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Started by coshipi on Dec 2, 2020 10:08:13 AM
Mixed race experience - blog

https://colbyjsmith.medium.com/the-reason-i-took-a-one-way-flight-out-of-the-uk-and-never-looked-back-e6f5b67fc3f8

Colby and our son were friends, in the same class at school, for several years. They drifted apart, but Colby and I became firm friends years later when he was an energetic Green Party activist at the same time that I was the Green parliamentary candidate.

Colby's blog is well worth a read.

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guigal - 05 Dec 2020 00:33:22 (#1 of 56)

The mixed race are a beacon of hope for the world. It's all wrong that single race should be the standard. Maybe Colby should have headed for Brazil, where he would be in his element, pigmentwise.

coshipi - 05 Dec 2020 05:57:47 (#2 of 56)

The mixed race are a beacon of hope for the world.

Hear, hear!

Who knows where Colby will end up? Pigmentwise he's a pretty good fit in northern India - much the same range of colours (all depending on exposure to the sun) as our kids.

Our grandson (now fourteen months), with a half-Indian mother and a pale blonde German father, has turned out to be a redhead - my mother was, and one of his aunts on the other side is. Showing no sign of brownness at all at the moment (apart from almost black eyes like his mother's); who knows whether it'll appear later?

Kucinghitam - 05 Dec 2020 06:14:08 (#3 of 56)

<subscribes, lurkily>

thisonehasalittlehat - 05 Dec 2020 07:30:58 (#4 of 56)

I found the blog a bit incoherent. What was the point he wanted to make please?

browserbutton - 05 Dec 2020 07:46:18 (#5 of 56)

If you don't like where you're living, get up and go?

machiavelli - 05 Dec 2020 07:51:39 (#6 of 56)

but again statistics cannot override personal gut feeling and emotion.

He shouldn't get any sympathy here - emotion and gut over statistics is the classic JTT sin of wotireckon ;-)

But seriously, a lad of Kashmiri extraction told me that after the Brexit vote a colleague had asked him if he was going home. "Er...I am home" he replied. Who knows what vibes Smith was getting.

and landed myself in Nelspruit, South Africa

A country that has seen deadly prgroms against foreign residents. I hope he's not unlucky there.

My (Zambian) ex told me that mixed race people in Zambia often had the same internal conflict over who they were. Those that identified most strongly with the black side seemed to be happier than those who cleaved to the white side.

guigal - 05 Dec 2020 10:56:17 (#7 of 56)

'Race' is a set of assumptions about what you think the visible clues tell you about a person. It's judging a book by its cover. The assumptions that are triggered by what you see are a matter of social history.

In the UK, white says 'one of us', since white is 87% of the population. Mixed race is 2%. It's also not clear what it says. It upsets the simple 'judging a book by its cover test'.

If you're one of the vast majority, you don't have questions to ask or be asked about your 'race'. If you're mixed, you're confusing and possibly confused. Which gang should you join? Which gang will let you in?

In London, white British is in the minority. But 'mixed race' is still a tiny minority. When you go abroad, there are other factors that kick in, so however well you fit in on the book cover test, the culture, the language will show you up as 'not one of us'.

The solution is not geographical but social. If you're British, you want to live among people whose brain doesn't stop working after they've made a snap judgement based on appearance.

What's the betting Colby's journey ends up where it started, back home in Britain?

guigal - 05 Dec 2020 16:38:24 (#8 of 56)

A fascinating blog. Colby's got talent. I was really caught up in his account of his experience learning yoga.

coshipi - 05 Dec 2020 17:29:42 (#9 of 56)

Colby's got talent.

I certainly think so. I've not seen much of his writing before, but I've heard him speak often enough, and seen his willingness to take action when he thinks it appropriate.

What's the betting Colby's journey ends up where it started, back home in Britain?

I don't know. I've really no idea.

As regards looks, he's perfectly credibly Indian, despite not having much Indian ancestry (his Trinidadian mother might well have some).

FleurDuMal - 05 Dec 2020 18:28:16 (#10 of 56)

But seriously, a lad of Kashmiri extraction told me that after the Brexit vote a colleague had asked him if he was going home. "Er...I am home" he replied. Who knows what vibes Smith was getting.

Which tells you everything you need to know about the Brexit mentality.

machiavelli - 05 Dec 2020 18:30:57 (#11 of 56)

Which tells you everything you need to know about the Brexit mentality.

It told me what I needed to know about one person.

thisonehasalittlehat - 05 Dec 2020 18:33:06 (#12 of 56)

Coshi.

coshipi - 06 Dec 2020 06:42:04 (#13 of 56)

Hatters.

If that's because you noticed my edit, I removed a bit where I might have got the story a bit wrong. I don't think so, but I'll have to take a look at his facebook page and check - the blogs fill out a lot of detail I didn't know about one part of the story, but don't mention the other bit at all.

coshipi - 06 Dec 2020 07:00:55 (#14 of 56)

Here ya go, from the keyboard of the man himself:

Does imposter syndrome ever go away?

The owner of the place I'm staying often says to guests 'yeah we have this really good yoga teacher here if you want to take a session in the morning'.

And I'm like cool awesome can't wait to meet this guy. Then I realise he's talking about me and they're all looking at me waiting for some enlightened, transcendental, yogic pearl of wisdom to fall from my lips and I'm just like YEAH FUCKING YOGA INNIT BRUV *lights rollup*

That's Colby chutzpah for you. A few weeks' yoga training in Goa, looks Indian but isn't and doesn't speak more than a few words of any Indian language, then he's in Nepal earning his living teaching yoga to tourists...

coshipi - 17 Jul 2021 17:53:42 (#15 of 56)

Update: Colby survived South Africa. Recently sighted in Ukraine, visiting Pripyat and Kyiv indulging in urban exploration and evading security guards in abandoned old Soviet era structures; now back in the UK.

Bonkers, but somebody special.

AdonisBlue - 17 Jul 2021 20:30:45 (#16 of 56)

We are all gonna end up mixed race, we are already anyway. The future is light brown.

mingmong - 17 Jul 2021 20:43:05 (#17 of 56)

The future is light brown.

It is. Perhaps the distant past was as well. Then during the mesolithic we all wandered off into distant corners of the landmass and differentiated into something mistakenly defined as races. We are now reconverging.

uranrising - 17 Jul 2021 23:02:27 (#18 of 56)

"The lie that invented racism." Useful talk (under 20 minutes) about origins https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIZDtqWX6Fk

Cavewoman - 18 Jul 2021 01:15:45 (#19 of 56)

Caveman's three grandsons, all now adult, are mixed race - half English, half St Lucian. When the first one was born Caveman's father said more or less the same as guigal in #1: "Mixed races are our hope for the future". Given that he was born around 1910 into an aristocratic family, that was pretty progressive, I guess. The boys were brought up and mostly still live in Brighton, so no big problems with cultural difference, but the eldest survived a year at UEA before transferring to London. He described feeling the same as Colby while in Norwich - neither white nor black - and had never felt that before. The youngest lived for a year or so in Madrid before returning to Brighton, saying that he'd found Madrid to be pretty racist. I lived in rural Andalucía for nine years and found the racism there surprising, but it dates back to the Moorish occupation and the historical insistence on "purity of the blood". They give gypsies a really hard time, our lovely old neighbour insisting that they had "bad blood" and being shocked when Caveman insisted that we're all brothers and sisters under the skin. I'd have expected Madrid to be better, but evidently not - although what step-grandson experienced was straightforward racism rather than feeling he didn't belong in one camp or the other.

No wonder Colby felt he had to leave and I'm sure he'll be fine as he has talent, courage and a good sense of himself. What's happening here is ugly - although the outpouring of support for the three footballers and the public anger at the abuse levelled at them gives me some hope that maybe things can shift.

upgoerfive - 18 Jul 2021 02:52:00 (#20 of 56)

The drummer in a band I once played in was a Brahmin, with a heavy scouse accent.

He said there were probably about a dozen people (apart from his family) who knew of his ethnicity. Most of the time he defaulted to being 'Standard issue white scouse' (as he put it).

I would not have known myself, had we not shared a bottle of scotch one rainy night in Birmingham.

He was a shit-hot drummer, BTW.

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