A CRE eConference · 4-6 September 2007
|Mixed Race Britain - Through My Eyes (Rory Campbell, twenty-three years old with a keen interest in black history)|
|06 August 2007|
Mixed Race Britain - Through My Eyes
Posted on: Monday 6 August 2007
I am Rory Campbell. My mother is white and my father is black. I don't remember ever meeting my father and have been raised by my mother my whole life. I don't feel I have ever had a positive black role model but my mum always tried to make me aware of my black history and I feel that this helped me to form the belief that all people are equal and anyone who thinks otherwise is just wrong.
A lot of my friends are also mixed race and I wonder how they see themselves as regard to their racial identity. Do they see themselves as members of both black and white communities or do they feel part of one more than the other?
As a twenty-one year old living in Oxford I have a wide range of cultures in my peer group and I notice that, once out of school, friendship groups seem to mirror the ethnic groups of their members, for example, African Caribbean boys will tend to associate with each other. However, I have noticed an exception to this rule with mixed race young people. It is not unusual to see a single mixed race girl with a group of white girls or a mixed race boy with a group of Asian lads. Why is this? And does it mean that mixed race people don't feel that they are part of any racial group?
I for one see myself as a black man and I think that the majority of my mixed race friends share this belief but it is not true. I am a mixed race man, I am not just black any more than I am just white, so why this denial of my white heritage? Many mixed race kids born in Britain claim the country of their black parent's origin. In this denial of Britishness they also effectively deny their white heritage. I think this is because mixed race people are easily perceived as being black by others based only on appearance. In the past there has been tension between black people and British nationalists such as the National Front, BNP etc and I believe this is why some black people will try and distance themselves from white people. This behaviour is echoed by other ethnic groups, most notably some Asian families keep traditions from their homeland and in a way refuse that they are even in Britain. So is it true of mixed race people? Does disowning their British heritage mean that they embrace their black culture and history?
The fact is black history is not taught in most schools (I remember learning more about American history than my own black ancestors). Therefore, Hip-Hop and R&B are the closest the majority of young people get to black culture. Even this has only really become acceptable as Hip-Hop culture has been absorbed into white culture. I don't believe that this is truly black culture with so many white kids emulating what they see on MTV and the like. But it is also not white culture as the main icons of this culture are largely black. So is this a new mixed race culture?
All ethnic groups have started to merge their cultures on this small island. Admittedly some more than others, and the number of mixed race children born in the UK proves this point as the number has been steadily increasing over the years. Inevitably the influence of mixed race members of society will also grow. This can surely only be a good thing as mixed race people (whatever the mix) are more likely to see the perspective of both their ethnicities. I believe that if this trend continues Britain will become a more diverse and equal society which has got to be good. Soon we will not be discussing the differences between the 'races' but the similarities that we share and realise that when it comes down to it we are all human, just different shades.
You can read Rory's mother Sue's paper here
About the author
Rory Campbell is twenty-three years old with a keen interest in black history. He believes that this should be taught in schools, helping to eliminate racist attitudes, so that children learn that it’s not just white Europeans who invented and discovered everything.