Mixed Race Identities by Peter Aspinall, Miri Song (auth.)

By Peter Aspinall, Miri Song (auth.)

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She’s important, but I feel an even stronger connection to my grandparents. Int: Is that because your grandparents talk to you about their heritage? Amelia: Yeah, and it’s the fact that my [maternal] extended family have a very strong connection to my grandparents (maternal grandparents). So the whole extended family is the Burmese. So the amount of contact I had with the Burmese was far greater than with my dad’s [English] side. And her two sisters [grandmother’s sisters] married Burmese men. And so all my cousins are Burmese, whereas .

Patricia: Yeah, they wouldn’t really. So it’s now I can sort of not hold [back]. I didn’t think I was holding back before but it’s like now I can fully sort of . . Int: Be yourself? Patricia: Yeah. I . . I don’t know. It’s strange because at the time at secondary school I did feel like I was being myself but now I’m looking back, I feel like, well, not really. Furthermore, in retrospect, Patricia realized that some of her White friends (in secondary school) had been racist towards her and that she had normalized such interactions and minimized their significance while she had lived in that milieu.

I used to tick the box black other because that was the closest category’; ‘The questions have changed over the years. I used to refuse to reply to earlier questions because they were not inclusive of mixed race/heritage’. 36 Mixed Race Identities Others pilot respondents reporting changes in the ways in which they reported their racial/ethnic identities gave a variety of explanations, including the complexity and multifaceted nature of their identities, frustration with the unwieldy nature of official forms, as well as strategically motivated changes in expressed identities: ‘Because I could not be bothered with the long winded process of explanation’; ‘Because I’m lots of “things”, British, Black Caribbean & mixed’; ‘Better chance of acquiring a job at university union’; ‘Didn’t want to be pinned down on that particular form, so put “multiracial” ’; ‘I did not know my racial origins’; ‘I used to say “mixed race”, but now I always say English/Jamaican’.

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