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To see myself as mixed race?

(45 Posts)
skylarkdescending Sat 13-Jun-20 14:28:06

This post isn’t intended to offend or upset, i’m just trying to reconcile some feelings that I have been having for a long time about my identity.

For background:
One grandparent was black Caribbean, the other was white English so DM is mixed. DDad was white English meaning that I am partly mixed race. However, my skin is white and although my features are similar to those of my black relatives, to most people I look white. My DM and siblings have darker skin and people have in the past asked questions about their heritage. No one questions my heritage and most people are surprised to learn about my ancestry.

Whenever I am asked to state my race (form filling etc) I put mixed ethnicity white and black Caribbean. I have always done this. However, I am starting to feel guilty about this as, to all intents and purposes I look white and I would say I have benefited in my life from white privilege.

Can anyone relate to these feelings? Should I continue to identify as mixed race? Some people have made comments to me recently which suggest they think I’m gaining some advantage from doing this. Others In the past have suggested that I’m attention seeking.

So AIBU to identify myself as mixed race?

OP’s posts: |
VenusClapTrap Sat 13-Jun-20 14:30:44

I think if that’s how you identify, then that’s how you identify, and it’s nobody else’s business.

PumpkinP Sat 13-Jun-20 14:33:51

There was a post exactly the same as this yesterday. Anyway I'm mixed race my children's dad is black. I say they are mixed race.

skylarkdescending Sat 13-Jun-20 14:37:48

I hadn't seen that @PumpkinP can you point me to the post?

OP’s posts: |
MrTumblesSpottyHag Sat 13-Jun-20 14:43:36

Are you me?? I have one black grandparent. My mum is mixed and although I look white to most people I've always thought of myself as mixed. I've refrained from talking much about BLM IRL because my feelings are so muddled. I feel a fraud ☹️.
My DH said something about me being white recently and it really hit home that to the rest of the world I am white even though I don't think of myself that way.

PumpkinP Sat 13-Jun-20 14:43:50

HouchinBawbags Sat 13-Jun-20 14:45:57

I have a white friend (with olive skin and brown hair) who's two sons from an darker skinned African American father arrived with pale white skin and almost white blond hair.
They are not albino though. They have slight African American facial features but are very much white in appearance. Their little sister favours her father though and is clearly of African American descent.

No matter what, those boys are mixed race/bi-racial/black... whatever they choose to call themselves. Their heritage is theirs. It's not appropriation. You have the right to yours too.

MamaLion1319 Sat 13-Jun-20 14:48:58

I'm mixed (half Jamaican & Irish). My children look white with blue eyes, DD is even turning blonde. Both their fathers are white, they have always been marked as mixed by professionals and i class them as mixed/black children because that's what they are. I do wonder about my future grandchildren though but hey ho the one drop rule I guess!

SimonJT Sat 13-Jun-20 14:56:19

I’m mixed race, I have a white great grandfather genetically, I also have white features but they’re not noticeable to many as I’m Asian, I’m quite pale, but my family are from an area where people are paler than most pakistanis.

I don’t refer to myself as mixed race socially, but it is something I mention in health care settings etc as it could be relevent. I would probably feel more mixed race if I looked more mixed race or if I grew up with a family member of the other ethnicity.

PumpkinP Sat 13-Jun-20 15:02:35

It's hard really as although I am mixed half black half white I still look white. Even my children say I'm white. tbf I know I look it. Personally I think it you have children with a white man then I wouldn't consider them mixed .

PeaceCheese Sat 13-Jun-20 15:08:27

I think it's a personal choice. My mother is mixed and my father is white, so I came out clearly non-white. I look mixed and am treated a specific way because of that, so I identify as mixed.

DH is white, and if our baby comes out looking white and is treated as if they are white, then we'll consider them to be white with black heritage.

For me, coming from such a mixed family, members have always tended to identify as they are treated (for example I have a distant ancestor who was Asian, but I don't look Asian, so am not treated like I'm Asian, haven't been brought up with any Asian culture, and none of my immediate relatives look Asian or have been brought up with Asian culture, so I don't mention it on forms).

Nameisthegame Sat 13-Jun-20 15:18:02

I don’t think it’s a choice it’s very important to say your mixed race if you are, I’m a similar mixture but Asian. I look incredibly white my ds looks even whiter with a English dad he says ds is white but he is mixed too I won’t let anyone obliterate his ancestors (sorry rant over)

More importantly it is important to state your mixed race due to medical issues ds had to be tested for sickle cell anemia and he was born with a Mongolian birth mark which I ended up having to prove with photographs from his birth as I was accused of abuse.

skylarkdescending Sat 13-Jun-20 15:18:23

Interesting points thank you. It really helps to hear from others in a similar situation.

@MrTumblesSpottyHag Yes I obviously am you!grin 'fraud' is exactly how I feel sometimes.

A good point about health matters though. When I was pregnant, the midwife automatically ticked the white British box (which meant I would've missed an extra blood test) and only changed it because I checked over the forms and told her about my family heritage.

It's obviously on my mind more at the moment as my relatives are talking about BLM and posting their own experiences. I don't have anything to share as i havent been directly on the receiving end of racist abuse. I have had comments made to me about parents and siblings though.

OP’s posts: |
PeaceCheese Sat 13-Jun-20 15:23:58

My mother used to encourage me to identify as black, which I hated because it's medically and socially inaccurate.

Socially inaccurate because I experience less privilege than a white person because of the way I look (i.e: I get asked questions that a white person with a British accent like mine wouldn't get asked, like "Where I'm from" even though I'm English born and bred) but more privilege than a black person (I experience much less hostility than fully black people, i.e: I don't get followed around shops or stopped and searched regularly at airports like fully black relatives do). I also get treatment that is specific to being mixed race and is not experienced by fully white or black people (I.e: if I go somewhere with my dad, people think I'm his much younger exotic trophy girlfriend/wife because he's white and I'm not, so they don't notice any family resemblance).

It's medically inaccurate because being mixed race means that I have different health outcomes to a fully white or black person (i.e: it's harder to find a tissue/organ match if you need one if you're mixed race, because fewer people are likely to match your tissue type, mixed race people have a much longer risk of getting sick with Coronavirus than fully black people ...etc).

So it makes sense for me to identify as mixed.

PeaceCheese Sat 13-Jun-20 15:27:31

*much like risk

iwilltaketwoplease Sat 13-Jun-20 15:27:52

I'm white, my children's dad is mixed race, my children have tanned skin but people presume they are white and they both have Mongolian blue spots , they are mixed race (English,Jamaican and Irish)

PeaceCheese Sat 13-Jun-20 15:28:06

*much lower risk

Sorry, having real issues with autocorrect today blush

OrangeCinnamon Sat 13-Jun-20 15:30:54

@skylarkdescending that is shocking what your midwife did !

theendoftheworldasweknowit Sat 13-Jun-20 15:31:19

Whether you're mixed race or not, is question of fact. Your DM has two parents of different ethnicities, therefore she is mixed race. You are her child, therefore you're mixed race too.

There does come a point where I think the percentage becomes so small that calling yourself mixed race is misleading, but in your case, you're talking 25%. I think it's accurate to call yourself mixed race.

I have a 50:50 split myself, and I describe myself as mixed race because I am, but also because it's how I identify. Sometimes people of one race 'claim' me over the other, sometimes both races reject me. I don't really 'belong' to one group (it's an equal split in my case), so I stand by myself under the mixed banner. It can be quite lonely sometimes.

I've experienced white privilege (based on the colour of my skin), I've also directly experienced racism (based on the colour of my skin) and indirectly experienced racism (via how relatives are treated). It's funny how my skin is sometimes one colour to some people and another colour to other people. I'm not a magic colour-changing chameleon.

Just because you don't have any negative stories of your own to share doesn't mean you don't have an identity as a mixed race person. It just means you're lucky. You don't have to feel bad about growing up lucky.

Tilly28 Sat 13-Jun-20 15:32:46

I’m white and my dh is mixed race (Filipino and white British), his mum is Filipino and dad white British. Our children are mixed race. One of them looks Filipino and the other two look white British. We always wonder how they will feel about that as they grow up but I will always make sure they understand they are all mixed race.

iwilltaketwoplease Sat 13-Jun-20 15:33:12

@PeaceCheese definitely makes sense to identify as mixed especially with regards to health.

The health visitor for my first son asked me about the "bruises" on my son, I then had to explain he was born with them (Mongolian blue spots) and I had to explain although I'm white their dad is mixed so they are mixed too hence why he's got them. So although my boys are lighter it doesn't mean they aren't mixed.

Xenia Sat 13-Jun-20 15:37:56

It is certainly a matter of fact although how far back do you go and what % do you need?
I know the US has grappled with this and has students very keen to find the one eight native American because it might help them get a college place. They probably have rules there as to have % you need to be to get the credit/preference.

NotEverythingIsBlackandWhite Sat 13-Jun-20 15:39:27

I would be interested to know how a former neighbour's children would identify themselves. The mother is white with blonde hair, father is Indian with black hair. They have 2 children, one is a replica of their mother, the other of their father. Most people would assume they have different fathers.
Do we describe ourselves by how we look or by our race?

NotEverythingIsBlackandWhite Sat 13-Jun-20 15:43:21

Do we describe ourselves by how we look or by our race?
I think I've worded that awkwardly. I am wondering because I think people would be very confused if the blonde child described themselves as mixed race as they are much paler than many white people.

skylarkdescending Sat 13-Jun-20 15:46:00

@theendoftheworldasweknowit thank you. I have actually cried reading what you wrote. I feel relieved. I have been grappling with this for quite a few years now. But It's fact. I'm not appropriating something that isn't mine.

It does feel lonely sometimes as pp said, I can't completely relate to my siblings as I'm seen as different my many people. I remember feeling pushed out as a teen at family get togethers (even though my relatives are all mixed) and not knowing how to handle that.

OP’s posts: |

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