Mixed Race or Misplaced?

Joshua Obeng-Boateng (graphics & text)

This work is about the struggles of mixed children. The illustration shows a mixed raced girl physically split into the two races that she is made up of, white and black. The expression on her face, with the combination of the question marks in the background describes her confusion of not knowing which side she should go to or what race she is. You may be questioning, why can’t she be both? While everyone’s case is different, many mixed-race kids experience some sort of culture clash between the two sides of their identity. Perhaps it is due to parents not willing to embrace or compromise in certain scenarios. Perhaps it is the challenges of balancing their connection to either cultures, like having the foods from one culture, going on holiday to one parent’s country and not the other or being physically closer to one parent’s side of the family as opposed to the other. These factors can all lead to this natural desire to favour one culture and an inner struggle with the other side.

Following this Illustration, I also had a mini interview with two of my mixed friends to get an insight into what being a mixed race person is like. My questions were based purely off my own curiosity and developed out of arguments and discussions about culture.

1st Interview

Q: Ok so first question, what are you mixed with? 

A: I’m pretty mixed, but my main mix for simplicity sake is Kenyan and Indian. 

Q: Ok cool, and do you feel like you embrace one more than the other or not? If so, which one? 

A: Definitely, I embrace Kenyan way more! 

Q: Any reason why? 

A: Been to Kenya, more in touch with my extended Kenyan family, like I’m in touch with the Indian side, grew up with some of the foods and general cultural side of things but in terms of identity, I feel more ‘Kenyan’ than I do Indian. It’s just one of those things where because you’re mixed, I just lowkey feel some Indians have more of a funny attitude with that type of thing, especially the older generation if you get me. 

Q: Yeah I get you. Do you feel like you have to pick a side as a mixed person or is it possible to embrace both equally? 

A: I personally feel you can embrace both equally. Everyone’s mix is what makes them, THEM. We don’t have to ‘pick a side’, but I feel you definitely lean to one side more.

2nd Interview

Q: What are you mixed with? 

A: Pakistani-Bosnian 

Q: Ok cool, and do you feel like you embrace one more than the other or not? If so, which one? 

A: Well, my Pakistani side live in the UK so I would get to see them more often in a year whilst I'd see my Bosnian family every summer.Somehow having that geographical separation between my two sides of the family meant I could almost be just Pakistani and then just Bosnian but it never really plays out like that because the way you do things is influenced by your cultures.So I know when something I do is from my Pakistani / Bosnian side and sometimes they do things the same.All I know is I am mixed and always will be, and I never want to embrace one side over the other, so when someone tries to belittle one of my halves, I am happy to exaggerate it.Another thing I take pride in is being British, especially a Londoner, it's this city that brought my parents together and welcomed me and siblings into the world when others looked down on my parents' marriage.

Haru Sukegawa

a thing about Lisa