& mixing

New perspectives on mixed-race Britons

A CRE eConference · 4-6 September 2007

Forum: Day 1, Equality
Posted on: 04/09/2007 07:33:00
Posted by: Wildcard User2
Today is all about race equality. Does inequality take specific forms for those who are from mixed backgrounds? Is this the same across all mixed groups? Hamish (Mixedness & Mixing Team)

Posted on: 04/09/2007 15:16:00
Posted by: Lenny St Jean
My dad is from Dominica and my mother is white British. Whilst growing up I had an afro – it was clear that (at least part of) my heritage was Black Caribbean. The discrimination that I encountered reflected this. I started loosing my hair at 17 – I was in denial for a while with what can only be described as a 'fro-over', but by 20 I had shaved my head. Without an Afro, people who didn't already know me would assume that I was Indian/Pakistani (including people who would identify themselves as Indian/Pakistani) My experience of racism thus changed. In recent years I would say that I have experienced Islamaphobia (as a result of some people's ignorance that all Indian/Pakistani people are Muslim). This is all a result of how I appear to others. The experience of inequality and racism is different for us all. Different racial groups experience racism in very different ways. It stands to reason then, that people with different mixed heritages will experience racism and discrimination in different ways. Again this rarely has any relevance to how we see ourself or the reality of our heritage, but how others, superficially interpret our appearance. This becomes more complex as others have mentioned in different threads, when we consider class, religion, location, gender, sexuality etc.

The opportunity provided by this conference to hear other people's lived realities, is crucial if we are to figure ways to eliminate such inequalities. I am learning so much from reading both how people experience racial discrimination and also how loved ones and allies have supported them.
Lenny St Jean

Posted on: 04/09/2007 17:56:00
Posted by: Eve Ahmed
Inequality takes a specific form for mixed people because they are often the only one of 'them' in their school, or workplace, or home town. The world (outside of our big multicultural cities) is still not used to mixed people, and we have to deal with their suspicion to this different person in their midst, whose ethnicity they can't quite place, and we do get treated unequally (though this may be at an unspoken level and amount to staring and intrusive questioning). I've heard of mixed kids getting picked on, because they are the only one of them, and are thus perceived to be powerless. And as there are still not many of us, outside of the big multiculti cities, we will uslally have no community to fall back on, to share those experiences with, which is why it is really important that mixed people (of whatever diverse mixes they have) determine to form a sort of group, or consciousness, or community - if only online, though I think there is nothing as good as meeting face to face. Our mixedness is not the most important thing about us, arguably, but after gender, ethnicity is the next thing we notice humans register about one another, probably followed by a guess at social class. It's important for mixed people to state that that is what they are. We should be sick and tired of being invisible for so long.

Posted on: 04/09/2007 22:55:00
Posted by: Hamish Macpherson
So it seems that the inequalities experienced by people who are mixed-race might be understood in relation to a couple of things: a) A person's physical appearance. Various contributors have talked about being taken as Mediteranian, Black or 'not-Asian' for example all of which might hold different values in different contexts. This 'ethnic ambiguity' adds an particular inconsistency of experience

b) The traditional (until recently?) absence of people who have had similar experiences - the sort of commonality we need generally in life to keeps us sane and help us navigate through our experiences.

Posted on: 04/09/2007 22:57:00
Posted by: Hamish Macpherson
Are there inequalities that stem from aspects of the mixed experience other than identiy and racism? Mark Johnson's paper raises some intersting and very real issues in relation to health.