“I think certain preconceptions of being mixed race have made me feel a little isolated. Especially when it comes to my hair. I love to experiment and I remember when I was about 14-15 I got ‘pick and drop’ a braided hair style. I remember another black girl my age commenting, questioning why I was having that hairstyle and again claiming that mixed race girls are confused. I’ve never felt so uncomfortable in my life and was even more confused as a lot of the other black girls were European weaves, I remember thinking, why is it ok for them and not me? Because my skin tone is so fair its as if I wasn’t ‘black enough’ to rock that hairstyle.
My complexion was always an issue for people in school. Constant questions about where U was from and if I was really mixed race. I will never forget some people still didn’t believe I was mixed even when my dad came to parents evening.
I literally used to wear fake tan every day to try and the colour I was ‘supposed’ to. Which is actually sad when I think back to it.
When I was in primary school my cousin on my fathers side asked if I pretended I was white at school. That left me a little confused and made me question ‘is that what I should be doing?’ I also remember feeling a little too yellow for my mums side and a little too light for my dads side. I stuck out like a sore thumb in family photos and I think that was hard for me to get my head around growing up, learning and accepting that I was different.
The main thing I struggled with growing up was the idea that one side of my ancestors enslaved the other and I questioned my right to be angry and if my opinion was still valid for a mixed race girl ‘privileged’ with lighter skin. The moment I got called a ‘nig nog’ I knew I had every right to be angry. You don’t have to be of black heritage to be angry about racism or slavery.
I was confused at being called ‘half-caste’ as I had never thought of myself as half of anything. I found it was society’s perception of me that made me question what box I fit into and other’s comments that made me feel like I was neither here nor there. But growing up I’ve realised I don’t have to choose. I’m not half of anything. I am two wholes and I love both wholeheartedly. I feel when you’re mixed, there’s this box you have to stay in and if you come out you’re deemed confused.”