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Are my children mixed race?

(25 Posts)
Pennies Tue 28-Apr-09 19:24:04

My DH is half Asian (Indian) and I am white (think English rose colouring). Our DDs are therefore a quarter Indian. However, they look very pale indeed. DD1 has my hair, very pale skin and freckles, DD2 has slightly more olive skin but fairer hair than me. Both of them have DH's beautiful dark brown eyes though.

Whenever I fill in forms for them I always get stuck on the ethnicity bit and am not sure what to write. Looking at them it would be impossible to identify their racial heritage so does the mixed race thing apply?

If not, but they looked more Indian, would it apply then?

ramonaquimby Tue 28-Apr-09 19:28:59

I wonder about that too. My kids are half British half Cdn and I sometimes get stuck on the box that says 'White British'......coz they aren't technically, they are 'White other' but dh says I'm being awkward about it

muggglewump Tue 28-Apr-09 19:33:35

Do you know I've never even considered this when filling in forms. DD's father is Australian but he left when she was a baby. She was born here in Scotland and considers herself Scottish, even though I'm English!

callmeovercautious Tue 28-Apr-09 19:36:29

It is really what you consider yourself to be, and there is no requirement to fill in these forms at all.

My Dad ticks other and writes something obscure - like pink european, just to be annoying grin

Pennies Tue 28-Apr-09 19:39:53

So what is "mixed race" then?

My Dad is half Australian but considers himself White British, and he looks English (he has the ginger gene!). By that notion I am also a quarter Austrlian. So, like my children I am 1/4 something but I don't tick the White Other box ever. DH will tick Asian / British but doesn't really consider himself to be mixed race, and he looks Italian.

My friend is white, but very dark and her DH is also half Asian and their son is very dark - he looks darker than my DH. Is her son mixed race then? She thinks not but I think if he were mine I might well be ticking the Asian / British box.

What determines a classification of mixed race?

Pennies Tue 28-Apr-09 19:41:25

CMOC - LOL @ your dad. Good answer.

When I filled in their NHS forms I was told to put mixed race because of possible genetic links. So it's not really about my perception.

KatyMac Tue 28-Apr-09 19:42:16

Race ha very little to do with colour & much more to do with ethnicity

bigTillyMint Tue 28-Apr-09 19:42:55


It's not "mixed race" any more, it's "dual or multiple heritage" grin

Pennies Tue 28-Apr-09 19:52:14

So what's ethnicity then? Do my children have mixed / dual / multiple ethnicity?

Horton Tue 28-Apr-09 19:53:02

I am half Indian, by way of the Caribbean, and half white (mainly Irish) and my DH is white. My daughter is so far blonde and blue-eyed but yes, I do consider her to be of mixed heritage. Saying she was white would be denying part of how she came to be, in a way. Hopefully when she is older and tells people she's mixed race, they'll see what a stupid classification system it is.

MsMargotBeauregarde Tue 28-Apr-09 19:57:51

Well, I wondered this for the first time when faced with an NHS form too!!

I put white though, as I don't see myself making a point of telling my children they were mixed race (although I have said that Grandma is Black) I'm your typical Tipp-Ex shade of white, their father looked Greek more than mixed race.

My dd has straight brown hair (I don't even have that!) blue eyes and my son looks like any other Irish child. It is remarkable really. His paternal grandma even said "I look like I kidnapped this child" once when she was pushing him around in his buggy.

KatyMac Tue 28-Apr-09 20:03:12

It's genetics

There are some illnesses that you are more/less prone to depending upon your ethnicity

So statistically Caribbean women have more ectopic pregnancies - so if you are of Caribbean descent your GP/Dr should know

Lots of other conditions depend upon ethnicity

hobbgoblin Tue 28-Apr-09 20:07:41

I think it depends on the context of the form. Often they are for monitoring how services are accessed. So, in a town where 3 percent of the demographic were dual heritage with an anticipated high need for a provided service (e.g. childcare because 90 percent of families consisted of a primary carer who worked full time, say) but less than 0.5 percent of the dual heritage population in that town accessed the service then providers would need to reevaluate the provision.

Funny as it is, ticking Other and saying you are a pink european does not help minority groups become well provided for, especially if they are pink european wink!

So, my point is, whilst the forms are a PITA to fill out and sometimes feel like an infringement of privacy, they are worthwhile imo so I always feel them in in terms of how I view myself ethnically.

Pennies Tue 28-Apr-09 20:15:22

But surely then as Britain becomes more multi cultural we'll all be mixed race / ethnicity / heritage won't we?

Also, at what point do we say that there is no mix anymore because I have a mate who is White British as far as she knows but her and her siblings have some clear black characteristics (medical and physical) so at some point way back there must have been a mixed union. Does that make her mixed race?

MsMargotBeauregarde Tue 28-Apr-09 20:42:51

That throws some light on it actually hobbgoblin. Does the clinic need resources for sickle cell anaemia, Cystic Fibrosis.... ???

KatyMac Tue 28-Apr-09 21:39:12

The problem about the increased diversity is already a problem in some parts of the states where visually black (or white) people are not routinely tested for conditions prevalent in the 'other' race

They have started testing everyone for everything even tho' it costs so much as people don't have access to their genetic history

As the genome is mapped more effectively this won't be an issue as people will 'know' their DNA/chromosomes

pinkmagic1 Tue 28-Apr-09 21:44:52

I wouldn't worry too much about forms. Maybe important at the doctors as like some people have said there are some illnesses that effect certain ethnic groups more than others but otherwise I think its frankly none of their business and don't always tick the box. For things such as job application forms I think its terrible to ask someones race. Everyone should be judged on personal merit, not by the colour of their skin just to meet equal opportunities quotas. I am speaking as someone with mixed race children in mixed race relationship.

tryingherbest Wed 29-Jul-09 19:12:20

I'm half english and asian and although my dh is european i consider ds to be mixed race.

Interesting post about flling in nhs forms - a good point actually - as my ds looks positively nordic do tick the asian british thing for him and it ensured that he got a tb jab which most children in my borough dont get.

It's also highlighted a few medical possiblities for me so I've always put myself down as british and asian mix rather than the way I look (middle eastern) as it's got doctors to take a closer look at some of my health issues.

Do you what think. Your little one will decide what they want to put when they can tick boxes,

lynniep Wed 29-Jul-09 19:23:51

yeah I always wonder about this. I mean how far do you 'drill down' (I mean pretty much everyone is mixed race really - we've all got a bit of this and that I'm sure!)

I'm 'officially' mixed race, because my dad is English, my mum is Thai. (I had to state this on the pregnancy form to get extra tests done from my bloods)

So DS is 1/4 Thai, and 3/4 English. I actually think thats sufficient concentration to just be English!

But then DS is blond and blue eyed - doesnt look asian in the slightest - perhaps if he did I'd feel like I'd need to put mixed on the forms. Plus I'm proud of his heritage - I like the fact he's a little bit out of the ordinary and it tickles me that my son could have such different colouring from me.

lal123 Wed 29-Jul-09 19:29:57

re NHS forms - actually NHS services don't tend to do very much with the ethnicity forms. e.g. in our trust most services collect the info but then the central IT systme apparently doesn't have an ethnicity field in it - so we don't do anything with it re monitoring access. Re genetic conditions - well they don't have to have your ethnicity recorded to take it into account when clinically assessing you and although there are some diseases htat are more prevalent in some ethnicities the similarities are more important

cookielove Wed 29-Jul-09 19:38:08

i am half american, and half british, i have duel nationalities, and passports for both but always tick white british on all forms.

carikube8 Tue 08-Sep-09 13:14:22

Ok this is an old thread but I was going to post the question myself - DH is half Caribbean Asian, half English. My booking appt with MW for DD was a nightmare as they said they didn't have a box for that and made me phone DH to ask if he wanted to be called Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi as they didn't understand that there could be Asians from the Caribbean.

HV has listed DD as White British in her red book which we're not happy about esp as DH is a thalassaemia carrier which could obviously get passed on to any future DC (we don't think DD is a carrier but I am pg with DC2 who could be).

However when she's older, I don't know how DD will want to characterise herself - maybe she'll think it's silly to call herself anything other than white british....

ruddynorah Tue 08-Sep-09 13:25:33

it does depend on the relevance of the form. if it's not very relevant then i tick mixed other for dd, same as i do for me. i'm half north african, half white english. dh is white english (though with a french great grandma that he and his family choose to pretend never existed!). so dd is basically white with a quarter north african, berber to be precise. therefore, 'mixed other' (especially if you include the white european great great grandma grin).

Forgotherbookbag Wed 23-Sep-09 13:32:25

Really interesting to read all your experiences here. My daughter is half white British and half Spanish, and I always wonder whether to tick White British or mixed race. I don't know of any genetic conditions which are prevalent with Spanish people - does anyone else.

Anyway, having read all these comments it has got me thinking that mixed race is really more relevant, and recognises her family background.

mixedmamameansbusiness Tue 03-Nov-09 15:46:14

I enjoy putting mixed on ethnicity forms for myself. People like to tell me what I should put as my dad is from Turkey, so kind of Europe so they say White European but I prefer to tick Other - Mixed since often there is a separate Turkish box anyway.

My children are always Other - Mixed since DH is from Bangladesh.

I enjoy people trying to figure it all out to be honest and look forward to the day when DC marry other mixed heritage people and are Other - Mixed forever.

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