Growing up with a white British mother and black Caribbean/African father is not an uncommon thing in modern day Britain. We are said in some places to be the ‘new modern face of multicultural Britain’, imagine my horror last year when I heard ‘our beloved leader’ David Cameron say that ‘the multicultural experiment had failed’. Was I an experiment, some kind of genetic test that has now become flawed? What kind of sorcery could have created such a light skinned afro haired monstrosity? Well Mr Cameron I was created by the same biological methods as you, only I have been blessed with foresight, compassion and a lack of ignorance for people’s feelings.

On a serious note though being of dual heritage is something I am very proud of but I have to say growing up it was very difficult to understand where I fit into things. Am I a black guy? I don’t look like a white guy but I was brought up by a white lady. Should I be listening to a certain type of music? Why is it so bad to be called ‘half caste’? These questions all seem so stupid now with the value of hindsight and common sense but as a 14 year old they were the most important questions in my life.

In my opinion cultural identity is an important a thing as religion. It gives us a place and a grounding, the power to know where we come from and how best to get where we need to go. What a cultural identity is not though is a weapon. 

All too commonly in the right wing media we see the term British being used as a tool, a rallying call and a term of ownership. Groups like the BNP and EDL use their supposed ownership of the rights of Britishness to create divisions in society. Such divisions that used to be limited to class divides now seem to be utilised in and us and them mentality. If you are white you are British if you are any darker shade than that you are not.

Well what is it to be British?

To my very limited logic if you were born in the United Kingdom you are British, right? Wrong! The philosopher and owner of all things British, Nick Griffin stated that ‘If a dog is born in a stable that does not make it a horse’. So that would make me not British?  So when an EDL thug told me ‘if I don’t like them they should F*ck off back’ I was left wondering where I should go?

This article has been very tongue in cheek I am aware but it highlights some real issues. If we look at the media the right utilises to spread its hate and propaganda we see that it is papers like The Sun or its middle-class bedfellow The Daily Mail. Very simple newspapers aimed at everyday British people who do not have the time to sit and read wordy commentary seen in some of the more centre left publications. If centrist newspapers were more accessible, people would see the world very differently.

So the lesson I take from all of this is simple, within the student movement and liberation campaigns we have a responsibility, we need to ensure that the message of liberation, peace, harmony and social justice is presented in an accessible way, free from academic arrogance and unnecessary long words. The reality of the student movement is that we are a diverse and intelligent movement but if it really is wider society we want to help, think about how you would have wanted to hear it when you had the most questions about yourself and answer them to your younger self.




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