|Articles, Autobiography, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United Kingdom on 2015-03-23 20:20Z by Steven|
Leo Jay Shire
The idea of ‘race’ has no fixed definition considering the term has no biological basis. Yet all of us from minority backgrounds know what it is to be racialised, to be lumped together into a group with others who share our physical attributes, for this to be conflated with our ethnicity – our shared culture, history and experience. What does this mean for those of us who are mixed-race? Could it be argued that the shared experience of being racialised as ‘mixed’ creates a ‘mixed-race’ ethnicity of sorts? Can this ‘mixed’ tag be sufficient when we have experiences specific to one part of our heritage?
Right now, mixed-race people are considered to be of the largest growing groups in the UK with over one million of us in England alone. From Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton to One Direction’s Zayn Malik, mixed-race people are some of the most visible minorities in the media. We are everywhere. Which is impressive considering that as a definable ethnic or racial group, mixed-race people don’t really exist. Of course, on the tick boxes of the census we do, but in the real world these categories fail to tally with our highly diverse experiences of racialisation…
…But the ‘mixed’ category doesn’t, of course, encapsulate many of our experiences that see us racialised as the same as one of our parents. In my case, my mother is a white Englishwoman, my father a black Zimbabwean. Yet my ‘whiteness’ and my ‘blackness’ are not traits I possess equally. Whenever I enter the world and go about my daily business I am nearly always read as a black woman first, a mixed-race woman occasionally, and a white woman never. The racism and micro-aggressions I face daily are all due to me being recognisably black. In the game of racial Top Trumps, my blackness always wins…
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