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Looking African, But Feeling British

My mum is white British, and my dad is Ghanaian. I grew up with the strange contrast of being viewed by the white world around me as African and ‘Other’, but being disconnected to my Ghanaian heritage. The feeling of being neither black nor white is common for people with dual ethnic heritage1 and many talk of the difficulties of belonging to two very different cultures. For some of us, the black side of our heritage is absent and we live a strange existence where instead of having to ‘pick a side’, we have to try and figure out who the heck we are without knowing both parts of our history.

My dad came to the UK from Accra in the early 60s and met my mum a few years later. Her parents initially opposed the marriage as they were worried about the cultural differences, and how hard life would be for any children. They were right to have concerns, although they were viewing the situation through a racist, of-its-time lens. The children who came along experienced racism and identity issues. My parents were somewhat naïve and as they – unusually – generally didn’t have much trouble, they assumed things were fine for their kids. Things, I can assure you, were not fine.