I have been seeing a lot of focus at the moment on persons who are of mixed race. Since Mixed race persons have been included in statistics and we have now been given a little box to tick on our equal opportunity form. We have now become a Britain newest fastly growing minority.
I feel a little mixed up about the way I feel on this subject. The word minority describes me as being different to the majority, mixed race persons only making up three percent of the population of the UK.
The truth is that their has always been a high number of persons who are of duel heritage As far back to when the british empire was trading with India and involved in the african slave trade. but it seems to me we have been dismissed by society and denied a national identity because we have not been recognised by British society as being British. It is a simple factor that through government statistics on equal opportunity the numbers of mixed race persons has only recently started being recognised.
when I was at school and we had a visit by the career’s advisor, this being the first time I had to consider what box I had to tick, left me and both the career advisor baffled as to what racial group I should join, White British, Irish, Black, Asian, Chinese or other. I didn’t and will never consider myself white, not because i do not accept my British Anglo saxon heritage but simply because as a whole white british society does not identify me as being white. In regards to me identifying myself as Pakistani, I identify with my Pakistani heritage but i don’t identify myself as being Pakistani because culturally I am English.
During the last ten years my choice of ethnic origin has widened, from other to mixed race and now the additional boxes mixed afro Caribbean/white and mixed asian/white. I was originally happy to the addition of mixed race, as it saved me some time having to tick the box other and then completing the section below describing my racial make up. Then with the addition of Asian/White left me feeling marginalised again.
You may wonder why I feel this way about equal opportunity forms, so I will explain.
Firstly, when you apply for a job filling out a form to state my ethnic background, if I am married, Gay or have a disability on a piece of paper does not really protect me from discrimination, but only gives a person something to review than discriminate against you. before you completed the form they did not know your parents originated from Iraq , you are Jewish, lesbian or have a learning disability. If I felt I was being discriminated against at work because I was Muslim, black or Asian I wouldn’t need a form I signed to prove the fact I am, so why am I filling it out?
Secondly, I would like to give some definitions of the word ETHNIC;
- Being a member of a particular ethnic group, especially belonging to a national group by heritage or culture but residing outside its national boundaries
- Relating to a people not Christian or Jewish.
This is just two definitions, but for me the word defines a person who is not white, the others, the ethnic minority.
Lastly, if you are constantly asked all your life by people where are you from, was you born here, are you able to work in the uk, do you have a British passport. You start to feel a bit hostile to having to reevaluate your social identity every time you complete a form.
It really does make you feel a member of our cultural group who resides outside its national boundaries.
Mixed race children over the past 65 years have been greatly discriminated against by society. Seen as a product of a taboo relationship, something shameful, the word half -caste is a true reflection on how persons whom have a duel heritage was perceived by society, and still are by some persons. The term or word caste in english comes from the latin word meaning pure, half-caste being half pure. Even the term mixed race for me seems not to be a good marriage of words. I do not feel i am mixed, how can a human be mixed, mixed with what? Even the word race has prejudice undertones when you look at the definition of the word. If a person has a irish/russian father and a Scottish/French mother technically they are mixed race but society does not see them as being so because both of their parents are white and they are not an ethnic minority. If a person has a west indian father and a white english mother they are then are perceived to be mixed race because one of their parents are of a minority and there for that person becomes ethnic, mixed race.
British plantation owners in the colonies and Britain considered their mixed race children saves and servants, even after slavery was abolished in the 1800’s their mixed race offspring was never considered members of the family.
During British rule of India, mixed race children of British soldiers was not considered British subjects and was categorised and treated as natives of India.
During world war one and two Mixed race persons was not able to be commissioned as an officer in the british army.
In 1944 when American soldiers was stations in britain mixed race children started to emerge as a result of African-American GI’s relationships with British women. As a result thousands of mixed race children was given up by their mothers and shipped off to the US.
In Australia up and to the 1970’s children who was mixed race, both Anglo and aboriginal was removed from their aboriginal family and placed into boarding schools provided with inadequate food health and social care.
Mixed race person in some church organisations in the uk was not permitted to hold the positions as their white counter parts. As with the LDS church up and untill 1978 Black men was not allowed to hold the priesthood , enter their temples or take part in certain religious ceremony’s.
This is a very tiny insight to how Britain and the west has looked towards Mixed race persons, you only have to think back to TV from the 60’s to the early nineties to realize how mixed race persons was perceived and treated by society and portrayed y on television, almost treated as a underclass.
Now the attention is on mixed race persons being genetically advantaged, as there is many athletes and sports persons whom are of duel heritage. Notions have arisen such as mixed race persons are more beautiful. Scientists are now referring to terms in relation to mixed race persons such as hybrid vigour and F1 generation.
Were it is important to realize that fascist beliefs (Hitler and the Nazi’s) in a pure and superior race is wrong and children who are conceived as a result of a relationship with a person outside their racial group, will be genetically better off , this being due to natural selection. This is a simple factor that like animals, if you have a small gene pool it is more likely that you will inherit faulty genes. so yes a mixed race person is likely to be more physically fitter healthier and more likely to be more immune to some illnesses diseases etc.
It is not rocket science it is a factor that biologist have realized for a long time you only have to look at plants and animals. I feel dogs are a good example, when you look at different breeds that have adapted either for tasks or environment. The Alaskan malumute for example is very prone to heart defects and some die young, by breeding Siberian husky into the breed it will improve the gene pool, producing healthier off spring.
I was a big fan of Stan Lee’s X men comic growing up and for me it truly reflected on me how I felt being of duel heritage, in some way mixed race persons was the generation X. But I want to emphasize that despite the attention on mixed race persons, we are not X-men, mutants or super humans, neither are we superior to other racial groups it is simply that some of us have had a better chance of inheriting a more varied gene pool with attributes from both racial groups.
Mixed race persons have had to fight discrimination and acceptance on all sides, most of us do not consider ourself one thing or the other, and it is due to this most of us tend to have work twice as hard to succeed in comparison to persons who are racially considered the norm.