Growing up as a child in the 1980’s wasn’t easy, but growing up as a child – in the words of others – ‘of colour’, had extra challenges.
Myself and my brother were, I believe the only mixed race/ black kids in our school at that time.I hated the colour of my skin back then, as I felt different to other kids. We were outcasts, not really accepted.
I never showed the kids that their words hurt me or my brother. The worst thing I remember anyone saying to me was that my mum had been to the toilet on me when I was born, that’s why I was brown. That one single sentence was the most hurtful thing I had ever heard, and it had a deep effect on me.
I was spat at, called all the racist words from the ‘N’ word to, what I hate to say were, the usual ones.
We were not invited to other kids’ parties, and I was the last to be picked to do something in a group at school.
I am not proud to admit that I used my hands a lot and was always in fights. I found that people then stopped saying awful stuff to me.
When I went to senior school I learned self-control. The 1990’s bought about a greater education and those that were ignorant began to understand. I was more vocal to those people that still treated me differently and consequently they left me alone as they knew I couldn’t be silenced.
I became quite a strong kid in my teens and into adulthood because of my experiences. It made me into a tough cookie and rounded me into the person I am today.
Although I wish it hadn’t happened, I guess it happened for a reason. I know that because of it I have a strong sense of right and wrong which strongly influences me today. Kids these days might not do as well as I did, they may not have had the supportive parents that I was lucky to have.
They may not learn to love the colour of their skin as I did, consequently it could affect their self-esteem and mental health. My advice is, if you have kids then educate them while they are young, as we all breathe the same air and bleed the same colour.
Be heard, don’t suffer in silence as there will be many that can relate through shared experience. It will make you a stronger, better person.