we market and promote our institution and also allows us to look more closely at the culture within the institution. For example, disproportionately low numbers of non-white students would make us think carefully about what we can actively do to encourage applications from non-white students. We's also think about whether there is anything we as an institution are doong that might be discouraging applications from certain groups. It's the same with other characteristics - sex, disability etc. it's actually quite interesting work.

All the info is anonymously collected do we just gave a pile of stats to view. And, of course, it's not mandatory to provide the information - it's just helpful for us

ThreeWheelsGood Mon 22-Apr-13 09:27:11

You should go with your partners wishes until your dd is old enough to decide for herself. My mum is white and my father is also half Asian, half white and for his own reasons does not acknowledge his Asian heritage and always ticks white British. I however often tick Mixed for myself as I have experienced racism so do not consider myself white.

schoolshoeblues Mon 22-Apr-13 09:38:59


Out of interest are some ethnic groups not more prone to certain diseases? For example sickle cell anaemia affects people certain from Asian and African backgrounds. In this instance, medically speaking, it would be of use for your race to be stated on a medical form.

I have never been in a position to process forms which ask for ethnic background or race, so have no idea why it should be useful unless its to do with questions of equality

AmberLeaf Mon 22-Apr-13 09:51:14


I have only ever seen the term 'dual heritage' written online or on forms.

Actually someone I was talking to [a teacher] used the term, I explained to her why I felt it was a ridiculous term and questioned who came up with it, she then said that she could totally see my point and would no longer use the term.

I don't think mixed race is falling from favour at all, not out in the real world anyway.

I don't know anyone, nor have I ever seen anyone on TV etc that uses dual heritage to describe themselves. IME people use the term because they have read it and assume it is the 'correct' term.

Obviously dual means two, well my family has more than two races anyway so it is nonsense for my family and many others.

Mixed race is fine, or black and tbh it is up to the person to define as they wish, that said, if any of my children saw themselves as white and didn't acknowledge that they also had black caribbean heritage, I would question it and see it as an issue that needed addressing for the sake of their self esteem/self image.

I know of some mixed race people who have had either a poor relationship with their black father, or have heard lots of negative things about their [estranged] black parent from their white family, they are the ones that IME have struggled with identity issues as they have been influenced by family to see their blackness as a bad thing.

My children have always had a good grasp on their 'mixedness' but also through various life experiences have learned that in societies eyes, mixed race is seen as black and the same racial prejudices will be applied to them as would to their 'full' black friends and family.

White mums [or Dads] do not pass on their white privilege to their mixed race/black children. I have known a number of white parents of mixed race children to struggle initially with that concept though.

Skin shade and the concept of 'passing' is interesting though, one of my children is lighter skinned than me [I am white but like LTEve above, have an 'interesting' and not entirely tracable heritage so I am sort of olive skinned and with hair the same as my mixed race children] but due to his features/hair is clearly not white. But the shade of your skin doesn't indicate 'blackness' I have black friends with black parents and grandparents, but they are lighter skinned than my children, they still consider themselves black though.

I think the experiences of people who are mixed white/asian can be very different though due to the differences in how society views asian people as opposed to black people.

Re box ticking, I remember not so long ago, there was no 'mixed race' box to tick, it was just 'other' I remember a mum of mixed race children campaigning to have a mixed race box on forms as she felt that 'other' was demeaning. gradually forms started to change. but I remember drawing an extra box on forms with 'mixed race' next to it as my children are not 'other'

Now, often forms will have a long list of the mixed race variables, in some way, I think stating your race is pointless, but for things like medical records, it can be important.


Oh that old chestnut, 'the terms are always changing, I can't keep up with it' usually said by people who want to be able to continue to use language that is well known to be offensive and unacceptable.

I'm nearly 40 and mixed race has been used since I was at secondary school, way more than 10 yrs ago.

OP was this issue not something you discussed with your DH prior to having children?

Chunderella Mon 22-Apr-13 10:32:21

Certainly yanbu on anything medically related, because ethnicity can be significant. People from the Indian sub-continent have higher risks of various problems like diabetes and heart issues, so it's sensible that anyone providing clinical care for DD is aware of her heritage. The same would be true if eg she was part Ashkenazi Jewish because of higher risk of Tay Sachs and sometimes breast cancer, or for anyone with descent from a group who carry sickle cell. The rest of the time, I'd probably go with DHs wishes until DD is old enough to decide for herself.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 22-Apr-13 10:57:17

Feeling confused by clouds and the OP's DH who are also mixed race and tick the white box.

I am half Arab, half British. My skin is white (although I get asked if I'm Italian, Greek, Spanish on occasions) and I was born in England. I love what I know of my Arabic country and proud of it, but I don't know a huge amount because my parent died when I was young. I have been there once.

My culture is white British, so like I said, that's good enough for me. I would answer more comprehensively on a medical or census form, but on things like school or college forms it makes no difference. I don't need things targeted at me just because once upon a time one of the people that created me lived in another country.

JaquelineHyde Mon 22-Apr-13 11:06:32

Tick which ever you want to it means nothing.

Once your DD is old enough she will be able to identify with which ever group she wants to.

What you tick for yourself or what your dh ticks for himself is of no importance.

JaquelineHyde Mon 22-Apr-13 11:08:24

'I am always really interested in why people came to the UK, but I cannot ask for fear of being accused of racism.'

FarBetterNow what the actual fuck does that mean, please tell me you are not serious!

FrauMoose Mon 22-Apr-13 11:14:08

While some people find questions intrusive, supplying answers can help the organisation that it is asking to target its services better and also to access a wider range of funding.

I used to work on a phoneline (in a large city) for an organisation which supported survivors of rape and sexual abuse. The trustees and the organisation's funders did want to know whether the cultural/racial background of the people using our services, reflected the make-up of the city itself. Were people from particular backgrounds more - or less likely - to call us?

When I explained over the phone that the information helped the organisation and its funders, nobody ever refused to give me some kind of answer.

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 22-Apr-13 11:17:51

You are what you think you are. You are totally being resonable to choose mixed race for your DD. Your DH is totally reasonable to pick white.

FYI, my DH is white kiwi, with white british parents, and he refused to choose white. It's always others. He said because most forms implied white = european, and he's not a European. I can understand his logic.

lynniep Mon 22-Apr-13 11:30:44

What you said OP

'I do wonder sometimes where you draw the line because really... Isn't everyone mixed race somewhere down the line? ' is what I always think. Everyone is 'diluted' to some degree as far as race is concerned. How far do you drill down?

My children are also 1/4 (english/thai). TBH no-one ever guesses that I'm mixed race and they certainly wouldnt guess that my blond blue eyed children are.

For medical purposes I specify their 'origin' but otherwise I don't think its relevant. They are British. Their race is irrelevant.

FreudiansSlipper Mon 22-Apr-13 11:33:47

What clouds posted

I identify with my white British family far far more than my Asian family they feel alien at times though it enriches my life I do not feel Asian (whatever that is meant to mean) or look it though very happy and proud to be so. I like that I am part of my Asian culture but not fully for me it is too suffocating

I tick mixed when it is relevant like census, medical or times it is not that all nothing more to it

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