Reflecting on our Reflections

By competition winner, Tiffany.

The Outreach Team recently ran a competition, asking partner school students in years 10-13 to write an essay with the theme “How Can We Make the World Better?” We are pleased to announce that the winner of the competition is Tiffany with “Reflecting on our Reflections”. Please enjoy Tiffany’s essay below.

What makes us different from each other? You would say our different backgrounds, faces and views and other qualities on the endless list that is humankind. Many would say that this diverse nature of our world makes it better than it was, but for some, it is still not as harmonious. Mixed-race people are a prime example, as they have been and are still not deemed as ordinary and were repeatedly segregated throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, but also through the 21st century in some cases and are more at risk to racism than black and Asian people. Despite this, we have shielded our eyes from this reality and most of us deep down do not believe it exists. However, it affects us as a community. Yes, we are the minority; but we matter and should be seen as equal everywhere, especially in this “free world” we live in.

Undeniably, racism has been a long-standing hate crime that is now thought to have been abolished. This is definitely not the case, as it is rooted deep in our society and still affects people today and has developed into an even greater threat. Everyone assumes. Everyone is prejudicial. Everyone stereotypes. The past is just more well known for it and it holds many more disturbing details about the racist attitudes that flourished. Anti-miscegenation laws were created in the US to eradicate “unnatural relations” from existing. Unsurprisingly, the non-white member of the relationship would be persecuted and charged with fornication or adultery, which illustrates how they saw their love; it was dirty and wrong just because the melanin was stronger on one’s skin. Interracial marriage is now legalised in the USA, but the laws that stopped it were never justified. Alabama became the last state in the USA  to legalise interracial marriage in 2000. This disgraceful fact shows the attitudes that not just Americans possess, but many around the world have too. Racism was supposed to be an extinct form of hate but has survived through stereotypes and suspicions that are secured in society’s stigmatic soul like a stuck record playing on and on. It affects victims’ children, and the children that are with us today as the stigma terrifies all who are different and leads to larger issues, like questioning identity.

Even people in the public eye are not spared from this. Barack Obama is a good example, as he has been affected by an identity dilemma in his live. Obama was conflicted with where he came from after his father died, and was then only looked after by his mother, who was white. As a young adult, he “struggled to reconcile his social perceptions of his multiracial heritage” and despite being mixed-race, he now identifies as just being black. This is actually common, as many mixed-race people who are raised by a white parent are proven to be more inclined to relate and identify with the non-white side of their heritage, according to an article written in The Guardian. This was due to the child having no previous knowledge of what that ethnicity was like and were eager to know.

Now, along with being the UK’s fastest growing ethnic group, we are also most likely to be most at risk to develop mental health issues in our teen and young adult years. This is almost entirely linked to identity issues and even identity crises due to factors such as being too “racially ambiguous” to their own cultures and families and to their “mono-racial framework” according to EJR David, a sociologist. We are currently being pressured to choose sides or else be alienated from our cultures and races and ethnic identities. 3 out of 5 mixed heritage young adults say their reason for now living as one race instead of two or more is due to “passing”: the belief you are a race because you look like it.

As people now strive to make the world better with movements like Feminism, Pride, and Black Lives Matter, we must be close to making the world better. However, this façade is unravelling quickly in our perfect world. Racism is worsening. Women’s rights are being torn down as I speak. The mental health pandemic is increasingly getting worse, but somehow, no one is acting. No one is doing anything because in the end, we do not care about others. So, because of this, why would anyone see the issues mixed-race people have in the first place? Many equality movements have arisen, but all peak and fall like rollercoasters. As a biracial person myself, I have never heard of a movement for us or anyone remotely caring about the social problem that lurks above us all. No one created one because the outside do not know it exists. I did not know it existed either until a year ago and although the fact that it exists and no one is talking about it is shocking, it is not surprising. We only care about our work due tomorrow, our dinner tonight, our bills, our money.

In conclusion, the people and the world need to change to become better, and we do not have to help to change all the things in the world at the same time to prove our kindness to others. However, how can we be 3.5% of the population and not understand who we are and not be helped by anyone? This must come to an end, but no one will ever know how to bring it to a close. Everyone will always assume, stereotype or just plainly not care because they are scared of change. As our ethnic group grows so does the vat of problems; we will still be judged for being different. So, how can we make the world better? By talking, connecting, and understanding each other despite our differences; by helping each other, ignoring stereotypes, and overall, being different in the face of judgement. After all, it was Barack Obama who said: “We are the change that we seek.”