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Mixed race family, considering moving out of London

(44 Posts)
MissM Thu 28-Feb-08 19:54:57

DH is Asian, I'm Jewish, our kids are obviously mixed race. We've lived in London for 8 years but have a chance to move out as my job is moving. The thing is, the place we most want to live is very white (there is a small Asian popoulation but it's not very visible). What are people's experiences of being not white outside London/big cities? No-one bats an eye here, but would we be an oddity elsewhere?

littlegreyrabbit Thu 28-Feb-08 20:02:37

Dh middle Eastern. I'm white. We moved out of London to a rural totally white area. Have had curiosity but no hostilty. Dh had to put up with a bit of paranoia at the time of the London bombings (people didn't sit near him on public transport) sad but apart from that nearly all reactions have been positive to us.

One down side - our dcs have lost a little of their 'multi-cultural' identity. In London they were proud and felt normal to be mixed race. Now they identify much more strongly with their English side and although still proud of their heritage they don't 'feel' it.

We are always asked for help on the school 'international food day' as one of the very few families anything other than WASP!

MrsMattie Thu 28-Feb-08 20:05:00

Will watch with interest. We've always said we'd never leave London for an area that wasn't mixed. Can't imagine my son being 'the only mixed kid in the village'....

PaulaYatesBiggestFan Thu 28-Feb-08 20:09:44

i think that would be very rare surely - i think most places are mixed racially to a greater or lesser degree nowadays?

littlegreyrabbit Thu 28-Feb-08 20:11:44

TBH though, although we are a small minority where we live I don't think there is anywhere left in the UK that isn't mixed to an extent.

littlegreyrabbit Thu 28-Feb-08 20:12:17

x post Paula!

MissM Thu 28-Feb-08 20:14:30

We're not going to a village, it's a small town. It's not just a colour thing either, it's diversity in general. In our area there are Turkish, Polish, Asian, black Caribbean, Chinese, Spanish, Greek... I want that to be 'normal' to my kids. On the other hand there are all the crap aspects of living in London that this other place doesn't have. Interested in what little grey rabbit says. To be honest, people in London reacted the same way after the bombings!

MrsMattie Thu 28-Feb-08 20:15:13

I don't know...very few places have the ethnic mix of big cities, where whatever you are you aren't strange because there is such of a mix of cultures. I think if you are used to that - to an inner London area, for example - it is very hard to get used to less of a mix. I would find it hard, and I'm white. I have grown up in a very mixed area and find predominantly white areas strange and foreign somehow. DH is black and grew up in a predominantly white area and is adamant that he wants his children to 'see themselves' in the people around them, as well as experience other cultures, and not just to have a sea of white faces looking back at them. I guess how you feel on the subject is very much connected to your own experiences...

MommaFeelgood Thu 28-Feb-08 20:16:07

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MommaFeelgood Thu 28-Feb-08 20:18:48

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OneHandedTypist Thu 28-Feb-08 20:19:24

Indian friend once referred to where I am (North Norfolk) as a 'brownie-free zone'. And it's sadly true!! But I think if it's rare enough it becomes a no-comment item, sometimes, people don't have enough experience to even have formed prejudices. There's one Asian teacher in DS school, hardly any non-white children, I'd love to have more.

pedilia Thu 28-Feb-08 20:21:51

We moved out of London to cambridge (where I was brought up) We live in a village North of the city that is predominantly white and have never had any problems.

We are mixed African/jamician/asian/fijian.

pedilia Thu 28-Feb-08 20:24:48

good post mattie! I was brought up in a predominantly white area and was adamant that my DC's should be surrounded by a mixture of races.
But when I considered the quality of life for them in London and how they would be preceived (especially DS's) particuarly by the education system in London, we decided to move out and I have no regrets

littlegreyrabbit Thu 28-Feb-08 20:27:45

Yes - agree with 1 hand. Strangely the least mixed areas can be the least prejudiced (at least for primary age children). Where I taught in London the children were very aware of who was Greek or Turkish, African or black British etc etc and it mattered to an extent.

Here the children are very very accepting of the pc line that we are all different and nobody judges on skin colour as there are not enough of each for cliques to be formed.

MissM Thu 28-Feb-08 20:30:15

Ironically it's DH who is more keen to move than I am. I'm also keen for my kids to 'see themselves' in the people around them, but having said that, how many people would they know were Jewish/Asian, and how would people know that they were without being told? They could probably pass as coming from anywhere in the Mediterranean (I get asked if I'm Italian or Spanish and my family are actually from Eatern Europe originally).

Something that has always bothered me is that I taught in a school in a very white part of Leeds (ie. multi-cultural city) and a girl in my class whose grandmother was black and parents were white/mixed-race used to get racist comments for looking 'tanned'.

MissM Thu 28-Feb-08 20:32:48

Just out of interest Momma, why are you glad you didn't move back to London? Was it quality of life? Do you feel that your kids are still proud of where they come from, despite what LGR says?

squimlet Thu 28-Feb-08 20:36:03

I am asian and dh is white and we live in a small village in a rural area where I am the only coloured person around. I love it. People know who I am and are terribly friendly and helpful.

MrsMattie Thu 28-Feb-08 20:41:49

To be honest, I'm definitely very biased, because I love London and can't imagine not living here (and DH is the same).

Nighbynight Thu 28-Feb-08 21:40:04

we were in plymouth, and attracted a lot of negative attention, I heard similar stories from a muslim family in cardiff (having "terrorist" shouted at them in the street, having their house egged etc).

squimlet Fri 29-Feb-08 07:14:28

onehandedtypist I am in northnorfolk too

lynniep Fri 29-Feb-08 08:36:44

Where I live (nr Huntingdon) is predominantly 'white' but there are many families who are either mixed or alternate race. I'm mixed (white-asian) but I don't think anyone even notices. To be honest, I don't think it would be about being an oddity really as times really have changed and I find most people, especially children, tend not to bat an eyelid about other races/cultures. TV helps a bit in that aspect (waaah, don't shoot me down!)
It will feel different and kind of alien to the kids though - and this is more to do with their own exposure to other races/cultures and probably getting used to a lack of diversity. I do feel the difference in the places I've lived, but they've all had their good points. I moved from Tooting which is mega-multicultural, up to Edinburgh, which is fairly white, to Sydney, again very diverse, over to here which really isn't (although there are a lot of Polish living here now, which means more interesting aisles in the supermarket grin )
Best of luck with your choices!

lynniep Fri 29-Feb-08 08:37:11

Where I live (nr Huntingdon) is predominantly 'white' but there are many families who are either mixed or alternate race. I'm mixed (white-asian) but I don't think anyone even notices. To be honest, I don't think it would be about being an oddity really as times really have changed and I find most people, especially children, tend not to bat an eyelid about other races/cultures. TV helps a bit in that aspect (waaah, don't shoot me down!)
It will feel different and kind of alien to the kids though - and this is more to do with their own exposure to other races/cultures and probably getting used to a lack of diversity. I do feel the difference in the places I've lived, but they've all had their good points. I moved from Tooting which is mega-multicultural, up to Edinburgh, which is fairly white, to Sydney, again very diverse, over to here which really isn't (although there are a lot of Polish living here now, which means more interesting aisles in the supermarket grin )
Best of luck with your choices!

MommaFeelgood Fri 29-Feb-08 14:12:45

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coastalmum Fri 29-Feb-08 14:27:07

my dd (9) loves being different. She's white/black caribean, in a prodominantly white school. There are a several asain and african children but no one with my dd cultural background. As I said she loves it.

I still believe moving from london to sussex was best move for the quality of life.

claireybee Fri 29-Feb-08 14:38:42

We live in a predomiantly white area (I'm white British, dh black African) and don't feel an oddity or as if people look at us any differently (dh too, not just me). BUT, we do feel sad that at toddler group our children mix only with white children and would love for them to have non-white friends, especially as dh often says he feels like the token black guy at social events-I don't want them to grow up feeling the same way.

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