My name is Beverley Jane Smith, I am twenty-one years old, and I am mixed race. My mother is originally from Uganda, Africa – and my father was born and raised in Airdrie, Scotland. We moved here twenty years ago after I had turned one, so I have spent my full life in Scotland.
Growing up in Scotland, as a naive little dreamer, once I learned about racism and its roots, I was convinced it no longer existed – especially in the area where we grew up. Oh, how I was wrong.
Airdrie is small town and has its benefits and upsides like most places but unfortunately for me, when I turned roughly 12/13 that is when It became apparent to me how differently I had been treated throughout the years.
I experienced racisms as young as the age of 5/6 throughout primary school, I remember being told to go back to where I came from because I did not belong here.
Did I fully understand this statement as well as I do now? No.
Did I see the difference between myself, my brown skin, and the white children I took my classes with? No.
Did the young boy who shouted this to me in front of everyone fully understand that he was demonstrating racism? I cannot be sure.
Have I been involved in physical altercations because of my skin tone? Yes.
Should this all surround the question: “Where are you really from”? No.
I have a very strong Scottish accent, but my skin tone shouts melanin, and I love it. I cannot fully understand this question of “where are you really from”, because the answer is irrelevant. You will be treated differently either way. The Scottish heritage in me is avoided/overlooked by some, so they can target my Ugandan side. This means my afro hair, my big lips, my figure, and skin tone.
My hair is the biggest target, I gained so much anxiety because of the narrow minds I put myself with. I love my Afro-puff, it is beautiful and now you really cannot tell me otherwise. Girls used to ‘compliment’ me, then talk behind my back. Boys used to laugh because they considered my short hair like boy’s hair. Please, do not feel too much pity.
Because now we see hair trends for big bouncy curls and thick extensions…
We see trends for lip fillers to make your natural lips fuller…
We see girls getting plastic surgery or injections to reshape their body figure and make their a** bigger…
Tell me, what was the mockery for?
Therefore, I cannot fully understand this question “Where are you really from”? what does it matter, if we all copy cultures anyway? What is the point in racism when they appropriate cultures anyway?
If we put in the same amount of time and effort being compassionate and open minded, as we do asking: ‘Where are you really from”, we would be able to change a lot within the minds of our future generations.
By Beverley Jane Smith