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Mixed race question

53 replies

QueenPaws · 07/09/2020 19:48

Apologies if I phrase this wrong!
So there are people who are distinct percentages if that makes sense so 25%, 50% etc etc
What classes as mixed race or white? So 1/8, 1/16...
I've been watching some genetic reveal videos on YouTube, the ancestry type things and I'm curious. Google isn't helping much

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LittleMissEngineer · 07/09/2020 20:31

DH subscribes to “the colour drop theory”: so you only need a tiny bit....

In reality, depends what an individual wants, what they inherit and how they are brought up.

Friend’s children are a quarter Asian and gorgeous / exotic looking and would expect their children to still look gorgeous and a bit exotic. They are aware of their heritage.

DS is half Asian and always bring him up to be proud of his heritage and Asian characteristics: I hope that he does the same for his children.

I am not sure if it is true yet, but it was predicted that “mixed race” would become the largest ethnicity - after white - in the UK very soon. I love living in a diverse, interesting and individual society.

QueenPaws · 07/09/2020 20:38

Thanks, that makes sense. Basically one side of my family is very dark colouring and I've been doing the family tree after watching ancestry/genetic YouTube videos. Turns out it wasn't quite as "white british" as I first thought Grin
My mum (dark colouring) didn't know much about her side and it turns out her great grandad was black and born in the Caribbean. It also seems he was a slave as that's where the surname started and I can't get any further back
That's what got me wondering

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JoJoSM2 · 07/09/2020 20:45

I think it’s also to do with how you identify rather than a fixed fraction.

QueenPaws · 07/09/2020 20:47

Oh definitely, we started talking about it as a family and then the question was well what if you never knew that your parent was say black or Asian, you wouldn't identify as that and would your genetics override it.. rabbit hole we went down!

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OverTheRainbow88 · 07/09/2020 20:49

My children are dual heritage and identify themselves as black.

MrsSchadenfreude · 07/09/2020 20:54

A distant cousin of mine looked very mixed race - dark skin, Afro hair. Her Dad tanned easily and looked Mediterranean, but no indication of any mixed race heritage. They researched their family tree and discovered that her Dad’s great grandmother was Jamaican.

CormoranStrike · 07/09/2020 20:54


My children are dual heritage and identify themselves as black.

Interesting - I am (as far as I know) white British, probably Irish, so have never had to ponder this.

If someone has dual heritage, like your kids, why do they identify as black and not white? I hope this does not come across as goady or intentionally ignorant, I’m fascinated a) why they have to choose and b) why they chose what they chose.
jolokoy · 07/09/2020 21:02

I have a few non white ancestors but look white entirely and have a COMPLETELY white cultural context and experience in the world. So I'm white. In the country that family are from I would have been white, as well, by which I mean at that time they would have been able to vote and hold property under the white rules not the brown rules, though other members of the same family would not. (So I'm saying these categories are not scientific but political.)

My BFF looks black and her experience in the world is that of a black British woman. So she's black, though her mum is white.

My colleague looks white and has a single black grandparent in an otherwise white family. It's less clear to her.

There was a (10 - 20 thousand) population of black people in the 1790s in London who disappeared into the white population so you have to assume a ton of native Londoners have some black ancestry. A smaller group in Liverpool and other port cities (black men served in the Navy) will also presumably appear in DNA profiles.

QueenPaws · 07/09/2020 21:04

@MrsSchadenfreude pretty much exactly what we found. My uncle has Afro hair and keeps it cut short so I had never seen it longer until I found some old photos. If I look at him now, it makes complete sense but I didn't see it before

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OverTheRainbow88 · 07/09/2020 21:05

Not ignorant at all, a really interesting question, which I’ve been reading up on as well. I actually read a really interesting article about why Obama is always referred to as America’s first black president when his mum was white, I’ll try and find it.

OrangeCinnamon1 · 07/09/2020 21:06

You can also identify as mixed race.

Boulshired · 07/09/2020 21:16

You can have a mixed race heritage but your lived experience will always be different if you are recognisable by a race especially if that race is generally discriminated against. If a person is discriminated for having a black parent it understandable that they will feel more connection with other black people for the shared experience.

midnightstar66 · 07/09/2020 21:21

My grandad is mixed race (1/4 black African) my mum would never describe herself as mixed race and certainly does not look it. I don't think at 1/8 you would. Her hair is straight. I am blonde with straight hair however one of my dd's has a close to Afro curl pattern as does my d nephew and one niece both from my brother. It's interesting how this feature has skipped a couple of generations then come out so strongly.

RubyFakeLips · 07/09/2020 21:24

We are same as OverTheRainbow, my DC are mixed race but would identity themselves as black.

I think this is because they feel this is how the world perceives them, e.g when my DS has been stopped and searched, again, the police don’t care he has a white mother.

I would say ethnicity for most people is about self identification based on their life’s experience. I am Jewish and would class myself as white but based on my heritage and appearance I could probably be classed as Arab or Middle Eastern.

MerylBleep · 07/09/2020 21:25

I know a woman who is a quarter Indian. You would never know. Whilst her mum and her brother have the colouring of their father/grandfather, she's pale skinned with blue eyes and light brown hair.

QueenPaws · 07/09/2020 21:34

@midnightstar66 definitely
I would say (so mums great grandad is black)
Uncle and cousins on that side both have Afro hair patterns and wear their hair cropped very short
Mums dad wasn't very dark colouring at all whereas my uncle and mum are

It turns out from what I have found that he came from Barbados to Dundee (unsure how/when) and married a woman in Dundee and then moved to Cumbria

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BlackAmericanoNoSugar · 07/09/2020 21:39

I read an article by a female journalist in America who said that a person is identified (by American society in general) as the least powerful race if he/she is mixed race. Because her ancestry was a mix of black slaves and white slave owners from generations back she was much more than 50% white, probably close to 70% white, but had always been treated and identified as a black woman.

I'm not sure elsewhere, I think it has a lot to do with what you look like but places like the UK are a) less likely to seek a hard racial definition of people, probably because there are mixes of mixes of mixes and b) more likely to just accept what people identify themselves as regardless of what race they look like.

skylarkdescending · 07/09/2020 21:49

It's a really interesting subject to me OP.

I look white and most people I meet are surprised to find that im actually 1/4 Caribbean. My grandad was born there, moved to England and married my white British nana.

I identify as mixed race if I am asked but most of the time people simply assume I am white British (wavy brown hair, hazel eyes, skin that tans easily but is paler in winter).

My sister also identifies as mixed race and people assume she is Italian/Middle Eastern as she has olive skin and straight dark hair.

I think my children will be seen as white even though they will have 1/8 Caribbean ancestry.

Camomila · 07/09/2020 21:52

I think language might also play a part in how someone identifies...DSs are Italian/Filipino. I'm trying to teach the DC Italian (my mother tongue) but DH can't teach them Tagalog as he only knows a handful of words.

QueenPaws · 07/09/2020 21:55

Will NC after this!
This is my uncle who is of identical colouring to my mum and cousins, b&w pic but you get the gist. It appears the relative from Barbados picked his own surname which is why I can't go further back

Mixed race question
OP posts:
EBathory · 07/09/2020 22:09

When it's not visually obvious it's more about upbringing in my opinion.
I'm part gypsy so no obvious visual indicators, but going on my ancestry I'm equal part welsh.
However I lived my first 12 years living on a gypsy settled site in England witch is the rest of my heritage.
I identify as gypsy as that is how I was cast as a child

doadeer · 07/09/2020 22:14

DH has a mixed race mum and black dad he identifies as black. All mixed race people I know identify as black as this is how they are perceived by the world.

My son is very light skinned mixed race, I'm curious to see what his relationship with his ethnicity and identity will be. It will be very different to both me and his dad.

im5050 · 07/09/2020 22:24

I think it’s difficult sometimes
If your mixed race. ( say black /white ) most of the time people won’t ever think you’re white even if you identify more with your white heritage it’s how your seen by people around you . So your skin colour hair features

Although the singer Maria Carey her father is I believe Venezuelan and black and her mother is white
But a book I read about her she mentioned that she identified as black despite as a child being able to pass as white and when her career started off people were surprised that she was mixed race and just assumed she was white .

olderthanyouthink · 07/09/2020 22:41

I'm mixed race by ethnicity and black by society I guess Confused half black and half white, both parents are British by birth and my upbringing make me "not black enough" to some people

DD (3/4 white, 1/4 black) looks Mediterranean I think, tan/olive skin, weird coloured eyes (not blue, not fully green or hazel, not brown) loosely curly hair and she's still a baby so not sure how her features will end up but I assume she'll be seen as mixed race and white if not "foreign"

I have a great (several times) grand father who was white and French on the black side of my family who was washed out pretty quickly, I think his kids and maybe grand kids were just a bit lighter but in a small country where some of the population was very dark (African slaves) and some were lighter (indigenous Caribs) I don't know they stood out that much and being light is/was desired

ItsAlwaysSunnyOnMN · 07/09/2020 22:55

I identify as duel heritage

I’m half South Asian

But I also would say I am classed as white and I certainly don’t suffer from racism but was othered as a child (I looked exotic 🙄) . As with most half South Asians I know I look Turkish Iranian or Spanish/Latino (when in the US) I don’t look Asian but I will nearly always be asked particularly by non white English

It’s important to me that people do know my heritage and that unfortunately comes down to self protection. Racism was so prevalent when I was growing up but when people knew they tended to keep their mouths shut if they didn’t and I would say something along the lines (never confrontational) oh that could be my dad/nanny/aunt/cousin I would always get the same fucking reply no not like your family. But they did mean my family they are Asian they wear sari’s they speak with an accent and head wobble, they eat curry most days, they would have referred to the as the P word

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