What Being of Mixed Heritage Has Taught Me About Identity

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2016-12-11 18:59Z by Steven

What Being of Mixed Heritage Has Taught Me About Identity


Salma Haidrani

This article originally appeared on VICE UK

“What are you?” When you think about it, it’s a pretty stupid question to ask another person, especially when you already know the answer: a human, just like you mate. But that doesn’t stop people directing it at people like me, who are of dual ethnic heritage or “mixed-race.” If your parents are of distinctly different ethnic groups, you feel like you have to “pick a side”—and the inevitable questions vary from ones shouted in a crowded pub to those staring up in black-and-white next to a checkbox on a form.

We’re so far down the road of thinking about race as a biological reality that we’ve forgotten it’s a construct. There are no links between how much melanin someone has in their skin and their culture. There are no links between melanin and intellect, physical abilities or creative skills. Proximity and language have tended to have more to do with what makes people of the same ethnic group seem similar—the colour of their skin doesn’t determine that.

For that reason, it’s silly to think that the experiences of the 1.2 million people in the UK who identify as “mixed” would be identical. Some are happy to define themselves in that way, while last year the British Sociological Association deemed deemed the term mixed-race as “misleading since it implies that a ‘pure race’ exists”…

Read the entire article here.

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