Asha, 18-year old student.
She grew up in South London until she was 11 years old and lived in France for a while before coming to Berlin. Asha’s mother is from New Zealand and her father is African-American. It wasn’t always easy to accept her black culture. She went through a long identity crisis before finally accepting herself as she is.
The denial of her Afro-American identity
Being mixed race has never been easy. For a long time, it was common to call “mutt” mixed-race people. Some mixed race may feel like they do not belong to any community, feel like they are apart. For some other, they do not want to be associated with a community.Such is the case of Asha, who for many years did not want to have any connection with the black community, had no want to know more about African-American culture and for looking as much like a white person as possible.
Indeed, she was straightening her hair, avoiding the sun to have a pale complexion. As a younger child, her dream was to become famous; she loved to watch Disney series such as Hannah Montana. However, the famous people were all the same colour, they were all white. One of the factors of identity crisis is lack of representation. This lack of representation causes a feeling of insecurity as if it were not important. The people we want to identify with never look like us.
She was afraid of black people as well; what she used to see in daily life or movies were people wanted by the police, criminals. This negative image, having marked her at a younger age, was inscribed in her subconscious.
But one day she got a light bulb moment when she got closer to her Afro-American family and gradually reconnected with her black identity. The story of one of her relatives that she admires helped her to reconnect with this culture.
Racism does not spare mixed race people
Her Grandfather is one of the people she most admires. While living in segregationist America he often has had to start his life from scratch. He first moved to Indianapolis and then later returned to Atlanta. Then army enlisted him in the war sent him to Italy. He decided to create a band and was successful. He spent his life on stage. Her grandfather kept his spirits up by not letting the segregationist system and racism to bring his dreams to an end. There was nothing to stop him. It is this determination that overcomes all the obstacles Asha admires.
By learning more about her grandfather’s history, she became more and more interested in African-American history, participating in events. She is in regular contact with her African-American relatives. Through her discovery of this story, she remained shocked and moved for a while.
Though the connection with his black identity is not without obstacles. Begin with some people in the black community who do not consider her to be part of the community. According to them, she is a mixed race and enjoys some privileges because she does not experience the same level of racism and discrimination. She disagrees because her father’s experience has proven that no matter he has a white parent, he has suffered. His classmates were constantly bullying him, he could not be on the same bus as them.
One should not undermine problems faced by mixed race people. She had been called with her father “darkies” when they were in New Zealand or “mutt” with her sister when she detailed her ethnicity. But it shouldn’t happen if we were truly “civilized”.
And the color is also a problem when it comes to love.
She’s been with her boyfriend for a year now. He’s German. They love each other and have introduced themselves to their families. On Asha’s family side it went well, which we can’t say for her boyfriend’s family. When she first met them, they were cordial. But little by little, his parents became more and more closed minded.
She ended up at a family dinner with a nazi uncle. He was being politically correct with her, didn’t make any inappropriate comments. But she doesn’t find it normal for the family to accept her for dinner, mm by not sharing her ideas. And especially when she is at her boyfriend’s house. It would never happen in her own family.
One day she came early to her boyfriend’s parents’ house, alone, rang at the door but they wouldn’t let her in.
Then another day, her boyfriend lost his cell phone. The eyes turned to Asha and her parents asked her if she had not taken her cell phone.All these examples show the closed-mindedness of her parents, the prejudices that lead to people of color.She almost feels guilty for having made her boyfriend open his eyes. The relationship with his parents today has improved, they are okay. But it is not yet on the agenda to come to his parent’s house and say hello.
In the future, Asha hopes to be an influential person to counter the misrepresentation of black people.And also to talk about the problems that mixed race people face because, according to her, few talks about them. An 18-year-old woman, who faces the difficulties of her love relationship and ignorance of people, a way for her to make a change.