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Lessons And Reflections From A First Generation Mum

I had not thought much about race until I had my first born child, my daughter. I’d never had to. I guess I was fortunate to have grown up in an environment where I never had cause to question my identity or belonging.

I became a mother for the first time only a few months after I landed in Scotland. I was not only dazed by the shocking realisation that I was responsible for another human, but it soon dawned on me that I faced another challenge. I wasn’t just any mother. I was the mother of a black girl in a predominantly white world. Edinburgh in 1995 was very white. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t have mattered. After all, what does the colour of skin have to do with nurturing a child? I started to realise that part of my daughter’s nurturing had to include making her aware of her heritage and inevitably, her colour and race. But I also wanted my daughter to appreciate that these alone did not define her identity. I wanted her to feel balanced, rooted in both cultures. You see, she was Scottish, too.

We gave her a Scottish name, as a symbol of where she was born but her first name was symbolic of her heritage. That was important to me, although, I hadn’t fully grasped the challenges ahead.