This is my second TAG on my blog and I thought it would be interesting to do this on being mixed race, as my previous blog post about my mixed-race identity sparked a lot of interest and comments!
I hope you enjoy!
What are you mixed with?
I am mixed black and white-Kenyan and English.
What ethnicity are you often mistaken for?
Some people have told me I look more Mediterranean than mixed black/white.
Is your hair curly or straight?
3A/B curls all the way!
Was coming from different backgrounds challenging whilst growing up?
It was only challenging when I felt like I had to explain my background to others, as a means of ‘fitting in’.
Which background do you embrace the most?
I wholly embrace my Kenyan side as this was the side of my family that raised me and also where I spent my teenage years, so I embrace it more.
Have you ever been teased for being different?
This might be a long-winded answer so I’ll attempt to break it down as much as possible. I wasn’t ‘teased’ for being different, but I’ve found that through my teenage years as well as in my twenties I’ve experienced a lot of ignorant questions simply because those that have asked didn’t know any better-which isn’t a bad thing. When you are raised in a particular way you are either more open and understanding or a little more restricted with your understanding dependent on what you are taught.
Growing up I would be quite defensive in these kind of circumstances, whereas now I’ve taken it as my ‘duty’ to re-educate people with a lack of knowledge.
Overall, only twice have I experienced ‘teasing’ whilst in my twenties.
Have you ever been ashamed for being multiracial?
I wouldn’t say I was ashamed, however I remember when I was younger wanting to be darker, but that was because I’ve been surrounded by black women in my family and the majority of my friends, now and then, are black. I grew to really love and embrace who I was when I got out of that awkward, teenage phase.
Do you feel being mixed race has its benefits?
I’ve met some mixed race people, who aren’t exposed to the culture of one of their mixes and therefore don’t know a lot about their diversity. I’ve been raised in two different cultures and having lived both in the UK and Kenya I’d say that’s a really great benefit and overall it’s made me a lot more culturally aware and tolerant.
What makes being multiracial a beautiful thing?
I think being a part of diversity is a beautiful thing.
Any advice to some struggling with their multiracial identity?
The blunt and most obvious truth, is that the skin you are in is what you will live in for the remainder of your life. Therefore embrace it, love who you are and perhaps learn something about your identity that you didn’t know before to help make you feel proud of who you are and the cultures you come from. Avoid anyone who ‘teases’ you for being ‘different’ and surround yourself with other like-minded people, regardless of their race, and over time you’ll find that you become an advocate for celebrating the beauty of your diversity and sharing that with others.
As always, I’d like to end with a quote (by my favourite poet of all time!)…
“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength!”