The BBC are starting a season on mixed race Britain tomorrow.
Mixed race people make 1.1% of Britain’s population. According to the official figures this proportion is likely to grow because 3% of under-sixteens are of mixed heritage and 9% of children live in households of mixed ethnicity.
When I hear people say that they are not racist, but they would not like their children to marry someone of a different race, I am not shocked. This sentiment is universal, people want their children to grow up following their own values/religion and traditions. This feeling is very strong in countries like India, where people can not marry outside their caste,leave along race and religion. It is a credit to the western civilisation and to this country that there are no anti-miscegenetion laws or calls for banning mixed marriages/liaison .As George Alagiah wrote in Sunday Times;” It is not a story of race ,but Britishness- that elusive quality we all understand instinctively but find so difficult to encapsulate in words, this country was subjected to the same prejudices and pressure as Germany and the US,yet we avoided the worst excesses of bogus science or political extremism”. I totally agree.
I remember when I announced to my family in India that my daughter was getting married in a Church to a Catholic, there was pin drop silence in the room for about two minutes. Alas it was not my parents, they both were dead by then, but the rest of my family,aunts and uncles and various cousins. The same reaction was when my son took his Jewish girl friend,(now my daughter in law) to India to meet our family. My parents and my sister were fine, actually my father found a lot to talk to her,as she is an academic at Cambridge too.
Now nearly ten and three years respectively after my children’s marriages and four gorgeous grand children later I feel blessed. They are the most beautiful children, they have the best attributes of two cultures and races,and they are part of a new world order where people will be recognised for what they are, not what colour they are,or what their religion is.
I see young people so much at ease with themselves, and I feel so grateful and hopeful for the future.