Blackening racism: Many mixed-race families exist well and happily

Share
Related Topics
White is one of many things I am. Black is one of many things my baby's father is. Normally I don't spend much time thinking about it, but there have been articles in the press recently that have made me think.

A couple of weeks ago a sad woman told her tale in the Sunday Times of how her relationship with her black boyfriend of four years had

broken up. She said he refused to meet her

family; he told her from the beginning that they would never marry or have children; that he couldn't show affection to her, his 'oppressor'. She filled out her story with quotes from the extremist US black separatist Louis Farrakhan and concluded that 'until racism no longer exists. . .mixed relationships don't work'. My dear - black and white nothing, you were with the wrong man.

Then the Guardian ran a piece about the 'new apartheid - black racism, a big issue in the United States, is increasing over here. 'Why black men are leaving white women', said the puff. It quoted a British black separatist,

Brother Mohammed Sulaiyman, talking about black men who go with white women only to get their own back on society, and a white woman who goes out only with black men, saying she likes them because their skin is so beautiful to touch, 'like velvet'. (Good foundations for

relationships or what?)

The article quoted black people saying only a worthless white woman would go with a black man and that white girls are 'stealing all the black men, many want them only as status

symbols anyway. They talked about black men's confusion at facing white racism all day and then going home to a white woman, and about mixed couples being shouted at in the streets of

Harlesden.

Then the Independent on Sunday ran a column from Zoe Heller in New York about the comments she and a black male friend heard as they walked about the city - and they were not friendly comments.

I went into a decline for a while after reading all this. Is it a media bandwagon? Is it just more anti-black racism? No, I know that black racism exists. I know that it is - and I use this word carefully - understandable. It is complicated and delicate ground. But when personal inadequacies and problems are extended into general statements about the state of the world, it cannot be left unanswered. Or if the personal can be presented as the general, can I at least add my view?

I have been the mother of a mixed-race child for a year and a half, living in a similarly mixed area of London, and I have never once felt one iota of prejudice from black people around me. Not from her father's family, not from his friends, not from black friends of mine, not from the neighbours or the people in the street. Not in Shepherd's Bush, not in Harlesden. People do not yell 'Jungle Fever] at us in the street; they say 'Good morning. How's the baby?'

Am I blind and deaf? I don't believe so. Am I lucky? Maybe. More likely, I believe, is that most people, if not the most vociferous people, black as well as white, think that one's personal life is their own business. If a black person who did not know us were to suggest I had stolen my child's father from his people, we would have to say, firstly, he is not my property; secondly, he is not their property, and thirdly, he is a free man, he does what he wants. But nobody ever has said that to me.

Well, they wouldn't, I hear you say. So must we live with a paranoia about it? I say no. Mixed-race couples and families exist, and many exist well and happily. That is all I want to say.

Adults can deal with the pressures of racism. What hurts more is thinking about it from the children's side. But even then, things need not be that bad. To white people our daughter is black, which is fact. What is she to black people? White, in a way, when she is with her white mother. Most importantly though, she has a

loving extended family on both sides (although half of them are in Ghana) and she will know who and what she is as she grows up.

She will be brought up with a sense of being a combination of two good things, of being the best of both. Either community may choose to reject her. (And I wish someone would define 'community'. What is 'the black community? One great mass of people who think exactly the same way because they are not white? Excuse me, isn't that a bit racist?) Or they could choose to accept her. So far they have done so. But mixed-race children who don't have families who can back them will need help - or at least not hindrance - from everyone else.

If blacks and whites do not accept mixed-race people as part of themselves, there is another answer - another 'community'. Brother Sulaiyman says that the only fruit of mixing races has been the development of a hierarchy of colour; as if a stupid reaction to something necessarily devalues the thing itself; as if racism were the only fruit of being black, or sexism the only fruit of being a woman. The fruit of racial mixing is mixed-race people, and they may, as black

people have, choose (or be forced) in time to claim their identity. Christopher, an Irish Guyanese lad of four, says one reason he likes my daughter is 'because she's black and white, like me'. I'm backing Christopher against Louis Farrakhan. I have to.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The economy expanded by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014  

Government hails latest GDP figures, but there is still room for scepticism over this 'glorious recovery'

Ben Chu
Comedy queen: Miranda Hart has said that she is excited about working on the new film  

There is no such thing as a middle-class laugh

David Lister
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little