What It’s Like Not Being White

August 7, 2015

mixed race all the places people think I'm from what it's like not being white


I received the above opening line on Tinder last week. I quickly posted it to Facebook with the comment “Just so we are all clear, “you don’t strike me as English” is not an acceptable chat-up line”. My initial reaction was shock and disbelief along with a weary resignation. Amongst the 60-odd likes on were a number of comments which were largely jokey. I can play along to a degree, but the thing is: I wasn’t joking. It’s not an acceptable line.

I’m mixed race. I was born in London. I have a non-Caucasian name. I have brown skin and thick dark brown hair. My name and my colouring, two aspects of myself which I have no control over and were mere circumstances at birth, have far too often become the sole distinguishing features that people latch on to. These features single me out as not being white. Though 13% of the UK and 40.2% of London are not white, being not white still means I am different.

I am reminded daily in the way people talk about me or to me and by the assumptions implicit in conversations. I’ve long been resigned to how things are, but the anger I feel about this is growing. I am made to feel strange and unusual; I am made to feel “other”. I am literally forced to identify myself as “other”, because I am “Mixed Other” on the drop down menu of racial backgrounds on HR forms and the national census.

I take the piss out of this a lot. I jokingly describe myself as being “foreign” or “ethnic” because the alternate option is to wait for that label to come from somewhere else, probably somewhere with fewer laughs. I take the piss, because otherwise I would be too angry to do anything.

mixed race all the places people think I'm from what it's like not being white 4

The older I get, the more exhausting it is to laugh this stuff off; casual racism, instant stereotypes, pre-assigned tropes. I am in disbelief that things don’t seem to change despite more people calling it out. I call it out every time whether it’s a friend, a colleague or somebody I’ve just met. The more I call it out, the more aware I become of the fact that these race-based assumptions are deeply ingrained into our society, so much so that people often aren’t aware they hold these assumptions. People deny that their remarks were meant to cause offence; I’m sure they weren’t, but it doesn’t change what’s been said and assumed. Nobody wants to think of themselves as racist.

The more I call it out, the more I’m told I’m making a big deal out of nothing. I’m tired of being told that if I want to take something intended innocently as a racist remark, then that is my issue to deal with and that the problem lies with me. It’s never the problem of the person who made the remark: they didn’t intend any offence and so do not accept offence caused. I’m fed up with being told that I’m trying to draw attention to myself, that I take things too seriously, that I should have picked a less visible career instead of placing myself on stages. I’m fed up with trying to patiently explain to everybody why their words might hurt. I’m tired of hearing that people’s other non-white friends have never called them out, so what’s my problem?

I’m not an angry person, and I tend to see humour in all situations, but not being white feels more and more like a daily slog I can’t turn off. I’m writing this post so that you see why it might get frustrating. You’re probably thinking, what kind of incidents is she referring to? What comments does she call out? How bad can it really be in 2015? Well, let me try to paint a picture.

mixed race all the places people think I'm frm what it's link not being white 23

When participating on the panel at a Q and A session I noticed my name had been spelt as Lola on my name badge. Lola is not my name. On informing the event assistant she replied “Well it’s close, isn’t it? We’ll leave it at that as people know how to pronounce THAT name – we don’t want any embarrassing situations”.

At least 50% of the time after people find out I’m a musician they ask immediately if I play Indian music.

I have my teaching details listed on different websites. My profiles are exactly the same, except I created one using my mother’s anglican maiden name and one with my actual surname. The maiden name profile received 75% more interest in the first couple of months. The profile using my fathers surname received 5 separate requests asking if English is my first language and if I can speak enough English to teach, despite the fact the profile was written in English.

Being asked if my vocabulary is sufficient enough to teach Music at GCSE Level in 3 separate job interviews, despite my CV explaining that I am a British national, English is the only language I teach in and that I possess a Masters in Music from a UK institution.

Being described as “beautiful” or “pretty” is always followed by “in an exotic way” or “you look so tropical” or even “for/despite being brown”. Only twice has a person called me beautiful and just left it at that.

Related “compliments” include, “you could be an Arabian princess”, “do you ever wear one of those scarves? I think they’re sexy”, “can you do a belly dance?”, “you’re like a harem girl”.

Walking past a man wearing a UKIP rosette who shouted “we’ll be getting rid of you soon, love!” and spat on the pavement after me.

The recruitment agency who advised using a picture of me where I looked “brighter” as schools want to employ “a friendly face” – it was a black and white photo (making me look lighter-skinned) rather than the colour one I had provided. Everybody else on the books was white and had a colour photo.

Another man on a bus telling me to “fuck off back where you came from before you blow the bloody place up” before shouting at a fellow passenger “there’s a fucking terrorist on this bus!”.

Being turned down for a job interview at a school, phoning up to ask for feedback and then being greeted with laughter and “oh! we assumed you didn’t speak English very well” and then more laughter, as though this was hilarious.

About 3 days after our latest election result, two men on the street talking, first said “Cameron’ll send all that gross Asian scum home now” to which the second one replied “Yeah, except them, I like something tropical every now and then” whilst nodding at me.

After listing my role models as Kate Bush and Lindsay Cooper in an interview I was asked “do you have any role models like you? You know…” and then, whilst gesturing to my face “we wanted to play that whole thing up a bit more, you know, it’s an interesting angle.” I’m so happy I provided you with a ready-made interesting angle! God forbid you’d have to find the interest elsewhere, for example my career or business.

On arguing against peoples nationalities being listed after tragedies and fatalities abroad I was rebuffed with “You wouldn’t understand because you’re not a proper nationality.”

School nicknames including Osama, The Terrorist, Paki, Gorilla, Monkey Man, Suicide Bomber, Ahmed, Bollywood, Curry House and Saddam.

Being told by a gross man in a bar that “girls like me” make more money as lapdancers/pole dancers because we look less pasty under bright lights and (again) also look more “exotic”.

Aged 6, local press – “Can we have the little brown girl to sit near the front? It looks better.”

Aged 14, school press – “It needs to look more diverse – Laila, can you come and stand in the front?”, worth pointing out I was the only non-white girl in my year.

Using maps on my phone in Brighton to find a cafe, a guy came up and said “are you looking for the language school?”. I said no and asked if he knew where the cafe was, and he said “Oh! I didn’t realise you spoke English. I thought you were looking for the language school. You know, because of..” and then gestured at my face whilst laughing, as though this was a hilarious mix-up.

mixed race all the places people think I'm frm what it's like not being white2


“So where are you really from?”

“So where are your parents from?”

“You’re obviously not English”

“When did you come to this country?”

“Do you feel part of British society then?”

“I just think brown girls are more interesting.” – most recently heard from somebody 5 months into a relationship.

“So you don’t really have a race? What kind of a person are you?”

“Do you still consider yourself a person even though you don’t have a country?”

“Well, obviously you don’t count because you’re brown/ethnic/mixed” etc or “You wouldn’t understand because you’re brown/ethnic/mixed” etc.

“Are you vegetarian for religious reasons?” – a question never asked of my vegetarian white friends when we eat together.

“You wouldn’t say that if you had a country of your own.”

“You’re so dark and mysterious, it’s like you’re a stranger from another land.”

“I’ve always liked exotic girls” – again most recently heard from somebody 6 months into a relationship.

“It’s like, when you go out with somebody from another country it makes your whole life feel more tropical, you get that tropical holiday feeling. You’re basically like going on a holiday.”

mixed race all the places people think I'm frm what it's link not being white

One or two of these incidents could be brushed off as an unfortunate confusion, but when it happens week in and week out I become jaded. I can’t comment for everybody that’s not white, and much of the above is coupled with being a girl or being mixed race, two things which I could post about separately. I do seem to get more comments than a lot of my non-white friends, so maybe I just come across like a particularly antagonistic member of society who needs taking down a peg. But from my perspective it just seems like there is a huge amount of racism that I have to navigate on a daily basis, and at no juncture do I have the luxury of going about my life without my heritage challenged and called into question.

A lot of the assumptions can easily be avoided by re-wording questions. “How long have you lived in this area?” will get the same information as “When did you come to this country?” without implying that I’ve moved here from somewhere else. “What kind of musician are you?” lets me explain myself as opposed to guessing with “Oh, Indian music? Like in Bollywood?”, and if you’re genuinely interested, why not put “Why don’t you eat meat?” to everybody in the group rather than singling me out and assuming I’m religious? It’s simple wording and phrasing, but it’s wording a lot of people have probably never had to think about, because they have never been on the receiving end of it of that particular line of questioning.

From now on I’m going to broadcast every time I encounter a racist comment or scenario – call it out with me if you like on twitter (@lailawoozeer). I hope people are aware of it, and I hope at some point, people will call themselves out on what they say, and do. Maybe eventually they’ll have to start calling themselves out not just before they say or do anything but when they even start to think that way. But until then, I’ll keep calling it out.

759 comments so far.

759 responses to “What It’s Like Not Being White”

  1. Bas says:

    I couldn’t even read until the end because I got so worked up. I’m angry and ashamed and sorry that you had these experiences. I’m truly, truly shocked. I met you and all I thought was that you were sooo British (And pretty, and pretty awesome). No one should have to deal with this kind of stuff. Lots of love your way xxx Bas:)

    • So British. A completely racist thought but not your fault, just your experience in life talking back to you.

      • sonworshiper says:

        British is a race now? And it’s a “completely racist” comment? I suppose you can address the issue of stereotypes. But saying someone fits in with a certain culture or matches common perception about a particular society is different than making assumptions based on skin and hair color. We make choices about the cultures we associate with and the mannerisms we adopt. We don’t choose genetics.
        There’s enough actual offense to go around without making everything and anything “racist.”
        Sorry if I’ve missed your point and am ranting at something you didn’t intend.

        • You are semantically correct about race but i don’t think it is a useful correction. My point is not to categorise people at all and it works both ways. A different discussion entirely but in my experience too much nationalism and obsession over cultural identity is a non progressive mentality.

    • There are ways of handling things, this world is full of people, each different to the other, but somehow we complete each other and maybe we need to learn the real meaning of fitting together

  2. richmonl says:

    You’re beautiful. (Now the count can go up to 3.) ;D In all seriousness though this was a really fascinating read. It’s good that you call out friends and foe alike because it needs to be done. Racism is so ingrained that some people don’t even realise and would be mortified to realise that they’re contributing to a systemic societal wide problem. Thanks for writing about it!

    • lolly says:

      Hey! This was SUCH an interesting read. And it’s awful that you still feel so persecuted.

      I write this as you’ve covered very clear, derogatory hatred – but you’ve also covered conversation starters, compliments, or genuine interest – and I would really like clarity on what we *should* be doing. So I hope you can help me out 🙂

      1 – My name is also routinely spelt wrong – or totally incorrect. My name is Lauren. It’s an American name. Yet i get called LOREN, LAWRON, LARAN, and god forbid, LAURA(!!). So I wouldn’t say that’s only because you have a name that’s not conventionally British. And I get how much you hate it. i feel like murdering people sometimes (Laura especially gets me red..)

      2 – I myself, if I met you, would be genuinely interested in where you come from. What makes you, well, you. Where are your parents from? Can you speak other languages? What is your families culture like? I would ask these questions not because I am racist, or because that’s ingrained in me. But because you are different (and i don’t mean that in a bad way at all!) but more often then not, girls and boys with names and looks like yours have a story to tell about their history and I *always* find it fascinating. My friend and skilled hairdresser has an english name, but she’s Sikh. Is a vegetarian. Has certain ways of doing things etc, and i would never know all that about her if i didn’t ask. I myself am half german, a bit Scottish, a bit British, and the tiniest bit American. It’s an all-white mix, admittedly – but if anyone teases me about the german bit (which happens a lot) then i am not surprised. I’m honest, and I educate. It’s hard to maintain patience, I agree!

      3 – some of the examples you hear regularly can genuinely be seen as compliments – “Arabian princess” – well, yes. I see it. If you were dressing up, you’d make a way better Jasmine than Cinderella. Just like I would make a better Sleeping Beauty than the Little Mermaid (I have blonde hair, not red hair).

      Anyway – I’ll stop listing specifics here – but my question is – how do you *want* people to talk to you?

      I know I know – no derogatory comments. UKIP a-holes can go suck a bag of nuts! But I mean, nice, well meaning people – how do you want us to talk to you?

      How would you like us to enquire about your life? To get to know you?

      Is it so wrong to be gorgeous and exotic?

      Hope you can help me, and others like me, to also navigate this racist minefield you’ve talked about 🙂 xxxxxxxx

      • tapeparade says:

        1 – I think the problem with my name is not just the spelling and mispronunciations but that it often implies, to other people, that I am different. Lauren is an American name and a fairly popular one (or at least one I have encountered numerous times). People are unlikely to hear that you are called Lauren and immediately wonder if you are Muslim/able to speak English or whatever as they may with mine.

        2 – Of course it is interesting to learn about where other people come from. I’m not at all denying that. I’m saying that I don’t think you should use the word “different”, because I’m not different really, I’m just your average Londoner. If we discuss our heritage and families as part of a larger conversation then that’s totally fine. I don’t think it’s appropriate to instantly ask the non-white contingent where they’re from or personal questions about their history. As part of a larger, reciprocated conversation: fine.

        3 – I don’t think I can take that as a compliment because it’s been too many times of people only coming up with those kinds of “compliments” with nothing else to support any aspects of me that are aren’t my skin colour. Why could I not make a great Cinderella? Is it that hard to think outside of the box?

        I did try in my original post to list some ways that people commonly ask questions, and some nicer ways to ask questions. I feel it’s important to state that I am just one person, and these are just the preferences as I see them. I’m not a spokesperson for the non-white community at large – but a lot of people do seem to agree. Perhaps there’s a longer post waiting to be written further about the subtleties of speech?

        I hope that’s helpful in some way. X

  3. I can’t believe how people can be so outright and say these things to people of colour without knowing a thing about them. So wrong. I agree in naming and shaming, these stereotypes need to stop, but unfortunately humans are naturally judgemental in behaviour because of the media we are brought up with and what’s deemed as ‘normal’.

    Gem x

  4. jessthetics says:

    This is a great post – it’s terrible what has been said to you and I had no idea these things actually happened. I feel like my confused male friends when they’re like “but sexual harassment doesn’t go on anmore, it’s 2015”. I’m so sorry you have to put up with this. Your experience in applying for jobs is horrific and definitely illegal – if you had the energy or the time you could defintely report them! Caling out is a great idea, and hopefully people will get the message! Looking forward to seeing you soon 🙂 xxx

    • Report them? It’s not as simple as that. It’s not a criminal offence, it’s a civil one, which means that you need to take it to court, and even then it’s hard to prove anything. People facing discrimination on this level don’t want a court case, they just want to get on with their lives and not be discriminated against in whatever it was they were trying to do.

      I haven’t experienced racism, being white and with ancestors who changed their surname to something British when they immigrated, but I have experienced a fair bit of ableism, and speaking from my experience of that, most of the time there’s nothing you can do. Try to book a restaurant, ask if they have wheelchair access, the phone goes dead, same thing with the next restaurant you ring, just keep ringing round, because you’re trying to celebrate your anniversary rather than to have a court case. Keep getting turned down for lodgings as soon as you say you’re disabled, reflect that you wouldn’t want an ableist landlord anyway, get increasingly desperate because time is running out and you need a place to stay – this is no time for a court case over something you can’t even prove. We called the police once, when someone tried to run us over and yelled “I’ll put YOU in a wheelchair!” at my partner, but there wasn’t a thing they could do as there was no evidence.

      I’ve experienced a lot more, but this isn’t about me, and I know all of this would be so, so much worse if I weren’t white. For starters, the police treated us with respect, which will probably be because we’re both white, with British-sounding names and middle class accents. They didn’t ask my ethnicity; pretty much no one ever does, unless I’m talking to someone on the phone and they are filling out one of those box-ticking forms. When I needed homeless accommodation, I got one of the nice places. If you are someone who gets discriminated against, that’s going to keep happening in the police and legal systems, and from what I hear, for people of colour most of all. There’s a reason why people of colour are the ones leading the discussions aboutintersectionality.

      Kicking up a fuss is difficult, exhausting, may be dangerous (think of the people who take to social networking and are inundated with death and rape threats – Laila, I hope you’re not getting that over this article), and tends to need lawyers, which means that you need to be rich enough to do that and to keep pushing. No one’s in a position to do that when they are looking for a job.

      Great article, Laila, and I am sorry that racism is so bloody rampant and socially acceptable, that we white people are so shitty about this. Every time I think I have a reasonable idea of what it’s like for POC, I read or hear more, and realise just how much worse it is. And again, and again. By the way, the photos are very powerful, you look lovely and have awesome hair, and it’s nice to hear the name Laila, I’ve always been fond of it. Best of luck with the online dating, it can be a right pain in the arse when you’re a woman, even before you add other factors. If it’s any help, OkCupid were great when I reported harassment to them, and I hope Tindr are as well. I did eventually meet my wonderful partner through online dating, it can work!

      • tapeparade says:

        Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply – how awful to read about the discrimination you have had, although I can’t say I am that surprised. I completely agree kicking up a fuss is difficult. I think what I’m intending to do by calling it out is just, if I can, slowly make the people around me think about what they’re doing. And I don’t know, maybe eventually that will disseminate into everybody’s thoughts. Just the fact that a lot of people are reading and sharing this article is great.

        • seedoconquer says:

          I think you’re beautiful, too, and agree that it’s disgusting such comments would be made. One thing I feel needs to be brought up is the fact that we’re all human and we all have prejudices and that includes you. Anyone who denies that is a liar. We may not mean to think, say or do something offensive, but we’re all guilty of it at some point. I believe often times we use the words racism and prejudice interchangeably. Racism is pure hatred for no other reason than you are who you are. You’re black. You’re white. You’re Muslim. Prejudice implies pre-judgement, can cover a range of things and could be hateful or I would argue ignorant. Just because someone has prejudices doesn’t make them a full blown racist. It’s harsh to put the man who spit at you in the street in the same bucket as the ignorant schmuck who asked if you’re vegetarian for religious reasons in front of a group of other vegetarians. Insensitive, yes. The other thing I think is important is accountability. We have a wave of very tense black and white relations in the states right now. How do you think it feels for all white people to be lumped together? How do you think it feels for a white person to feel like they have to watch everything they say, how they say it or who they say it to and then when an innocent discussion turns violent they are automatically a racist… In trying to create an extremely PC society, there’s no discussion anymore because there’s such fear. Fear of being misunderstood or labeled. The media and society are very quick to point the finger at an entire group of people and call them racist, yet when a minority group does something it’s often pushed under the rug for fear of raising tensions. No matter what way you slice it, it’s wrong. What was done and is done to you is wrong. But it’s wrong when it’s done to anyone. I just hope there’s personal accountability for the times you pass a judgement, too.

          • tapeparade says:

            Thanks for your comments. Just to reply to some of your points:

            It may seem harsh but it stems from the same place. I deliberately didn’t use the phrase “institutionalised racism” in my post, but I think that term works. You can call it insensitive or prejudice but it stems from the same idea, the very simple idea that somebody from a different race is different. And that’s the dictionary definition of racism, hence my choice of words in the post.

            I can’t believe you’re asking me how it feels to be lumped in with other people when the majority of my post is about that. I don’t know the plight of white people in the US, because I’m neither white or in the US. I think there should be a discussion; I’ve inadvertently started one right here. Not saying anything due to fear of being misunderstood is pretty silly, if you’re clear in your head and able to articulate yourself you shouldn’t be biting your tongue in situations where you might be able to help. I don’t really know what situations you’re talking about.

            In my experience society is not quick to point the finger at a group and call them racist – if anything we have the opposite problem here in the UK where we have prominent journalists, celebrities and even politicians making clearly racist comments that are hardly challenged. So you’ll forgive me if I find your comment a little hard to interpret as it’s very far from my experiences here in London.

            Personally, I try very hard not to pass judgement on people until I get to know them. I think for most people reading this blog and commenting, that appears to be the way we all operate and how I would hope society as a whole might one day operate (in some utopian version of the future). But I’m aware there are a lot of prejudices and harmful stereotyping flying around in societies across the world, and not just race-based. I didn’t write about any of those things because I don’t feel I can adequately comment on a global state of affairs. But I wholeheartedly agree that people should be accountable for their actions and their words. That’s why, as I say in my article, I constantly call people out on their wording and explain why it can sound offensive or ignorant, and what I would have rather they had said. I think people are often unaware, and unwilling to hold themselves accountable for certain things which is where problems arise.

            • seedoconquer says:

              My point about being lumped together is not to imply you don’t understand. It was rhetorical because I know that you really do understand. My message was meant to communicate that people of all backgrounds, even what others consider to be privileged, experience similar situations. Like you said about the States, I don’t know how things are in London but there is a huge wave of liberalism and political correctness. It’s not just about what you meant to say or even how well you articulated those points, it’s how it’s interpreted so yes, even though I’m moderately articulate, I have been in situations of intelligent discussion about difficult topics and simply disagreeing on fundamental principles was enough to have me labeled. I don’t consider that silly. You raise some excellent discussion points, your writing is lovely and engaging and I agree with you wholeheartedly – we all want a better tomorrow, a better future, a more inclusive and understand society. Like you, I pray for a day that you never have to go through what you’ve explained ever again. Likewise, I hope I never receive the terrible comments I’ve received for being despised just because I’m white and what that person feels my skin represents, for being a Christian and saying hateful things to me because of my beliefs or what they perceive I believe just because I’m Christian, getting corned because I’m in the wrong neighborhood and I’m the wrong skin color to be there, etc. The undercurrent of hate runs far and deep all over the world and across all backgrounds. I look forward to reading more of your posts. I enjoyed your perspective and your writing style.

      • Jackie says:

        I have a habit of putting my foot in my mouth so hopefully this all comes out ok but your post really resonated with me. I’m not in a wheelchair but I do have muscular dystrophy and a very clear limp (and fall all the time) so I’ve definitely experienced a lot of the ableism you have. There are really no words to adequately describe how horrible it is or feels to face such discrimination. No one should be treated the way you have been. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s really powerful and you elucidated it so incredibly eloquently. On a much lighter note, good to know about OkC and Tinder. I’ve tried both and haven’t had a lot of success because of my disability but maybe I’ll give it a go again sometime soon. Xx

  5. Christina says:

    i am shocked reading this. It’s beyond crazy that you have experience so many rude comments and ridiculous situations in school and just day to day! Wtf!? Well done for sharing and highlighting this issue. It’s all too common for people to make insensitive remarks and to assume it’s okay!! Love to you cxxxx

  6. I’m a mixed girl (Asian and White) just like you, but because I have an English name and my genetics lean slightly more to the Caucasian, I don’t get the same reception as you from most people. I do get a lot of Spanish men hitting on me in, but most people don’t really ascertain the fact I’m part-Asian.

    I do have to say I have struggled in the past with Asians instead. I grew up in Asia, I have a stronger connection with my Asian family so I do tend to relate more with my “Asian side”. But I have found it difficult getting accepted by some Asian groups. I get asked a lot of questions about my religion (as I come from a Muslim family) – “do you eat pork?” “you’re like a fake Muslim” etc., I get asked a lot about whether I can handle my spice (yes I can, in fact, a lot better than my Asian friends) and I have actually, and I still find this hard to believe, been discriminated before by Asian parents who find it difficult to believe that ‘this white girl’ is getting better grades than their Asian children.

    I think being part-White in a society as a minority is rare to come by, but all societies have their own prejudices and unfortunately I’ve grown up having to just live with it. This was a really really interesting post to read from another mixed person’s perspective. Thanks!

    Saskia / girlinbrogues.com

    • tapeparade says:

      It’s true that societies all have their own prejudices- the reason that I’m fixating on the not being white side is because I live in a predominantly white area and I actually think the white bias is really strong in the UK- even stuff like not being adequately represented on the census is ridiculous. My parents have been together for 40 years and to see no change as to how they’re presented and seen is crazy. I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with those situations. I think there will always be racism and prejudices in all communities and against all other communities- it just depends what the dominant force is. We live in a world where white people are hugely over represented in the media, in government, even in fiction and fantasy. Like I said, I can’t speak for everyone and I’m so glad to have your perspective on this post and these issues which other people will read in the comments.

      • Saskia says:

        Yeh, it’s sad that society is still like this, especially since the UK is meant to be one of the most open minded. I see how my Asian mum is treated, but she says in some ways it has improved. But that’s not an excuse. I’m glad you’re fighting against it!

      • Ewa says:

        “We live in a world where white people are hugely over represented in the media, in government, even in fiction and fantasy. ” when I used to live in Japan Asian people were hugely over represented in the media, in government, even in fiction and fantasy! During my stays in Egypt there were Arabs everywhere, can you imagine it? Government,TV, magazine, simply everywhere! I get your problem, but notice that you are living in Europe, an orginal place of White people, so it’s like completly normal that White people are everywhere! Europe is for White people this what is Africa for Blacks and Asia for Asians – origin of being, place where those people are at home. Europe is not Americas, we are not immigrants from other countries who took over a plce of origin of native Americans, don’t treat Europe as a multi cultural continent, because it isnt. Look at London, as you wrote, London is 42% not White. Can you imagine writing something like that about any Afrian capital, that it’s in 42% not Black, or about some Asian capital, that it’s in 42% not Asian? Impossible! And yet, it’s White people who are considered as a not welcome to forgeiners.
        If you were living in Africa would you complain for seeing Blacks everywhere – tv, books,government, ect? If person of other race or mixed is living in some country this person sometimes will unfortuantely have diffrent treatement, that ugly side of life. It’s not White people thing, it’s every people thing! Maybe take this in consideration?

        • tapeparade says:

          Whatever skin colour initially prevailed in a certain place has absolutely no bearing on how we should treat each other today, and also has no bearing on modern-day issues of representation, as discussed in my post. I’m not talking historically, I’m talking about right now. In what way is Europe NOT a multicultural continent? How many countries in Europe consist 100% of a single race? None. Europe is multicultural.

          Let’s make this clear – I am NOT a foreigner. I am not talking about a blanket generalisation, and I am not talking about “us v them” mentality of white people having to welcome in those pesky foreigners. That’s not the situation at all. I’m British. I’m talking about the problems I have, in Britain, at the hands of other British people, purely based on the colour of my skin. I’m not talking about where I’m from or what the case was thousands and thousands of years ago when the continents were created, because that’s completely beside the point.

          I’m not sure I understand your comments about Europe not being America’s? Perhaps you could explain further.

          I’m not talking about expats or people who have moved to another, completely different country. I’m talking about people like myself in the place they call home. You ought to take that into consideration. I’d suggest maybe re-reading the first couple of paragraphs where this is explained. I hope that answers your questions.

      • Ewa says:

        Europe is not multicultural. If you would consider it multicultural just because none country is 100% White then Africa and Asia are multicurtural continents as well, because none of their countries is 100% homogenous. Europe isn’t equal with UK, Germany or France. My country is 97.9% White, similar situation with Hungary, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine or Albania, and many many more. Europe was and is a White majority continent.

        Here you can read some studies about that subject

        “I’m not sure I understand your comments about Europe not being America’s? Perhaps you could explain further.” – We, White people living in Europe are in our own place, on our own continent. We didn’t come here from somewhere and killed it’s original populations, we have been here forever, we are aborigenal inhibitants of this place. Americas were colonised by Whites who replaced original population of it by killing inhibitants or mixing with them, so Whites are strangers to Americas – but here, in Europe we are in our home and everyone else is stranger here. I have nothing against immigrants, but remember that we have every right of the world to be hugely over represented in the media, in government, even in fiction and fantasy – just like Blacks have every right to be over represented in the African media, government, ect and Asians – in Asian media, ect. If person of color is “tired” of this then can migrate to the continent where their race is majority, and not try to change our continent.

        Yes, Europe and UK is your home, because you were born here, but racialy and ethnicaly you don’t belong here. It’s sad but true. I used to live in Japan, so it was my home but racialy and ethnicaly I was stranger, didn’t belong there. I understand why were Japanese people “hugly over represented” in Japan, even if I and other forgeiners were living there – it’s because Japan is an Asian country, an orgin place of Asians, just like Europe is an origin place of White people. We don’t have anywhere to go from here, if we don’t like it, we are in our home already and in every other place we will be strangers.

  7. Mandy H says:

    This made me angry, but I also found it horrifically relatable (I have shared very similar experiences with the BNP/UKIP – including such classics as “Go home, you Paki!” and “fucking terrorist”) and a very large national broadcaster gave me a job on their “diversity clause” (which I was very angry about) because it was assumed I was mixed race. The weird this is I am actually Irish. Like fully Irish. Was born in the States, have lived in the UK all but two years of my life. However, I have jet black hair (which I have dyed in recent years), dark eyes, Mediterranean skin (from I think 3 generations back in our family on my mums side?) Israeli like facial features and no body asks me what I am. It is assumed I am Spanish, Italian, Cuban, Romania, Indianian, Brazilian, Mexican, Egyptian, Greek, Bangladeshi etc. To date, one person has correctly identified me English 1st – 25 years here, and another got close by calling me ‘Black Irish’. And to clarify, I did check if my dad was my dad after years of people telling me he couldn’t be because I look so mixed – I am annoyed I let other people dictate who I am to that point.

    I have very similar school experiences of school photos to you, I got asked about how fasting went, (I was raised Catholic, but identify with no religion as an adult). Up until I had my nose altered, the most asked question I got every day on all my social media by strangers was if I was Jewish. I have been told several times for on screen roles for my job I was not “Hollywood pretty” for the roles as I looked too ethic – which I am still extremely angry is even a thing someone said to me. I am always ‘randomly’ checked at the airports when flying to the states/uk. Banks tell me to put my correct ethnicity in when filling in forms, rude. Honestly, I get your “things I hear all the time” section because, yeah, totally hear that.

    My ‘friends’ (not anymore) used to tell people I was Jewish “because it was funny” where I saw it as an insult to other cultures. And if I even expressed “angry” as an emotion, they would follow it up with “Oy vey”. I have heard “I’ve always liked exotic girls” from almost every partner I had, and I have never been flattered.

    People have placed their expectations of what they think I am on me and I have learnt nobody knows really who anyone is. All this has taught me over my life is you can never, ever, ever judge anyone by how they look nor should you place your ‘values’ and expectations of what you think they are on them. People are people, dammit.

    To be clear: This isn’t a ‘white people have problems too’ post, because they really, really, do not. I know I am a unique case and my best friend has seen how we are treated differently. He’s witnessed things happen to me and is always surprised by how someone else behaves. We are treated differently. I have been told “how can I identify white, when I am clearly not?!”. I was regularly called a ‘mutt’ at school, which is a term even I took on saying, because it hurts more when other people say it. Truth is, I tend to identify more with my mixed race friends and partner (Lebanese & German), because we share very similar experiences, and I have been made to feel like I am not who I am.

    I actually used to look really similar to you even three years ago, but now I dye my hair lighter, have changed my actual face (mostly because my nose didn’t actually work as a nose, but while I am there figured why not) I seem to get the comments less times in a week as opposed to daily. And it’s sad that that is a thing that actually happened.

    I am sorry people put you through that. I am genuinely angry, but also fantastic post speaking up about it.

  8. I’m mixed race and I do get a lot of, “So where are you from?” Type of questions, but usually people say they’re asking about my accent which is in truth a strange mush-mash of Scottish, Irish and American. I haven’t encountered racism like you have for years and years, and I’m suddenly struck by how lucky I am! I cannot believe that people I this day and age see a foreign-looking name–incidentally our WI secretary is very white British and is called Lailah–and assume a language barrier. It does, I suppose, pre-screen companies that you wouldn’t want to work for due to this not-so-casual racism.

    I had so hoped that we were beyond this in 2015 Britain.

  9. Denise says:

    I honestly never saw you as brown or white, but as Laila. I never look at people as brown, white or black, they are people – like me, like anyone else, or so we should all be. I am very very sorry for all you went through and still do, and the UKIP member is tettible! With the “we’ll be getting rid of you soon, love” – OK, so a non-European member from, say, just as an example, a white Uruguayan or Mexican is welcome, but not a mixed race national? Wow. Well, then it’s a society not worth living in. I don’t mean in the Uk, but a society in general. I never ever thought of you and an Indian/Bollywood musician, and not a Peruvian, not anything but an incredible girl! I always say you are beautiful, and what is that, despite of being brown? Look, they are brainless people, really. So now my turn to tell some things, though you may not believe me. I think I don’t share some things on the blogosphere and I admire you for sharing. I have no control of that, as you said, being white. But there are stupid people in the world, who don’t know we will all die the same way, we have two eyes, two hands, and need to eat to be alive. They don’t know that we ALL, I said ALL, came from Tanzania and Ethiopia. ALL of us, I repeat. So, yes, I am white and I have a ha-ha, friend, who thinks she is whiter and tells me all the time – I am whiter than you. She is not (and even if, what would the problem be? I am not competing on color, this is soooooooo – I could add 10 thousand Os to so – ridiculous), but wants to think she is whiter than anybody else and loves saying that and love spointing that out to white people. She really loves it. I found it so racist. Cause if she, being white, competes with white people measuring the degree of “whiteness”, imagine what she would do to non-white. I started getting distance from such a person, because I know she has other similar racist opinions about everything. Laila, do believe me I would have loads of stories to share with you. I am white, but due to some things I am seen as exotic by some people, believe it or not, and also had to endure some strange comments – as I said, facts that you don’t know, so skin is not the only thing for people. It’s a matter of sheer ignorance and unfortunately we have to live among these people. If you ever want to know some things, we can talk. You will see it happens not only to brown or mixed race people. I simply can’t understand why people are so nasty. It’s a long comment, I am sorry, but I am shocked at all the things you went through. By the way, white people also dance belly dance – I do. And I love Bollywood. True people are shocked when I say that. But I don’t care – as I said, we all have to eat to be alive, I don’t know why people still think on “differences”. We are not different!

    • This was the absolute best discussion I’ve read on the topic of race and racism I’ve read in years. Let me state a few facts. So many people in the UK are just plain rude. They make issue of things that lack substance. The English are notorious for their arrogance. So many so called white elitists have been conditioned to believe that being English makes you better than everyone else by some divine right. That’s the first tier of their delusions of Grandure. The next discriminatory tier is being part of an aristocratic pedigree, made up of white bred snobs who live off the old money from their ancestral tree. This class system then considers a persons wealth or celebrity influence. Then at the lowest consideration is based on a persons political or religious affiliations. Your delima is that you live in a country whose identity is based on beliefs which are outdated. The English celebrate their own mediocrity while trying to discredit those who don’t share the same lineage. The Germans and the Japanese also practiced this exceptional ism…and if you know your history then you know what happened to those who weren’t of white pedigree or similarly how the Japanese also murdered others seeking to elevate their status via genecide. If all of the non-Whites left the UK on their own accord… As did the pilgrims, and took their talent, money and resources with them… The UK elitist a would no longer be

      • Elitists would no longer be able to feed off of the spoils of others. My advice is to leave and go where you are celebrated. Life is too short to waste it on a government which lacks progression. I look white on the outside but I have brown blood on the inside. I am by racial distinction mixed. But because I look white, I am treated white. I have experienced reversed racism. I grew up in a mostly dark skinned city in the US where people tried to make me feel bad for being white… When I too have suffered from the consequences of racism. My grandmother was a Cherokee woman.she was sold to my German Gransfather for 10 dollars in 1919 at age 13. He died before my mixed grandfather was 1 year old. She had to work as a prostitue at age 15 to feed her baby, because no one would hire a brown woman. Her rapists… Wealthy white men. Stole what little dignitity she had left. After 7 years of this she was able to break free of this slavery and escaped to Miami where she raised my grandfather in a home which lacked love respect or admiration. she was angry and he grew up looking like those who abused her… She struggled cleaning homes of wealthy Jewish families and later joined the Jewish faith because she could reinvent herself, escaping the stigma of her Native American desent and instead found a community where she was excepted. I learned about her plight when I began to do my own geneology. I honestly thought I had Jewish ancestry… I felt sad for her, but also learned that she was rose above her circumsyances. She couldn’t change being brown, but she could change her envirnment. She spent her later years feeling disenfranchised, yet at peace no longer having to live in a place where society treated her like a lessor human. Today, when asked to state my race I list causation/ Native American … Although I don’t get a check from the Cherokees now wealthy tribe, nor am I invited to belong to their distinct culture, I still must live feeling like a person without distinction. Hated by some who hate white people and yet not accepted as a white eletist either. My resolve is on Christ, a Jew rejected by his people of origin, adopted by those who saw his true nature and loved him… I am an adopted child of Isreal, but a true child of God. I love the idealogy that I am judged by my deeds not my pedigree and that I too can become a person of distinction based on what I do, not because I look a certain way. The world is changing and we must keep our reason. We must not give into the propaganda or toxic lies people will tell you about you. You and only you get to decide what value to give the deeds of others. You can remember a well known truth… Most of the greatest people that ever walked this planet had dark skin. The lie … Is a white lie… You must avoid becoming just like those fearful haters. Do not demonize light skinned people either… Another accepted truth…the first humans…. The story of all of us…is that they were brown… We all came out of Africa. You are a forward thinking beautiful woman and I would love to look like you…but still be me…You are not your circumstances. Circumstances are temporary. The world is your playground. Travel… Expand your mind…and you will learn that some will love you and some will fear you…stay hungry and passionate by continuing to serve your fellow mankind regardless of their ethnicity or skin color and go where you are loved and valued. Then One day

  10. anne-marie says:

    have a friend half French / Arabic, but a country in the middle east,
    he told me the things that shocked me.
    example: if it is of Arab origin, including the Maghreb
    so it is a Muslim, then he is a Christian
    Once again, he lost his French passport, he went to the police station to make a statement of loss, with this statement, it was in the town hall (in France, it is the town hall, for passports and ID cards) to redo his passport.
    He gave the papers and an employee (a woman) said, “here is for French passports !!!!

  11. Polly says:

    This is all really awful and I’m sorry that you have to deal with this. I completely agree with you on the asking different questions-I think a lot of it is well intentioned curiosity, but something like “so where are you from really?” is so offensive, and it really wouldn’t take much for people to think a little bit more about what they’re saying. Or to actually let you speak first so they don’t need to ask the questions.

  12. mychinesebf says:

    I really loved this post as much as it made me angry. >:)

    These are situations not everyone can understand and get brushed off like nothing. Some people out there can be really nasty. As a Latin@ living in the United States I’ve always struggled trying to conform to what an “American” or “Mexican” should be. I’m part Native American so I guess my facial structure confuses people. I hate being asked “What are you?” or “Where are you from? No, really what country?”.

    I remember in school if we spoke Spanish they would send us to time out, I’ve been told to go back to my country, get on the bus so you can be deported, I’m pretty for an exotic girl, called barbarian, assumed I work in restaurants/stores/cleaning, older men trying to pick me up because I don’t “speak” English, and much more.

    These days I correct people when they butcher my name and call others out when they something culturally insensitive. Being in an interracial/intercultural relationship has opened me up more to rude remarks. Even though we live in a modern era we still need to educate others. No matter what diverse background we are still human and deserve the same respect no matter the color of your skin.

  13. Amazing post!
    Have a great week-end!
    Natallia Jolliet

  14. jennie says:

    It sucks with a capital S that you have to deal with this rubbish! My boyfriend is mixed race and this post prompted me to ask him whether he’d ever experienced anything similar. I’d never really thought to ask before, I suppose because I don’t see him as being different in any way. He says people never really ask and it’s only when he tells them they say ‘oh, I see it now’. Whether that’s because he looks more white than anything else, because he has a fairly traditional British surname, a combination of the two, or something else I’m not sure. But I’ve never thought of you as anything other than Laila – an inspiring young woman pursuing her creative dreams and living life. And I hope that you don’t have to deal with these comments forever, because you shouldn’t have to! Lots of love xxx

  15. lilydelahaye says:

    This a great piece of writing, Laila. Casual racism and sexism is so ingrained into our society that, sadly it take does take brave people to call it out. I intend to be one of them with you. Oh, and for the record – you ARE beautiful. Full stop. xxx

  16. Jane says:

    As an Asian Australian I can unfortunately relate to what you’ve wrote here, and have heard a lot of the same (but I’m not mixed and I’m sure that brings a whole other set of racism as well). I think people here still think that racism is only about full-on shouting racial slurs at people, where in reality it’s all the “small stuff”/microaggressions that add up and take a toll. I will 100% get angry about it nowadays (although I am an angry sort of person to begin with). I used to laugh about things and even make jokes about being Asian myself but I’ve since realised that this is the result of years of ingrained internalised racism, and also a survival mechanism, where no one can make fun of you if you make fun of yourself first, if that makes sense.

    • tapeparade says:

      Yes exactly- like I said, I would rather make that joke first and identify myself as the “ethnic” before it comes from somewhere else. This whole malarkey with the Tinder guy and the comments my friends made on Facebook made me wonder if people think it’s genuinely funny being brown as I have been taking the piss for so long, rather than realising there are still some real issues. And it’s the ingrained racism that is most damaging.

      • Halle Barry is causation and black.,, she is so beautiful and talented and a superstar… But could not escape the questions of her ethnicity … She finally stated that she was black and never told the press that her mother is white… President Obama also stated the same and both later admitted that because they were never treated as white peoples…they were forced to identify with black culture, thereby quoting the rule of law…. One drop of black blood makes them black…

  17. Holy mother how are we still this awful in 2015. White folks be so quick to yell #AllLivesMatter or ‘personally I’m blind to race’ only because we’re not the ones being shat on from the huge institutional podium designed to keep inequality winning gold. I’m so sorry you have to get the jokes in before they get you (I get shat on like this too but for something different so I ain’t gonna clog up your comments), I’m sorry. People are only blind to this shit when they don’t *have* to see it all day every damn day.

  18. MargevonMarge says:

    I totally hear you. I get the “Where are you REALLY from?” a lot. Also people shouting at me in “Chinese” or “Japanese” and expecting a positive response just based on my appearance.

    I don’t get the “terrorist” thing, but I *do* get people making snide xenophobic and anti-immigrant remarks to me and then going “Oh we don’t mean YOU, we mean THOSE people” despite me actually being an immigrant…. So I also get to witness the reality of racism, and it’s subjectivity.

    I was recently asked by a complete stranger if I was one of them mail-order brides too.

    I’ve also had a weird *age* thing where people were surpised that due to being called “Margret” I wasn’t actually a middle-aged white biddy!

  19. cristiancantoro says:

    Hi Laila, I found your post really interesting, and I have to say that I am horrified by some of the episodes you experienced. I have a question, and sorry if they are personal. I was surprised by the fact that you heard things like “I’ve always liked exotic girls” from people with whom you were in a relationship, my surprise is twofold: on one hand, I can understand why you don’t like this kind of remarks, if they get used against you all the time and I understand you are fed up with this kind of reasoning. On the other hand I would assume that this was meant as a compliment. So my question is: how did you react to that?

    • tapeparade says:

      Well, as I say in the post I know a lot of the time people aren’t trying to be racist, but immediately calling me exotic feels like a comment on my skin colour and happens so often it’s impossible to interpret differently. I always call people out and ask them to clarify what they mean, and say that I appreciate that they’re trying to be nice but can’t they find something else to compliment me on. Every single time.

      • Irony is in Dave Chappels skit called the black white supremacist. Freaking funny… Basically a blind black kid who is raised in a special orphanage for blind kids. He grows up thinking he’s white… And becomes the leader of a secret white supremisist group so secret that their faces are hidden by masks… A great way to discuss how stupid racism is… Yet when whayever a child learns… Becomes ingrained. Again the key is to raise your child in a loving diversified community

  20. uwaisa says:

    Hi Laila, I’m angry as I read it but not shocked unfortunately. My mum is Mauritian, dad is Indian. Ive only ever spoken English and when people ask me what I am, I say “British” then the immediate response is “no but like where are you REALLY from” It gets boring after a while. Ignorance is an ugly quality and no real excuse. Its the unfortunate truth that things haven’t really changed since the 80s. We are so fortunate to be surrounded by so much culture but its sad that instead of embracing them we segregate on the basis of them.

  21. Piarve says:

    Hey, no you are not the only one. I have been having conversations surrounding this with my non-white friends and I didn’t realise how much being a different colour would affect how people approach me in the ‘real world’ (post school).

    Iv heard of many people who have changed their names on their CV to sound more British and they receive more interview call backs.

    Meeting people for the first time is always interesting, because they feel like they know more about your background than yourself. E.g. I explained to someone of my African background and the reply was ‘yes, I read a book about the Congo, oh the poverty is just crazy, yet they survive it’. It’s imposible to run away from sterotypes.

    Sorry long comment. This issue angers me too and I’m glad you posted something about it.

  22. Caitlin says:

    An important and frustrating post. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  23. Kayla says:

    “What’s it like to be an Oreo” a question I have received on multiple occasions as if I’m some sort of cookie and not a human being. Just because I’m brown skinned ( mixed with Mexiacan and Dominican and living in Northeastern America) and speak proper and not “ghetto” like the majority brown skinned community. Being the only brown skinned girl living in an all white suburb. I feel where you are coming from. This isn’t an issue that is found in a singular country but worldwide as if being white skinned and female means you’re more superior.

  24. I’m mixed race too and the first question I would always get when it came to dating was ‘so where are you from?’ http://dipakchowdhuryfilms.wordpress.com

  25. What an eye opening post. It’s so awful that this still happens nowadays.

    Lizzie Dripping

  26. Lix H. says:

    This is so gross and so not surprising at the same time, which makes it even grosser. I wish we could all get over our special snowflake white person syndrome and realize that hurting someone and assuming things is not a birthright and us getting called out is necessary and not worse than the hurt we cause. There’s so much society ingrains in people and not being racist is a constant, everyday process of unlearning that bullshit and I’m tired of people being shitty and putting their “right” to be a dick above other people’s humanity. I’m tweeting out this post and I want to punch all the people you mentioned in the fucking face.

  27. You are beautiful, and let’s leave it at that.
    Regarding the unknowing and careless racism that we face everyday – to people who have never experienced being a racial minority it seems ‘pretty inoffensive’ and ‘harmless’ in isolation, but for non-whites it builds and builds on us over the years like dental plaque, until it becomes an invisible ingrained measure of your second-class status that can debilitate you without even conscious thought.
    I wrote a blog post as a reaction to the racist ranting on the subway by that young woman a couple of years back. It is primarily about growing up as a mixed race kid in a white working class area and writing it made me revisit some of the things I had accepted and even done as a child that people need to see in themselves.
    You may find it interesting, and I’d be interested in your thoughts

    • I experienced racial riots in Miami during the 80s at 12 years old I fears for my life because I looked white. I was terrified of Blacken for years to follow after seeing people murdered in the streets … Because they were not black. Latinos and whites … Including innocent children were murdered because of racism

  28. reshma83 says:

    Thanks for sharing this post Laila. My sister is super fair and has light brown hair. People typically don’t believe that we are sisters and she had a tough time when she went off to college. Mainly because they Indian students typically thought she must be “mixed”. It was hard for me to really understand what she was feeling and dealt with on a regular basis. Sometimes I do think people are just out right rude and inconsiderate, but I also think sometimes it’s due to just plain ignorance. So I do think that starting this conversation and making people more aware of how their actions and words have an effect on someone else is extremely important. Again, thanks for sharing this post.

  29. fos says:

    Hi Laila,
    I read your post, and I think I get it but I don’t really get it – initially, probably cause I’m white. Secondly, because the Tinder message you got has also happened to me a boatload of times and I thought nothing of it. Thirdly, because though it is absolutely your prerogative to feel whatever way you feel ( and I can’t imagine how since, as I’ve said, I’m white) you’ve written this post on what seems to be a “straw that broke the camel’s back” attitude, I’m assuming based on the fact that you’ve felt discriminated against a whole lot, and not just on this Tinder message.

    I can’t imagine that. I’m empathetical towards you, and it’s awful that people should make you feel “other” based on your skin color or name. But if you read your Tinder message without your eyes, without your hurt, without your bias and without your past experiences to inform your feelings, could you be that you read into it a little?

    I’m Italian, and I’m a musician too – when guys assume my (foreign) name and my (dark, mediterranean) complexion are not British, I go yup, want to know my story?

    • tapeparade says:

      I haven’t really written this post on a “straw that broke the camel’s back” – the Tinder experience provided me with a relevant, recent, JPEG-able lead-in, but a lot of this post has been in my drafts for a long time. It’s something I’ve needed to articulate for a while and the Tinder comment spurred me on.

      I’m sure you can read that Tinder comment innocently, but that’s exactly what I’m trying to raise awareness of this piece. Nobody is trying to cause hurt. Nobody wants to be a racist. But it is so deeply ingrained into people interact and what people assume and take notice of that it’s hard to point out all the time because it is literally, all the time. I’m trying to call it out every single time I see it because I don’t think there’s enough awareness of it.

      I actually called out your attitude in the post – making out that I’m the one with the problem, that I’m being too sensitive and that I’m reading too much into things. It’s not about being ashamed of my story or not wishing to ask – it’s being targeted about my heritage straight off. If you had a more anglican name and a Caucasian appearance, do you think people would still assume you weren’t British? Sometimes name and appearance are indicative of a varied ethnicity but my chagrain is with the fact that people assume that, straight off, with no basis of evidence (name and appearance are not evidence) and that those assumptions then feed into other things like stereotypical prejudices that come into play straight away.

  30. Mr. Deadman says:

    I’m a white man. As a white man, the question of ethnicity becomes nonexistent, and being an American make is almost laughable. I do have heritage, though not a lot I can be proud of without the cost of someone else.

    Being a white man that is self aware of the costs and hurt associated by my ancestors. It isn’t easy either. It would be if I was an ass about it, I suppose.

    • tapeparade says:

      Are you trying to infer that we have similarly difficult lives, or that I’m being an ass?

      • Mr. Deadman says:

        Are you infering that you’re the only one with difficulties brought on by mix of cultures and ethnicities? And not infering in the slightest that you’re and ass. Don’t need to be on such guard with every white male you speak to.

        • tapeparade says:

          I’m not at all trying to infer that I’m the only one with difficulties, as addressed in the post. And I’m not being on guard, I was asking you to clarify your comment as I genuinely didn’t understand what you were trying to say. We all have to live with the weight of our past, but it doesn’t affect all of us in our day to day lives.

    • battleofalma says:

      Yes, no one’s life is “easy”, but your response to hearing about prejudices that other’s face that you don’t shouldn’t be “What about *my* problems?”

      Because your problem it seems is “OMG I’ve got so much privilege because my ancestors a White Supremacist society! The guilt and angst!” as opposed to being abused in the street.

      • Mr. Deadman says:

        I guess a simple sorry to hear, would’ve been better?
        I was just showing that as human beings of various appearances and cultures, we are all subject to different not equal, but unique experinces.
        I don’t get made fun of in street, but I do get made fun of a lack of culture. And to have a history where your ancestors were the oppressors, and still are, it is difficult. People assume you’re guilty of a crime you didn’t commit. Once again, not saying it’s identical. Unique.
        The more important dialogue we should be having is how do we heal and mend the hurt so that we can make progress.

        • tapeparade says:

          As I said in my post, I also get crap for not having any perceived culture. Your ancestors history doesn’t negatively affect you going for jobs, presumably? We all have to deal with what’s happened in the past – no culture or civilisation has a spotless record. I appreciate that you’ve struggled to come to terms with a personal oppressive history, but some of us are still under various forms of oppression, however nuanced and mild it may seem. By not adequately recognising it that oppression is just going to be perpetuated.

    • tabbyrenelle says:

      Hi Mr. Deadman… as I recall, you were an ass on Jeanne de Montbaston’s blog too. You were exceedingly sexist and wanted to tell women how to “calm” down. And boasted of your ability to do so. It’s no wonder you are here trolling another woman and being equally racist as well. What kind of “investigating” (being that’s your vague profession) are you doing as a white male, really?

      I realize you prefer the lyrical “sound” of women’s voices, as they are more “gentle” and “soothing” to you and see all other voices as “angry” from your comments on Jeanne’s blog, so don’t be afraid.

      Be assured, You don’t have to reply. I’m just noting a pattern in your particular interests regarding women and your need (perceived entitlement) to make comment.

      • Mr. Deadman says:

        If you think my post was simply about calming down women, then read again. It was about de-escalating situations regardless of gender.

        • tabbyrenelle says:

          No, you have a style of handling people Mr. Deadman. And you’ve stated so on Jeanne’s blog. When hyper masculine men make you feel bad, you are drawn to the gentleness of women as you’ve written about. This is stereotyping and sexist. And this means that women’s anger and fuller range of expressions is not allowed by you. You calm them down and maybe you think you’re doing it for all the right reasons. Maybe you have to for your investigator job. Maybe you have to for your own personal fear versus safety feelings. But you don’t de-esculate these on-line situations. You create tensions… that’s why I’m arguing your points. There is more of a control in your word choices for the sake of your own comfort, than for that of others (others meaning: women).

          I understand what you intend to sound like but you’re making butt-loads of mistakes “handling” women outside of your “job description” in the same manner. Some situations don’t need your help or sense of entitlement in “de-esculating” them. Women who face systemic sexism and people who face systemic racism, don’t need to be de-esculated. They need to be listened to… and that’s that. That’s the point. We don’t ever move on or heal or fix things or change things by “calming” everyone down.

          But thanks for your willingness to discuss and openness to the critique or your comments.

          • Mr. Deadman says:

            True that I don’t approach everyone the same way. I do use context cues to assist in approach, but it isn’t the overall factor. As a caseworker, I go out into the field with a slither of information making contact with complete strangers that frequently have pages of criminal history, but sometimes not. My approach in every case is to come off as helpful and unerstanding to ease tension and open communication. Do I use stereotypical cues every now and then, yes, but to assist. Mostly though, I read body language and adjust my guard accordingly.

            Stereotypes seed from a kernel of truth, sometimes I happen to find a kernel, most of the time it’s close but not exact. Patterns of behavior categorized by sex, ethnicity, and body type, not all that helpful, but by situation, yes. Most people I encounter are standoff-ish towards me, but they display it differently. It is usually the men that tend to display it in a more aggressive manner. If that makes me sexist, then I guess I am.

            • tabbyrenelle says:

              Hi Mr. Deadman, this article is not about YOU. This article is not about your casework. You’re tangent-ing dreadfully.
              Newsflash: YOU ARE SEXIST in your interactions on line and working with your stereotypes is why you have to ask “But what do we do?” to me in the other comment…. drop your stereotypes and kernels of truth and start actually listening. It’s not about your control of the discussion for your own FUCKING comfort, white man.

              Did my language turn you off just then? Do you want to CALM me down? And if so, why? Why should you?

              This blog article is not about criminal activity. However you need some info about the Massive Incarceration System I think which is systemically racist so here ya go:

              The Future of Race in America: Michelle Alexander at TEDxColumbus

              to read Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow: The Massive Incarceration System in the Age of Colorblindness free online you can click on the following link: http://communitysuccess.org/sites/default/files/u9/Alexander-The%20New%20Jim%20Crow.PDF

              now, the above info has nothing to do with a biracial woman dealing with racism and sexism, but it may address your focus.

              Please read the book and watch the video and see where you are the problem, because if you don’t you won’t be helping anyone black, or biracial or female… you’ll just be employed, by the man and for the man.

              • Mr. Deadman says:

                I was under the impression that we were open to discuss how stereotypes and how stereotypical thinking affect us. Sorry if I overstepped by sharing my experience. I thought it might be interesting to read how sometimes real life experience minics gender stereotypes and racial stereotypes. My purpose of this dialogue was to then discuss how we develop as a society, because like it or not there are kernels of truth that set back progress. Like it or not there are times when stereotypical roles are fulfilled almost exactly.

                • tabbyrenelle says:

                  Yeah Mr. Deadman… and the kernel of truth is that sexism as you have come to accept it is not working in your online social interactions. DO NOT apologize to me. You need to read the book and view the video about the massive incarceration system and then after that you and I will go into feminist works. Please read and view and the you’ll be adept at speaking to someone like me. Currently I’m being very very cool with you, but I’m out of your league. So catch up to me, boy-o or remain stupid. You’re version of the world doesn’t fly. It’s crashing. Come to the light….

                  • Mr. Deadman says:

                    I’m sorry, but please don’t call me a boy-o or stupid. No need for name calling or insults.

                    • tabbyrenelle says:

                      Aw go to hell and suck lemons Mr. Deadman.

                      Did I call you stupid? I don’t recall typing hat…

                      Maybe it’s just the feeling you get after acting like your input about stereotypes matters when you admit you’re a sexist. I mean that’s pretty stupid.

                      You’re trolling.

                    • tabbyrenelle says:

                      follow up comment 2 0f 2: I see reading back over my previous comment, Mr. Deadman that I did type “or remain stupid”so you’re right I called you stupid. It would be stupid to continue to perpetuate and justify your use of stereotypes and sexism after you’ve been told about your transgressions. So, it’s up to you. Be stupid or get smarter.

                      Okay, there is my clarification and now you can go suck lemons Boy-o.

  31. Mr. Deadman says:

    Referring to you as a harem girl because of your appearance is terrible and ignorant. White women get it, too. White trash. Trailer trash, and such.

    • tapeparade says:

      Whilst I appreciate that all women have to put up with a certain amount of racist bullshit, I do think there is a whole sub-genre of exclusively racist content and judgement, as I discussed in depth in my article.

    • tabbyrenelle says:

      Again, hello Mr. Deadman… so example: Donald Trump is running for president in the U.S. and he goes to this Iowa fair to campaign…and there are these “trailer trash types” loving him (as seen on news reports). Trump’s racist and sexist. Maybe you’ve heard what he said about Mexicans and women. The “poor trailer trash types” that support him, of which there are many, will never never never never be helped by him, and would vote against their best interests, but they feel they are part of an entitlement and he expresses their “anger” it has been reported. Anger over what? Over brown people and women. Trailer trash types aren’t experiencing racism. They face prejudice(s), and oppressions, but they still claim superiority over Mexicans and black people and bi-racial people, and Native Americans, and Asians etc. And usually they are binary thinkers stuck in gender roles making them sexist.

      White women experience sexism and so can relate to or empathize with racism due to the patriarchal structures and white supremacist systems… but they do not experience racism.

      White supremacist systems are systemic and they include sexism and racism by design.

      • Mr. Deadman says:

        It’s says a lot about American society when trailer trash have supremacy over Mexicans, black people, and other minorities. What do we do? How do we get ride of racism? It doesn’t seem like we can if any specific group has power as in Whites have power.

  32. Jasmine S. says:

    This really resonated with me. My dad is from Bangladesh and my mom is from the Philippines. My last name is Stavinoha but my maiden name is Khan. Grew up in a small, conservative Texas town where people would see my dad and yell at him to go back to where he came from, and spent my entire life feeling self conscious about myself and my identity. It’s hard to explain to people what it feels like to walk into a room and immediately feel aware that you aren’t a white American, even among friends.

  33. I don’t get racism. Everyone is beautiful. There’s no ideal benchmark of beauty. And all the colors are awesome. Awsum post!! Please do check out my blog as well!

  34. I thank you for writing this. I never would have guessed so many of these remarks would be received as offensive. Dumb, I know, I think some are just nervous noise, not meant to offend but trying to put ourselves at ease and wouldn’t be said once we knew you.

    Stupid maybe, but not meant to be hurtful. I am so sorry.

  35. This is lovely post and I never thought about people being told such lines. I never really put people into groups. People have always been just people .

  36. You see this all to often and it make my bloody curdle. Skin colour is merely that a colour. It does not make us different as humans and I do not understand why people feel the need to bring it up in conversation. The sooner racism is eradicated the better. People learn to hate nobody is born with it.

  37. I can totally relate to your words, Laila.
    When people ask where I am from, I tell them Germany. Some people leave it that way but most people jump right to the next question: “But you don’t look german. Where are you really from?”
    This leads to an explanation about my whole family background…it never really bothered me before but meanwhile I can’t stand it.
    And yes, the fact that I am something between black and white is quite irriating and makes me “different” and “unfitting” in a way. Fortunatly for me I never had to hear comments like you have heard from other people. That’s harsh and mean and I hate that there are people out there, who can’t think twice or say something that is actually hurtful.
    Thanks for this article! 🙂

  38. ziyaa14 says:

    Well according to me, you are really pretty not just by the way you look also by the way you think, people on all the stages of your life are going to judge you, all you gotta do is just hear them out, not listen. Let it not affect the beauty of your heart. 🙂

  39. mandycachoeira says:

    Great post.

  40. Thank you for this eye opening post.
    I knew ordinary racism existed, but I probably never understood it fully before. I’ve heard some examples in the past but so isolated that I was missing a dimension.
    I will try for now on not to ignore this type of expression and let people know that I find it offending. Perhaps we can change the way people think by doing this, so they can feel that they did offend.

  41. Yvette says:

    What a wonderful and eye-opening piece! Thank you for sharing this with the world. So much discussion could be garnered from what you’d left here. In fact, my own thoughts of what I might be oblivious to are now stirring. I am a white woman living in a region where we think that racism is long gone … but perhaps I am only shielded from it. You are an amazing, talented, beautiful woman and I hope that more and more people will continue to see that first.


  42. asoe209 says:

    I just stumbled across this post the title is what got me. I feel what you have said here. I moved from South London to Kent a few year back an often have a stereo type placed over me due to skin colour and location.

    I have heard all sorts of comments while being here
    “Your ok for a black guy”
    “He’s black but really he’s white”
    And so on, I can never tell if it’s a generation thing or just location but it’s funny to me some people mindset.

    I thank you for sharing that post.

  43. More than racism, you are experiencing sexism. Every comment that tells you are beautiful in this thread, is making a woman’s beauty the priority.

    Men like tits and ass. Bottom line, exotic or whatever has nothing to do with it. The blond has been elevated and so seen as more privileged but she’s being distorted, objectified and, “eaten” same as you.

    In any case, you’re definitely facing a layered sexism-rasicm that you should indeed call out. Well done.

    • tapeparade says:

      I don’t think you can dismiss the “exotic” line, because how many blonde blue-eyed people hear that? How many Caucasian women are told they could be an Arabian princess? There is a lot of sexist background to many of the comments, as I acknowledged in my post, but the non-white comments are what I focussed on as these come with a dangerous set of assumptions. As said in the post though, I am working on a post dealing with the sexist comments.

      • I’m not dismissing it at all, so I apologize if that’s what it sounded like. It compounds it for you. But what I’m saying is men literally don’t care what they fuck. Sorry to be so blunt or crass. Some have types and preferences, but women are globally objectified and regarded as different variations of chattel, as well as fitted into binary gender roles/stereotypes.

        In the end it doesn’t matter if the blond is not “exotic”. She’s the bimbo. She’s dumb. She’s easy. She’s also the one who gets all the attention on the feminist podium. She has a difficult role… and she has been eaten since birth. So her sexual harassment and rape and misinterpretation and distortion, is no less important to me.

        That being said, your voice from your particular experience needs to address the nuances and specifics to be sure. I 100% agree. I look forward to your future posts and learning from you. Thanks for your reply.

    • battleofalma says:

      Top tip: If you’re white, don’t presume to tell non-white people what is and isn’t racism.

      • Hola battleofalma,

        I’m not presuming or telling anyone what is and isn’t racism. I’m speaking to a woman’s life and what is sexism. TOP TIP: I don’t need your assistance.

        Or another way of saying this would be: “NO thank you.”

  44. NGN93 says:

    Your opening is on point!

  45. What a great post! I’ve had similar experiences but have always thought it’s other people’s ignorance that brings on comments like ‘You don’t speak/look like other Indians’ and observations along those lines. I usually laugh it off but your post is a good insight into the thin line between jovial comments and actual insults. I’ve written my blog using an alter ego but am now feeling inspired to use my real identity 🙂

    • tapeparade says:

      Yep, just be who you are! I used a different surname for various job applications and now I just can’t be bothered, it’s exhausting. Laughing it off I think has maybe been part of my problem in the past as it sends the message that it’s ok to take the piss about race. I’m not convinced we were all laughing for the same reason.

  46. Live Bravely says:

    Thank you for this post. I appreciate that it educates as well as leaves the reader with some positive, “ok, here is what you can do about it….perhaps try some rephrasing” I think awareness is a large portion of the battle.
    Sometimes people do interact with others in a way because they have never been taught to empathize or have never been educated towards a certain pov.

    Sometimes in the world we live in, I feel paralyzed because I don’t know what is “okay” to say. Sometimes I feel like the cycle perpetuates itself….If I don’t know what to say, silence reinforces the chasm…stigmas or bias don’t even have an opportunity to be challenged. But if I open up communication and “burn a bridge” somehow, because I am uneducated or have never had an interaction to learn from, the fear of “don’t say anything” is reinforced….keeping the stigmas alive and barriers between others up. So thank you for providing insight. As a teacher, you probably know the importance of creating a safe place for students to learn. It’s really good. I understand some people are not teachable, and that many of the remarks you get come from completely distasteful, cruel-hearted people. Perhaps give some people the benefit of the doubt that their hearts are good and they can be educated into change vs. guilted into change by being “called out”? I know that may sound frustrating, but reaching those people that want to love others and that are willing to give a listening, receptive ear are going to be the ones to come shoulder to shoulder with in your quest….not the hard-hearted who will never be argued into a different point of view.

    Again, thank you. Very interesting, insightful and challenging read.

    • tapeparade says:

      I’m not in any way trying to shame, or guilt, anybody. I was very clear about understanding most people are innocently making these remarks. I’m calling it out so they can know. Surely they would rather know than continue to offend?

      As I say in the post, a lot of it is misunderstanding and phrasing. I call it out so that those people may know it’s better to re-word their phrases – I’m trying to educate them, from my perspective, what it’s like, and trying to ask them to think about it to a greater level. You shouldn’t feel paralysed in terms of not knowing what is “ok” to say – you should just think it through before you say it. You’re right – silence reinforces the chasm, so speak up and if you feel you say something that could be misconstrued as offensive then just be honest and check. Not saying anything just continues the prevalent attitudes of now.

  47. I can relate. I’m mixed – Filipino/French Canadian. My mom looks more Hispanic, which of course people always assume that I am too. I am 100% Canadian, born and raised. Yet, I am discriminated at interviews or racially profiled at airports. My sister and brother, both have white appearances with green eyes, do not encounter the same problems as me. I’m sorry this happened and I’m sure many can relate like myself. I wish people could treat everyone equally without

  48. Oh dear, I genuinely didn’t think people would still say those kind of things in 2015. Though I have to confess, I am not immune from making a thoughtless comment. A friend from work’s partner is black. He had made a meal for her which was a type of curry and I asked if it was Caribbean. She said it was Indian. I suddenly realised what I had said and was totally mortified as I genuinely haven’t said anything a stupid as that before. I realised that despite thinking I’m an enlightened liberal I was also capable of being ignorant. Just carry on challenging Laila. I know it must be frustrating and your within your rights to be angry but I think a lot of people (not the idiots like the UKIP person you mentioned) are (like me) well meaning but thoughtless sometimes.

    • tapeparade says:

      So much of it is just a lack of awareness I think – people aren’t often intentionally malicious but it’s something that needs to be called out because it’s just so ingrained. It’s frustrating but also the reason I try to call out and explain patiently to people.

  49. Cy Quick says:

    Sadly, nothing can be done except to wait. In 50 years, your (superior to my wishy-washy pink) skin colour will be the majority by far.

  50. adelineb9 says:

    Wow. I’m glad you posted your experience. I’ve never really felt like a legitimate, ‘Norwegian’ part of my mother’s family, because I “look just like my dad!” (Dark hair, olive skin) while my full-blood brother is blonde and blue eyed. Childhood pictures were jarring and I’d get strange looks like I was adopted. I’m fortunate however. Outside of obligatory sexist comments and the occasional person trying to speak Spanish to me I’ve never had any negative experiences. I’m sorry you have. Shame on people.

  51. Please check out my blog! I’m new and trying to get more viewers!! Great post by the way!!

  52. ayitl says:

    I can’t believe some of the things that people have said to you! Do you live in a very ‘white’ area? I ask this out of interest, as I’m trying to survey people to look at the differing experiences of racism in varying areas of the UK, and the way that they are linked with whether the area has high populations of people of colour.
    Love your writing style by the way, really enjoyable and kept me reading!

  53. Kat says:

    Great post and I enjoyed reading it. I have had my fair share of travels in “white”countries and you’re right, the kinds of comments they make about ethic group/race, culture…makes me wonder, with all that advancement or evolvement in human history and technology, these people seem to be way behind time. I reckon it’s ok for people to ask about your ethnic background if they are genuinely curious to know more about your culture as a learning experience. But it’s certainly not ok because it’s “exotic” or makes them feel less guilty (either colonial guilt or the pressure to be politically correct all the time!) or definitely not ok to make fun of or to be just fucking racist. Thanks for sharing this post, Laila. Cheers 🙂

    • tapeparade says:

      I have nothing against discussing my background or my ethnicity as part of a discussion into peoples backgrounds and ethnicity. Just yesterday I discussed my background in depth on a date with a guy who also told me his background in depth. The problem occurs when ethnic background is the first port of call in conversation, or (more likely) called out straight away, or even just assumed and then a whole set of weird assumptions placed on top (i.e. not speaking English, which I seem to get a lot). x

  54. Kat says:

    *Oops sorry, I meant to ethnic group, not ethic group 🙂

  55. triciaroxane says:

    I feel like I’ve encounter a similar, but opposite problem where people will deny my Colombian ethnicity because I take after my mom (Russian) in the looks department. It drives me nuts because I’m always asked – by strangers – to do things to prove my heritage (my favorite of which is being asked to speak Spanish), which only makes me wonder where people get off telling strangers that they know better and if you’re going to contest that then you need to provide obvious stereotypical proof. It’s interesting seeing the other side of that coin, sad, but interesting. Stay strong!

  56. jamesmcraig says:

    I appreciate that you share how rude words affect you. For the past six years, the USA has had a “My pain is greater than your pain” among various groups.

    By sharing your personal experiences, you avoid the political stuff and keep it human.

    You are right to call people out when they disrespect you through their own ignorance. Hang in there and God bless.

  57. While speaking a word *LAILA* I always sense it as *queen of hearts*
    Well no doubt ; you are different. You have more beautiful face and a pure heart. Person with dark appearance are often more pretty and humane. White-black-brown never makes any difference. It is the mentality of bringing someone down or making them inferior and those who do so are actually antisocial creatures.
    You are beautiful and awesome in your own way. You are more likely a person who knows what is right and wrong and that makes you a better person indeed..
    A good step it was to share your experience and let all of us know how crucial all this remains. Just wish you a happy and racial free future.

  58. I appreciate you for sharing these situations here. I thought the world has grown, I was wrong. Have a blessed week ahead.
    P.S.: Loved your expressions in the pictures.

  59. JustJai says:

    I am with Bas! I am so happy that someone else who is not riding the Black and white binary I’d speaking out about this awkward feeling. I too face this, however, I just identify myself as Black because I know it is going to be done anyone. Nevermind the fact that my father is half Indian And my mother Italian. Great post…!

  60. iamnoora says:

    I can relate to this so much! It’s so funny that in past 3 days a pizza delivery guy and a latina at the store thought I spoke spanish cuz I look like a spanish speaking individual to them. It gets worst when being Indian I fill out “Asian” in all forms and the receptionist always gives me that look. Thank you for writing this post! 🙂

  61. Jackie says:

    This was such a great post but as much as I loved it, I equally hate that this much ignorance and racism still exists. I have a physical disability and a very obvious limp so on a very small level, I understand what it’s like to get ignorant questions (“That looks like it hurts?” “Bad day at the gym?” “Can you still have sex?”) I get as a result of that but I still can’t even imagine what it’s like to have someone say something so utterly heartless and cruel as “we’ll be getting rid of you soon love” and then spitting at you. This is a great post though that will definitely raise awareness and help combat some of that ignorance. It’s really not that hard people. We’re all human beings. We all want basically the same things. We all deserve to be treated as such, with respect and compassion. End of story. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • tapeparade says:

      To be honest, I didn’t even find that comment particularly hurtful. It’s more just a kind of *sigh* and a shrug. I’m pretty thick-skinned in all aspects of my life, and the main emotion is exhaustion. It’s just tiring, and boring, to have that kind of crap. Sometimes I feel more disgusted (i.e. the Cameron comment) but a lot of the time it’s just annoying and frustrating. I feel for you that you get such horrible ignorant questions – there was an earlier comment from a reader using a wheelchair and she shared some similarly horrible experiences. I think her comment was one of the first so maybe have a look through for hers if you’re interested. x

  62. You are amazingly beautiful, and not just by your looks but by your mind. Thank you for posting this. I am currently pregnant with a “mixed” child. And my family (who is white) keep pulling the race card. Making jokes. And hurts my feelings. My little girl isnt even here yet and she is already facing so much adversity. She is german, polish, Hawaiian and columbian btw. I just want to thank you for saying all the things so many want to say but are afraid to and helping me to someday talk to Daniella about this topic. Hugs honey.

    • tapeparade says:

      Sorry to hear about the ignorance coming from your family, that’s horrible. Definitely talk to her about it! My parents have not once discussed my ethnicity with me. I think because I’m a different colour to both of them and they don’t know how to (I’m an only child). Lots of love to you and your child. xX

  63. The1lit says:

    A great post! Thanks so much for posting this. Not many people realise this continues to happen nowadays. However, I have to point out that it also happens to white people too. My cousins who are quite fair, unlike most of the family, went to El Salvador to visit family and were gawked at, spoken about and yelled at in different ways that they ended up not feeling comfortable being there – believe it or not, they too were called exotic.
    So as much as I agree with what you are saying, I don’t agree that it’s a non-white issue. I think that if you happen to live in a society that is has a majority population that looks like X and you look like Y, you are seen as “different” no matter what your background or colour is and that is what we a society must change.
    Thanks again for posting! 🙂

    • tapeparade says:

      I’m sure white people get this too, but I feel the entire world is ruled by white power – at least here in Western society (I’m not sure where you’re from), white people are hugely dominant and prevalent in society. Non-whites are horrifically underrepresented, and that’s something I’m going to expand upon further in a later post, but suffice to say whites are not being negatively affected and pushed out of a rising society for their colour.

      Being called names on holiday is obviously horrible, but quite different from being shunted out of a societal heirachy. I’m sorry your family had to experience that. I would imagine El Salvador is not a multicultural place in the same way that London is and therefore the problems of race in society are at a different level. My post was specifically about the kind of ingrained, historical racism that exists in London despite it being an educated, multicultural society, and the kind of damage that branch of racism can cause.

      • The1lit says:

        Of course, no I completely understand! I’m from Australia so I imagine the situation may be similar. I look forward to your next post! And I truly am sorry that you have gone through what you have – it’s not fair at all.

  64. Sudevi says:

    I’m in exactly the same boat on so many levels. The interesting thing is, the more people respond to me this way, the more I come to challenge ideas of national and racial, or identity as a whole in fact. It’s not a pleasant experience always have to defend your right to belong in the place you grew up in, but the experience is not without its merit – it loves you with a perspective from which to analyse life at a greater depth, not just to feel frustrated – though that is understandably there – but to come to an understanding of ideologies, social complexities and layers of false ego we all carry with us. Consider yourself fortunate to have had these experiences – it seems life wants you to do a better job of understanding and expression empathy than others, and to then teach that understanding. Your experience has step you up with a life as a philosopher, and if you wish, a revolutionary of sorts 🙂

  65. I love this post! Your story provides great insight into how prejudice/racist comments are common place internationally. I can relate to a few instances but there are some differences in my experiences. Since I’m a US citizen I believe you would have a much better time in the US. There are laws about discrimination and society here seems to push more toward being politically correct and socially tolerant/accepting. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. The US definitely isn’t perfect. There are regions in the country that are more accepting than others, but people do try not to say obnoxious things like “Can we have the little brown girl to sit near the front?” I suppose racism here is more low key in comparision. Thanks again for sharing. People need to understand that these attitudes about race are still alive in 2015.

  66. Mr.Bhattad says:

    My new keyboard be damned! Corrections :

    alas? – alas!
    bit – but

  67. PaulaMedical says:

    I only read half way through before I have to make a comment (I will go back and continue reading). Ironic that, according to people are you, YOU are making a “big deal out of nothing.” Ummm, wouldn’t that make more sense for YOU to say to that to them? After all, they are pointing out something that you already know-that you look…non white.

    Also, when I first started reading your post-I think back to not that long ago when someone was interviewing whites about “white privilege”. Some pointing out that there is no “white privilege”. Here I am, completely look WHITE (as I am, my ancestors are German, Irish, Norwegian, and Swedish-you really cannot get any whiter)-I was discriminated against for a pre-nursing program that was geared towards minorities (though this was not advertised-that would be against the law). Anyhow, I’m rambling-back to my point. Of course there is “white privilege”-I mean why would people point out to others or questions other if you are or not white. People do not come up to me and say “are you black? you don’t look black”-I suppose maybe if my hair was a certain way, or if I had certain features-people MAY come to that conclusion to verify.

    At the end of the day though, why does anyone feel the need to point out what one is? I do not understand the purpose. I will never understand the purpose because it’s not something that I nec look at. There are times when I ask-what’s your nationality, especially for those not born in this country. But on my part, that’s not to point out that you’re not American. That’s me, as a learning process…where are you originally from? How long have you been here? What’s it like to transition from such a different country? etc. I do it out of getting to really know the person/family.

  68. PaulaMedical says:

    I’m back. I read most of the comments to and I’m in agreement with them. It’s sad but I’m not surprised. I think for some, they just want to strike up conversation. I cannot imagine hearing it on a weekly, sometimes daily basis though and thus I can understand why it’s frustrating. Thanks for sharing your story. I’m glad that I came across it.

  69. PaulaMedical says:

    I also think it’s terrible about the hateful comments about you being a terrorist, etc. Being in USA, I see those types of comments all of the time from others, to others. Generalizations, stereotypes- “Muslims just want to behead us…”, “they just want to take over and bomb us…”. Recently there was a person Muslim looking (I’m not even sure if he was Muslim, I never took the time to look it up because at the end of the day-it didn’t and wouldn’t classify anything about who the general Muslim population was) who went and opened fire on military recruitment and killed five.

    The amount of hate expressed and the amount of assumptions expressed was astonishing. But social media certainly doesn’t make it better-hateful people tend to feed off of hateful people. For as many comments that I saw “well he was Muslim-there wouldn’t be this issue if they were not here, etc” (same type of lines can be said for Mexicans-especially after Trump speaks–illegal immigrant killed her…nonsense in trying to express their stand). For as many comments made about the person that attacked the military-I pointed out the “Christian/Catholic” person that has done their fair share on their own country (Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City, the movie theater shooter in Louisiana, the movie theater guy in Colorado, the Newtown shooter in Connecticut, the high school shooters in Colorado, the guy in the Amish country-the list goes on) but people choose to ignore them-even though they, by far, outnumber the “Muslim” attacks.

    Same for the illegal immigrant comments. I mean, these people cannot be serious on all counts can they? Only illegal immigrants rape? kill? are criminals? What about the people on Wall Street? What about the people that are in our prison systems? Again, FAR MORE American born citizens that are rapist, murderers, child molesters than those that are illegal immigrants but yet they choose to ignore it. Why? For their own agenda. But what’s the purpose of their own agenda when it’s not true?

    I just don’t understand people’s rationale for being so stereotypical of others. For being so judgmental. I mean, do people live in such a small bubble that they do not comprehend-that basically 1 bad apple doesn’t spoil a bunch? Do they live in such a small circle that they do not know anyone apart from who they see in the mirror? I was hoping that social media was going to open doors to be more understanding of others but it appears that it just helped them congregate to spew more hate. I suppose it does work both ways, it just appears that hate seems to speak louder than understanding & learning of others.

    Sigh… 🙁

  70. I guess it’s easy for the privileged in life to see their comments as not offensive, because they are only aware of their own intentions as they say words that hurt another person. They most probably aren’t even aware they are being racist or sexist, just because they have never been at the receiving end of these comments. It’s so important to work up the bravery to bring up the issue. People will often be stunned and surely at first think it’s you that’s making a problem out of nothing. Most of the times they’ll be too ignorant too review their initial reactions and their underlying presumptions. But maybe, just maybe it’ll start them thinking. I’m really proud of you for bringing this up. I feel I’ve learned today. Thank you.

  71. silentspeakr says:

    I read your post and I think while some people might be doing things out of curiosity but others would do such things because of their desire to prove themselves superior over the others, so the easiest way they find to establish that is by comparing skin color. I can’t understand why being white is such a superior quality to possess while being dark skinned is not. Would you like to share what according to you is the reason for people behaving this way.


  73. Reblogged this on Kemdirim Okezie and commented:
    I felt like crying for Laila while reading this. I’m sorry this stupidity hurts her. In my opinion, we need to stop thinking about our issues in terms of how we feel about these anti-social people, because when we do this; we become their victim, and the majority of them really don’t know any better, while those left over are psychopathic.

    We must try thinking about them – THEY can’t help it! That’s just who THEY are! We must be glad and grateful that we are NOTICERS and not one of THEM. It’s unfortunate to be ignorant and it’s too much of a stretch to expect them to change. People that don’t ‘think’ are not suddenly going to acquire the skills they need to change any time soon. Therefore, for those of us that are in the pursuit of excellence, we just move forward and learn to accept that the world is full of unfortunates – THEY’RE EVERYWHERE. The funny thing about the nasty racist remarks – like calling Laila a terrorist, that is just the standard cognitive dissonance of people living in conflict with their beliefs. They don’t realise that they have more in common with the terrorists they accuse Laila of being. Throughout history these same ‘type’ of people have created and participated in atrocities, for example, Witch Trials, Holocaust, Slavery, to name but a few.,it’s all the same type of person 1. The Terrorist 2. The Religious Extremist 3. The Racist 4. And other twisted people – they are all demonstrations of evil with the ‘unthinking one’ being evil in its mildest form. Trajectory for some reason is not understood, they are stagnant. In my opinion, it is not good for healthy people to become victims – you don’t go to your family doctor with sickness only to find yourself advising the family doctor about him or herself. Okay, when I was a baby, my parents waited for me to catch up with my developmental milestones, they didn’t start teaching me to be who I wasn’t ready to be, and they certainly didn’t start pretending they were a baby like me to make me or themselves feel better. I hope you get me!

    I’m sorry for Laila, I hope that on every ‘stupid-occasion’ – she remembers who she is, so that she doesn’t have to find a way to cope with backward people. <3

  74. ouidepuis1 says:

    You’ve said that very well. I’ve become aware of the different way my work colleague (whom I assume is from India, but I don’t know) and I are treated. I’m white but I’m a foreigner in this country nonetheless, but I’m accepted and the only difference between me and her is the colour of our skin.

  75. Netta says:

    In South Africa we have 2 kinds of non-white people, Coloured and Black. I have the privilege of being both. This means I’m too Coloured-sounding to be Black and too Black-looking to be Coloured. Lucky me, I fit in nowhere. I don’t even bother answering questions like: “What are you?” the answer has become “Someone who doesn’t give a fuck”, since it’s not obvious that I’m human. The subtleties of discrimination escape many and they hate it being pointed out because it makes them uncomfortable when you explain why it’s offensive. I’ve decided that the moment someone questions my ethnic status (?) I avoid them in future.
    Great post!

    • PaulaMedical says:

      With reading Netta’s comment-I wonder, do white Africans get asked if they were born African? Or if they came from Europe? I wonder how often they are asked this? I suppose if they are asked often enough-I bet they would be just as frustrated as Laila is.

      • Netta says:

        I can assure you that white people are never asked where they come from. The only time they would be asked is if they have a noticeable accent. People can say that racism affects all races, but the only people who think that is really true are those who aren’t dark skinned people

  76. speeferz says:

    Youve expressed what many of us feel on a day to day basis. I’ve been called Chinky, Gok Wan, been told by dates that they have a thing for Asian guys, been mocked for carrying books from University and called an Asian nerd. I’m mixed Scottish and Filipino. I’m tired and dont have the energy to correct people constantly. People take each other’s appearances hugely at face value and it influences us more than we want to believe.

    • tapeparade says:

      It is tiring correcting people honestly. Like I said in my post, I am tired too. But I think every time I let somebody go unchecked then that person isn’t going to know the impact of the words. Hence I really feel it’s important to call it out every time. But I feel for you, and I know that frustration and resigned weariness. x

  77. Thank you for giving these examples, painful as it may be to rehash them (or hopefully/maybe it was cathartic to get them out there?). I think white people need to hear directly and often that the things they say and do are hurtful, ignorant and offensive. Before I started really reading up on and understanding things like cultural appropriation, institutional racism and white privilege, I realized that even with good intentions (which mean nothing in this case) I had been an oppressor, I had been insensitive and the saddest part was that I didn’t realize I was doing it, I wasn’t meaning to, but that doesn’t matter. I should have realized, I should have known and that is a testament to how white privilege from birth blinds you to any perspective but your own, to the sharp edge of comments you hear from parents, friends, relatives so much that you repeat them mindlessly without thinking twice. It’s our responsibility and duty as white people who have and continue to have privilege to acknowledge our privilege, to do the work on ourselves to be more sensitive and stop oppressing, to research, to learn and to listen to many perspectives other than our own. I’m really trying to be a better ally. I get nervous still sometimes when I speak about these issues because I don’t want to continue to say things that could be wrong, insensitive or hurtful, but I need to because I need to give people the opportunity to correct me when I’m wrong so that I can do better next time. I’m appalled by the experiences you have had to endure. Sorry won’t mean much, but I am listening, I’m learning and I’m trying to speak up to my friends, family, and acquaintances on these critical issues. I won’t be a bystander anymore. I look forward to reading the rest of your blog. Thanks again for sharing this.

    • tapeparade says:

      Thank you so much for your kind and insightful comment. As I said, it doesn’t often hurt me but it’s tiring. I appreciate every single person trying to become aware of their position. As you say, the nature of white privilege is that you don’t even realise it’s happening. I hope some of the other commentors read your comment as there have been a few “it’s really hard being white except I don’t whine about it” which completely misses the point. x

  78. vnp1210 says:

    I am appalled by the things people feel entitled to ask. At work, patients ask me all the time how long I’ve been in this country. One time a stranger on an elevator saw my name tag and asked me “Now did you study in India or Pakistan and then come to the states to train, or did you do all your training there first?” Being born in the U.S. wasn’t even an option for me because of my skin color and name. My husband has gotten remarks from some drunk men on the street about being a terrorist. It of course makes him angry, but he just ignores it because clearly being drunk on the streets does not give them any credibility to engage in a conversation about race, ethnicity, and nationality. Patients have also commented on ho good my English is. I noticed though that this has only occurred since living in the southern U.S. I’m from the north originally and never had anyone ask how long I’ve been in America.

    You’re so right about gender impacting these comments. If it were a male of mixed race with your same credentials, I am willing to bet he would get more job interviews and less day to day inane comments.

    You should not brush it aside and I applaud you for continuing to call people out on their ignorance.

  79. I’ve experienced this multiple times, so many times I lost count long ago 🙂 The weird thing is I always get the “where are you from” when speaking with somebody. I don’t have an accent (well an American one but there are many American accents) so I would hope that people assume I was born here.

  80. It’s nice to see someone talking about issues like this so bluntly without worrying about being seen as ‘too PC’ or ‘whiny’ or whatever other crap people use to dismiss issues like this. If only more people were like this 🙂

  81. The ignorance of people is truly astonishing. I haven’t dealt with half of what you have due to some lucky happenstance; however, I have gotten the “You speak English so well!” Yes, that happens when you study it. Or “Wr could just paint your face white and no one would know the difference!” People don’t seem to understand you’re anger and frustration when you call them out, which only heightens the anger and frustration, because now you have to meta explain.

  82. Thanks for posting this, it was a really interesting read! I have experienced similar questions, about my race, origin and the classic where are you really from?! It’s so frustrating.

  83. ressiepop says:

    Thank you for sharing. It’s important to address this topic for yourself and also to raise awareness. There is a white-priveledge in the county (even though people try to deny it). Keep being you and calling it out!

  84. avemariabell says:

    I am asian with an Australian accent and I get a lot of the same comments. Instead of being angry about it, I embrace it. I love being unique and being recognized for it. Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed reading this!

    • tapeparade says:

      As I say in the post, I’m not an angry person and I do fully embrace who I am. I’m not angry about my identity. Again as I say in the post, it’s frustrating because I am treated differently which affects my career negatively to give one example.

  85. Why do u even worry. ? Just be your self and as we say in USA who cares and who gives a fuck to all this.

    If you Don’t like , get the fuck out off my face.

    Once you have this attitude u shall be on top what ever u are doing.

    Enjoy yourself and enjoy moments.

    You do express your self well and I like it.

    • tapeparade says:

      I don’t worry. I’m frustrated. I don’t think the problem of deeply-ingrained historical racism can be adequately conquered by saying “get the fuck out off my face”, as I truly believe education is the only way to treat the problem. I care because it affects my standing into a society I should feel equal claim over, it affects my career and job negatively (as documented in the post).

      I do enjoy myself and I do enjoy “moments”; again, as I say in the post, I’m not an angry person but this is something that affects me on a daily basis and I’m not going to apologise for calling it out. If you read some of the comments you’ll see a lot of people have experienced similar – so I’m clearly not writing about a non-existent problem.

      • PaulaMedical says:

        Great response to that comment Laila. I don’t think everyone says that in the USA, nor do I think everyone believes it. Unfortunately there is a high suicide rate because of people being bullies. Not nec the same completely but still deserves the same line as “who cares”…

  86. SpaceHoney says:

    Thanks for sharing this Laila. I can’t believe that people can be so ignorant. Speaking out will change people’s views on how being perceived/perceiving others in the world. It will take time but I know one day people will realize that judging people base on how they look is wrong. People are just people. We are all valuable. All life is important. again, Thank you for sharing. Keep your head up high. hugs

  87. Wilson says:

    your life sounds soo hard. I admire your courage in getting out of bed every morning! *wank.

  88. This is a common problem which I guess people face very commonly.. I for instance feel that even at sub national level, people are racist at heart and prefer other people belonging to their own region. I am from India and in my daily life, I witness that people from one state are more biased towards people of their own state and others are seen as outsiders as if belonging to some other race. To me, this seems no less than discrimination…cant help it but probably we want to divide ourselves into ‘we’ and ‘they’ to make our minds happy that we have somebody to say as ‘we’. I think thats what results in racial discrimination.

  89. This post is spot on. Thank you for putting something out in the open that is hardly ever discussed with serious intent. I’m mixed race (African American and Caucasian) and so my skin is tan and I’ve got some wicked curly hair. Everyone where I live assumes I’m Hispanic or from Mexico. They hand me papers in Spanish and the person behind me papers in English. Random guys walk up to me on the street and start blathering off in Spanish. I get other people who can’t tell what I am and therefore they get uncomfortable around me. I get followed around in stores a lot. Cops pull me over without proper cause. I get so frustrated when someone jokes “you might as well just be Mexican” or something of that sort. It makes me feel as if who I am isn’t enough, as if not identifying with one race is such a bad thing. I take pride in who I am now and I don’t care anymore if people call me prudish or serious when I tell them to quit making their stupid jokes. Racism is worldwide and it is still very, very real.

  90. The best I got was : oh you are an Indian; but you look smart. :p

  91. Her name means “night,”
    But don’t let that fool you,
    She’s pure and bright light
    Of the kind that can school you.

    Articulate and beautiful
    No matter her name,
    Not all is “exotic” you knob,
    Just because you’re not the same.

    Beautiful piece, luv, just beautiful.

  92. siskinbob says:

    It seems to me you want it both ways. You acknowledge that your complexion is not white yet you expect every white person you encounter to know that you are english. Do you wear a label declaring your nationality, no. Not all white people are racist bigots. Not all white people are Oxford English Literate and able to articulate clearly and without offence that they made a mistake in assuming you are a foreigner.

    • tapeparade says:

      How do I want it both ways? I want people to not immediately assume I am a “foreigner” as you have put it. I’m not saying all white people are racist bigots – in fact, far from it, I’m suggesting most people see themselves as racially sensitive and liberal-minded but actually there is a lot of ingrained, subtle racism that goes on every day and I’m trying to point that out to people. I don’t think that here in an educated, multicultural society, anybody should automatically assume anybody is from a certain place – it’s 2015 and society grows more diverse by the day.

      • siskinbob says:

        In your post you include this “statistic” …. “Though 13% of the UK and 40.2% of London are not white, being not white still means I am different”. So my comment about you wanting it both ways is in response to the fact that you acknowledge that “non-whites” are in the minority but you expect everyone to know you are English born. I have been to Goa and northern Brazil where it is obvious that I am a foreigner and as such the locals treated me as such. But, I have travelled around Italy, Crete, Spain as well as many other European countries where my ethnicity is less obvious and have had varying responses from the locals when I have opened my mouth and it is obvious that I am English. To be honest I haven’t always understood those responses but from tone and facial expressions not all were that friendly.

        So, back to my comment, how is anyone supposed to “know” that you are English just from looking at you. In London where the ethnic mix is much richer I would expect there to be fewer assumptions being made. Are you a tourist, international company employee, visiting student or a local ? But, as soon as you step away from the larger towns and cities it becomes more difficult.

        To give you an example, I live near Portsmouth, a city with a comprehensive ethnic mix brought about by the presence of the Royal Navy, the university the continental ferry and commercial ports. Where I live, just ten miles away, we have a few folks of Asian origin living and working nearby.

        Just recently a couple of African origin, I believe, moved in a short distance away. I have no way of knowing if they were born in England or if they have emigrated or are on an employment based assignment. I could make an assumption but I have no clues until I speak to them.Then and only then can I know anything. And what then, if their grasp on the English language is not that good and they misinterpret my intentions. Does that make my failed attempt at communication rascist ?

        I am sure that we have some clowns living around here that look at them, and those from the small Asian community, assume that they are foreign and will make disparaging remarks. But not all.

        Some will not be so eloquent with the English language and may speak clumsily when trying to offer help. Not all in this country are Oxford English educated. However, being clumsy may make then unintentionally rude. It does not make them nor their words rascist.

        In some instances, I believe, it is the interpretation of the listener and their expectations that is at fault, not the person speaking.

        • tapeparade says:

          My statistic is from the 2011 National Census.

          I’m not necessarily expecting everybody to know where I’m born, and where I’m born doesn’t matter anyway. I’m expecting people to NOT immediately ask where I’m from and create a load of assumptions based on my name and skin when, or even before, they meet me.

          I’m not saying that trying and failing to interact with somebody is racist. You’ve demonstrated the opposite chain of thought to the one I’m calling out in my post; as you say, you cannot assume anything because you have no clues and you haven’t talked to anyone about it. You and I are in agreement on that point. If everybody had your attitude, we wouldn’t have any problems. I feel I made this point clear in my post.

          I’m not sure how you can misinterpret the questions and comments I documented in my post. I can assure you that none of the comments above were from people who were ineloquent with the English language or speaking “clumsily” when “trying to offer help”, what kind of help would those comments lend themselves to?

          I feel you have become defensive for no reason; I’m in no way targeting people with the same attitude as yours, in fact, quite the opposite.

  93. I agree this isn’t an exclusively white phenomenon. When I visited India last I stood out like a sore thumb and was stared at by many of the indigenous folk. I’m half Indian/German.


  94. I actually detest the question of “Where do you come from? ” as a mix race and a TCK this question makes my head spinning.

  95. Evelyn says:

    I’m sorry you have been subjected to all this. Thank you for speaking out. I hope these comments and people’s silly assumptions lessen and that these occurrences become more once in a blue moon, or less, for you. You are beautiful!

  96. As a Black woman with a “mixed race” British sister, I appreciate your plight. I don’t know what life was like for her before she moved to the U.S. as a young teen. Here she is thought to be Latina more than anything. She normally responds with a quip and keeps moving. I think what saddens me more is the weight you give their ignorant words by wanting to broadcast them. What your talking about has been going on for hundreds of years ( speaking from an American perspective) and people are never comfortable around others who don’t fit neatly into their box of choice. Live your life, represent yourself well and let go of all bitterness. You do well to correct the ignorant “in the moment” and move on with your life. All the best to you. You’re lovely inside and out.

  97. Really good post and I can relate to almost all of it!

  98. Very open and well written! I have been thinking about this issue a great deal since our own country’s racial killing of Black Americans by some of the police force. I have asked myself, “Am I a racist?” I have posed the question to others—who, for the most part, get very defensive and loudly proclaim they are not racist and do not make assumptions about others—while in the next breath they say, “I hate it when Black Americans think we are all responsible for slavery!” As though that is the ONLY issue facing us today! I think, as a White person, I am a bit racist, sorry to say, and I realized it after I took a test and began to question more carefully stupid, racial thoughts that seemed to come out of nowhere when in a particular situation. I thought to myself, “Where did THAT come from?” I think if one is WHITE…there is WHITE PRIVILEGE thinking, even among “White Trash.” Racial thinking is wrong and it needs to be changed…within myself…and I do think while there are many reasons people are racist, it comes down to FEAR. Fear of the unknown. I think IF people would admit their racism, they could change their thought patterns and their subsequent behavior. No one wants to admit they are a racist. It is very common in the USA to hear WHITE people call an action by a Black person, “reverse discrimination.” Sometimes, I think there is some truth in it…I think there is a grain of truth in everything that is spoken or written, whether we want to accept it or not. I think your article is COURAGEOUS, BOLD and what we need to hear to increase our self-awareness of how we come across to other people of other cultures and races. Thank you, Laila!

    • tapeparade says:

      I can’t comment because I have no idea how it must feel to grow up white and become aware of these things, if indeed people do become aware. I’ve gone out with people who say they don’t get it, and they don’t think it is a thing, and I think it’s not truly a reflection on that person but actually a reflection on this very, very white-washed society and media bubble we live in. People don’t genuinely don’t realise these racist thoughts exist in their minds – as I say, nobody wants to confront it. But there have been a few people commenting with similar stories to yours and it’s encouraging. Thanks for your comment. x

  99. Hello Laila! Thank you! Your article instantly caught my eye and my heart, as I often wondered if my own bi-racial daughters experience such ignorance, because they rarely share stories with me, but I know they would confide in each other, so they have someone to talk to. I hoped your story would help me to understand their pain, and it has. After reading your words, I am even more sad for them, and for you, and for everyone who suffers from ignorant and ridiculously rude remarks. I know the majority of this world population cannot be THAT evil or that plain stupid, can they?
    No matter the intention of the commentor, if the recipient is offended they will likely never forget that comment and we all tend to remember something bad that anyone might say about us more than we remember the good. I pray the positive comments (I know you receive) far outweigh the ignorant and negative.
    As this generation of “multi-culturality” grows, and people of every race become one, the problems will be overcome. When people start to question such as you have; Why is there even a question of my race on this job application or on my childs’ school admission forms or on financial documents or on my entrance exam? Why is there a question of my race anywhere on God’s earth? It is an un-necessary evil which everyone can help to eradicate by “questioning the question”!
    It is no seret that words can hurt, but perhaps if our ears tell our hearts that the comment is innocently made, we can overcome that as well? My girls have hair as dark as yours Laila, and they have dark hair on their forearms as well. However, in elementary school, another child asked why the hair on their arms was so dark, pointing out that nobody in their classes had such dark hair. That comment so affected my girls that they started shaving their arm hair and have done so for over ten years. Is that not something they think of every blasted day of their lives? Shaving their arms to not have arm hair that is different. It is annoying enough to choose to shave our legs or faces or what have you, but to feel you must shave for this reason. What can I say to my own girls, but that being different is not bad, it is just different. Heck, I sure am different! But I have learned to truly love who I am and truly not care what others say. That is quite a task and no doubt came from necessity in this world.
    How about we teach our children to be accepting of other children? What if that child asked the girls that because they were just curious? I doubt it, and I imagine there was teasing involved because of the way the girls handled it.
    How about if we understand that children learn what they live and if they live with ignorant parents or siblings, and are never taught kindness, there is a fantastic chance that they will be bullies or worse. One child in their elementary school, years ago, commented on their dark arm hair and because of that peer pressure, there lives were changed and self consciousness about this has never turned off.
    I am hurt and troubled for my girls and certainly for anyone who is made to feel “less” in any way by any other human being as we are loved by God and all people are created in His image. What will each of us say, when we stand before Him? How can we possibly defend ourselves in His eyes?
    A comment was made about “black lives matter and all lives matter” and I must comment as it is important to discuss this type of issue whenever we can; that being an issue which involves all of humanity.
    My younger daughter (21) basically confronted me on my agreement of my feeling of “all lives matter” and I thank God that she asked me about it, because I now know that she had her feelings bottled up and I could only then see, that my agreement of it was hurting her! Not only did I agree, I believe I said it in my heart and probably out loud, the moment I first saw a Black Lives Matter sign.
    Imagine finding out that you are offending your own flesh and blood, the apple of your eye and the light of your life! I am crying just thinking of causing pain to my own child, but talking about it, helped us, thank you God.
    Since she seemed to be accusing me of some racist feeling, my explanation had to be understood! I explained to her that the first time I saw that “BLACK LIVES MATTER” sign, as a white person, I was hurt to my heart! Two reasons: my initial feeling of what do you mean? Don’t I matter because I am white? Quickly followed by a very compassionate feeling of: How can I make you know that I know you matter? Don’t you know that I know you matter?
    Perhaps if I had a sign that said ALL LIVES MATTER, that would certainly include black lives and that would be my hope of being understood, so the people who do not know, would know by seeing that sign!
    It is the sign of a truth, and interpret it in the most positive way imaginable; as knowing I agree with you!
    Please do not be offended. We who feel all lives matter, know your life matters and you; my friends, my brothers and my sisters, of every race, are loved for who you are. We pray that you come to understand and do not stand behind a sign that limits you and keeps you away from the rest of the world, in any way!
    I felt the people holding that sign were actually, albeit unwittingly, putting great distance in a place where healing had been taking place for years! This is not what I want for humanity! Let us agree that we all matter and then uncover the real underlying issues, of which there are on all the earth. Let our worldly slogan be “Love one another, as God loves you”. Are we still without hope of this kind of worldly love? I pray we all grow closer, not farther apart, during the time we have left here on this earth.
    Is it completely ridiculous that I personally felt as though that black people everywhere thought my life didn’t matter by seeing a “black lives matter” sign? I can’t help my reaction and I am not going to lie.
    Let us all continue to strive for unity. There is no denying that great strides have been made in this country (that being the USA)
    My daughter eloquently enlightened with the black perspective, which she is not shielded from in any way, and her father shares his viewpoint, so she is qualified to evaluate and make her own conclusions, which I totally respect.
    She is an amazing young lady and I am extremely poud of her. Her perspective was in defense of the Black Lives Matter viewpoint; making it clear that it affected her with pain in her heart when “all lives matter” began to be a saying because black people just want to feel EQUAL and not MORE, they don’t want to “take over the world” they have just felt and been so oppressed for so long, they need to know that their lives matter! Wow. I am being schooled by my child and it is a painful lesson.
    How deep is the wound and can it ever be healed?
    Is the entire black race still holding the belief that the entire white race completely does not care for them? This cannot be their true feeling, or so I tell myself, because it crushes me to feel I have to believe this, now I see through my daughters’ eyes.
    For you Laila, I speak from my heart. During this posting, I have come to the realization that this truly is all a part of God’s plan. His plan for us to be ONE beautiful color; the color of love and unity. Accepting of each other no matter what our race and blending humanity for this very reason.
    Nobody will proclaim they are a particular race and nobody will feel to be made LESS or BETTER than another human being. It is CRITICAL for us to understand this and know, that in God’s new earth, there will be complete EQUALITY and LOVE in all the earth! We will all be loved by God, as we always have been, and we will love one another for who we are which will be a people full of the love of Jesus Christ.
    It is not only your battle ALONE, Laila, to confront wrong doings. It is for everyone who sees a wrong being done to another, to DEFEND that person! You are NOT ALONE and through the love of Jesus Christ, the new earth will be filled with LOVE for God and all of mankind!
    I THANK YOU, Laila, for helping me see my daughter’s pain! Have faith my sister, you are very loved, and you are in no way less than any other individual in God’s earth!
    I pray to God that He continues to shed the Light on the pain of our brothers and sisters of every race, religion and creed, so the healing can begin, before our end. God’s peace and blessings to you all. Janice @ newearthprophesy@gmail.com

    • tapeparade says:

      Thank you very much for your comment – it was incredibly interesting to hear about your girls. I’m actually working on another post about being mixed race which will address some of the issues you’ve flagged up. x

      • I could not resist, your story truly touched me and I am sincere about God’s plan to have a unified and loving world to live in! Stay strong and have faith! Peace and love of God to you!

  100. karlydunn says:

    Thank you. Very much.

  101. globalmongrel says:

    Laila, I found this piece really interesting and I’m sorry for some of the reactions you’ve encountered- people should never have to go through being spat at or being accused of being a terrorist. It’s inexcusable.

    I’ve lived in a lot of places in my life, have very much been the ‘other,’ would probably consider myself without a country and have been subject to some strange questions in my time about my ethnicity, so I think I can empathise a bit with where you are coming from. For me personally though, I would hesitate to throw the label ‘racist’ on many of the remarks I’ve heard and indeed some of those you mentioned above.

    It may be wrong, but the majority of people do have a conception of nationality that is linked to physical features. I’m sure most people imagine a Spanish person to have different features from say a Chinese or a Dane. Now, in the days of global travel, appearance and nationality doesn’t necessarily match up but it’s still not something that’s completely irrelevant. A lot of people are still ignorant (not in the pig-headed sense, but rather the lack of exposure sense) about this and genuinely may not understand the offence by making generalisations based on physical cues. Don’t forget that for every person that doesn’t like the question ‘what is your ethnicity’ there is another person that identifies with their ancestry or heritage much more strongly than their country of birth. For example, your tinder guy above, I know quite a few girls that would have loved that comment.

    I’m not condoning bad behaviour, some people are horrid and some have terrible phrasing but I just think that a lot of times people ask questions because they are generally curious. I know personally that I will ask where people come from but that’s only because identity and ethnicity is not clear cut for me so I do ask about others and if someone labelled me a racist for questions like that I would be simply horrified.

    The concept of nationality and ethnicity is fast changing and not always straightforward for individuals, so, and I don’t know how to put this without sounding preachy, but I would caution against the liberal use of the word racism. Some people genuinely don’t know why they cause offence and it’s often better to explain on an individual level why rather than turn and label them.

    Anyways, like I said, interesting reading and I would scrap tinder, happn seems to have less creeps. Marginally ;p

    • tapeparade says:

      I’m not what other word to use than “racism” – it’s assumptions and stereotypes based on my assumed race and ethnicity and I’m far from a scholar in this area but what word would you use other than racism? I think the word racism is associated with crazy rightwing nut-jobs, but actually needs to be re-contextualised. Racism means the belief that people of a certain race all possess the same characteristics, often with negative connotations or prejudice against those other races. And that’s exactly what I’m experiencing – it’s very subtle and ingrained but I don’t know what you would classify it is. Essentially that was the crux of my post; racism is still out there, it’s just not as outright and blatant as it may have been historically (or at least not exclusively so).

      • globalmongrel says:

        I would say, like you, racism is believing someone to be less than human/ worse than you due to their ethnicity/ colour of their skin etc. What you are experiencing it seems, apart from notable examples, is largely assumptions and stereotypes. For example asking/ assuming you can belly dance is not derogatory or negative and if you see it as such, why? Many people see this as a beautiful tradition and skill and I have a lot of British, but of lebanese and Indian heritage that are brilliant belly dancers and very proud of it. Why is that offensive? for them it is part of their life, and not a stupid question. Also, apparently I would make a great hooker because of the way I look. If they were of a different physiognomy to me can I call that racist?

        I also think the flip is interesting. For example, my brother and sister were born in the Philipines. For all intents and purposes, they couldn’t be more Filipino and their personal identity is as such. However they could not look less Filipino if they tried. They were always asked where they were from etc etc, many of the questions you experienced and more. Now are we also to believe they experienced racism? I wouldn’t have said so, but it’s exactly the reverse situation to you so I guess it must be. Also when I lived in Africa, Spain, Indonesia, Tokyo etc I encountered really so many odd comments, flagrantly rude to amusingly being served tea because ‘oh you sound english, this is what you drink right? ‘ Like I said, I don’t think it’s helpful to label stereotyping and ignorance as racism.

        For me, the term racist is very, very much linked to intent a mindset and a belief system. It is a powerful word steeped in history and violence and shouldn’t be bandied about lightly. It also is something that does and has occurred between and towards every race, colour, creed, you name it.

        As I said in my earlier reply, I don’t condone some of the worst things that have been said to you. It’s absolutely appalling and inexcusable. But distinctions do need to be made between someone yelling go back to your own country you ****** and do you not eat pork because you’re a muslim?

        • tapeparade says:

          I don’t think you understand how damaging these assumptions and stereotypes can be. Denying me an interview for a job based on an assumption, or passing me over when trying to rent a house due to a stereotype, are very real and direct ways these assumptions and stereotypes affect my life. It shouldn’t be that way.

          Asking if I can do a belly dance is completely random; I’m not a dancer, I have no knowledge of belly dancing. How many white girls are randomly asked if they can do a belly dance? It’s not negative, sure, but it takes away from the fact that I am an actual person rather than a stereotype. It displays a complete lack of awareness from the person asking the question. I’m not denying that belly dancing is a beautiful tradition, but it’s one I have no part in and shouldn’t be cropping up as a conversational topic based purely on the way I look – and I have to assume this is the way I look because none of my white friends have ever been asked such a question.

          A couple of other people have flagged up the word racism. What else do you want to call it? Stereotyping and being ignorant towards people based on their race is otherwise known as… what? What word would you rather I use? I agree, the word racism has a long and ugly history and I am hardly bandying it about lightly. I can assure you I did not throw the word in there to cause shockwaves. It’s an ongoing discussion as to whether institutionalised forms of discrimination, which may or may not be intentional, can be classified as racism. I’ve read a lot of literature on the subject and come to the conclusion that yes, it is racism. It may not be racism as we may associate it with history, but that’s the nature of racism today. Gone (largely) are the pitchfork-wielding villagers and instead we are left with a large set of ingrained assumptions that hinder a lot of us and go unseen amongst others.

    • K says:

      I have much the same question, sometimes I look at someone and I wonder what their ethnicity is. Is it racist to wonder, or is it only racist to actually ask?
      An example is, I was interested to read that Renee Zellweger’s distinctive eyelid shape could be from her Sami ancestry.

  102. jayymatthews says:

    Reblogged this on jayymatthews and commented:
    This is my life.

  103. Hi Laila, thank you for sharing this. I’m stunned! You are beautiful, full stop. It’s disgusting that people think they can insult you then accuse you of being touchy. I am so sorry you’ve had to endure so much of this rudeness. Do you get anything similar from black people? Like, “Ooh, is that your own hair?” You see, I think much of this stems from jealousy. You are intelligent & beautiful and people can’t stand it so they pretend to be ignorant. It’s a wise person who keeps quiet and doesn’t retaliate, so count yourself wise as well as beautiful & clever. There are many fools around who don’t know when to keep their gobs shut. Well done you for exposing them.

  104. I think you get all this feedback because

      • because you are pretty … and you posted professionally designed attractive pictures … and your writing is enjoyable … and your message wakes the white knights in us … poor little exotic princess is suffering. Hulk angry! Not during my watch! En Garde!!!

        And you got me too. At this very moment I feel bad for not being nice. You are cute and young, looking healthy. I bet it is fun spending time with you (no offense ment). My subconscious reproductive programming yells at me to shut up and better be charming to you. So I summon my dark side and continue … aww … there is one thought that crossed my mind right after I clicked into your posting: If you were ugly and your pictures mediocre I would have not went into. I bet almost nobody would have.

        Now this is a prejudice which works in your favor. Imagine you would have to talk instead of write and your voice is funny and you make little annoying noises? You were just another one suffering, like we all do more or less, complaining? Only the nice packaging makes the difference to bitching around. Isn’t the appropriate answer to you: deal with it. Maybe not. My impression is you have everything under control. So is it only about fishing for compliments? You sure did well so.

        Please all white knights start flaming me now. 😀

        Just for the record if I count my grandparents in I am a mix of 3 different cultures/continents/languages. The lesson life tought me is not to behave as a victim for not becoming one. True this might be a bit tougher for a woman.

        My education tells me I am a terrible person and you are not. Hope you’re not offended, dear lil princess. There were just too much nice comments here. 🙂

        • tapeparade says:

          I have to disagree. I don’t think I get this feedback because I am pretty. Did you actually read the majority of these comments? Well over 80% of these are from other non-white people sharing their own stories, hardly from series of white knights.

          I find your comment to be pretty deplorable and actually it is the first one I considered deleting, but I thought I’d leave it up in case anybody else wanted to read it. My “professionally designed pictures” are actually just an idea my friends and I had.

          I don’t think this is a prejudice which works in my favour, to be honest, as documented in the last post. I’m both disgusted and bored by your smarmy and patronising tone. I’m not sure if that was intentional but if not I would highly recommend you examine your choice of wording in any future comments.

          I’m far from behaving like a victim, as I explained in my article. If that wasn’t clear I would suggest reading the article again.

  105. This is such a great post. Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve had many discussions with my roommate, who is a social/history/ethics major about these exact types of occurances. She gets the same kind of treatment where we live and work. It astonishes me that some people still think and act and say things like this. It definitely needs to be addressed, so that true change will occur.

  106. Reblogged this on Molehills, Mountains and commented:
    Great article. I must say that as a Sri Lankan girl who grew up in North west London I was spared much of this, until I went to university and discovered the rest of the UK wasn’t quite as multicultural as my home town! The way guys bring it up as though identifying your non-whiteness is incredibly tolerant of them, makes me laugh. But hey, I’m not the one with anything to be ashamed of.
    Good points, well said.

  107. Hi Laila, this one an awesome article, well worth writing and calling out for since apparently so many people still don’t realize how awful and racist they sound with only a few words and behaviors. It is true for you as much as it is true for any woman facing harassment in the streets or any person discriminated against for the only reason that they’re different. Different in what? What’s wrong with the beautiful differences between each and every one of us? They make the world so much more interesting !
    Keep calling out, people need to learn, share, better themselves because others show them in what things can improve.

    Be proud, you’re showing us all the way. Anyone not shocked after reading your post should rethink their values.


  108. joe says:

    Know what the song say? “I’m beautiful no matter whay they say words can’t bring me down.” that suits you. 🙂 color fade and so as destructive critiscm. Just let it go, you’re too beautiful that letting them fuck your mind is not even an option. Just chill out and don’t pay shit on ’em. 😉

  109. Graceios says:

    Honestly though it’s so nice to read an article like this because it helps me remember that there are so many people going through all of this subtle (and not so subtle) racism, whether it’s ignorant comments, or even worse. I myself go to a high school that has predominantly white students who won’t ever let you call them out on all the (frankly) rude questions I get asked about my race (I am half Indian and half white). After reading this article I felt that (at least a bit) my feelings were a bit more justified, and a little less ridiculous.

    • tapeparade says:

      Your feelings are not ridiculous – they can’t ever be, if you’re feeling them that’s legitimate enough. 🙂

      I do think with race a lot of people don’t realise how bad it is, so if you speak up about it, it becomes a reflection on YOU being sensitive to every slightly race-based comment. That’s what I was trying to call it in this article – it’s not like racism is a pitchfork-wielding villager these days; it’s so ingrained we can’t see it easily. I was bullied a lot at high school and never called them out. I wish I had done! So go in, speak up and call them out – we all are. xxx

  110. Daniel says:

    I know that stereotypes and prejudice was something are instinctual psychological behaviours that our ancestors had early on to protect themselves from other groups of people (a few thousand years ago), but I thought that, in our modern world, we had evolved past that and moved on from these behaviours.

    I can’t believe that not only does this still go on, but that it’s this frequent too. 🙁

    I don’t understand how people think they can tell everything about a person through simple things that they were born with. Looking at the various stories, news articles, and now finding your post, I’m constantly reminded of how lucky some people seem to be apparently just because they’re white. That’s just wrong. Everyone, regardless of their religion, race, genetics, sexuality, or gender should be judged by their attitudes, their character, their actions, and their intentions… not by something as shallow as basic appearances.

    You’re article was very powerful and well written, and I couldn’t quite make it to the end without letting go of the tears that I was holding back reading this article. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Someone needed to say what you’ve had the courage to say sooner or later. It must’ve been painful at points to write what you did, but it must’ve been worthwhile in the end. And congrats on getting Freshly Pressed! You deserve it! 🙂 I hope this post gets all the attention and recognition it can get so as to help spread awareness of issues like this.

  111. Racism is something that actually never make any sense. Unfortunately we’re the part of that society where color of someone stands more important that the qualities they posses. It not even the matter of getting angry ; its the matter of feeling ashamed. The racist are actually murders as they kills someone’s real pride. Nevertheless people like you are inspiration to all victims of racism. And no doubt ; you are beautiful and yes ‘different’ too as you posses better sense of understanding that they racist don’t even know.
    Nice post and a well taken attempt 🙂

  112. What an amazing article. It is of special interest to me as my son is biracial and has had to deal with analogous situations. As a child, he acted and did print work. At one audition, he had words with the person registering the kids when one question asked race. He took great exception to the question and checked off caucasian and African-American. He was told he could not do so and very pointedly asked the young man if he had a problem with “mixed people” (he was 7) and further told the guy that if he didn’t like kids that were mixed he didn’t want the “stupid job” which was for a Broadway musical. Another time, a woman asked me, tall, blonde and of Irish ancestry “where l got my child.” I looked at her like she was from Mars and said “From my uterus.” I turned and walked away. Later, l saw her with her child who was of an obviously different ethnicity and race. I have zero tolerance for any of this. I did ask my son if he felt I contributed to any of the difficulties he experienced by having him when l was single, by not staying involved with his birth father and by having white parents raising a racially mixed child. He looked at me like l had three heads as he often did and said absolutely not because he had unconditional love. I abhor racial/ethnic discord but l do not live in a perfect world. I can only strive to educate those lives that intersect with mine. I think l assumed the UK would be more cosmopolitan with their collective outlook regarding ethnic/racial issues and all the bigoted rednecks lived here in the much younger US. I cannot take any comfort in the fact that they are everywhere nor can you. But please know you are not alone in your feelings and experiences, that those that know and love you will be there for you. I look at the man my son has become and have hope. I wish that for you.

  113. Liza Boodan says:

    I get the same over here in the states. I was once asked while I was at work, how do I like living here…. As to assume I lived (grew up somewhere else) I was quite confused. The older lady who said the comment saw this and went on to say ” are the living conditions better?” I was like wtf are you talking about? My living conditions were probably better than hers lol.

    • tapeparade says:

      Again, I think a lot of people just don’t think and just assume- especially older people. It’s not malicious, it’s just genuinely not something they’re aware of I think.

  114. Wow. Just… wow. I have never been so happy to be Canadian in my whole life. Every so often people will ask me if I’m from the city I live in. But we are a university city with a very small black community, so most of the young black people have come here for school. I’m one of the very few that actually grew up here. Very few as in… 6 maybe that I can think of that have been here as long as me?
    But they also never ask “where are you from?”, they ask “are you from here?” It’s such a small difference but feels important.
    I would have completely lost my mind on people if I had to deal with the things you’ve gone through. I hear about things like this and I just have to shake my head.

  115. Gregarious says:

    There is reality and then there is created reality. This blog was on the home page so I clicked on it. Why did I?
    Reason 1: Racism – hard topic not to engage these days am I right?
    Really that was the reason.
    The scoop: Why this blog? I am sure thousands of folks blogged on this topic (spare me the wordpress FAQ).

    Why not this blog? there has been a manufactured race issue created (not that racism/racist don’t exist) to tear us apart as a society. I believe this to be a manufactured blog existing to push the agenda by the media, folks who live off of racial issues and mainstream media in general, to further divide Gods children.

    don’t buy the hype, wake up, lets learn together.


    • tapeparade says:

      I can assure, this blog was not manufactured and was written completely from my own single perspective. If you have a click through some of the other pages or posts perhaps, it will become very clear this is a personal and life-based blog rather than a manufactured rally.

    • battleofalma says:

      You’re one of those bots to make people think that the internet is full of weird Christian racists, when it’s not.

      It’s just made up by the media to make us *think* the world is full of weird Christian racist conspiracy theorists.

  116. I am a brown skinned Indian . I face similar humiliation in my country too,where half the population is Brown.

  117. Why does it even matter to be an ‘English’??!! People speak disgusting things disregarding the social decorum and the feelings of other people! It is a shame that to know a person it is important for people to know about their ‘race’!!!

  118. Highball Emy says:

    Thanks for writing this post. I (white British person here) didn’t realise the extent of the ridiculous things people say. I don’t live in a dream world, I know racism still exists, but the amount of unfair and frankly crazy things people come out with is really shocking. I’m disgusted that so many people think they have a right to comment on your name or skin colour. I admire you for calling people out, and I hope it encourages at least a few to think before they speak and treat everyone with respect – white or not.

  119. It is sad that up to today, in the year 2015, there is still descrimination around the world. I am Mexican and I live in America. Do to the short opportunities in my native country, my parents decided to bring me and my brother and sister to America when we were teenagers, I completely understand what you have gone thru, maybe not to the same deegre, but I do share the feeling of being denigrated just because I look different than what the avarage “North American” should look like; tall, white and colored eye. Do not get me wrong, I love this country and it has given me great opportinities and there has been people to help me be better and move forward, but it is sad to hear the humilliatting things some racist people can get to say. This comment does not go against to everbody out there, but to the ones that have to judge some one just because of what that some one looks like in the outside and not because what good the some one can do for others.

  120. Hi Laila,

    Believe it or not i was thinking of writing a similar post. I fully understand where your coming from and at times feel your anger. Both my parents are mixed raced, which people seem to not understand and I spend a lot of time having to explain myself. Like you I get asked where my parents are from, when I answer London, I can see the confusion on the person face, and then when I explain that my parents are both mix my favorite reply back is, but your so dark. I guess there will always be racism within out society, I just think some people don’t even realise it, as it become the norm

  121. Michael says:

    Xenofobia is by no means limited to people of color. I am “white”. Or is it “pale”? The ceiling, that’s white… I know I’m not that color… I turn red when I forget my sunscreen, and blue and green a few days after I hit my sheen or something. I’m lots of colors. Anyways…

    I lost count of the times my last name was misspelled. And I still haven’t come up with a good standard reply to “oh, your name is so difficult”. I thought of saying “only if you’re an idiot” but that’s not going to be appreciated much I’m afraid.

    To people who ask me “where do you come from” I do sometimes say “from my mother’s c**t. Why, do you come from some other place?” I had an otherwise polite and intelligent person tell me she thought I didn’t speak Dutch (I live in the Netherlands, and speak it better than most locals), and didn’t know why she thought so. I just managed to stop myself from saying “that’s coz of your racist prejudices, love”.

    Comments like “you’re beautiful despite being brown” suck, and are really hurtful. I guess people don’t even realize how stupid, ignorant and abusive it sounds. Maybe, just maybe, sharp and piercing humor is the right tool to bring back the message.

    • tapeparade says:

      It’s not limited to people who are non-white, but in Western society white people are at a MASSIVE advantage and I think that’s why xenophobia to non-whites needs to be tackled and brought to attention.

      • Michael says:

        I think any expressions of intolerance due to “non-standard” heritage and/or origin should be tackled and brought to attention. I don’t think its fair to limit this issue to non-white people only. As En Vogue sing – “Be color-blind, don’t be so shallow”.

        • tapeparade says:

          I’m not sure whereabouts you live but here in the UK, society is very white-washed; our media, our parliament, even our cultural depictions of ourselves rarely reflect the reality of a very plural society. And non-whites are at a disadvantage; there’s no two ways about it. That I can be denied a job based on somebody assuming I can’t speak English is clearly a very ingrained set of assumptions that is directly negatively impacting my life. I wasn’t trying to write a post about the whole world and the tolerance we should all have for each other – I was very specifically calling out the ingrained racism that exists against whites in a largely educated and multicultural, yet white-favouring, society.

          If you want to write a response post about all non-standard heritage, then that’s great, and I appreciate all discussion on this issue. But specifically in this post, which is on a personal blog, I’m writing from my own unique perspective from within a white society. And I would expect most of the readers to be reading from a white, western society.

          • Michael says:

            I mentioned living in the Netherlands. I was referring to the shared experience of being assumed I can’t speak a language properly. In my case, not because of my skin color, but because of my foreign-sounding name. That is an example of racial, xenofobic, intolerant – call it as you like – stereotypes.

            I understand your perspective and frustrations, I just wanted to add that intolerance and stereotypes are not limited to skin color. Thank you for the suggestion to write a response post, I’ve been considering it for a while, but as I said, I can’t seem to find the right tone. The piece you wrote is pretty inspirational, so it might give me the motivation boost I need.

  122. ni3lle says:

    It’s a shame how many people are still so ignorant in today’s society. Thank you for posting this.

  123. Beautifully written. Thank you for calling it out!

  124. Mr. Deadman says:

    What’s the solution to the name calling and annoying to insulting questions? Sensitivity training and cultural awareness? Or should we, as Type-O Negative suggested, kill all the white people?

    • tapeparade says:

      As I said in the post, I think we need to be more culturally aware, yes. I don’t think anybody has at any point suggested killing all the white people and if they did on this post or anywhere in the comments, I wouldn’t have approved it.

      • Mr. Deadman says:

        Haha, no that was in reference to an old metal band. Cultural sensitivity takes time, patience, and participation, and unfortunately not everyone is willing to participate.

  125. It’s funny I have been called every nationality but the one I truly am

  126. Lencie says:

    I absolutely adore your post! I’m from America, in the south, where a large percentage of the population is black, and I’m still asked when I moved here. It’s exhausting. I don’t understand why people, especially white people, feel the need to know where people are from, or what their nationality is, or what they’re “mixed with” like it’s not information that you need at all! I feel like sometimes it’s a subtle way of othering non-white people. This article is one of a million that I’ve seen and that in itself is a sad statistic isn’t it?

    • Not quite 40 says:

      I never thought of it as racist, but I am always interested in people and their background and culture. So when I meet someone who is different to me, or different to the area I am in, I am curious. Because I am genuinely interested. Whether that difference is colour, accent, name, language or anything else. I have never wanted to make someone feel ‘other’, but always welcome. Sometimes I ask where someone’s name is from, if I haven’t heard it before – and that applies to white people as well as any other. Sometimes it is from a book I have not read that I am then curious about, sometimes it is after a place, other times it is a common name just from somewhere else.

      I am sorry if I ever made anyone feel ‘other’ when I only wanted to make them feel welcomed and honoured.

      • tapeparade says:

        I think it’s ok to be curious and ask questions, I think the kind of questioning I’m calling out is completely unprovoked, persuasive questioning rather than just people being curious.

      • Lencie says:

        Well, the problem isn’t that people are interested in culture per se, it’s more so singling out people who aren’t white passing. You asking people the origins of their names is more than okay; my name is valencia and people will often ask me where it comes from, which I don’t mind. It stumbles into a gray area of racism when you’re consistently asking people of color only “where is your family from?” Or “what’s your native language” and similar questions, but you wouldn’t ask the same of a white or white passing person. Does that make sense? Being interested in the culture is more than okay, but there is a way to approach it that isn’t condescending or racist. I never feel that I need to be aware of someone’s race. I don’t think it’s so much important. But I’ve got a friend from Saudi Arabia who I will sometimes talk to about his hometown and his siblings and things. It’s mostly a matter of posing the questions appropriately. Make sure it’s okay to ask. In the end, it’s the personal preference of the person, but you know. Most of the time, the kinds of questions that bother minorities are just the ones that are very obviously being asked simply because we’re very obviously minorities if that makes sense at all. We don’t hate sharing about our cultures, we just hate being singled out because of them.

      • Lencie says:

        Also, there’s no need to apologize! It’s a societal issue. The only thing we can do (non white people included) is to listen to things that are being said, learn from them, and then try to be mindful! That way, we can more easily interact with those around us. Obviously, we won’t be able to never ever offend someone, but the trick is to try to be empathetic.

  127. Deborah says:

    I found this article very interesting and agree with a lot you say. My brother’s kids are mixed race, and frankly are going to be stunners when they grow up, without further qualification.
    Racism is, unfortunately, ordinary, like sexism and ageism. Some is intentional. I do think a lot of people’s lack of sensitivity is not, but clumsy and uninformed. I’ll explain: my aunt and uncle are both deaf. Having been aware of this particular handicap all my life, I know not to speak with my hand over my mouth and try to avoid verbal pollution (“uh”, “like”…) when I meet deaf or hearing impaired people in daily life. I know just because they can’t hear doesn’t mean they are slow or stupid or less comptetent in other matters. This is not true of many people.
    On a lighter note, the people who help carry my buggy up and down stairs are not strong men, but usually women, because they have been there and “see” the difficulty.
    I am an immigrant in France, but “invisible” because I am white and speak accentless French. That doesn’t mean people don’t get my country of origin wrong (Irish/English, same thing), tell me to go back where I came from because I expressed surprise at the price of a parcel to Ireland at the post office, or my mother-in-law charmingly asking me why I married a Frenchman if I wanted to speak English to my kids “On est en France, ici.”).
    Would you believe that being a native English speaker is actually a handicap if you want to become an English teacher in France? I spent a long 2 years being told that “native spakers are like this” and “oh, you native speakers don’t know X and Y because you didn’t study English at French university”, despite having ranked highest in my class on the national competitive exam (with exams in both English AND French). Last year, I was inspected and the inspector congratulated me on my “good level of English” and asked me why my accent wasn’t more like Received Pronunciation. “It’s because I’m Irish, Madame.”

  128. Chaoscream says:

    I understand your frustrations. Sometimes people do not consider or realize their bias until you point it out. I will say that this however unfortunate is a part of our society. Race, gender and sexual preference are mainstream hot topics and controversial issues that we must examine as a society.

  129. Lucy Creamer says:

    This is a fantastic insight into what happens in your life. I’m white and I found this blog very interesting. I was just researching for blog to do a survey on – such as intended audience, genre, etc. – and I am very happy that I came across your. I completely agree with your points and I will be following your blog posts. Thank you 🙂

  130. Stan T says:

    Laila — bring that count up to 4. You’re beautiful.

    I’m reading this at work on my iPhone; when I get to a real computer I’ll respond more and in a lot more detail. I’ve experienced some of the things you have but for completely different reasons.

  131. Eh, London is different from the United States. Everyone claims racism is HUGE in America but the funny thing is; I work in Furniture Delivery for a Serta outlet with three African American, two Asians, and a few I’m going to be honest I have no clues. But everyday we all talk over morning coffee. We all have each other’s numbers. We all are different “ethnic” groups but we have no racial slurrs or racial acts towards one another. So maybe if you can’t withstand the pressure of the UK’s society, perhaps move where you’re welcomed. One person can’t change a nation, but one peeson xan leave and live happily.

    • tapeparade says:

      I don’t see why I should have to leave, because I don’t see why it should exist. And I fear I’m painting London as an incredibly, overtly racist society when it’s not, the majority of the time. The extreme incidents are not commonplace but the ingrained misconceptions are and I think those are the same misconceptions that are present everywhere, including America.

  132. Thank you for writing this, I for one found it not only interesting but very enlightening, it also made me a big angry because I just do not now nor ever have understood the ignorance of others. Honestly I can completely understand why you feel the way you do, there was some pretty inappropriate, rude and racist things said to you. There is a lot of ‘not really racist’ things written and talked about but what you experience is what I would also define is racism.

  133. christina jeskey says:

    I’m white and I’m raising a blonde (for now), blue-eyed son. I am painfully aware of the work I have ahead of me to help him, basically, grow up to not be a dick. But who can guarantee that??

    Anyway, I’m going to save this post and use it with my son when he’s older (he’s two years old) so that he can learn what NOT to say. Thank you for your blunt, specific, thorough take on this. It could be a primer for kids… “here’s what not to say or think. People can look and act different but that’s never a cause to judge or be biased against them.” I hope I get it right.

  134. When I went on a school trip to turkey- we were in a market place in Istanbul and many shopkeepers stared at me for a few seconds and then asked if I was British ( I am an Indian ) . That was not a new question as many have asked me the same. But it hurt.
    My accent’s a little different and my colour a little fair.
    Now, this question does not come to me very often because recently I went to Goa and got tanned, now I don’t want the tan to fade away.
    People have this mentality and it’s very awful.

    Much love to you girl. You are really very pretty.

  135. Anonymous says:

    I am white, but I have been asked most of the questions you have discribed here:)))
    I do live 8 years in London, I am british citizen, my kids grow in this country and some friends asking me “Don’t you want go back to your country?”.
    do not pay attention as people always can say something to get you upset even if you are white as snow.
    just love yourself and I am sure there will be a lot of people around who will love you and understand you:)))))))

  136. ouiam says:

    Wow! I am blown away! Such a beautiful post and I am truly sorry you have to deal with such terrible things!

  137. rugbystar4 says:

    One of the most thought provoking blogs I have read.

  138. jannichka says:

    As a multiethnic woman I thought this was a thing exclusively occurring in the U.S. I did not have this experience while living in Germany and hope the multitude of multiethnic children will develop into something we can call our own.

    • Miss Dinie says:

      Not sure about that.. Haven’t you noticed that everyone little by little are allowing prejudice to show? Even those with mixed children! Its a bit of a far fetched utopian dream at the moment!

  139. Great post. It is nice to hear that perspective. We adopted a son who is mixed race and while we don’t get the questions like you do constantly, from time to time when my wife is out with him(we are both white and he is half white/half black), they assume that her husband is black. He will probably get a lot of questions when he get’s older, so I appreciate you letting us know what he might feel like. Thank you!

  140. This is why I’m so grateful I inherited my father’s skin. I applied for two similar jobs at the same company. In one I described myself as white, in the other mixed. Ofcourse the only one that was followed up was the one where I had stated white British. It could have been coincidence but I doubt it.

    • tapeparade says:

      The thing is, you shouldn’t have to be grateful that you inherited white colouring, because it shouldn’t matter. Do you really think that has changed you as a person? What about those of us who haven’t inherited a certain colour of skin?

      • Coming from a large interracial family, nearly nobody has the same skin tone, and being so close to everyone it is clear that only those with white skin and/or english names get the opportunities that they reach out for. Unfortunately, in this era I can be nothing but grateful for my skin tone, but saddened that I will get further than other members of my family even if I am not as intelligent or hardworking. When I have kids, I want them to have the same opportunities as me regardless of their skin tone, and I really hope the world comes to its senses on this matter.

  141. Reblogged this on Diversity is a Necessity and commented:
    I an relate to this frustration; being the “other” can be a difficult decision, especially when you’re the only Arab in a group of non-Arabs and you feel like you need to fit in by brushing of your culture and assimilating into theirs. What a gross text message, too!

  142. Laila – you are beautiful. And I’ll stop right there because it’s true. You are beautiful not because of the color of your skin or the color of your hair, but because you’re simply beautiful the way you were made.

    As a “white girl,” I’m really sorry for the stupidity you’ve benefit through your whole life. I can’t change it, but maybe I can watch what I say (and how I think) a little closer and raise my children to do the same.

  143. Hugo Inga says:

    Reblogged this on The HugoInga Blog and commented:
    An exceptional read and something to thing about.

  144. Laila, you mentioned you heard it before, and so I’ll say it to you again: You’re beautiful (just because of who you are).

  145. Wow…great post. Can’t wait to read more.

  146. golinla says:

    As I was reading your blog, all I kept thinking was oh my god, that’s me. and Yes I have heard those exact same things, over and over again. I grew up across the pond here in America to Immigrant parents, and my name is much harder to pronounce than yours, which I love by the way. Thank you for writing this post. I am going to keep a log and post when people make ignorant comments. Thank you for the inspiration!

  147. I’ve met a lot of British Indians at my work and they’re such wonderful people, it’s saddening that you (and so many others) are treated this way! I identify myself as a Canadian (Chinese Canadian) and nothing else. I don’t have a Chinese name, speak Chinese or following Chinese customs/traditions and people still don’t understand that just because I am Chinese, doesn’t mean I am what you think I am. Being born and raised in a Western culture makes me feel Canadian more than Chinese. I don’t experience racism because Chinese aren’t minorities in Vancouver but it’s ridiculous that you are being questions about your nationality and skills just because you have brown skin.

  148. Stan T says:

    Laila — you’re beautiful. 🙂 Now the count can go up even higher.

    It saddens me and infuriates me that people can be so insensitive today. Kids, I can see it from. Older people, I can see it from. But everyone else should know better. I’ve been through much the same kind of “innocent” comments about my appearance, albeit mine is a 3-inch long incision on my right temporal lobe from an accident I had when I was 8 months old.

    Well, in retrospect it was more my balance and speech difficulties. Kids can be mean, sometimes. I always wound up repeating myself and enunciating everything twice, to no avail. I couldn’t help the way I spoke. Still can’t, in fact. It drove me crazy how people wouldn’t stop and take time to listen to me. I was treated like I was dumb, slow, call it what you want. It was completely inaccurate, as well. This time next year I’ll have a Master’s degree in computer science. So I understand how you feel.

    It really saddens me because the events I described happened in the early-mid 1970s. It’s 40 some years later… and people apparent’y haven’t learned a thing. Don’t let it get to you much, but don’t stand for it either. Your friends are behind you 100%.

  149. Thank you for sharing your experience! We can all learn from it!

  150. Thank you for such a moving piece of writing. It reflects so well on the experiences of my fiancée (wife on Saturday). I pray that one day all the children of the figure will be free of such suffering. D

  151. Intelligent, interesting.
    The sun had changed my color, and I was treated different, it appeared less respected, I let that – one – go. Thank you for sharing a part of your life.

  152. evsetia says:

    I can’t see Indonesia. Where is it ?
    Menjelang hari kemerdekaan Republik Indonesia, 17 Agustus 1945.
    Terima kasih and thank you

  153. I do understand and feel what you have been through. I do live in the U.S. and because I am bi-racial. When people see me they only see caucasian, however; funny thing about DNA (genetics). I am caucasian, my siblings are a darker complexion. I’ve had a black woman tell me ” you don’t know what black woman go through because you’re white.” I can say her facial expression was priceless because when I told her that my father and his mother are Afro-Cuban (black) she was floored. I did call her out on what shouldn’t be said because when people who are ignorant and set in their ways are not willing to educate themselves about others. Let alone learning about genetics (DNA,etc). I’ll admit it use to upset me alot especially as a kid. Now peoples faces are priceless when they are called on their stupidity. There was a time in my life when I didnt want to let people know I was bi-racial because of the way people made me feel. I’ve also learned it’s not about me. It’s about hem and their inner issues.

  154. thepokegod says:

    I guess I kind of know how you feel. I’m white, but I live in a HUGELY Hispanic populated area, so having people flutter me with this kind of stuff gets annoying sometimes. Thanks for putting this out there.

  155. hsmith06 says:

    This is really well written and I totally agree. Why should people make assumptions about others that are purely based on the colour of their skin? We are all people, so our nationality or race shouldn’t matter.

  156. […] What It’s Like Not Being White. […]

  157. I love it! How can people be so rude and not knowing at all..

  158. thought provoking and well written, enjoyed the pictures that go too 🙂 i can relate to this dilema 110%. And i must agree no one should put up with that sorta pick up line, nor is it funny. We are all humans at the bottom of all this colour.

  159. Zahra Khan says:

    Really enjoyed this blog, very well written!

  160. lilkaleni4 says:

    Stop being mean to her she is mixed

  161. missperera says:

    I love that you call people out on this! I think in 2015, people need to be aware of how their attitudes towards people who are not white can significantly affect them. Good on you!! By the way, you are beautiful!! 🙂

  162. milkblob says:

    Sometimes its hard to be comfortable in your own skin specially if your living abroad. But be proud, do good and everything would fall into its place in due time.

  163. Wren says:

    Thoughtfully written post. It makes me think back to when our daughter was first born, my husband and I would often hear comments like, “Oh, her skin is so beautiful! She’s so tan. She’ll never have trouble tanning. I wish I could trade skin with her. I’m so pasty/I burn. She looks like she comes from another country or something.” These were said by strangers and friends alike, and even though they intended them as compliments something about them always seemed so uncomfortable–it was the first time I experienced such an emphasis on a child’s skin color, even though I have experienced myself some of the comments you listed here. I am never sure how to reply. Usually with an awkward smile. On the other hand, I suppose I am guilty of some of the things you have listed here as well. For example, if I do discover someone is from another country, sometimes I do tend to get excited because I like to learn about other cultures. I may be guilty of trying to glean if someone is from another country based on looks or accent. Thanks for bringing this to light. It also reminds me of an experience I had on the Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina. I was with some friends and an ex boyfriend, and we were driving through the night and ended up in Cherokee, so we stopped for a while to explore. There was a man playing a flute outside and my then ex boyfriend wanted to “take a picture” with him. This seemed problematic on so many levels, and I wish I hadn’t given in to the pressure to take the photo. “Oh, he wanted to, he doesn’t mind.” I kept being told, and yet 1. who knows if that was true because we didn’t really ask, and 2. it doesn’t matter, I still felt as though we were taking advantage of someone’s identity, or at least I knew enough about my ex boyfriend to know why he wanted to take the picture to begin with–the “idea” of an “Indian” — This was interesting in and of itself because, it reveals more of my own assumptions–the assumptions that, because my ex was a Jewish Israeli originally from Tajikistan, he would somehow have “known better”—the fact is, racism and stereotypes and generalized thinking exist across across the board–and someone who has experienced racism (such as I’m sure my ex boyfriend has), can still be guilty of treating another in the same way. When I was in Israel, I learned more about the racism that exists there (as I’m sure it exists in other countries, too, but I’m only speaking of Israel because it’s the only other country I’ve traveled to), and kept hearing a certain word “Arsim” mentioned when talking about a group of people there, which was also a sad learning experience, though I can’t claim to know much more about it–the racism there all seems convoluted with politics and fear, as I guess it is over here too, maybe. I don’t know. It makes me sad, and I hope I can root out any type of that thinking within myself. Thanks for your time.

  164. junebug379 says:

    Laila, I want to thank you for putting this out there. It’s something that I have felt was like beating a dead horse, but it is truly unacceptable for me not to fight against these kinds of prejudices. I am also mixed and deal with this from day to day. I agree that my ethnicity does not define my heart or character. I simply do not comprehend how people can be so ignorant. Do you also have random people try to speak to you in another language with the assumption you are of that particular race, aside from the things you hear all the time? I deal with this from time to time and it irks me a bit. Especially, when they treat me as if I should know how to speak the language.

  165. techfold says:

    As a philosopher I think outside the box. Nobody on the planet is truly “White”. I am disgusted to see so many of the fools simply fall for the terminology given by Europeans to all non-Europeans. The word ‘white’ itself was coined out of the trans-atlantic slave trade when the word ‘negro’ was first coined to designate Africans as lowest of the low, lowliest on the human hierarchy, followed by Indians (East, Native Americans etc) as sub-human mud people, while ‘white’ was positioned among the highest on human chart assigned to Europeans. All of Europe among Europeans is NOT the same color, therefore they are colored people just like everyone else.

  166. autumnala says:

    Thanks for a great look at the frustration of being mixed in particular! Being told that you don’t ‘count’ as either of your ethnic backgrounds, having people ask your dad if he ‘brought back’ your mom from the Vietnam war, the list of slights in the guise of polite interest goes on and on! Keep calling it out!

  167. bluewanderer says:

    I think its okay not to be white in an English country. Its what makes you unique. Dont take the comments seriously, love your complexion, youre beautiful in your own way 🙂

  168. […] I read and commented on a post the other day, “What It’s Like Not Being White” the author Laila was insightful, charming and personal about her experience not being […]

  169. Nicely written! Thanks for raising awareness

  170. R. McKee says:

    Thank you. How eloquently you’ve stated the struggle that people of color have the world over. White privilege is a nearly daily frustration for many people of color, easy to experience but difficult to explain to non-minorities in a meaningful way. You did a fabulous job.

  171. Atul says:

    I can totally relate to this situation. Like you say, no one likes to think of themselves as a racist.. but everywhere it is.. racism and discrimination..

  172. Blimey. This post is an eye opener

  173. hbeastley says:

    It’s so sad and frustrating to hear that this isn’t just an issue in America. It’s really time our generation & future generations start being more culturally aware.

  174. This is so interesting! Really enjoying your posts 🙂

  175. movieblort says:

    Very interesting, well written and brave piece to write about. I’m glad it’s getting this deserved attention, because the actions from those select examples you chose can’t continue to go unnoticed. No doubt there are many more examples where this has happened, but you would be here all day listing them.

    About 3 years ago I started dating my current girlfriend, she is of Indian descent but born and raised in the UK. It never really occurred to me that race would ever be an issue when going out, but gradually it has become more apparent that there are some real idiots in the world whose archaic racist views are still present in their minds.

    One of the most recent examples was in Peterborough not too long ago, she was walking out of a bar up a narrow stairwell, when a mother with a child on her back used the child’s leg to kick my girlfriend and called her a ‘paki’. I told the bar manager and he knew immediately who it was, and they were evicted straight away.

    At a service station in Keele the EDL stormed in, and proceeded to tell everyone that they shouldn’t eat KFC because it was ‘Paki Food’, despite the clue being in the name as to where it was from, they were adamant that no “good white English person” would eat KFC. We had to leave because it was just ridiculous.

    There have been many other times, but nothing quite on the scale you describe. Perhaps my girlfriend experiences it when I’m not there but doesn’t mention it to me? It’s frustrating to hear about, and I only hope that by articles like this getting this type of attention that awareness can be raised to show that this still occurs.

    Keep up the good work.

  176. Edie Olson says:

    While living in England, I was asked if I was nanny to my mixed race daughter.

    One employer had my race listed as white, it was by accident I came upon this form. But I brought it to their attention, “I’m black, not white”. His response, “that’s okay, you could pass”.

    Another remark I’ve heard too many times, “I don’t think of you as black”

    I’m much older than you Laila, but am so sorry these things, this manner of thinking is still alive and well.

    And yes, you are very pretty.

  177. MickeyRC says:

    I’m American/Hawaiian and have tan skin. Everybody says “Oh, where are you from?” Last week at camp I was asked where I was from. I said “Here” She got nervous and just said “Oh…” And walked away. I am tired of this crap.

  178. You’re really beautiful, and be proud of who you are. It really upset me when I read all your experiences. And yes, being stereotyped is the worst feeling ever, I totally understand your anguish. I really hope, more people like you fight back and show the world what they’re worth.

  179. jlcarter119 says:

    You are fucking beautiful. You intellect is sexy. The way you write could make any man, or woman’s head spin. The power in your words is as alluring as a sly smirk upon the gentle curve of lips.
    You are lovely to look upon. Not because your skin is brown, or your hair is dark, but because you are not afraid to be you and that is truly lovely.

  180. Bing says:

    Your photographs are very ingenuity. It actually speaks a thousand words while I was reading the rest of your post. It is well-written and very profound. I myself experience a lot of discrimination and ethic confusion. It is tough to live here in America while I am an ethnic minority. After reading this blog, I realized discrimination can happen anywhere not just in America. Thank you for sharing this post! I’ve gained more global awareness after reading it.

  181. Enareth says:

    Reblogged this on Enareth and commented:
    Story of my life… Well let’s say half of my life

  182. Tears0fBlood says:

    Some people are really quite horrible huh… I don’t count myself as being tactful, good in conversations or especially polite but some of those examples of people being racist and presumptuous are so stupid… People are really like that? Its hard to imagine. I enjoyed reading, it was interesting 🙂 gave me a lot of perspective. Also, I like your pictures.c

  183. XO says:

    I am shocked at your experiences. People can be so disgusting in their ignorance. Please keep calling people out and educating people. I am so acutely aware of my own ingrained racism and reading about people’s experiences helps me challenge this within me and with other people. I just wish you didn’t have these experiences, I don’t know what else to say I just needed to comment because this is so beautifully written despite your anger and frustration. I found your blog through this post and I’m glad I did because you seem like a really interesting and talented person and I enjoy reading your thoughts. xo

  184. Johnny B says:

    with direct eye contact and a full-on creeper glare, say ‘your people are doomed.’

  185. Sania says:

    I enjoyed your blog very much. amazing writtings.

    If your visit my blog sanya512.worspress.com it would be my pleasure.
    Good day 🙂

  186. Kim-Lee says:

    Heh, I feel you. Try being light skinned black in Canada with a South-Korean name. I have shown up to interviews only to hear, “Oh, we thought you were Korean. Are you mixed with Asian? Why do you have that name?” or being passed by the Uber cab drivers I request because, “ohhhh sorry I saw the Asian name on the pickup request but you are black so I assumed it couldn’t be you. Shouldnt you parents have named you Shaniqua or something?”

    Listen, ignore the ignorant haters. You are beautiful and strong and there is nothing wrong with being mixed. People are childish and don’t like to accept anything that’s different from their narrow little “norms.”

    • Miss Dinie says:

      I hear that.. Because my name is not English all problems arise. From pronunciation,’shaniqua’ comments, and plain ignorance from not just white people but others!! My name means ‘woman of high birth’ in Hindi and Hebrew.. But according to ignorant people of Islamic culture it means ‘concubine’!!!! You can’t imagine how angry I was at this insult!! Even white people thought this was funny!!! In Turkish my name meant ‘first woman/wife of a harem.. Now it just means ‘first wife’…

      People and their ignorance baffles me at times,and as a result, I get people to call me by a nickname, to avoid mispronunciation, and ignorant people.. I shouldn’t have to do so!

  187. Az says:

    I am a recently naturalised British citizen origianlly from Pakistan who grew up int he Middle East with an American accent. People have asked me if I’m American, Canadian, Indian, Spanish and one guy thought I sounded and looked French to him. I can so relate to this post. Once standing in a pub out for drinks with people from work, an ex colleaugue points at

  188. Nav says:

    This really resonated.

    I’ve had similar issues all my life, and for a long time I thought it was my problem – that it’s unfair to expect people to get it and I’m being too sensitive. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve found it increasingly hard to tolerate that feeling of “otherness”. I’m all for celebrating the things that make us unique, but what can really hurt sometimes are those reminders that people, even close friends, see you as different and behave differently as a result.

    The hardest thing for is recognising that my feelings are legitimate, let alone for others to acknowledge and understand the reasons for the hurt (these responses still so common: http://mlkshk.com/p/9FOI)

    Still, it’s great that you and others (I also loved this by Durga Chew-Bose http://www.buzzfeed.com/durgachewbose/finding-myself-in-the-first-person#.cu9Jo21LvD) are writing about this – thank you.

  189. Az says:

    I am a recently naturalised British citizen originally from Pakistan. I was born in Kuwait and lived in the Middle East for most of my life. I have an American accent which confuses a lot of people. I was once out for a few drinks with people from work and an ex colleague points to my arm and says, ‘Wow, you’re monkey hairy.’ What exactly can you say to that 🙁

  190. It was fascinating reading your blog post, thanks for documenting your experiences. I’m mixed race too (Indian and English). I don’t know whether its a regional/area thing (I grew up in Birmingham) but I’ve never really felt particularly discriminated against for being non-white.

    I’ve experienced the odd thing in the past, but its more of an exception rather than a rule. I guess I’m pretty lucky in that regard. I just usually get comments like – you’re very tanned (Me: I was born brown), you look very exotic, where are you from etc etc.

    I did hear a little kid ask his mom on the train if I was ‘one of them’ right after 7/7. That was probably the worst thing. No one has ever assumed I can’t speak English and it’s definitely not effected me professionally.

    On the flip side, I think there’s also a lot to be said for being discriminated by non-white/ English people as a mixed race person too.

    I’ve had a heck of a lot more hurtful comments from Asian people who’ve instigated some pretty awkward conversations. I’ve had people say horrible things when they realise I’m not a vegetarian, when they realise I cant speak Punjabi or Hindi, when they realise my mother isn’t Indian, when I say I’m an atheist, when they see me walking around with a white guy.

    You get ignorant people on both sides of the fence. I think its important to embrace these differences and maybe take certain things as a complement. I mean its pretty dope you look exotic and different. It makes you special. But don’t stand for anything that puts you in a box or makes you have a disadvantage. I’d have kicked off if I’d experienced some of what youve gone through.

    Thanks again for the great post,

    Anisha. No no, ANISHA, not Alisha. Haha.

    • tapeparade says:

      I think the only comments I’ve received from Asians is stuff like “Where is your parents from?” again based on my colour, but this is nearly always linked to a leery look and some weird pervy behaviour so I tend to dismiss this as sexism. It’s really interesting to hear what people in essentially a similar position have gone through – we all seem to have really different experiences. I can’t speak for anybody except myself, and I’m grateful to learn about other perspectives.

  191. Roshni says:

    This article really surprised me. I am Indian but born and bred in London. As far as I’m concerned I am a British Indian but first and foremost British. I have never experienced racism (that I have noticed) but this may be because I am from a city that is extremely multicultural. Its awful that you experience racism so frequently but its great that you’re posting about it. Thank you 🙂

    • tapeparade says:

      I’m also born and bred in London! I don’t experience the extreme racist incidents particularly often (I didn’t give any prevalence or frequency in my original article) but the comments I put up I do get quite frequently and it still hurts. I wonder if some of it is the industry I’m in?

  192. Leica says:

    Believe it or not the opposite is true as well. I am half Asian but I look 100% white. I went to school in India, and used to speak Hindi quite fluently when I was young.

    I have an Asian surname and when people meet me and hear my surname they ask me about my husband, if he’s from India or from here, if he’s Rajasthani or Punjabi. I’d quite like to become a part of my work’s black and asian group, but honestly don’t feel comfortable because I’m white.

    I’ve been told it’s a “problem” most mixed race people would welcome but that’s daft. The whole idea of race is daft. Why does having different colour skin indicate race, but not different colour hair? It should never matter to anyone, it’s just pigment.

  193. This is an incredible post- I am terribly sorry. I wouldn’t dare to say I feel you, because that would simply be a lie. I can only relate to being the poster child for every school promotions because of my ethnicity and being called Osama, a terrorist, boom, and numerous other derogatory terms. Thank you so much for wishing your powerful story and keep fighting the ‘good’ fight!

  194. Indian girl says:

    I am an Indian and unfortunately I have heard lots of similar comments from other british Asians/ Indians 🙁 This generation of british born Asians need some training about how to treat other non british people. I hope they don’t do that to their indian born parents

  195. Well, you ARE beautiful. Y’know, for a Brit. Cos we all have horrid teeth and that… geddit?

    Seriously, I’m very sorry you have to deal with dickheadish remarks like those. Because I look and sound white middle-class English I haven’t had to deal with that (remarks centred around my weight or disability are sadly another matter…) but I try to challenge that kind of thing if I ever hear it said about someone else. There’s enough grief for Brits without us attacking each other.

  196. Yvonne says:

    You make some really important points in your post and highlight the fact that racism comes in all different forms – some of it blatant and others more subtle or casual – and all of it is problematic in its own way. I’m horrified that you’ve encountered any of this awful behaviour, let alone all of it but thank you for sharing.
    Understanding that you can’t speak for everyone, out of curiosity, how prevalent is this type of behaviour and in which forums do they appear most frequently (online, in person) in the context of Britain? I live in Canada, and I’m not so naive to believe that we’re without our own faults and problems, so my question comes from a place of interest to better understand the cultural climate.

  197. Adan Ramie says:

    I’m always left feeling dirty after reading about the kinds of negative experiences that people of color have. It’s easy to say, “This kind of stuff doesn’t happen a lot,” and dig one’s head into the sand when one isn’t the object of this kind of injustice. When I hear people around me saying things that I consider racist, I call them out on it, too — because I’m offended as a human being to hear another human being slandered for a trait that they were born with, especially if there is nothing wrong with it. All skin tones are beautiful, and no one deserves to be treated like garbage because of who they are.

  198. secretsas15 says:

    I quite like being in the “other” box at times …. but being “mixed” I can relate to this… its hard to quite fit in anywhere as in a whole I am not whole white and I am not whole Indian. I am OK with being an “other” though. However that chat up line is totally not right…. NEXT!

  199. I’m white one of my most favorite people to hang out with is not white. Really there should be some sort of Dear Abby am I being offensive if I do so and so, because the etiquette is not clear many times. How should I act with my non white friend and also with people who have a different religion. You want to acknowledge that they are not white and that you find their background attractive and that you know they are not white, but I’m glad to say she’s pointed out the racist places she’s visited. I generally tend to assume a place is not racist and really feel unenlightened about many things having to deal with racism -so great post!

  200. Reading your article was like reading my own life. Except that I’m American. Everyone always asked me where I was from, what language did I speak. I even heard, you people come to this country and don’t even learn the language, and I was like, what, I’m American, and they’re like, sure you are. Funny thing now is that I’ve lived in India the past 6 years (though traveled back and forth for 25) here, everyone just assumes that I’m white. And I’m just like, you’ve got to be kidding me, I’m not white. But I’ve come to terms with the fact that most of the race issue is about what other people see you as, which is nothing to do with me. I guess I don’t hear about it as much here in India because people are just assuming that I’m foreign, and I am, whereas in America, when people think your foreign and you’re American, it can get old pretty quickly.

  201. SSL says:

    I loved this! I’m mixed white and Malaysian Chinese (yes, not all Chinese people are from China just like not all blonde people are from Scandanavia) and ticking the “mixed white and other box always leaves me with the residual feeling that my parents’ marriage and procreational efforts were some strange experiment that doesn’t warrant its own tick box.

    I have an English name and Chinese surname but people usually can’t place me. Chinese people usually think I’m white and white people usually think I’m “not white but something else” (in the words of a friend).

    When dating I have to watch out for weird dudes who have Chinese girl fetishes – there happen to be an amazing amount of them – and even then sometimes I’ve been made to feel like I’ve ticked a box for some guys because I’m mixed race or a bit Chinese looking. Even positive stereotyping is actually offensive. When people say “oh but mixed race people are always so pretty” or “you look so much more interesting than if you were just white” that’s just weird. It’s like I can’t be attractive on my own terms, or even because I might be wearing loads of make up – it’s always because I’m mixed race, ergo that means you are attractive. I would note that my brother doesn’t get the same comments.

    People always ask where I’m from and I hate it because a) it’s a long and complicated answer (I was born in Ireland, raised in Singapore and have lived in England for 10 years now). And if I’m out with my girlfriends they never ask where they’re from because it’s easier to assume that they’re British. Except they’re not, my closest girlfriends, who are white, grew up in Singapore with me. But only I get asked where I’m from.

    Such a rant so sorry. But I’m glad someone actually wrote about this. I haven’t had anywhere near the amount of negative experiences you’ve had and I’m so sorry that you’ve had this your whole life. You are stunning and your job sounds so interesting and rewarding. It’s wonderful you’ve been able to use your musical talent to teach others. And for the the record, I know that the people you refer to are in the minority and like to make themselves feel superior to you for the arbitrary reason of race, rather than because they are actually worth anything.

    Keep smiling! 🙂

    • tapeparade says:

      Thank you so much for your interesting comment and I really appreciate your kind words. X

    • Miss Dinie says:

      Your story just goes to show that mixing hasn’t solved the age old problem of nasty perceptions and classification of races/stereotypes.. Sad.. But its worse being black and mixed with anything else that isn’t white.. Heard of blasians/blindians? The fried chicken comments come out a lot, as well as ignorance, about whether Chinese and Indian people exist in the Caribbean.. England doesn’t know what multiculturalism really is.. They’re rather backwards!

  202. Jessica says:

    I’m white, and from my perspective, some people truly don’t know they are coming across as racist and they actually have good intentions. A lot of mixed people are proud of their heritage and confident when explaining it to people. White people, or people who just happen to have light skin can be mixed too. I’m german, scottish, spanish, and italian. The truth is, people are just in their own world and may even be conditioned to believe certain things about people with a different skin tone.
    If you just accept yourself exactly as you are, you will actually be a lot better off than most “white” people who don’t accept themselves or feel good about themselves. Love yourself! Be proud of who you are and what makes you unique.
    When I compliment someone or think someone is beautiful who happens to have a different skin tone, I don’t say “I think you’re a beautiful black woman”. I just say “I think you’re beautiful”. But a lot of people don’t understand that what they say can be offensive. They may actually think it makes is more of a compliment.
    One thing I know for sure is that you CANNOT depend on other people to treat you perfectly. You cannot control other people. All you have control over is how you feel about yourself.
    And guess what, a lot of girls or women feel less beautiful than women with another skin tone. Or even less unique! Why do you think so many girls go tanning?!
    And besides, the more you love yourself and see your unique beauty, (which we all need to do) the less you will receive negative comments from other people, and you won’t even care about it if they do!
    So be proud of who you are and what makes you, you! Tell everyone you meet or who asks in a confidant way and everyone will love that about you!

    • tapeparade says:

      I appreciate the sentiment of your comment, but I think you’re missing a lot of what I said. In no way am I not proud of who I am. I’m happy to celebrate my heritage and explain where I am from – within a certain context. That context could be a conversation where I’m getting to know somebody and we’re talking about our families. That context is not when I’ve missed a job opportunity because somebody assumed I couldn’t speak English.

      There is no problem on my end with accepting who I am, and that’s not what this article is about. This article is about the perceptions, assumptions and stereotypes people place on me based solely on my skin colour and my name, and the problems those percepetions and stereotypes cause in my life. That doesn’t connect with my own self-acceptance.

    • Miss Dinie says:

      That’s good to know that you don’t mention the persons race.. Since no one ever mentions a Ww as a beautiful Ww.. She’s just seen as beautiful.. When white men in particular do this rubbish, alarm bells go off in my head! I’ve found some to have a fetish, or just curious about bw and whether our ‘you know what’s’ are different from yours.. One Spanish guy, asked me that.. Needless to say, he was put in his place!!

      I’m well aware of white people having their own issues..

  203. Bob Dobb says:

    I’m a Brit living in the US and a number of your comments I’ve had made to me. Not the race ones but ones about language and religion, etc. As silly as it may sound, many Americans apparently have no clue English people speak English or how tiring “I love your accent, say that again” can be when heard 20 times a day… Everyday.

    Some of the comments you received are racist, some superficial, and some no doubt innocent and meaning well. I try to tell myself that every time someone loves my accent and wants me to repeat a stupid phrase.

    You can probably separate the malignant comments from the benign. Those who mean you harm you would best try to ignore or distance yourself from. Know you’re a better person, and understand there are sadly, horrible people in the world.

    Other people are just uneducated. It may be a chore but point out why they are being offensive. Maybe they will know how better to treat the next person they meet.

    Some people probably are trying to be nice. Calling you exotic they think is a compliment. You do look ‘exotic’ to a white British boy who grew up surrounded by mostly other white people. They don’t understand that telling you this is offensive (and I hope me saying this now isn’t offensive). Please don’t get angry with them. Educate them that you don’t like to be called that.

    Some people will like your skin tone. Don’t get angry with them as long as this isn’t all they see in you. Everyone has some superficiality to them. Some people like red heads, certain body shapes, breasts, muscles, bums, long hair, bald heads, eye colours, jaw lines, wide shoulders, skinny waists.

    Men and women alike have certain superficial things they find attractive in a partner. That’s ok as long as they are not all about the superficial. By itself (obviously I don’t know the whole story with your ex) a man who is attracted to you in part because to him you are “exotic” is no worse than a man who is attracted to a woman with big breasts. It’s superficial but meant, no doubt, as a compliment.

    Just make sure there is more than superficiality there.

    As for all the insults and deliberately nasty comments and racist slights you’ve had to endure. I apologise for all my [expletive] compatriots. Racist arseholes are everywhere, we just need to fight racism where we can. I think racism is slowly dying, but still has an unfortunate grasp on the world. It’s sadly something that won’t die in our lifetime. 100 years from now hopefully mankind will no longer have to fight the issue…

    • tapeparade says:

      Yes, I know. I’m not entirely sure why you’ve repeated some of the stuff I already said? As I said, I know people aren’t trying to be offensive, but they don’t understand the depth of their comments because it’s so ingrained. That’s why I call it out and try to explain people.

  204. Beowulf1 says:

    Thanks so much for writing about such a sensitve topic. “You’re so pretty…for a black girl” will likely be written on my headstone. As soon as I mention that something offends me or that I don’t appreciate a particular remark, I’m suddenly an “angry black woman”. I also have an Arabic name, which leads to a lot of confusion and a slew of attempts to give me a nickname, although I’m not interested in speaking with anyone who won’t even attempt to learn how to pronounce my given name. I think the very worst is when strangers touch my hair without asking me; I have dreadlocks, and while I understand the curiosity, I am not a llama at the zoo to be petted on. It’s at a point where whenever a stranger touches my hair, I turn around and feel all up on theirs right back. It satisfies me to no end to see how uncomfortable they get, and to be able to say to them, “yeah, see how annoying and inappropriate it is when strangers touch you?” I know how tiring and frustrating it is to continue to tell people about their follies, but you can’t give up. Continue to school those ignorant mouth-breathers! It might not be today, but soon enough the world, or at least even just your corner, will be better for it.

  205. @littlebitcold Being a mixed race, I’ve encountered that maybe 5 times my entire life. Great article.

  206. aypau says:

    Thank you for writing this article Laila. I always thought discrimination would be less prevalent in London, because it’s a multicultural city and my experiences as a visitor were so good. Maybe I should open my eyes a bit more. I’m shocked by the fact that the drop down menu of HR forms contain a racial background section in the UK in 2015. I recognize some of the issues you write about (my mum is European, my dad is African). I grew up in Belgium, lived in the Netherlands and thought what I heard about my colour was bad, until I read your article: you’ve had more negativity to deal with than I have. But just consider this: wether people like ” a bit of tropical now and then” or not, they have no choice but to get used to us. If you have children one day they will be mixed, and more mixed children are born every day so we are the future!

    • K says:

      I’ve read that they ask for racial background etc on forms so they can track if things are fair, which seems an acceptable reason, but I can understand why Jews sometimes won’t fill it in the census, why make yourself easy to catch if antisemitism grows.

  207. Abby R. says:

    I found this article quite pwoerful and it highlights many of the problems that colored people still deal with, even in a society that supposedly doesn’t have any further issues with these kinds of problems.

    I’m not mixed race, but I am Hispanic, Puerto Rican to be exact. I’ve been told insults that bother me to the core. People seem to be confused at times about what race or ethnicity I am. I am pale, but have distinctive Puerto Rican features, like my thick hair and bold eyebrows and my skin tone. Because of this, I tend to tell people I’m Hispanic before much questioning can be done. However, when I don’t mention I’m a Puerto Rican Hispanic, people make assumptions. I’ve been called Mexican, Asian, middle eastern, mixed. I don’t have a problem with these ethnicities and cultures, but I hate it when someone assumes just by my features and skin tone that I am not American like everyone else around me.

    My eyes have been so open to all the equality issues around us across different topics, such as sexism, racism, religious beliefs and sexual equality. I’ve tried and continue to try to correct others on this. I’ve done this by correcting my parents that just because my friend is Vietnamese, it doesn’t mean she works as a manicurist or always makes the top grades in class. She has other qualities that define her way beyond her physical appearance.
    Telling them that just because a woman wears something that’s deemed revealing or “too short”, it doesn’t mean that she’s a slut or should be ashamed of her choices in clothing. Why should they care how others dress?
    Or just because a person that likes the same sex or is transgender or someone is on the spectrum of differentiating genders and sexualities, it doesn’t make them any less of a person. Shouldn’t they deserve to be happy?
    Or that a person with different religious beliefs, or lack thereof, are wrong in their ways, or that their moral values are horribly wrong compared to theirs.

    However, whenever I comment on these things, my parents always say things such as, ” We were only kidding, of course we know your friend doesn’t work at a nail salon,” “Well, while it’s not right for men to catcall or make remarks about that woman, her clothes make it pretty easy for them to be able to,” “Gays can marry who they want, but I’m not really for or against the cause,” or “While we do know that you are atheist, you will come to church with us because it’s the right thing to do and it will ‘help’ you later in life.”
    With my parents and others ignoring the actual causes and effects of prejudice against many different groups of people, it’s hard to convince them it’s harmful.

    Sorry for being so long winded. Long story short, what I’m trying to say is that even if people say we’re being overdramatic by pointing out microagressions, we really aren’t and everyone needs to be properly educated on the impacts of these types of discrimination to stop them. They should try to understand what we’re trying to do and at least listen to why we’re doing this.

    Again, great article. I hope to see more great ones from you!
    Abby R.

  208. I have to admit something. When I was eleven I met a boy at my local train station whose skin was less pasty white than mine. I asked him where his was from and he said Donaghmade (about an hour from where I grew up). I asked him, with all the hurtful innocence of a preteen – “no really, where?”
    The look on his face still makes me teary and I wish I could go back and shut my ignorant little mouth. But, and I’m sorry if this sounds like I’m making excuses, I truly thought he had not been born in my country because he did not look like my other friends. And I wanted to hear stories about somewhere different and more beautiful than Dublin. And I thought he was gorgeous.
    But I was 11.
    I’m pretty sure that there is no excuse for being such an asshole when you’re an adult. Sorry you have to face this so regularly and I hope most of the people you’ve encountered feel as shameful about it as I do.

  209. Mariposaoro says:

    Mmmm hmmm… And all the reasons you’ve put,care the reasons that I would never ever date an Englishman!! Actually, not that many Europeans in general!

    I hear the ‘you’re a beautiful bw’-when its a ww, she’s just beautiful.. I’ve dumped so called friends for reiterating the stereotypes that Black Caribbean shouldn’t marry and just be single mothers, because we’re ‘strong women’-Something that some idiotic bw unfortunately reinforce.. Not even totally true! So its not any wonder that ww(Even those with ethnic friends!) feel the need to feel culturally, racially and sexually superior to, in this case bw..

    With Asian females this isn’t such an issue.. Unless it’s ones from East/Southeast Asia, as some ww can be bitchy with a racist undertone-Even if they are with a man of colour! Such is the HYPOCRISY, SEXUAL JEALOUSY, AND CLOSET RACISM!

    Wm have their part to play too-Often times they are enablers, who join in with things that they shouldn’t (Going through it!!) and have a bullying attitude! This just confirms everything that I have documented on Topix, that i have been insulted and harassed over!

  210. Imagine being called brown, other, exotic, etc. for looking like an actual local. My mother is obviously Native American and was driven to do everything she could to look less “ethnic” in the land of her own people in order to be seen as employable. Looking like a Native American in America actually does mean looking like a local, but you would never know it from the ignorant things said to Original Americans by Unoriginal Americans.

  211. r1chardhp says:

    Change is slow and it happens with small steps. Stick to your integrity and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Telling you to “not make a fuss” is people not wanting to admit they’ve made mistake, don’t doubt yourself because other people are to afraid to confront their own shortcomings. Society needs people like you to stand up and make a change. Stay strong.

  212. openminded45 says:

    Were all the same underneath. Same type of emotions feelings. Same needs. Who cares about color.

  213. First Nations mutt here, far from Dover,
    I love smoked fish, but can’t abide clover.
    But who gives a damn
    Of which Half I am?
    When I drink, both halves are hungover!

  214. I have no tolerance for racism, I think its pathetic that people treat someone with a different color of skin then their own like animals who they enslave and torturer, but racism does go both ways -I know about it first hand. I had a boyfriend who was black, which didn’t occur to me until I met his sister. I could understand if she felt protective of her little brother, but they really seemed to hate each other, but her objection to me was because I’m white, and she made that very clear. I was next to him in bed one morning, she didn’t know I was there, but I could hear her ranting as she paced up and down the hallway saying nasty things about how I was so pale my sk s thee shade of dead people. My boyfriend actually laughed at her description of me, my angry glare at him stopped the laughter. But then she went into hysterics in the hallway, screaming “I hate white people,they just walk all over you, I hate them!”. I told my boyfriend I didn’t know what to think at that point, he said “If it helps, I kinda know how you feel? I looked back at him and said “No, that doesn’t help at all. I broke up with him a long time ago, I couldn’t be in a relationship with a guy who’s sister prejudis

  215. GreedyFrog says:

    Your post really resonates with me. Like you, I am “mixed other”, and we also share a first name. I am not British, and I moved to England as an adult and still have a noticeable accent. I am rather white-looking though, so my experience has been a bit different to yours.
    I have lost count of the number of times people refer to “foreigners” in a disparaging way in front of me. When I point out that I am a foreigner, and rather offended by their comments, I get reassured that they didn’t mean me and I am “ok”. When I question why I am “ok”, the answers get hazy, and somewhat defensive. Is it because I look white? Is it because I come from an EU country seen as a desirable place to live? Is it because I am educated?… I am yet to get a straight answer.
    When it came to choosing a school for my daughter, someone told me that I had to make sure I picked a school where children had English as their mother tongue, otherwise my daughter would never get any attention from the teachers who would be too busy dealing with the foreigners. I pointed out that English isn’t my first language. The person had, at least, the decency to blush.
    I just thought I would share with you what it is like for a foreigner-who-doesn’t-look-like-one in the UK. 🙂

  216. I’m sorry this has happened! You are beautiful the way you are what they are saying is wrong it has to stop !!

  217. Hi Laila, I read your article, and as much as you do not deserve to be treated in this terrible way. I believe that the WORST thing you could do would be to tweet about all of the future racist comments you may or may not receive. For by the law of attraction States, whatever you focus your energy or attention on is what you will bring to yourself, whether you want it or not. I would recommend trying to find a positive aspect to your feeling of difference. I would try and embrace this feeling and try and turn it into a feeling of uniqueness and individuality. You are beautiful, unique and like no other individual in this world-no matter what your name, hair colour, race etc. You are special and you are different because you are YOU! Everyone on the planet is different as everybody has different mindsets. So I believe that if you stop talking about the negatives that occur in your life, then the less negativity you will attract. If you start to tell a better story about the way that you are treated then more positive things will come toward you. You may no longer feel as though you are an outsider in your own country of birth and you feel that people will no longer treat you in this manner! You have the power to control your own reality you just have to redirect your thoughts more positively. I hope you can try to understand what I have said here and I wish you all the best with a bright, happy future x

    • tapeparade says:

      I am not trying to broadcast everything in order to guilt people or further incite anger: in fact the opposite. I truly believe that the majority of people don’t understand why their comments might be hurtful and educating them is the only way that we might eventually end all these kinds of comments. So, by calling it out I mean calling out that specific type of ingrained stereotype and hopefully challenging people.

      I’m far from a negative person, but I felt it needed to be addressed as I have lost work and jobs due to this kind of prejudice – as described in the post.

      • I know that you’re not trying to anger others and that you have tipped over the edge with frustration as you feel that you have no control over this matter. But I promise you that you do. My advice to you would be to perhaps stop initiating jokes (where you said you would do it before others did), because that in itself attracts the acceptance of racist comments, even though that is not what you really want. For you to understand my perspective properly on this, I think you may benefit reading my blog “why you SHOULD be selfish” -I think it may be on my about me page as I’m new to this. But I honestly think it may help with how you’re feeling about this situation. If you take the time to read it, please let me know what you think. All the best, Maddie x

        • tapeparade says:

          Well, that’s why I wrote the post as I realised in making jokes about it I’d given others an allowance to make jokes without necessarily acknowledging the ironic aspect of the joke. As I said in the opening paragraph, I wasn’t calling it out to be funny.

  218. Pookito says:

    Omg, I don’t know what to say. Sadly, u r not the only one going through that. So do I, I just got so tire of it, I don’t even feel angry any more.

  219. Hi Laila

    I see what you are getting at and it is not right for people to judge before hand. I am going to be blunt and straight forward. I love a good rant about something that matters and your post really drew me in. Now i am GAY and i come from a very set religious and cultural family. Where there is only black and white in the sense of right and wrong. I am a South African male. Through my life i had to deal with a lot of rejection, disappointment and slandering. I wish i could say that it was fun but i will only be bull shitting myself. I have learned tough lessons in life and came out stronger due to them even tho it was traumatizing. I work in a very diverse company with a lot of people from different origins even mixed. I have a very different mindset in regards to the cultural card. It doesn’t faze me a lot. I mean who am to judge i am gay. When ever someone in my company plays the color card or race card i get a bit uncomfortable. In a sense it is what it is and nobody can argue it. Were not color blind. But discriminating is a topic not up for discussion. Regardless if your from a mixed ethnicity or a specific culture stereotyping will always be around us. and that’s sad. equality is one of the things humanity has fought for for many centuries. we came a long way in regards to it, yet were nowhere close to where we should be. i have dated a Indian man in past, well we saw each other came pretty close to dating but it went south after a while, I couldn’t help but wonder what society would say seeing us, especially me being a “white South African man”” i couldn’t care less because i saw the person he was and not the color. Men are still seen as the stronger race even tho woman have high titles men are still the sex that gets the higher paying jobs. Why for? Humanities brain capacity is all equal. In a sense the bent questions you get asked about yourself, humanity is enforcing upon genders. NOT FAIR! You are an amazingly beautiful woman with a highly Intelligent mind. Regardless of ethnicity color or any other aspect u get taken on by or have to deal with. Keep on proving people wrong, i will fight along side you, discrimination needs to end.

  220. venresia says:

    Hi, I am really happy you wrote it down and thank you very much for sharing. I believe it does make people think. We (me and my friends, the people around me) do not speak about racism and I’ve noticed that sometimes I don’t even dare to say the word “race or racism” at public places because I’m worried someone would misunderstand it, also what Live Bravely said we are not educated on what is “OK” to say, but people must talk about these things and tell what they are experiencing, because that’s how we learn. Last time what I saw was really upsetting. I have a friend who’s husband was born in Pakistan. They were called as witnesses for a police inveatigation. My friend told me how all police officers would ask her wierd questions when her husband wasn’t there, for example: “are you free to leave the house on your own?” or “does your husband keeps your money?”. One of them told her that they know she loves her husband but he probably just married her for the visa. She said she didn’t even know what to say to this, she was facing a police officer after all. I couldn’t believe it first but then once I went with her to the police station because we couldn’t make out why a letter was sent to her and what did it mean, so we went in to ask for some explination. My friend showed the letter at the police reception to a lady, who only saw the name of the husband and straight away asked my friend if there is anything she wants to tell her about her husband. She even questioned if their marriage was for the right reasons. It was the first time I saw judgment of a race come forward so strong. I was so shocked. I really thought it would only happen in movies. Maybe it’s just the fact that they were police officers, and I know they probably wanted to “protect” my friend from any “possible” danger, maybe they are even required to ask these things I don’t know but it was so hurtful to see my friend to go through that. I have experienced it before when I went to a pub and I talked to one of my friends on an other languge than English (I speak five langugaes) and a man shouted at us from the other side of the pub “Speak English in my country!” First we ignored him and continued talking but he started to shout the same line again so we decided to go somewhere else. Other day a man who was asking passer by people about their electricity provider started to talk to me in Spanish. I could have spoken in Spanish with him I can speak the language however I am not Spanish so I just smiled at him and walked by. So these things does happen and we do not speak about them but we should because that’s how we all learn from our mistakes, so thank you very much for talking about it, and sharing your experiences, I think it can benefit everyone.

  221. kaiya000 says:

    Being white is know different. I’m black so what!

  222. darshanneo says:

    My heart goes out to you, Laila. This is indeed a growing problem all around the world, west and east alike. And you’re beautiful. Pretty sure that’s not a first

  223. Lynn taylor says:

    My thoughts? You are beautiful inside and out… That is all. Continue to be couageous, kind and you. Anyone who doesn’t see the wonder in you isn’t worth your time or energy. I am ashamed by the thoughtless and wreck less comments and actions you’ve seen, heard and experienced but have faith some people in this world see you, the person and sweet soul inside 😉

  224. Violin21 says:

    I felt like I really related to this post, despite the fact that I am indian. I’ve grown up in a predominantly Asian area and I’ve always felt slightly uneasy in predominantly white areas due to verbal slurs that some times I’ve gotten, although my brother and my father are often subject to more racism. They both wear turbans as they are Sikhs. My brother has received racist remarks such as “terrorist” despite the fact that he is only 13. They are subject to random searches at every airport and treated with some startling ignorance about their turbans and our religion.
    Your article is a fantastic way to speak out against racism that is still prevalent in todays society and it really spreads awareness.
    Thank you xx
    P.S you are beautiful.

  225. Glimmerella says:

    I understand how you feel. I really am an expat here in Switzerland and although my life here has been filled with happy experiences, it doesn’t take much for locals to make you feel alienated even though you yourself are trying to integrate. My hubby is Swiss and he himself is ashamed for unpleasant treatments I get. I give the excuse that maybe they were having bad days but there’s a limit as to how many times I can excuse them. The term “usländer” has a negative connotation and a joke that my “usländer” (swiss german word for foreigners | Ausländer in high german) friends and I make is the classic “scheiss usländer”. It’s more than enough that I get mistaken as Chinese or even Thai just because I’m Asian but to add the alien into the mix is too much. I get it, there are foreigners who really do disrespect the country but not all and there’s no way that the locals are perfect either. It gets frustrating to be called one especially at your workplace on the swiss national day itself to be added to my memory bank of unpleasant encounters. I still push to integrate with the people, learning to speak the dialect itself but just like in any service job it only takes one person to ruin your day.

  226. This post made me so mad. I’ve never actually experienced racism before, unless there were incidents in primary school which I can’t even remember by now. It’s not nice that people just assume stuff like that about you. I’m a Muslim girl from Nigeria, and although the religion thing isn’t the same as racism, It’s quite similar to it. The way people just assume I’m a terrorist because I’m covered. Or wondering whether I live in a jungle because I’m from “Africa”. Or whether I’ve ever had ebola before. The whole prejudice thing really sucks.

  227. Sarah says:

    I can really relate to this, I seem luckily enough to not have had it as bad as laila but with regards to the stupid tinder messages and people asking me where ‘I’m originally from’, it’s wearing thin. My parents are both white Caucasian who got pregnant with donor embryo’s whilst living in Cyprus. My twin bro and I have entirely Cypriot genes and were born there. Our nationality on our birth certificates/passports is whiteBritish (just like our parents) and we have lived all our lives in Somerset, where there is little diversity, therefore it had never occured to me that people see me as anything other than ‘whiteBritish’before starting college/uni and people started asking questions as to my ethnicity. I don’t mind the odd curious question as I realise the UK is a delicious melting pot of everywhere in the world; however when I respond with the answer ‘I’m originally English’, this is never good enough. I will then be faced with disbelief or ‘but where were your FAMILY/ancestors FROM?’ Purely because I have olive skin & dark hair/eyes. It makes me feel strange & kinda sad, especially when people (usually drunkish males) are way off the mark and ask me if I’m from places such as Azerbaijan or India/ Pakistan! I cannot personally identify with these places and don’t even feel I look like I could! These questions have imposed an unnecessary identity crises in my life that leaves me feeling the need to fully explain the way I came about in order to ‘justify’ calling myself English. Kudos to Laila for speaking out about this! Thank you x

  228. I’m mixed race and can certainly understand and have heard many of these comments.

    But what can we do eh?

    The fact of the matter is we are mixed race. We don’t have a country in the ethnic + (citizenship, cultural…etc.) sense. Some people do find us exotic. Some people do want an ethnically single country. That’s how it is.

    I think it’s important to give the majority of people a break. Hours upon hour of TV instilling ideas about religion will leave an impression. A foreign name implies foreign sensibilities, so does it come as no surprise that some people would assume a different language? I suppose your listing these as annoyances rather than in disbelief.

    The way I see it life isn’t fair…but nothing is without ups and downs.

    Some ups: Mixed race people are over represented in many fields. Mixed race people tend to be attractive. etc etc. You have me as your ethnic group member!

    • tapeparade says:

      What I’m trying to say is that people shouldn’t find me exotic. I live in London, where I was born and have grown up. I’m the girl next door, I’m the girl from school, etc etc. I shouldn’t be treated as a stranger. I don’t know what you mean by we don’t have a country; as far as citizenship goes you’d be hard-pressed to find a person who doesn’t have citizenship to somewhere in one way or another, regardless of heritage. That’s not how citizenship works.

      I try and be patient with people whilst at the same time calling them out on their views and their wording. A foreign name shouldn’t imply foreign sensibilities at all, I think that’s a very outdated view to take. I agree TV is a problem, and the media at large.

      What fields are mixed race people overrepresented in? Who says they tend to be more attractive?

      • I mean we don’t have a country in the ethnic + sense. England aside from Zone 1-4 London and inner city Birmingham / Manchester etc – is majorly people who have a long heritage of ethnic and cultural identification with this country. We we’re raised here and are British – but not English. That is the reality.

        A foreign name implies foreign sensibilties by it’s nature. A foreign name implies a preference to a foreign identity. However, I know what you mean, the more people you meet with a foreign name who are utterly British goes to dispel this.

        There are countless studies showing how mixed race people are healthier, stronger better looking etc. I must admit the overrepresented in fields and earning power I cannot pin down, but it is there in the ether of the internet.

        I suppose i’m advocating facing the fear. Accepting the situation. Whether this is correct or not, i’m not sure tbh.

        On a positive note, I think there isn’t a better place to be mixed race than a city in England. Particulary London.

        • tapeparade says:

          Well being English is not the same as being British. I would say I’m British, as I have a British passport and I pay British taxes. So for citizenship purposes I am British.

          I don’t know of any of these studies but if you could link to some that would be interesting to read.

          I think accepting the situation or becoming complacent just means it will never, ever go away. Do we think our great-grandchildren will have to deal with being questioned due to looking “foreign”? No, I would have hoped society would have moved on then. But it won’t unless we act on the injustices now. If our grandparents and ancestors hadn’t acted in the past then who knows what society would have been like now. I’m not calling for some huge movement, I’m just saying we should be aware of the assumptions implicit in certain conversations and for those of us who are most affected we need to call it out, because a lot of people are not even aware of what still happens.

          • If you point out a white person’s whiteness I doubt they’d get offended because they are not ashamed to be white. Why is it non-whites get so offended when their non-whiteness gets pointed out? Because they are ashamed of themselves? Now who’s fault is that? The ‘racist’ or the non-White who is ashamed of their own ethnicity?

            • tapeparade says:

              It’s not a matter of being ashamed. A white person’s whiteness wouldn’t get pointed, because being white is seen as being the norm. And whilst non-whites may not be the majority we shouldn’t be made to feel like we are not normal, especially in places like Britain which have been multicultural for generations now. How can you even imply that I am ashamed of my ethnicity? I didn’t say anything to remotely give that impression in my article – please explain how you’ve interpreted that.

              • That you were offended by the chap’s suggestion that you were not British and that you think being white is ‘the norm’. If he had said you don’t appear to be a squirrel or a rabbit would you have been so offended? Hardly because you might think to be human is to be superior to an animal. So why are you offended at someone calling into question your Britishness? Because you believe the that the British are superior to non-Brits? Now that really would be racist.

                • tapeparade says:

                  Where are you drawing these conclusions from? You have completely misinterpreted what I said.

                  • No doubt the guy who sent you that text could say the same thing.

                    • tapeparade says:

                      Please pull quotes from my article to support your earlier interpretations, so I can clarify whatever you have misunderstood.

                      As I said in the article, one or two can be brushed off as a misunderstanding but when it happens day in and day out its harder to see it that way. Perhaps read the final section again?

                    • I don’t deny all that you say and as a half Indian/German I can relate to what you say. When I was growing up Indians were portrayed in the media as weak, angry little men. Indians have been made to feel inferior as a result. A little research, however, will highlight the truth.

                      A great philosophy emanated from India. A philosophy about our true nature – one which branched out into many other philosophies – but despite the name the philosophy remains the same. One that transcends creed and colour.

                      I guess knowing what I know, I’m offended that you’re offended because if you knew what I knew you wouldn’t give a damn.

                    • tapeparade says:

                      This is very vague, do you want to share your story of enlightenment? I’m not talking about the truth as obviously nobody is truly a stereotype – I’m talking about the continued tropes and stereotypes that do damage to the everyday lives of people such as myself who are subjected to this crap day after day.

                    • Ok fair enough. Yup, it’s a sad state of affairs but that’s the world we live in. Some people just can’t see past what they see. Anyhow, good luck to you.

                    • Btw have you thought of writing a play about this? That bassoon scene is classic.

                    • tapeparade says:

                      A play about what? My life or ingrained racism?

          • I cannot speak for you or your experiences. But for me, facing the fear was accepting that I did not in the same sense as other people, have a people. And being ok with that. But, realising that I perhaps do have a people in a unique way, we the mixed race are a people. I think also: If I as a mixed race person were to slur a white person for being ‘inbred’, would that person then assume that all mixed race people felt the same? You know I won’t comment any more on this. I think the only sensible option is to read up on history where large scale immigration has occurred in a country and see what happened – because it’s all been done before. But perhaps our immigration is for economic reasons to compete with people strong emerging economies? I would imagine that we are now in a tumultuous time of it. But you know what I’ll not be tied down into living my life ashamed of being browner – what a downer. I’ll imagine it’s 4000 years ago when farming was brought into from the middle east and turned England away from hunting; and the to the invention of this fine country I call home

        • tapeparade says:

          Also, what fear? Could you clarify what you mean about facing the fear?

          • I cannot speak for you or your experiences. But for me, facing the fear was accepting that I did not in the same sense as other people, have a people. And being ok with that. But, realising that I perhaps do have a people in a unique way, we the mixed race are a people. I think also: If I as a mixed race person were to slur a white person for being ‘inbred’, would that person then assume that all mixed race people felt the same? You know I won’t comment any more on this. I think the only sensible option is to read up on history where large scale immigration has occurred in a country and see what happened – because it’s all been done before. Perhaps our immigration is for economic reasons to compete with people strong emerging economies? I would imagine that we are now in a tumultuous time of it. But you know what I’ll not be tied down into living my life ashamed of being browner – what a downer. I’ll imagine it’s 4000 years ago when farming was brought into from the middle east and turned England away from hunting; and the to the invention of this fine country I call home! What do we offer to this place, that our children will inhabit?

            • tapeparade says:

              Sure, I can accept that seeing mixed race people as a separate people. In the future, we will all be mixed race. No, I don’t think that would be acceptable, and as I say in the post I’m not saying this is a problem with all white people – I think it is a society problem at large, the way society is depicted, the images re-enforced by the media, the “other-ing” of certain groups of people. And just accepting a lesser place in society based on my name and skin colour is not really an option I want to take and pass on to my children to inhabit.

          • I cannot speak for you or your experiences. But for me, facing the fear was accepting that I did not in the same sense as other people, have a people. And being ok with that. But, realising that I perhaps do have a people in a unique way, we the mixed race are a people. I think also: If I as a mixed race person were to slur a white person for being ‘inbred’, would that person then assume that all mixed race people felt the same? You know I won’t comment any more on this. I think the only sensible option is to read up on history where large scale immigration has occurred in a country and see what happened – because it’s all been done before. But perhaps our immigration is for economic reasons to compete with people strong emerging economies? I would imagine that we are now in a tumultuous time of it. But you know what I’ll not be tied down into living my life ashamed of being browner – what a downer. I’ll imagine it’s 4000 years ago when farming was brought into from the middle east and turned England away from hunting; and the to the invention of this fine country I call home x

          • I cannot speak for you or your experiences. But for me, facing the fear was accepting that I did not in the same sense as other people, have a people. And being ok with that. But, realising that I perhaps do have a people in a unique way, we the mixed race are a people. I think also: If I as a mixed race person were to slur a white person for being ‘inbred’, would that person then assume that all mixed race people felt the same? You know I won’t comment any more on this. I think the only sensible option is to read up on history where large scale immigration has occurred in a country and see what happened – because it’s all been done before. Perhaps our immigration is for economic reasons to compete with people strong emerging economies? I would imagine that we are now in a tumultuous time of it. But you know what I’ll not be tied down into living my life ashamed of being browner – what a downer. I’ll imagine it’s 4000 years ago when farming was brought into from the middle east and turned England away from hunting; and to the invention of this fine country I call home.

  229. denlfloreta says:

    that’s okay dear sister. We all have these characteristics as well as our strength and weaknesses and we have to claim all of it, keep it all and bear with it as our assets, and soon it will be your very own assets 🙂

  230. denlfloreta says:

    *and soon it will be your very own strength

  231. Love that you share this out loud. Xox

  232. I can understand what’s it like not being white. Please do visit my page http://www.thewebplus.wordpress.com

  233. Dave says:

    And it’s getting worse … our brothers and sisters of European ancestry feel under threat. .. whether it be in Great Britain, Europe more generally or the United States … the thing I’ve noticed a lot of is racist humor masquerading as “ironic” race humor … some seem to have decided since we are now post racial anything can be said about race without offense …

  234. exanimo7 says:

    As I read this, I became more and more upset. You have had to deal with so much blatant ignorance and prejudice. Those attitudes are so ingrained into society, not just in the UK but for sure here in the US as well. Despite all of the talk about our current generations being more “color-blind” than previous, we just CAN’T get past the external. It’s really, really sad. And I am just as guilty of this as others. You have absolutely every right to be upset.

  235. Wow, so many comments and not one admiring the wonderful pictures! I think they are a great visualization of this great post.
    What you write shocks me and makes me wonder how much racism is left even in “normal” people. Most of the people who say offensive things (“You’re beautiful besides being brown”) do not even mean to be offensive, but this is not an excuse for judging people on their (assumed) country of origin. There is no explaination and no excuse for the racism you encounter every day.
    I am a white German girl who happens to have an ethnic (sur)name (could be Israeli, Arabic OR east Asian – yeah, it’s that kind of name). People who first meet me in person tend to be surprised that I am not only fluent in German but also white.
    Those who assume that everybody non-white is a terrorist are simply mad. I know one cannot “just ignore” them because they are rude, threatening and they vote, but let’s hope that the mor multicultural society becomes the more of a minority they become.
    Love from Germany 🙂

  236. Hi I’m new to your blog and this made me feel so angry. I can’t believe all the things that people have said to you. My jaw actually dropped. I’ve never actually heard anybody say that to anybody but if I did, I would feel ashamed that people are still racist. And after hearing this, I am ashamed and disgusted. It’s horrible.
    That’s you in the pictures, right? If so, you are beautiful and I’m not just saying that.

  237. John says:

    The idea that all of this is still happening in 2015 is as ridiculous as it is unsurprising. It’s tragic and maddening that casual racism is seen as being allowed because “oh I have black friends” etc.

    For what it’s worth when I look at you what I see is a beautiful girl who is incredibly well dressed and writes like a booker winning author. People should look for the important stuff.


  238. Tums2Toes says:

    Keep fighting. Unfortunately, there’s so many ignorant people in the world who assume you’re being ‘petty’ and not realising the bigger picture and the longer term impact of their comments.
    As a feminist working in a male dominated environment, I can relate to so much of what you say here.
    Good luck and I really hope things improve.
    Fiona from tums2toes.com

  239. bekah-x says:

    I am white and I am so sorry that white people have made you feel like this because that is horrible and nobody at all should be made to feel that way. I can’t believe people have really said all of those things to you, how rude! Just for the record, you are beautiful just because you are. Well done for this article hun, it has well and truly opened up my eyes and I thank you for that xo

  240. Interesting post! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  241. I’ve experienced just a small portion of these comments and only on reflection have I realised how angry they’ve made me. I grew up in the countryside so I was pretty much one of the only minorities in the area and it went a long way to delaying the formation of my racial identity (being of mixed-race and not just ‘white for a black guy.’)

    If it isn’t too rude, could I ask how your name is pronounced correctly? My first impression was Lay-la, but Lie-ee-la or lay-ee-la came to mind if Lola was such a ‘convenient’ replacement. My name is pretty Anglican from first to last, so no-one really bats any eyes at it.

    As an aside, I once grew a beard out of choice – airport security just loved touching me every opportunity to pat-down that they could…

  242. james soliz says:

    I have a slight understanding of this but they always question my accent. Great read, don’t stop being you, because in the end, that’s what matters.

  243. zaid saifi says:


  244. Hi Tape,
    I totally understand you, esp ppl from UK are very racist and they see it as a medium of venting their fears out.
    I’m studying in Germany ,where the feeling is less ,almost negligible.
    Anyways I felt Germans are more sportive and more accepting.
    I have also traveled around 4 EU countries and every where,I went I felt that I got a good response in terms of acceptance in fact some people spoke in Hindi,thanks to Bollywood. I would say that from you’re experience, its better to find a new place Tara,as you are a talented individual and people around shouldn’t bring your energy down ,you should be in an environment where you’re welcomed,accepted and eventually celebrated as you have an outgoing personality.
    And a kind message to the unaware people around you: IT’S TIME TO GROW UP, there’s something called GLOBALIZATION and IMMIGRATION and EMIGRATION ,and its impact around the world , also of course ppl can look it up online by using something called “The INTERNET”.
    I hope you find your way Tara,all the best.

    • tapeparade says:

      Firstly, my name is Laila rather than Tara or Tape.

      I don’t think the people of the UK are necessarily more racist, I think it’s a problem in western culture at large. I don’t want to find a new place but I appreciate your sentiment; London is my home and I just think we should all, as a society, be aiming a little bit higher to be aware of what goes on.

      • Hey laila,
        Sure ,but I meet a lot of ppl from UK ,who have faced some form of racism and always say its bad there, as I can’t say for everyone ,as I have not experienced it ,but maybe the people I met had such experiences ,so I thought you had a similar experience, and after reading your comments ,I get a better picture.
        Stay Strong

  245. styllys says:

    “Despite being brown” omg what an awful thing to say 😮

  246. Alia says:

    I am so happy that this has been written. Really amazing post thank you and I am sorry for all of those horrendous and unacceptable experiences.
    I am Palestinian and Egyptian and can deffinetly identify with most of the issues you stated.

    I think image is something I have struggled with growing up, as do a lot of girls, however I feel like I struggled with it in a different way, from not being to indentify with figures in the media to being constantly fetishised because of my race. Recently a friend of mine said “Alia you’re not pretty, you’re beautiful and you’re unique” then continued to state girls that were “pretty”, who I didn’t actually want to look like . All these girls were pretty and they were all white. I could tell she was trying being complimentary but the comment really frustrated me. I thought “unique” to who?? only compared to white people I was seen as different. I spoke to my sister and my mixed race friend about it and we were all saying that we were fed up of only being refered to as “striking”, “interesting” or “exotic” and never just as “pretty”. And although it sounds petty, it was as if “pretty” was the universal idea beauty and was only reserved for white girls.

    As I am also fairer with lighter skin and eyes, I am continually frustrated when people got confused when they can’t quite categorise me; I was told recently “you don’t look Arabic, you don’t really have that Kim kardashian vibe like your sister” People still seemed to be categorising to certain untrue stereotypes. It was as if to be Arab you either had to look like a terrosit or princess jasmine. And while these examples focus solely on image they have a much more powerful reflection of society. With a greater animosity growing towards immigration and politics in the Middle East, it is increasingly becoming harder to be looked at as Arabic girl without a lot of underlying racism.

  247. JeaizaQ says:

    I got more and more angry as I read. I’m from the U.S. Virgin Islands, a melting pot in the Caribbean where we literally grow up not acknowledging race because as different as we all look we sound the same and have one culture. Imagine my shock when I moved to the United States and had very similar comments sent my way. “you sure you aren’t Mexican?” Or “Should we be ordering something specific, what do you eat?” -____-

  248. I totally understand how you feel! And well said! Great post anyway 😉

  249. saniasidiki says:

    As someone from Pakistan, I do agree with this article. To be honest, I literally think that Western attitudes vary from individual to individual, based on their experiences and open-mindedness. However, the so-called, West, that claims to be progressive and battling racism, sexism and other schisms can be hypocritical. Take France for example. The French have always been more progressive than most European countries, but banning headscarves or abayas is not progressive. Truth be told, these two clothing items are not a symbol of oppression or terrorism, contrary to popular Western stereotypes and labels; they are symbols of modesty and cultural heritages of the Muslim world. If women are free to roam nude or in skimpy lingerie, why not roam around covered? I don’t cover myself, and I don’t wear an abaya but for those who do, I think it is their choice and custom , so why should I give a damn? I was appalled by a comment, I received on twitter, that all Pakistani women are trapped in their houses and don’t live life; that all of us are forced to wear abayas and marry to breed. If they only knew, how Pakistani women go out with friends, to concerts and cinemas and have flourishing careers outside of their domestic responsibilities, the stereotypes would be overhauled. Ignorance breeds contempt. Contemptuous attitudes give rise to racial stereotypes. Racial stereotypes become one of the tools employed in creating a war.

  250. As someone who has experienced these sorts of ignorant comments throughout my life, I have to say that until white people experience exactly the same sort of empty-headed disregard and insensitivity all the time, they have absolutely no right complaining about how whites are now in the minority and being discriminated against.

  251. Stargirl says:

    Hi Laila,

    Thanks for posting this excellent article! I can definitely identify with your post.

    I come from a Middle Eastern background, though I was born and raised here in London. After the London Bombings, I got quite a bit of racial abuse and was even called a terrorist.

    If I visited less diverse areas, I’d often get a lot of confused people making comments, staring at me, or bringing my race into the discussion almost immediately, as though I was some alien species!

    Although the majority of racism is perpetuated by the dominant race, I find I get a lot of comments from non-whites about my race also, though not quite as hurtful, but still very frustrating.

    A lot of non-whites try to strike up conversation with me, and immediately race is brought into the discussion. “Where are you from?” “No really, where are you from?” “Ok, where are your PARENTS from?” Really? Is it any of your business? ANYONE can be from ANYWHERE. Why is race SO damn important? It really doesn’t help matters when not only do we receive racism from the dominant race of the country, but you also get it from those that have most likely experienced it themselves.
    Maybe it makes them feel ‘closer’ to you in a weird way “Oh look, another non-white person! We have something in common!”

    Just don’t make race the biggest, most important part of a person. I identify as being British, I grew up as British, I have a London accent, my friends are all British. I’m just as British as any other white person. It’s frustrating and unfair to be treated differently, and to feel unwelcome in your own country, purely because of ancestral heritage.

    Even those people that aren’t negative regarding my ethnicity, those that give me compliments relating to it (like your exotic example), I still don’t like. I just don’t want to be treated differently to other British people, even if you’re trying to be nice. It puts more emphasis on race, and race doesn’t make you who you are.

    Just think before you speak, it’s that simple.

  252. Thank you for this! I think it’s very well written. I try to think before I speak, but it doesn’t always work and I also try to call others out. I don’t know how others feel until about our interactions unless they point it out or share with me their take on it, but I am generally grateful when I can learn to be more accepting of people And also more conscious of how I am. Again, thanks.

  253. Arcane Owl says:

    Hey Laila

    Firstly, congrats on being freshly pressed!! I’m glad to have come across your blog, particularly this post. Excellent and true to heart. I really appreciate your work and your courage to stand up against injustice. Great job!!


  254. Love your post and I can relate to you. I also have a foreign name and was advised to put “British Citizen” on my CV “so employers know you’re not a foreign candidate” but I’ve stopped doing that now. If a company so petty about my background rather than my ability, I don’t want to work for them anyway!

    I go to a top UK university, I work with high profile companies, all my qualifications have been taught in English and yet when I’m too honest and tick the ‘English is not my first language’ box I get sent to complete tests…. apparently bilingual means you must naturally be poor at English.

    I lived in an area which was dominated by EDL (English Defence League) supporters, temporarily, a few years ago while I was a student taking on a summer job near London. I was shocked at the things shouted at me on the streets, being told to “go back to your own country” that I don’t belong in the UK. I feel so lucky that I’m now at a place which is more accepting and even encourage diversity in it’s population.

  255. Mat Atahari says:

    This is really an entertaining read… Nice work..! I love it 🙂

  256. Sjaniiiien says:

    OMG is it really that bad.. I’m from a small town the Netherlands. I don’t know better than there being people with parents from non-european countries in my school, in my class, as my friends. I really hate it when others only see the difference in skin colour. Where I see white, yellow, red, black or brown or even green (ok i would doubt that but you can see my point) I just see a person. You can never judge anyone by there cover nor colour, only on the person they choose to be and even that can be changed.
    My boyfriend’s parents are originally from turkey. But he was born in the netherlands so I see him mainly as a dutch person, although society even in the Netherlands will not allways be so open minded. I know it is more difficult for him than it would be for me to find a job and so on… If i could make one wish it would be that people would no longer judge on colour.. it would make the world way more beautyfull than it is right now. I wish you all the best!

  257. wendie says:

    If your born in England are you not English/British?
    Not to bring the conversation to aesthetics, but the world and its granny seem to want to look like the Kardashians (Armenian in descent) which is olive skin and thick dark hair and how you look.

    Surely an English girl should have ruddy cheeks, I don’t know many who do!!

    The HR agency is a joke, completely unprofessional to see the least.

    You are a beautiful woman, and as an Irish girl with thick hair more power to you.

  258. This is why I am leaving. I feel that it is only the UK and America that love labelling people. I love the Germans and the Scandinavian values. I believe that you truly have to appreciate the law’s and make intergration forced as a government in order for social change to come about.

    This segration is only making matters worse. I don’t believe the US are making things better.b

  259. I wrote a similar article but I didn’t label or identify myself. I just put it down to globalisation and imperialism.

    Do you realise you are stereotyping yourself?


    • tapeparade says:

      I’m afraid I couldn’t actually make much sense of your article and didn’t read the whole thing through completely. I don’t however, think that are articles are particularly similar. You have written in a general way about the subject of stereotypes at large (at least, as far as I understood it), where as I have written about the problems that occur when ingrained, subconscious stereotypes (amongst other ways of thinking) exist in a society such as the one I am part of.

      I have written a personal point from my own perspective; this is my personal blog: of course I’m going to identify myself as I own and run this blog. I’m not putting it down to anything. There’s a huge range of reasons why it exists. I don’t care why it exists. I just don’t think it should be here anymore. I’m calling it out and asking for people to recognise it.

      • I feel stigma has only occurred due to this fascination for categorisation. I do feel everyone who is mixed feels torn. I too am mixed.

        I was trying to generalise the topic because I do not really want to have a label. I wish to be known for the country I reside in. I feel many would appreciate not being Stereotyped or subjected to prejudices.

        I know it was long and very objective, I agree. I just think many are unable to accept we live in a diverse world, as they would like to be recognised for their colour or recognised for something other than the qualities of their character.

        I feel the more we deny how wonderful diversity is – the more we will be subjected to discriminating people. I mean, it would be nice if people wouldn’t go around putting a big fat label of ‘black’ or ‘white’ – it does actually prevent people from seeing the different hues in between.

        I feel the people who only want to label things ‘black’ and ‘white’ are subjecting themselves to stereotyping and huge prejudices. Not only that…. I hate to say it but they actually create the prejudices themselves.

        It would be nice if they just accept we are diverse. You are right: It would be nice if people would just accept things. My generalisation is a point of actual globalisation as well. I feel when – stereotyping – especially in the media industry; it is discrimination. There is a dangerous side to it all. I feel it is an infringement of mixed people and even so far as people not feeling at all accepted or even neglected continues to happen. We could embrace diversity a little more. However, this is not what the media or globalisation wants. They want the division. It just leaves mixed people like ourselves stunned because of the categorisation. I don’t agree with the nature of how it has developed and I do not like the previous outcomes. I feel even though some black people or white people would like to have a race war because they would like to follow the media like sheep.

        It will be an even longer battle for us to be recognised. The stereotyping will not end until someone in power actually says to the media: “enough!”. It will not happen in my lifetime – Rupert Murdoch has created a huge chain through globalisation. We need to really push the boat out to get rid of it. We all matter – every human being matters. After people recognise it…. then they need to address the situation. I feel, we aren’t ready to recognise/accept/make change, unless we realise what makes us all behave that way.

        Unfortunately, the ones who capitalise out of us being divided are the ones who are laughing.

        Until then – we just have our freedom of speech and the law’s of the land we live in. I don’t think humanity would stand a chance without law’s. We are coming so close to racial tensions it is seriously not funny…. all because people want to capitalise on the Division. It is sickening. It is also sad to watch the divide as a mixed person – the fact these people would rather categorise themselves is just too systematic.

        I hope what I have told you isn’t too overwhelming. I thought people would change through law’s alone. It is more than that – social influences are hugely discriminating. I do not feel disheartened – I feel torn and I approached the topic with such trepidation due to the tension.
        I hope this also helps people to recognise it as well.

        • tapeparade says:

          I don’t really know how better to categorise “white” – you may notice, I’ve avoided the term black because I am not black – because we live in a very whitewashed world. How do you propose we call out the prevalence of white characters, white voices, white stories, white figures in society, without using the term white?

          I am all for celebrating diversity. I am actively championing people to call out anytime they are treated differently to white, the perceived norm, because I do not think we should be treated differently. I get that you don’t want to use the word “white”, but it’s hardly a stereotype and what would you replace it with? I’m not trying to start a race war. I’m trying to be treated the same way as a white person and get rid of the ingrained assumptions and stereotypes I have identified based on incidents that have happened to me.

          • I see what you mean about “whitewashed”… I just feel all our influences in the media are due to the really rich who are systematically categorising people. It has become ingrained. If we could perceive one another as the same or equally – how do you think situations would improve?
            As I feel that yes – we are influenced by Rupert Murdoch who is “white”… fox news is a prime example of supremacy. Merely cogs in a wheel. If only the media would acknowledged the fact that they create these divisions – then we would be off to a much better way of organising ourselves.

            Our minds can learn and unlearn behaviour. If we have these thoughts pumped into us. We can jolly well unlearn them. I feel you with conviction and looking at history I will say “stopping this is simple”… it starts with your family life and what you as an individual are influenced by. If all white people felt like they were being subjected to the same treatment – they too wouldn’t be happy. The way we work on it – probably needs to be unified from country to country. However, if you live in America or the UK Capitalism is a business and they want to make money out of every individual no matter how corrupt and immoral they become.

            I don’t know – I feel as though they want to create the war more than we individuals. Deep down we all know what is right or wrong. Humanity will win again. We just have to create some kind of a way to break boundaries. I need to think about it a little more. I know music helped a lot but now it is creating a division again.

  260. petpanther says:


    I have lived in the states as a foreigner as well. And I was also showered with tropes. And I was also annoyed.


    People do notice and that is not avoidable. And poeple start to have questions. Also not avoidable. You can try thoughpolice and totalitarian measures. Yet, even this oppression won’t help, since it is actually the truth.

    So get over your infantilation, trying to oppress others with what you want and start to grow up. People like you are not contributing in any good way. You are actually a very desctructive race baiter, a societal intoxicator based upon her self-righteous decadence.

    • tapeparade says:

      I assume you mean “thoughtpolice”. I don’t know what in my post caused you to characterise my responses as “thoughtpolice” and totalitarian, or even oppressive.

      I am in no way at all oppressing others. I can only assume you didn’t read the post in it’s entirety, or you are replying to another comment. The rest of your comment is complete nonsense. How am I a race baiter? I’d like to hear your expanded points.

  261. appreciatethepurple says:

    Sadly this happens world wide in all cultures & countries. I am white British and lived in the Middle East for a while. I was subjected to awful racism (and sexism) on a daily basis, by my co-workers, managers, and customers alike. It infuriates me that any person can make judgements upon others based purely on their race without getting to know a person & always has done. Even when I was in high school in London, I would be labelled a ‘bad influence’ by parents of my Asian friends, and not allowed over for sleepovers or dinner etc because I was white. I couldn’t and still can’t understand it. I’ve never judged anyone based on their looks, race, gender & my mind literally boggles at the thought of it. It just makes no sense. But I agree that people don’t even realise they are doing it a lot of the time. I admire what you’re doing though, I do the same. I’m always calling people out on the judgements they make about me or others. Before people can make a change it needs to be openly talked about in an intelligent manner; Through discussing what they’ve said and showing how that might affect someone else. I could go on for ages about what I have learnt and taken from the discrimination and abuse I went through but I’d be here a while. It took time to be able to take positives from it, but it makes me more resolved to try and evoke change in the those around me, by calling people out on comments I don’t think are right. Really interesting read. Thank you.

  262. We are all one thru Jesus Christ God bless you!!

  263. Peter Mander says:

    Glad you made Editors’ Picks, sister. You’re bigger than the resistance you meet Laila. Much bigger.

  264. Jodi says:

    I’m also mixed raced English/Jamaican decent. I’ll be honest in that my experiences have not been as often as yours or seem not to have occurred that often as I think I may have blocked them out in several instances.
    The one that always annoys me is the “where are you from?” question. To the point that my answer is now aimed at annoying the crap out of the culprit asking it. My answer is always “London”, when the person is unsatisfied with that it’s the usual, “no I mean, where are you really from”. Again my answer is and will be “London”. “Where are your family from?” Often with a frustrated and puzzled look, to which my answer remains the same. Both of my parents were born and raised in the same place as me so therefore I am from London, simple. I do not deny my Jamaican heritage, am proud of it, but I identify as British and a Londoner….simple right?! Or at least it should be. I feel your frustration and the whole thing about people in relationships liking you because they have a thing for people being an acceptable enough shade to fit their ethnic fetish is one of the reasons I’m probably still single these days (there are others, I’m sure). One of the problems is, and I’ve been guilty of doing this myself, is that there are a minority of people who play up to it, relish it even. They think that to be thought of as “dark and mysterious” or “exotic” etc. will bring them out ahead in some way, it becomes their selling point and they buy into it, fuelling these assumptions and allowing the majority to think that it is ok to ask these questions or make these comments. Until people see the worth of themselves or just people beyond the colour of their own skin or others, this battle will continue and those who choose to speak out about it will be told that we are being uptight and need to relax our opinions on this subject.
    I have to joke about it or I’ll get angry most days.
    Thank you for writing such an eloquent article about this.

    • tapeparade says:

      I often just answer “London” again, a little more defiantly, but I’m trying to get better at explaining to people why that pisses me off. Just getting angry, or brushing it off doesn’t solve anything.

  265. Very interesting read, thought provoking.
    You will always have this uphill battle with stupid people, I am afraid.

    I refuse to apologize for their stupid mistakes, only my own. It’s not my fault your skin color is so damn beautiful. I glow in the dark and can’t go in the sun without layers of sunscreen, clothing and shading apparatuses. I do get a little jealous of people who can play in the sun. Sorry for assuming you don’t burn in the sunshine. You are English.

  266. misshopeshi says:

    Reblogged this on hopeshi and commented:

  267. my creator is a little shocked that racism is so blatant in britain. in fact, certain examples are unbelievably dumb, like the ‘lola’ issue. racism does exist in sa but very much undercover. come to think of it, he isn’t sure which is worse. however, even though south African-indians consider themselves as being not white enough during apartheid and not black enough during the current affirmative action, whites and blacks do not look at an indian and immediately assumes that he/she is foreign. what my creator finds annoying though, is a case similar to your ‘other’ issue; whilst indians have established themselves in south africa and are practically the backbone of its economy, on sites targeting south africans, we are still unrecognized, having to either select ‘asian’ or ‘other’.

  268. […] What It’s Like Not Being White. […]

  269. I can feel your pain Laila, even though am African and ain’t living abroad. Keep calling it out. Personally I love that we are diverse, but its never a reason to segregate rather its so we appreciate each other.

  270. kasturika says:

    Although I’m not mixed race, I could relate to so much of what you are going through. I live in the northern part of India where stereotypes and caricatures of ‘south Indians’ are plenty – especially with respect to colour and language.

  271. sapostiks says:

    You cant tell until you’r no white

  272. I loved reading this post! It is full of great thoughts and messages! love the photgraphs too!

  273. Never stop being who you are. This is happening to you so that you can bring awareness. Don’t ever let someone else’s ignorance bring you down.

  274. loguga says:

    What a horrendous things people can say without even noticing that they have been idiots!! ignorant!!!
    I cannot believe that you have been discriminated also at work! This angers me sooo much. It is very, very brave to share your experience and see how a second generation expat, grows up as a British born but also suffers the pain that migrants do. It might sound easy but I think it must be hard to ignore all that nonsense. BUT you must start let go, and DO NOT take things personal. What they say it is in their head in their mind, it is not for you. It is the complex they have of not able to get on with their own community and the lack of understanding of national identity. Because yes, multicultural society embracing Indian, Muslim, christian and Buddhist, and even Chinese new year celebration are part of the country where all of them live.

  275. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Hi Laila, great post. I’m a born here half Nigerian half English woman who’s lived with stuff like this for 60years. In my city, when I was a kid the population was 60K and there were probably less than 50 people who weren’t white. Add to that being brought up by my white grandparents -m who were lovely but totally unprepared for such things and i was one very confused child/teenager and young adult!

  276. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Also racist jokes were acceptable on TV when I was a teenager and the vile Enoch Powell was around so I spent most of my time frightened.

  277. Racism is something I will never understand. It’s so silly. We may judge people by their actions but not by their skin color or nationality. It’s not something we choose and it’s not what makes us different.
    What makes us different is our actions.
    Evet believs are not OK to be judged as long as we respect each other.
    One of the saddest and also greateat blog I’ve ever read. Sorry to hear you had this upsetting experience.
    You have my full support against racism.

  278. You are gorgeous though*sigh* Never Forget That!!!! And to hell with the short sighted jerks!!!!

  279. Elara Mehta says:

    Reblogged this on Elara Mehta and commented:
    Oops I’m so Brown!

  280. But… Laila’s a really easy name to pronounce. I don’t understand.

  281. People say what they say- unfortunately it’s not something we can change!! But what we can change is how we react and how we handle the situation. Rise above the situation and continue with your life and one day when you feel that you can finally do something about it we will give you our fullest support. Nobody should go through this but we live in a world where judging is natural to us much like walking and talking! I’m sorry you had to experience it but we are here for you and will stand by you!
    @ElyraNOfficial xx

  282. msbeautybox says:

    Best post I’ve read on WordPress yet! Can’t be more true. I’m from the US and of African and Hispanic descent (and many other things I can’t even count) God forbid I mention being being part Pakistani after 911. You would think in a country built on freedom the comments would be less severe but they aren’t. Laws may have changed but some Mindsets are the same.

  283. Mixed woman here too. Iranian, German-Filipino living in NYC! Proud of who I am ->ME

    Sending love from New York

  284. msbeautybox says:

    Reblogged this on msbeautybox and commented:
    Absolutely loved this post!

  285. Dreamer9177 says:

    Regardless what some mean-spirited people say, you’re beautiful.

  286. Priya says:

    So pumped that this has gone viral (I’m not even sure if you’ll make it to reading this comment 🙂 but being mixed race as well, especially since I’ve moved to Nashville where everyone is white- I CAN RELATE TO SO MUCH OF THIS! You have certainly had many more negative situations than I have, I’m so sorry. Fuck ’em!

    ♥ perfectly Priya

  287. GamerDame says:

    I think a lot of people just say things without thinking. That doesn’t excuse it, but I think that’s just how it is. And because of that, I think it’s good that you’re calling it out. Most people don’t intend to be racist, but intent doesn’t have to be present. Maybe prejudiced is a better term, because a lot of the examples you gave were people making assumptions based on your appearance. But most people don’t consider themselves bad people, so hopefully pointing out what they’re doing will make them at least think before they talk.

    Something that stuck in my mind a long time ago was something a comedian said when talking about people’s reactions to his ethnicity. Jokingly, he said that when people see him they think “burritos & cockfights” but he felt “apple pie & baseball.” Humor aside, it’s a poignant statement. Just because someone’s not of the majority ethnicity doesn’t mean they feel any different. They can feel just as American (or British) as the next white national.

  288. Nadine says:

    Thank you for writing this. I can relate to every single part of it. When I meet someone new I see them struggling to not ask and it always, always, comes out in the end. I am British with two Sudanese parents, who are both mixed race. I look like I am a white person sporting a decent tan all year round and honestly, I love it. When I tell them we’re half Sudanese I get a corrected “can’t be. You’re not dark enough” I’ve taken to thanking them for enlightening me after these long 32 years and tell them I will go back and inform my parents that in fact they didn’t grow up in Khartoum, must have been someone else.
    Remember in those times of frustration or anger or worse that you are not alone. There are an army of us out here, batting away the insult and marching on. But I am so happy to have found you and read your post.

  289. It’s funny!!!! Why would you even allow such ignorance to bother you. Now this is strictly my opinion. …..I am “black” lol. I remember I failed a college course because of “I was black!” Well I forget what color my skin is because my heart has no color! I have often been reminded that I don’t fit the color grid of society! Well look honey I remember as a child I wasn’t allowed in my friends homes because their mother’s boyfriends wanted to “fuck me!” I was 9. I didn’t know what a fuck was. But when the light came on…….I didn’t give six fucks! Excuse my “ENGLISH! ” I AM HATED BY MORE THEN ENOUGH. …. I’M HATED BY SO MANY IT GETS EXHAUSTING! !!!! LMAO People hate the God in you! I don’t care what you do if you pray and love the Lord someone will find a reason. ……learn to take insult and rudeness as an expression that you are lined up with a perfect God who was killed because HE WAS PERFECT! !!! LOVE ALL AND BE HAPPY TILL GOD CALLS YOU HOME!!!!! FOLLOW ME AND I WILL DO THE SAME!!!!!! LMAO

  290. If you don’t get one snare in a day you need to pray!

  291. natnat says:

    Reblogged this on she said, saw and ate and commented:
    fresh press and so worth the read….

  292. Pat says:

    Loved your blog and I hope people can learn and understand how others feel when they make the wrong assumptions…ignorance is not a blessing
    We all need to think before speaking

  293. emilywalkley says:

    I met a new nurse the other day at my hospital and asked where he was from. I immediately knew that came out wrong, because I was asking what hospital he came from to work at mine…but it sounded like I was asking about his ethnicity. I immediately clarified my question, but I hate that I even had to think that way, that it is even an issue. We are all humans, all Earthlings (at least add far as I know lol).

  294. A. Romilla says:

    Wow..I read half way and I was thinking of myself in my own country here in India where they ask us quite often – you can’t be Indian! Which country? There are 8 states with these racial stock AND we have a good no. Of athletes representing the country (Mary Kom, Sarita, etc list is endless) We are blend of more than 3 races ( Mongoloid, Australoid, Caucasian. .) Dominantly Mongoloid.

  295. My life! Awesome post that captures what being “not white” or mixed is like. My fav is “what are you??”

  296. Nice post. I get it. I’m part Maori, part Scottish with a little bit of Spanish. People most frequently think I’m South American. It’s been an annoyance my entire life. The immediate quizzical look people give when they see my olive complexion and quite Germanic features. I suppose I have grown so used to casual racism I just ignore it. Which is something I started doing in my teens. It’s just so fucking tiresome. White people can be the best in terms of their ability to realise and accept anyone, equally, the worst. It’s just an element of socialisation. It is still very much a white mans world. Even to the point where darker than white people get infected by this casual racist ridiculousness. The “exotic” thing is seen as a compliment when really it is a vocalisation of “difference”. You are different, you are not from here. The funniest thing is that white skin is actually the anomaly. If you research genetic and geographic histories in relation to the development of skin and eye colour, white skin and blue eyes came afterward. After the first people’s came out of Equatorial areas. Human society has changed, and will continue too. We live in a good place in time in terms of true acceptance and knowledge related to race, nationality and so on. We live in the time of “earthlings”.

  297. vibratone says:

    Whacking someone with a bassoon has to hurt! I don’t care where your from.

  298. vibratone says:

    Whew! That was quite a post and I felt the frustration, anger and the pain of your fears. Check out Walter Trout: “I’m Tired”; you may find it lyrically appropo. As you know Eric Clapton named a tune that has the same pronunciation as your own name. If others could see us from the inside out, instead of the outside in, what a different word it would be. The thought of having to clutch your bassoon out of fear was quite distressfull for you and I found your being assaaulted by the ignorant man terrorizing you and doing the thing he was accusing you as he made others look at you with a jaundiced eye only added to your frustration, I am sure. Hang in there and keep your-self together. Which Kate Bush CD or tunes would you recommend? ALL THE BEST!

    • tapeparade says:

      Hi, thanks, yes there is an Eric Clapton song with a different spelling.

    • tapeparade says:

      Just to clarify – I wasn’t holding my bassoon out of fear, I was just holding it and the guy presumably thought it was a bomb as he was pointing at it.

      My favourite Kate album is Hounds Of Love or The Red Shoes, but they’re all great – start with The Kick Inside and work along from there!

  299. Ekaterina says:

    Hi Laila! Just had to comment one thing. All the things you meantion are happening to white people as well. I am white but have a different name and I still get the comments as the ones you mention minus “tropical” ones. I am the only one in the whole division who had to do a language test after job interview, although I have finished both school, highschool and university with M.Sc. Degree in Engineering. Still! I had to do the language test, and math test.

    The number of questions miraculously decreesed after I got married and changed my last name to my husband’s…

    People’s ignorance is extremely annoying, but do not let it beat you down. You are so much better than them!

  300. Rigguz says:

    I can really relate to you. Being mexican and living in th US, has not been smooth sailing, I try not to let get to me. The main thing for this stereotypes in my opinion is ignorance. Don’t let it get you down. It will bitter your life.

  301. I’m shocked at how horribly you’re treated and by people’s lack of recognition of their own racism. They should be embarrassed not you. You are beautiful!

  302. I’m also mixed. I do have a really common name and I have my dad’s last name. He’s the Belgian one. So I don’t feel like I’m different. But whenever I’m in a waiting room or a new school, ect. and they call my name and I raise my hand. They keep on looking over me. Or even worse: They keep on repeating my name and asking me if I’m really sure that the name in fact is mine. Like what the hell? Do you really think I’d steal someone’s identity because my color does not match my name?! I got to the point that I’m done fighting about it, the point were I just let them walk over me. Reading this blogpost made me feel a lot better, because I was starting to think that I was the crazy one for really being bothered by things like that. So thank you so much for this!

  303. lounie16 says:

    This was amazing to read and mind-boggling. Even though I am not mixed race, I still face racist remarks from Caucasians, Hispanics, and even blacks. I am Haitian but because I am light skinned and I have curly-coiled hair, people label me as a “fake” Haitian. No matter where you reside, there will always be racist comments being thrown left and right.

  304. You inspired my blog post with this one. Check it out @ housewrekorhome.wordpress.com

    • tapeparade says:

      Thanks, I can’t find that blog? Maybe you could leave me a link? Thank you.

      • housewrekorhome.wordpress.com is the link, I am just kind of not sure how to send you the clickable link. However, I just checked and put it into my browser, and it worked. It would be awesome if you read it. Let me know if you are still having any trouble.

        • tapeparade says:

          Thank you, I just read it – you write so passionately. It’s a really moving post xx

          • Thank you! I really appreciate your feedback. It was just when I was reading yours my mind started to spin, and I couldn’t help but write this one. I have been thinking about writing about my foster care experiences, but I have been so afraid of what people may think. So recently I started putting more work on the web. First, I started off with bookerteabourbon10.wordpress.com , you should check it out, however, I want to segue into housewrekorhome.wordpress.com. Well, maybe just cyclically write for both. Anyway, don’t mean to talk your ear off, thank you for your feedback again, it really means a lot, and if you could follow, like, and overall be an added supported to my blogs that would be much appreciated.

            • tapeparade says:

              I thought it was a great post! Thanks for sharing it with me. Have you shared it on Twitter? X

              • I have, but my following is around 700. I was hoping if I could use a picture of the comments that you sent me to make people more aware. I will add that you inspired the post. Or use the picture you had coupled with mine, but it is up to you an your discretion. I wouldn’t want to do anything that would be rude, but your post did inspire me to say something about this issue and begin talking about my history in fostercare. I have even wrote somewhat of a book on it, but have been afraid to put it out into the net space because I don’t know how it will be accepted.

  305. biochemlife says:

    It is ridiculous that you have to be subjected to such stupidity. I know you do this already but consider the source and be grateful that you know your own worth as a member of the human race!

  306. damienaj says:

    Well said, well put. Keep calling it out!

  307. Talka NG says:

    See it this way, you are culturally and genetically more interesting than they are, its mind boggling when they see someone who presents superior features that could trump theirs.

    Rock on girl and be proud.


  308. Great essay, it’s really a shame that in this day and age we still experience these kinds of comments and reactions. Thanks for opening up the discussion. Keep smiling 😉

  309. nsybalqis says:

    Hey. It doesn’t matter whatever they wanna say about you, I think you’re really beautiful in your own way. Cheer up !

  310. thedollhouz says:

    Being a Brit, but also a ‘Kapur’ I can relate to much of this. Brilliant post x

  311. Thank you for voicing a lot of things people just brush off, myself included. It is important to speak up about things like this. Your voice alone might be small in a world where everyone is shouting about different issues but look at all the response you have gotten from this post(Which I have to admit is one of the only reasons I clicked on this post). You have made your voice larger by sharing with all of your readers and encouraged others to use their voices. Thank you.

  312. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I am more than happy to call out people on their ignorant ways. No one should experience this type of behavior, no matter skin color, background, eating choice or hair color for that matter. Keep being true to yourself & stay positive.

  313. Whoa! What a blurt out on racism? Picking the ‘odd one out’ doesn’t always mean racism though. Except for bus person’s offensive comments, rest of the comments seem natural reflex. Like my daughters shout out at me as ‘odd one out’ in family- the only male guy at home 🙂

  314. thiabeats4u says:

    My mother was Irish, English & Scottish, primarily Irish. My father was Spanish & Mexican of Mayan descent. I look very Irish and my sister looks very hispanic; this, I believe, caused a great divide among us as children, a divide that continues to this day for this and many reasons. She resented my white looks while I admired her exotic looks; I mean nothing but positive feelings with the use of exotic. I am now 56 and have realized the confusion in my life over my heritage. Any time I must choose from a templated list of race, I chose “other/mixed race” and it always causes a moment of hesitation to make this choice. I’ve tried to explain this to my white friends, but they don’t get my confusion, they say, “you’re white, what’s the confusion”. I recently joined a dating website and couldn’t figure out why so many African American men were contacting me, that’s when it hit me, I am struggling with where I fit in in the world of race, ethnicity and though this may seem odd, spiritually. It is confusing in to grow up looking white, being treated as such, yet really feeling all of the social injustice around you and that you really fit in somewhere in the middle. It makes me feel sad, unsure of what to do and confused in general. Wanting so desparately to know the other side of your ethnicity is an odd burden. I’m not even sure how to say my last name. Do I saw it the way my family did which was incorrect, or do I say it properly the way hispanic’s do. I feel like a fraud saying it properly so I say it the anglo way. I grew up with the Irish side of my family as my father was out of the picture by age 2.5. The Irish side never cared about the ethnic side of my life, nor did they think it important, so they chose not to address that part of my being. I don’t know how relevant this is to your post, but feel that it helps explain the confusion among all of us about race, ethnicity and where one fits in. I am a painter and recently started a painting as a totally abstract piece when I suddenly noticed a face beginning to appear. This face began as a man with large broad features then transformed into a woman with a mix of ethnicity; it is clearly me, but only looks like the me in my mind, not the physical me. I looked back at all of my paintings and realized that this is how I have always painted myself which explains why no one ever sees these as self portraits. They are spiritual self portraits. It is me with the ethnic feature’s that I see in myself spiritually, but no one else can see physically. When I lived in Los Angeles in the 70’s I remember being highly offended by the frequent term “beaners”. I would speak up and say that I am of Spanish origin and find this offensive; people would just laugh and think I was joking because I look so white. I was only 18 at the time and that is when I began to really internalize what words mean and how they affect others. I don’t know the answer; it’s too complicated. But, I think your blog is one step in the right direction. Thank you.

  315. Brittany says:

    Thank you for this. Keep calling it out! The world will be a better place for it.

  316. gitzby says:

    Thanks for opening my eyes. I didn’t know that this was such a challenge. I’ll definitely be more careful about how i interact with others.

  317. Lyf&Spice says:

    When will people grow up and understand that ‘color’ just doesn’t matter! In fact I strongly oppose ‘fairness creams’ advertisements too…

  318. 106ferrets says:

    All people- no matter race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality- are beautiful and deserve respect. There needs to be change on both sides of this situation. Great post

  319. NiaLisabeth says:

    I think my favourite appalling comment is “do you still consider yourself a person even though you don’t have a country?”

    My response would probably be “Do you still consider yourself a person, even though you read the daily mail?”

    I’ve have some fairly hideous comments and ‘corrections’ regarding my first name on a regular basis, it gives me barely a hint of insight into what it can be like and I get angry with just that. It must take an extraordinary amount of grace not to call out every single person who talks to you like that

  320. tapeparade says:

    This is a truly disgusting comment. I’m hardly shunned, I’ve documented the problems I experience due to my colour and my name; I could easily be from one race and have the same problems, as many of the other comments will vouch for. I’m writing a piece about being mixed race and I would highly urge you to come back and read it. I do not need your sympathy for my heritage. I need your help in calling out the kinds of comments I documented in my post.

    • Well… Being a “bastard” or mix race as you call it is all I have ever been called and hate my parents for putting me through that. I grew up in South Africa and was either too black for the white community or too white for the black community. I call a spade a spade. We do not hide behind fancy labels or cry about injustice. We riot and kill those who would insult us. I had to fight every day of my life in school. So excuse me if you had it easy! I did not. So thats why I said that you have my sympathies. I truly and literally felt your pain through my own experiences.

      • tapeparade says:

        I did not have it easy but I would never blame my parents – the problem is with the attitudes prevalent in society and the people that continue these attitudes. These are the people I am trying to educate by calling out their offensive comments – as is the topic of the post. Fighting and killing is really not the way, where will that path lead? A race war?

  321. diploctor says:

    Omg this post made me so so angry !!!

  322. RawSeva says:

    I loved reading this. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. As a fellow mixed race female, I feel as though you have articulated many of the issues that I have faced and experienced. I too know the sting of being greeted with a confused look when I first meet people who have seen my “other ethnicity” last name on a resume or email response. I also could write an entire other type of article about being questioned as to why I am vegetarian, when the person asking doesn’t actually want to hear any response other than the preconceived one that’s already cemented itself in their mind. It’s sad that people are so lacking in self awareness that they not only don’t realize the offensiveness of their words, but that they are also SO OFFENDED when someone attempts to thoughtfully explain why what they’ve said is in fact offensive. I am so glad that I read this, and thank you again for sharing!

  323. Shivangi says:

    Typical British mentality. I was surprised that in America generally they don’t care, they accept.

  324. bethany says:

    The part about being a child and having to face racism hits close to home. Coming from a Chinese family, kids at school used to always come up to me and ask me why my eyes were slanted. That happened when I was 6 and I still remember it to this day. It’s crazy to think that racism is instilled and quietly taught through social media and society to children who are so young in age. Wonderful piece. Thank you for being so honest and brave to share your struggles.

    • tapeparade says:

      Those early experiences just stick in your mind – I’ve never forgotten the moment I realised I was a different colour. I think it was a really defining moment for me as it was like it suddenly just clicked; up until then, I’d never noticed.

  325. […] What It’s Like Not Being White. […]

  326. […] lends us some of her own personal experiences with bigotry and racism in her recent blog article (https://tapeparade.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/what-its-like-not-being-white/) where she discloses anecdotes that can only be described as demeaning and cruel, far from the idea […]

  327. Gloria Blue says:

    First off, high five brownie!
    The frustration is shared by all of us I suppose, and posts like these are required to let people know.
    Loved the way you wrote it. You Go Girl!

  328. […] weeks ago I finished a post that had been knocking around in draft for about 7 months. I’m a chronic perfectionist. I wrote […]

  329. amanibabs says:

    You know, as much as I can relate you also have to accecpt that maybe you are different and just go with it

  330. cds09061960 says:

    I am so sick and tired of this bull of trying to make everything racist. There are l
    Blacks in this country that feel that they are being abused and that the whites are all to blame. Bull crap. Don’t blame a race. Blame a person. I’m white and I never had anything to do with slavery or keeping the black man down.
    People. Not everything in this country is racist like president Obama likes to tell you that it is. Whites are not all racist. Guns are not racist. The confederate flag isn’t racist. And anybody that opposes obamas rulings isn’t all racist.
    The word racism have been used and abused so much that it makes me sick to my stomach. Let’s try getting along and stop this crap. Start by dropping the word RACISM!!!!

    • tapeparade says:

      Well racism shouldn’t be my problem either, but it is. We don’t pick our own cards. It’s up to everybody to take responsibility for themselves and collectively try to push society into a place where everybody is accepted.

      What do you propose we replace the word racism with? It still exists, and if you can’t define or identify something then how can you even begin to challenge it?

      • cds09061960 says:

        I agree to a point. There is the other side where you can’t just label everything racist. The president of this country basically says that anything and anybody that disagrees with what he believes or wants is racist. Now don’t you feel that to be wrong too?
        If you want to say that. Racism is wrong; cool, I’m on board with that. But to do nothing about the blacks shooting cops just because they want to kill someone and do it in the name of discrimination or racism, is that not in itself a major form of racism?
        I’m a good ol’ Southern boy that just wants his life and his history or heritage left along and left intact. I truly have nothing against any other race, but also feel that they should have nothing against me either.
        The president has had many chances to diffuse most of these situations, yet sits back and has an agenda of his own. What is his agenda? Who knows, but it’s not to restore peace and love for his brothers of all colors. That is for sure.
        Now it’s your turn. Tell me what you would do in the way of stopping the hatred and bloodshed. You seemed fast to condemn my actions. Please enlighten me.

        • tapeparade says:

          Did you read the entire post? As I’ve actually already told you; in the post I documented what I think we all, collectively, as members of the human race, should do to reach a more tolerant and educated society.

          I don’t feel I can comment on the situation in the US, because I’m not there. But from the international media, it doesn’t appear that anybody is doing anything about the cops shooting blacks, which is clearly a major form of racism. I’m not sure why you think anybody has anything against you.

          • cds09061960 says:

            There again you made two major points that you are correct in. You do not live here so you have only the media to fall back on. And lastly you have no idea how I have been treated. You need to learn more before voicing an opinion about any situations in the United States. You have NO Idea what racism truly is. I this country there is a problem with members of one race hating another race just because of the color of their skin. That has been whites against blacks, blacks agains whites, Chinese against the American Indians and vise versa. And the list goes on. You can’t say that I don’t know what I’m talking about and that I haven’t seen racism against myself because I have. Other races calling me names and threatening to hurt me or my family. Racism isn’t just a black problem. It’s an everybody problem.
            I invite you to come to this country to see this for yourself first hand before you become judge mental in your comments. Also never take the media at face value. Because over here they don’t know their butts from a hole in the ground.

            • tapeparade says:

              Why are you trying to create an argument with me? I’ve specifically said that I cannot voice an opinion on life in the US because I’m not there.

              I’m not sure when you think I’ve become judgmental in my comments, and you’re putting words into my mouth by claiming I’ve said things against you which I haven’t. I assume you’re just commenting to look for an argument, and you won’t find one here.

              • cds09061960 says:

                Please go back to your original response and you will see maybe what I’m talking about. With the climate of the world right now we here in the USA are bracing ourselves for war on our own home land. Racism is a way of life here and will never get better as long as whites attack blacks and black attack white. Then you have the Islamist attacking all of our way of life. The conservatives have all purchased guns and the liberals are trying to take them away. As long as there is fear it’s like blood in the water. Yes I’m sorry for the thin skin but it kind of goes with the territory right now.

  331. The detail you have put in to explain racism is so true and clear, I really appreciate you, to speak on such a fragile topic, as it may lead to serious situation in the society you live in. I like the way you convey your thoughts and the frustration is so visible to us. People live in a constricted world , and they say what they are taught (in spite of being right or wrong), discrimination is not a new thing, it’s frm ages… its in our blood…
    we are changing, where we talk about LGBT rights, soon the racisim will end… with these inspiring blogs we can lit up the new world, “where LINING BEINGS are the priorities” not the race or the cast or the place they belong to.
    kudos to your writing …. !!

  332. pcassidy2015 says:

    You seem to have a propensity to attract really rude comments and most of them would annoy me as well. My only relevant comment is that prejudice and racism are 2 different things. What you describe is prejudice not racism. Racism, that is the abrogation of your rights, is a crime, prejudice is just ignorant and annoying. Further prejudice is an emotion, racism is an action. There is a difference. Everyone experiences prejudice just like everyone feels anger but not everyone who is angry gets violent. Your blog illuminates the importance of basic respect of each other despite our differences and the need for everyone to take responsibility for their prejudice by understanding it (not accepting it) and taking care to act and speak respectfully even if you are laboring within one’s own prejudiced frame of reference. As an aside Gloria Blue called you ‘brownie’, but apparently you did not consider that offensive, I guess because it was in a supportive context. If I called you that (I would not, it is rude) I expect you would not find it acceptable.

    • tapeparade says:

      Who is Gloria blue? I would not be happy being termed “brownie”.

      The thing is that might be what you term racism as but the word racism only means the belief that somebody from a different race is substantially different. Racism is not necessarily a crime; it can just be a set of prejudiced thoughts. There have been a number of comments trying to argue for not using the word racism but I think in doing that you end up detracting from the harm and the serious nature of these comments and actions, regardless of how they were intended.

    • speechmaven says:

      No matter how you sugar coat it with semantic differences between the words “prejudice” and “racism”, it’s still racism, whether or not the comments were intentionally so. Fact, not an opinion.

  333. rajashaan says:

    I loved reading this.Thank you for your experience. Keep calling it out! The world will be a better place for you soon!

  334. Cuts for him says:

    On word, WOW! Seems like you have had to endure a lot. Things no one should ever endure. Its a shame in 2015 we still deal with such issues. you know what, keep you head up and be strong. Don’t let no one but you define who you truly are. you are a strong, courageous and beautiful person. thanks for sharing your story and letting us into this aspect of your life. Look after yourself and change nothing about you!

  335. Glassruby says:

    Thank you for sharing. Love the post. It makes you think of how much you’re just suppose to take as a joke when it’s not.

  336. […] I previously mentioned reading the blog Back to Black led me to Tape Parade.  The post What It’s Like Not Being White by Laila of Tape Parade was re-blogged on Back to Black.  The post, which is beautifully […]

  337. Just tell them the truth….. The aspect of “race” is a pseudoconceptual term designed to separate and segregate humans into columns and class. It’s meant to divide to keep unity from happening. It’s a term that not only never worked, but is a fantasy from the 1% who seem to think that just because they have funds that they’ve stolen from the rest of us, that we’re lowliest and they’re superior. Humanity is about genus, kind or type. Human is genus, kind and type into itself. They feel if they ” Mein Kumpf” the information, they’ll hypnotize themselves into believing they’re own drivel.

  338. If “RACE” is never in your vocabulary, it’s one less person spreading the fallacy. 🙂

    • No, ignoring it does not make it go away. Onviously this topic makes some people uncomfortable. They want to dismiss her or minimize it. It is very obvious in these comments. I am appalled. Some of these comments are part of the problem.

      • tapeparade says:

        I could not agree more! I’ve been commenting back and answering every single problematic comment. It is exhausting. Thanks for the vote of confidence and support.

      • What you fail to understand is there’s no such a thing as RACE in the human condition. And the more you continue to use that “fallacy” in a sentence, the more you give it credence. Ignoring it isn’t enough, DELETING IT IS ESSENTIAL.

        • tapeparade says:

          I’m actively calling it out rather than ignoring it. As I say in the post!

          • Don’t call it out. Correct it. People die not only from lack of knowledge but also repeating and utilizing the same bad rhetoric. We keep repeating the same things we continue to do the same things badly.

            • tapeparade says:

              Yes! Hence calling it out! I think I said explicitly in the post I call people out to educate them and get them to think about what they’re saying. I’m not calling out to shame, as I would have hoped was evident from the tone and discussion in the article.

              • I’m sorry. It just doesn’t read that way to me. Not once did I see an attempt to rectify the use of the word or terminology of RACE. What I read is the same usage and the same verbiage with wrong meaning. People pick up cues and repeat those cues when it tickles their ears. Much like the usage of the word SHAMING as a suffix. Instead of calling it what it really is, judgement… People go for sexy word combos that make no sense. There’s no shaming unless the person who’s being antagonized is feeling shame from it. And most likely, that shame was already with them way before they were called out on it.
                Race is a term to keep the CULTURES apart by claiming they came fro different “seeds” and that each line of progeny has something as a characteristic that’s superior to the other. Creating a survival of the fittest mentality and a superiority complex.

                Unless you’re breaking it down like that, people will keep repeating bad information. Know where I’m going with this?
                Otherwise it’s just adding to the problem.

                When you get a chance, punch up Jill Elliot. This woman has it right on the ball. And she’s ruthless about it.

              • That being said, humans are lazy. They can’t take someone rising above them. They relate to you because they have to think you’re as down as they are. If you give the perception that you caught a light that will make you soar higher than them, these people feel it’s their job to knock you down a peg. Not because you think you’re hot stuff it because they can’t allow you to shine otherwise they’ll have to work for it also. And they want immediate gratification. It’s why they call you racist and prejudiced names, it’s why they steal your thunder, it’s why they talk behind your back…,to make them feel better. They’re bums and they know it. Don’t trip on them. Just run your race.

  339. Eemaii says:

    My eyes literally teared up. I am so sorry that this is something that you’ve had to deal with all your life. You’re a very beautiful young lady who has done justice to everyone in the same situation as you by informing others. Thank you so much for putting this out there!

  340. Emily Heizer says:

    Laila is a super “Caucasian” (we don’t use this term anymore, it’s considered outdated since it refers to a particular historical race of people and doesn’t actually reflect what people mean- white or of European descent is more accurate terminology these days) name here in the US. While its portrayed in the media that the U.S. has tons of race relations problems, it sounds like the problems you’re encountering are about 40+ years behind us. And it sounds like it’s due largely because of lack of exposure. I don’t think any of the questions you were asked here on your work website or on tinder are things that would even occur to me as someone growing up in the States. It’s sort of bizarre you’d be asked those things and frankly, your genealogy, race, and ethnicity are not any of the top twenty things that would come to mind had I encountered you in either arena. I attended a minority’s majority high school in California and the older I get the more I realize what a privilege it was to grow up with so much diversity. I wish every one else was that lucky…

  341. Emily Heizer says:

    Laila is a super “Caucasian” (we don’t use this term anymore, it’s considered outdated since it refers to a particular historical race of people and doesn’t actually reflect what people mean- white or of European descent is more accurate terminology these days) name here in the US. It’s decently popular, and pretty mainstream. It’s definitely not a name limited to minority’s by any means. Your name is very common, at least from my perspective, as a thirty something American.

    While its portrayed in the media that the U.S. has tons of race relations problems, it sounds like the problems you’re encountering are about 40+ years behind us. And it sounds like it’s due largely because of lack of exposure. I don’t think any of the questions you were asked here on your work website or on tinder are things that would even occur to me as someone growing up in the States. It’s sort of bizarre you’d be asked those things and frankly, your genealogy, race, and ethnicity are not any of the top twenty things that would come to mind had I encountered you in either arena. I attended a minority’s majority high school in California and the older I get the more I realize what a privilege it was to grow up with so much diversity. I wish every one else was that lucky…

    • tapeparade says:

      Hi Emily, Laila is a pretty uncommon name in the UK and it’s a name of Arabic origin. If it’s been adopted by white people in the US then that’s unknown to me.

      None of what I’ve said is pertaining to the US at all – I live in London and was talking about my experiences here in the UK. I wasn’t attempting to pass any judgement in the US.

      I appreciate what you’re saying in terms of these problems should be behind us – but they’re obviously not, so simply dismissing them as something which should have died out years ago isn’t particularly helpful. Instead I think the problem needs people such as yourself to call it out with us. You’re saying that these problems are bizarre and historical and have no place in the US – but if you read through the comments that is just not the case. There are tonnes of comments from people in the US who experience the same problems as me. It’s obviously not a problem rooted in the past. I do appreciate your sentiment, but merely saying that and telling yourself that it doesn’t happen in the US isn’t helpful to me or the hundreds of people who have commented on this article saying they experience the same.

  342. Olga says:

    I get “you don’t look like an Olga” all the time (I’m second gen Filipino, born in Canada). Or “you don’t look like an Olga”. Not really sure what all the “olga’s” out there look like…

  343. Reading this post, I could relate to so many things. I’m not mixed, but as a Black English woman I’ve been on the receiving end of my share of comments. Being told I must be able to dance like girls in RhiRhi’s videos because I’m Black and my family come from the Caribbean two generations back. Like you, my name is constantly spelt and said wrong, I didn’t chose it, it’s not Caribbean or English, it’s just unusual. I love you name, and had no problem saying it, and it’s a lovely spelling I’ve seen hundreds of times since I was in school.
    I think non-Whites endure this to such a level that some just give up on correcting people in their ignorance. I’m not one though, if a friend says something they’ve picked up or fallen back on that I’ve never seen, I bring it up. I tell them why it’s offensive. Like you I also get told to relax and stiff because ‘it’s just a laugh’ or ‘a joke’ and they never mean ‘to be offensive’ even though I’ve just said why it is…

    I’m going to share this because it needs to be heard (read) by people. Also because I’m about ready to start ranting, and I don’t want that.

    Thank you for this. I needed to see a blog on this today.

  344. manojbabu90 says:

    Clans preferred prejudices to individual checking out to get through their day to day lives more easily. We also resort to it more than we care to admit, little thinking about the effect it has on the prejudiced. Hindus do it to the Muslims, Muslims on Hindus, Christians on Moslems, Moslems on Jews…………. the list is endless. May be another cheap trick of the nature to keep the population in check

  345. emmitsomo says:

    hi… i can relate to that… i just found your blog and think, it’s great, this has to be discussed. I know what you are talking about and i heard many of the phrases you wrote about, for example, mostly: where are you from. In Germany that is especially difficult anyway. Thanks for sharing these experiences. And with the names, someone once thought, it was not German but it is, only by my looks she thougt it must be a foreign name. take care, emmitsomo

  346. Belle Bohemienne says:

    So, you’re upset. I get that. I understand, but I’d like to ask you to take a step back and look outside of yourself. Have you ever thought that white people also have these same issue? I, for instance, am a natural redhead. I have been told that I’m “hot for a redhead.” I just can’t be “hot” or even beautiful or pretty at all. I’ve been asked many times if “the carpet matches the drapes.” I’ve been told.i must be Irish or Scottish. I am Irish but less than 50%. And I’m met with disbelief when I say that I’m mostly Italian. I’ve also been asked countless times if my hair is dyed, which is very annoying because why can’t my hair be this beautiful naturally?

    I totally understand where you are coming from and the statements and actions done to you are horrendous, to say the least. But I find that in the midst of misunderstanding, we should find understanding. When someone says something to me that I find offensive. I smile and choose not to respond. Such narrow mindedness does not deserve any reaction. Then I remind myself that this person’s journey is much different from mine and that my religion teaches love, compassion, and understanding. Though I do my best to give these things, I also know that it is not worth to get angry over the snide comments of perfect strangers.

    These people do not know you and therefore do not deserve even an after thought from you. Your worth is not measured by the mere opinion of some Tinder stalker, you’re self worth comes from you. For every ignorant person you confront, there are two open minded people to replace them. You should be proud of who you are and where you come from. That is what makes you beautiful. Our differences make us unique. I feel proud to wear my hair red and curly and wild! I don’t care if I offend anyone. It is a part of who I am and my identity. Your skin, your hair, your music is yours: you should smile every day and be thankful for who you are and what you have because those people who make those comments are trying to bring you down because they are unhappy with their own lives.

    • tapeparade says:

      I can’t imagine your hair colour has ever stopped you getting a job, or renting a house. It is not simply a matter of hair colour. It is not a matter of being annoyed. People like you are part of the problem- not acknowledging a problem where there is one means the problem gets continued and the cycle never ends. I would ask you to rethink your stance and be an ally for equality, rather than ignoring prejudice or dismissing problems as being trivial.

      • Belle Bohemienne says:

        Wow you are quite presumptuous! Accusing me of being part of the problem by “ignoring the problem” when I could just as easily accuse you of being apart of the same problem by further promoting segregation of the races. Are you so certain it is your race, your skin color, is issue and not your convoluted attitude?

        • tapeparade says:

          In what way am I promoting segregation of races? If anything I’m doing the opposite in asking that everybody be treated the same. You just have to read the other comments and see the response that this post has gotten to know it is not just me. I appreciate you are not trying to be antagonistic but it is ridiculous to say whites face the same issues in terms of racial profiling and stereotyping – please just read the rest of the comments and you’ll see this isn’t the case. This is not a case of me learning to celebrate my differences, this is about entire groups of people not being segregated and being treated equally. You literally said you smile and choose not to respond, and you’ve also said that whites have the same problem. Do people often assume you can’t speak English? You’re ignoring a large part of what I said which I’ve categorised as ignoring the problem. I’m not trying to be deliberately argumentative at all, but there have been a few similar comments to yours (as I mentioned in my response post) and if you’d read the rest of the comments I just can’t see how you’d still be saying the same things.

          • Belle Bohemienne says:

            “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

            “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

            “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.” -Mahatma Gandhi

            “In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.” -The Dalai Lama

            And my personal favorite from Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

            It is impossible to change everyone in the world, change must start with you. A negative mind sees only negative things while a positive mind changes everything
            I’m not saying you should smile and ignore it, I’m saying it is easier to change your point of view than everyone else’s.

            • tapeparade says:

              Change HAS started with me. Did you read the entire post? I do not have a negative mind. I AM being the change I wish to see – that is a rule my life by. I do not want to live in a world where people carry around bigoted and negative stereotypes. Every time I encounter prejudice I am calling it out, I am trying to be the person who will not stand for that kind of nonsense. I want to live in a fair world where people are treated equally. Ignoring problems does not solve problems. I am fed up with the negativity. That is why I am calling it out at every juncture.

              It is way too easy to dismiss these problems as simply me being over-sensitive or particularly stung. To do so, and to pin the problem back on me, which is what you are doing in saying that I am the one that needs to change, is to trivialise and ignore the problem at large. By ignoring it, you are perpetuating it. Let’s say you broke an arm off a chair. If you change your opinion of the chair and decide to just accept the broken arm and use the chair regardless, does it mean the chair is fixed? No.

              Did Dr King Jr accept segregation and a diminished role in society? Did he alter his view point to see the segregation as positive? No, he did not. I’m not trying to be aggressive but you are really missing the point and I think a lot of the problem is people who have the best of intentions but do not want to accept that there is a problem they might be able to help with.

              • Belle Bohemienne says:

                Ok, then. Perhaps I should follow your footsteps. I’m tired of being referred as white. It’s just a skin color that occurred when two chromosomes lined up. It’s not my fault that I’m fair complected. I sure am tired of being referred to as white. I’m not even close to the actual color anyway. In fact, it’s downright rude to refer to anyone by anything else other than their name. Wouldn’t you agree?

  347. erynmarissa says:

    I think the worst part about people making these uneducated comments is the fact that YOU are educated and are well aware of what they’re implying or flat out saying. I grew up in Alaska, an absolute “melting pot”. What I mean is that people of all races and all walks of life was so normal. It wasn’t until I moved to the fast that people seemed to become more vocal about their opinion on my race. I hear things like “wow, you’re not like other black girls” or when one of my employees told me “I was so white”.

  348. shahaam says:

    Hi, interesting post I must say. I agree that living in a country with non-native appearance can be challenging at times.
    However, being stereo type against a stereotype makes you another sterotype. Isnt it?
    I think we all have become so fragile that even a tiny small talk can ruin our day. Just other day I was sitting with my friends (different races) and I raised this point. “Don’t you think we all have become over sensitive to everything these days”. Guess what, same response from everyone,Yes we have!
    I believe we should man up against our own stigmas. As loclas of any country shouldnt be commenting on others becuase of their skin color. Similar way, we shouldnt take notice of oblivivous and non serrious comments.Intead we should direct our energies in training ourselves on how to ignore it. And when I say ignore it, I mean let it go without feeling bad about it.
    I find it interesting that for generations, we live in multi cultural societies and end up questioning locals for their attitudes but never resolve our social stigmas.

    • tapeparade says:

      Hi, thanks for your comment.

      What do you suggest I do when, for example, I repeatedly lose work based on somebody assuming I can’t speak English?

      • shahaam says:

        Hi, In my view you didn’t lose the work.

        They lost you!

        They didn’t deserve you!

        Also, It means that something bigger and better is meant for you and sooner or later you going to get it. I have been to many such situations myself and it felt exactly the same every time I missed an opportunity. But after due course of struggle, you get what really belongs to you. Yes, for some this path of struggle is longer while the others enjoy shorter rides.
        I read this somewhere and I quote,”You are the product of your own circumstances”. For instance, look at all these comments on your blog. Majority of these people value your thoughts and find you a better person. Imagine for a minute, what if you didn’t have to suffer through these situations, how would have you written such powerful & truthful blog. Its clearly visible that you earned care and support from all of these commentators. We don’t always see it but one way or the other we make gains. I can clearly see that you are making gains and influencing many.
        In the end, I’ll say this. You cant control the circumstances in your life but you definitely can control your reactions to it.

        All the best!

  349. I’m really glad I read your blog. You’re beautiful.

  350. marieken says:

    Thanks for posting this, I am absolutely amazed at that list of things you get to hear. Lets hope some of the people who make comments like this, to you, or other people, stumble upon your post, and it will get them thinking!

  351. Clauie Belle says:

    You are so pretty, just the way you are. God bless you! 😉

  352. sammid72 says:

    as a white south African these are issues we deal with daily and no one has a right to tell you to relax and it’s just a joke. if it’s upsetting to you it’s not a joke and friends especially should be more open to correction. for some south African flavour on this my friend brett has an amazing topic on his blog called Taboo Topics and one of the subject is race with many people contributing similar stories…https://brettfish.wordpress.com

  353. I would call myself “white” and I was asked at a nail salon by the nail tech if I was Lebanese…I have brown hair and blue eyes, and a lighter skin tone. I have also been asked if I were mexican. I am actually a mix of german, dutch, french, polish, and american indian.

  354. Being Italian/Chinese/Filipino born in Australia, I can definitely relate to everything you have said. The same experiences, lack of exposure and ignorance as some non ethnic Australians struggle with the concept of a ‘national’ identity that couldn’t possibly included non-white Australian-born people. So much for multiculturalism. Even Australia’s own Indigenous people are treated as ‘others’, just see all the debate on footballer Adam Goodes.

  355. Well said, well written, and well done. As a ‘mixed-other’ girl with an Indian father, who grew up in Oz and USA, then moved to India, ‘identity’ was never a one dimensional entity for me either. Plus while I’m not dark (the wheatish Indian complexion thing), my father has basically treated me like crap my whole life because I’m darker than him (some genes skip a generation, I suppose). Discrimination starts in our very homes. It’s a concept that’s at the root of being Indian, even half, or a quarter, or whatever. I’ve dealt with a good amount of nonsense in USA (nothing in Oz. I’ve never had, or had a friend who had the slightest incident in Oz). But what really takes the cake is that most of the bs I’ve heard has come from people who look a lot like me. And then there’s all sorts of subcategories to the prejudice too. People who assume I don’t speak English, people who question my virginity because I grew up abroad (‘they do things with boys when they are kids you knoooww’), people who see my need for independence as an ‘outsider’ thing, and of course, the never ending lectures on how to get more ‘white’.

    Sorry for the rant. What you said just hit a bit close to home. I’ve written about it too. Venting’s the best way to get rid of it Not like the people who say such stuff learn anything, anyway.

    And yes. You’re beautiful. And even if there’s a day when the whole room tells you that you’re not, know that you are.

    Lots of love, and the best of luck to you.

    Your Friendly Neighborhood Cookie Monstah.

    ps. https://calliopeslyre.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/so-will-you-hate-me/ – I totally get you. :-/

  356. While reading about what it is you go through definitely disgusted me, it did not at all surprise me. Many people don’t think microaggressions to be as problematic as “real racism.” I absolutely hate the term “exotic” when describing a woman of color-it’s just another way to fetishize her. I use to brush such offenses off, but now that I am older and more aware, I call people out on their mess. I’m no longer putting up with it.

    Nice article and thank you for sharing. 🙂

  357. norasnotes13 says:

    Thank you. I am a mutt, but yes white skin and white parents. I’m thanking you for making me question the “innocent” and/or “funny” things I have said and or posted. Basically I just want to thank you for making me a little more aware of what comes from my mouth or my “likes” and “shares” on social media.

  358. uesd says:

    I know where you from…. Earth….

  359. I ask people where they’re from even if they’re not white XD. The school photographer thing is something I’ve always questioned though, you see collage and business with images of people from every race to show that they’re not racist and accept everyone when really they’ve been racist by specifically looking for people of different races, They should just take on anyone who shows up at the photo shoot if they’re trying to look not racist.

  360. […] managed it twice so far and it was in these two posts. I’d like to try and write about more!What It’s Like Not Being White: by far the most popular post as it went viral. I already discussed this in a response post here […]

  361. blueoff says:

    You’ve got beautiful hair.

  362. dogchasetail says:

    Haha at age 6 growing up in a small town in USA I got to be a Native American for the Thanksgiving play. I always hate on dates hearing exotic and unique. I always hated when people assume I can’t speak English cause I am quiet. But on a side note I now use that to get guys to go away. I just don’t correct the and they become frustrated and go bother someone else.

  363. The Front Ro says:

    I’m South African brown …. But of Indian decent…. We live in what we call a ‘rainbow nation’ … If India were to terminate … My home town Durban has the largest amount of Indian people outside of India

  364. I love this! It is nice to hear a real person who goes through this and isn’t worried about sharing it with anyone! I like your confidence, I wrote a post today going through a little bit of what I had to deal with where I currently live and what it was like growing up. However, I decided to take the opportunity to explore how you should embrace your ethnicity from the side of fashion and the way you express yourself through your clothes.
    It would be highly appreciated if you could possibly follow my blog;


  365. thepighasacurlytail says:

    Hello Laila…You standing in front of that chalkboard is graphically brilliant. My favorite part is that you are always looking away from the camera in every pose. Not once looking into the camera. Perfect backdrop to complement your mixed ethnicity explanation.

  366. So beautifully written, and a great reminder that we should not tolerate the things that try to break or alienate us. Keep calling them out!

  367. Such a beautifully written (and illustrated), chilling and well-argued post. I think calling casual racism out on twitter is a good call – potential for everydaysexism type effects on at least starting debates around what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour. Thought you might be interested to know there’s been a fair bit of research using CVs as a litmus test for racial prejudice (or gender prejudice, among other things). And yup, you guessed it, changing the name but keeping the contents of the CV identical influences the outcome.

  368. I will just sumply say this could have been written about me. Nigerian who spent years in the USA and now living in Ireland. The employment discrimination is astounding here. It is no surprise to me that i’ve only been able to get jobs with multinational companies and not Irish ones. Sometimes I can’t wait to leave because casual and not so casual racism is exhausting!

  369. Hello, I came across this post whilst browsing through the freshly pressed section and I have to say this was really well written! I totally understand where you are coming from, I’m mixed race, with a first and last name that look and sound foreign. Although I am yet to experience any comments like this to my face, I have occasionally wondered if just seeing my name on my CV puts people off when I’ve applied to jobs. I have sometimes been asked where am I from, and I always reply from London, as if it’s obvious. They normally get the point then. I’m sorry you’ve had to experience this though. I have a feeling with what is going on in the world that this will unfortunately become a normal occurrence, if it isn’t one already

  370. I’m mixed as well. Liberian (west african) and White, living in Southern California. I hear comments all the time and tbh it still astounds me that it’s 2015 and this type of aggression/micro-aggression is still happening. I’m new to wordpress, as it’s only my third day here, so I’m still putzing aroung trying to get my bearings. I’m glad I stumbled across this post. Thanks for sharing, it was very well written. 🙂

  371. futuba aoi says:

    Geeze, that sounds like what I had to deal with growing up. Though it still happens every now and then. Though I kept and keep getting called things I’m not even close too…. It does get annoying and I hope some day this goes away. It feels like they are diggin to label and shelf you somewhere. Which is depressing. I hope more people out there read this and understand it. It is very good.

  372. It’s depressing to know, RACISM still exists in the modern times of 2015. And I feel it’s not so modern now and you know you should INSIST ON HOW YOUR NAME HAS TO BE PRONOUNCED OR TELL THE ONE WHO CALLS YOU WRONGLY WITH A WRONG NAME TOO, AS A GESTURE OF THEIR MISBEHAVIOUR. You are really frustated, I could feel the frustatation in every word you wrote.

    Probably You should be STRONGER to face this or just fight back as I said. I have heard and read lot of stories like this in LONDON. Even as I Indian, there were lot of incidents of racism are up in news.

    I dont understand why do they have this backward thinking still going on their tiny brains.

    I SUPPORT YOU WOMAN! I AM AGAINST RACISM. People who make you feel inferior does not even deserve to live on this earth. Respect is desreved by all, no matter what.

    GOD BLESS YOU! And I hope you get your respect the next time you hit a birtish guy or a girl.BE BRAVE!

  373. Eemaii says:

    I’ve been going through an even rougher time lately and I can’t help but to be reminded of this post.

  374. MissLarisha says:

    loved this!
    My issue is, you must be African American or African. I’m just like, there are so many other cultures and races and people in the world if you would just open you mind, and of course your eyes.

    • tapeparade says:

      I’m not African American or African. Did you read the whole post? I’m mixed race and from London as I say in the post!

      • MissLarisha says:

        I apologise that I misunderstood your post. It is terrible that things like this happen in 2015. All I meant with my comment was that everyone assumes one thing about me whilst not considering other factors. I have experienced the whole “do you speak english?” and the “don’t you have a country of your own?”, maybe not to the same extent but it happens. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who assume that if you’re not, in my case, darker skinned, you must be African or African American and do not consider that maybe I may have been speaking English since birth.
        I truly apologise for the ignorance of my comment as I would not want to be cast amongst those who truly ignorant of the diversity that exists. You are truly an amazing person for speaking up about this and I wish you all the best.

      • MissLarisha says:

        Just an edit (as this was typed with haste and embarrassment): On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who assume that if you’re not, in my case, darker skinned, you must be African or African American and do not consider that maybe there are numerous other countries out there that have people who look Afrocentric.
        Please continue your fight against racism! Good luck!

  375. smw00998 says:

    Thank you for writing this! I experience this at least weekly and I’m glad that I’m not the only one who sees comments like, “what are you” or “you look so exotic” as racism.

  376. i-freebird says:

    I completely understand. Speaking from experience, it seems you left out a couple of those rude comments. This may be because you are there and I am here. I always hated being told I have to pick one or I can only be one part of what makes up all of me. You are right, society and culture have been “conditioned” into being biased, ignorant, or racist. I hope some, if not all of these experiences fade into the past for you. Remember, you are beautiful outside so do not let them scar you in the inside so that you are begrudged or disgruntled so much that it changes who you are and what you want to be. When it comes to the pick one or more or the option to choose “other” don’t let yourself be told that you have to pick one or the other. Don’t let yourself fall for the pick for “us” so that we count more when they are one of the ones who are biased, racist, and discriminatory toward you when it’s not pick “us” time. Look long at all of them screaming and crying racism and or discrimination pointing fingers and stomping feet demanding acceptance, justice, and understanding. Then pray hard that you don’t wind up basing everything on race so much that you become biased, unaccepting, or racist as they all are. Be you, different is always good. Learn from your experiences and all of the rest of them and their mistakes and try to make a positive impact. Let your beautiful differences make a difference.
    Love don’t hate.
    Be good, not evil and be much better than what anyone else expects.

  377. […] What It's Like Not Being White […]

  378. Honest Mum says:

    Such an important post, thank you for your honesty and speaking up. I believe in the power of micro politics and no one has a right to question or degrade or objectify anyone based on appearances. I found you via Marie Claire’s feed (I wrote a piece on their site as part of their #breakfree campaign, on motherhood). I relate to so much of this yet have not written about it in case…wait for it, people judge me and fear I am ‘too white’ to have experienced racism-crazy I know?! My parents are both Greek Cypriot originally, are deemed half generations as they moved here as kids/teens, studied at university here and are British. as are myself and my brother. We are all olive skinned British Cypriots, we feel connected to our heritage but are British and embrace our Yorkshire roots equally.

    I am too, asked constantly where I am from-all the countries and more you’ve listed above have been asked from me too. I now live in Yorkshire from London and somehow felt London was more invisible when it comes to race, being the Metropolis.. yet here my mother and I have been spoken to slowly, mostly by shop assistants, (patronising, racist, ridiculous) and at school I was constantly berated for being ‘loud’ with the validation that it’s because I’m Greek (do quiet Greeks not exist?). I have kids that are part English, Greek Cypriot and French and I hope by the time they are our/my age there will be equality, that no one feels ‘the other’. Una fatsa, una race. One face, one race. Maybe I need to write that post….

  379. […] associated to so many of what Laila of Tape Parade so succinctly wrote about in ‘What it’s Like Not Being White Post‘ , that went viral final […]

  380. […] related to so much of what Laila of Tape Parade so succinctly wrote about in ‘What it’s Like Not Being White Post‘ , which went viral last […]

  381. […] What It's Like Not Being White […]

  382. Aoife says:

    This rang very clear with me. My name is Irish, and at the moment I live in Cardiff. The biggest call out I get on Tinder is about my name. Once I was even accused of making my name up, and he badgered me to tell him what my real name was.

    When I told him that that WAS my real name, and that actually his comments had really offended me, he got on the defensive so fast I thought he’d fall over.

    “God, women just cannot take a joke anymore.I was clearly messing around. If you can’t