Scottish/Jamaican | Turkish Cypriot “I identify as a British, mixed-race, Gay Londoner. My mum’s mother is Scottish, Glaswegian. My mum’s father is Jamaican, and I’m quite close with my Jamaican relatives. Although some of them don’t know I’m Gay. My dad’s family are all Turkish Cypriot. My grandad was a solider for the Allied forces and then a chef, and my grandmother was a seamstress.
I grew up in what I know now to be a really diverse community. The up and down fortunes in my parents’ lives meant I was exposed to a mix of traditional working class and middle-class experiences.
I knew I was of mixed ethnicity quite early, maybe 6/7. I think there were obvious differences I was able to recognise. In my Jamaican family, my mum, my auntie, my uncle and I were light skinned, and the rest of my family, including my grandad, were Black; but then in my Turkish family, I was considered Black. So, I think that sort of contrary experience pushed me to figure out I was a mix of things. I think at some point into secondary school, I realised that I was also part Scottish.
There are still bias attitudes without a doubt! I think it ranges from confusion to full out racism. There have been so many times when people have said to me ‘oh, you’re not Scottish’ or, ‘you’re not a proper Turk/Jamaican’ and they diminish aspects of your ethnic make-up or question your right to claim an ethnicity as your own, and normally reveal their own bias perspectives on race.
Actually, I think stereotypes are most highlighted when people qualify and distinguish between authentic and inauthentic representations of race, based on their misguided perceptions. Not only is it incredibly frustrating when people do this, I think it is also logically inconsistent.
Also, sometimes I get the sense that some people think of mixed-race people as incomplete versions of their constituent ethnicities, and equate this notion of incompleteness, with inability. From this, I think that mixed-race people, especially those with Afro or Caribbean heritage, have to work quite hard to counteract bias attitudes and stereotypes.”#mixedracefaces