I am fortunate enough to be of mixed heritage. My Mother’s family is Jamaican and my Father’s English. I am a bit of a throwback though child and have golden hair and blue eye, freckles and fair skin.
I grew up with my mum and younger brother and was brought up only knowing my Mother’s side of the family. My mum is Black British and embraces her Jamaican culture. I have never thought of myself as half of anything but growing up and becoming an adult, going into a work environment it has become apparent to me that although I do not see myself as “half” other people do and in some cases to the extreme.
Due to the way I look many people cannot work out where I am from. I can predict a conversation with most and it normally goes like this… Person: So where are you from, or your parents? Me: My mum is black and dad is white, Mums family Jamaican. Person: Wow, I wouldn’t have said that, you’re so…you know, so light and you have blue eyes. Me: I know Person: So if you’re mum quite light then? Or mixed? Me: No, she is pretty dark. Person: Wow ok, So your dad is really really white? The conversation normally continues with other silly questions such as “so have you got anything else in you then”!! I often show them a photo of my mum and get those really ridiculous diplomatic Reponses like “Oh she has lovely skin” or “Wow, I see what you mean she is very tanned””….NO. She is not “tanned”. The woman is BLACKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK. If you have seen Anchorman 2 when Will Ferrell meets his new boss? If you haven’t please do; this is normally the reaction people want to give me but unfortunately they can’t.
Along with this I normally get the really ignorant misconceptions and assumptions of my upbringing and lifestyle. Please note this is from both cultures. People often assume silly little things that do make me cringe. For example, I once worked in an office where I was the only person who wasn’t white. We were ALL BRITISH but I was just the only one who was of mixed heritage. Two of the ladies were discussing holidays and they began speaking about St Lucia, one then said to the other “Ask Jess, She must know, JESS…You know someone from St Lucia Right?”……… NOW….Most people would either answer the question as diplomatically as they could but this is me. So I replied “Have you been to Scotland, You must know a Scottish person right?” She was horrified at this and then rambled on about how she wasn’t racist but just assumed…..and there we go! The assumptions; the ignorant assumptions that often lead to someone feeling embarrassed and someone else very pissed off. I did know many people from St Lucia but that wasn’t the point.
I am sure people think I eat Jerk chicken pie and mash or maybe curry goat and chips; on a Saturday night down the pub to watch the footie before I go to church on Sunday and sing in a big choir like in sister act! I have often been told I am “too white” or I “act white” from black people and been turned away from a “white” salon because they don’t do “black hair”. People do not often realize that when you try and put me into a category, neither of which I fit “completely” it is damaging, confusing and hard to find out who you are in some aspects of your life have no identity.
When you questions someone’s belonging you questioning who they are. I am not defined by a single race. You are delusional if you believe that racism doesn’t exist anymore, it does and it is ripe in some places of the world! I have had people make racist comments toward black people sat next to me because they are unaware that is a part of my heritage and have even wanted me “in on the joke”. Yet people don’t feel I should be offended because I’m not “fully” black or “completely “white” so does that mean I am half a person? I have half a heart, half the emotion, I have half the right?
Diversity is something that lacks in the mainstream media – It has got better by far but we are no where near where we need to be. I made a point of calling out a magazine cover that recently had a panel of all white women. This wasn’t just a race thing though, yes all of these women were white but they were also all of a similar age, straight and able bodied. This post may be about race but I am often fed up of having to explain to people or read narrow minded captions and posts thinking diversity is simply about race and race only.
I have had to grow up and find out who I am and I am still on that journey but I have found it more difficult when I never felt accepted completely but either race/culture. People will (and have) called me out for talking about issues they deem as only for black people despite my heritage and despite me bring raised by a single black woman. Don’t get me wrong, I understand my privilege. I am a fair skinned woman with blonde hair and blue eyes – so fair people don#t even realise my heritage so I understand I have benefited (with no intention) from white privilege and that can make me feel uncomfortable when raising issues that would seem more apt’ for someone who is “full black” or darker skinned. But I will call it out if I see it and wont sit back and pretend I don’t see it because other people do not feel I am entitled to fight that particular battle.
So I have eyes like Britney Spears and Lips like Whoopi Goldberg! I make an awesome cup of tea and will serve it up with a side of fritters and rich tea biscuits. I will sunbathe for a tan while my peas soak! I will cook spag bowl in a dutch pot and serve fried dumplings with almost every meal but despite all of those I am a woman. I am loud. I am emotional. I am a little crazy. I am a mother, a daughter & a niece. I am Jess. I am The Fat Funny One.
I am NOT Half of anything. I am whole. I love whole heartedly, I never give you half so don’t count me as half.
Thanks for stopping by x
The Fat Funny one x
P.S I have in no way been endorsed or sponsored by Hovis.
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