I was born in 1949 to a white woman and a black father. I was put into care from birth. I do not think that this was unusual at the time. Although I do not know of any research to substantiate this, I believe the pressure on white women to give mixed race babies up existed at that time. The pressure may still exist, as the care system today, is full of mixed race, hard to place children.
I was not aware of 'difference' until the age of six or seven when I suffered verbal and sometimes physical abuse from other children. Shocking though that was for someone so young there was, at the age of 11 the realisation that adults also held negative views about 'difference'. At this point as a look back I accept that thousands of black people will have had similar experiences to me. What was different was that black people also held negative views about me. I believe that mixed race people like me experience a kind of racism that unique to our situation. It is a contentious issue but one that needs to be explored.
Black people even now ask about my origins; who is your father? Who is your mother? Where were you born? It seems important to establish purity, kinship, and sameness. They look down on us; sucking their teeth as we walk past. I am sure there is no need to explain what this gesture means but it happened to a much younger mixed race woman than myself and she was shocked that other black people should view her in this way.
Why should this be? It is because we do not fit into white society nor do we fit into black society. To white society we are black but to black society we are not black enough.
This paper was first submitted as part of the e-conference mixedness and mixing 4-6 September 2007.