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━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━ 🅠 What's your full name?
🅐 My name is Jana Mohamed Ameer Ally (I know my middle names are masculine but it’s Arab tradition to take your father’s name for your middle name) @jana
🅠 Where were you born/brought?
🅐 I’m London born and bred with an extremely short intermission in New Jersey, USA as a little one.
🅠 What's your ethnicity?
🅐 I am proudly half Indo-Caribbean (Father’s side) & half Egyptian with Turkish decent (Mother’s side).
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━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━ 🅠 Describe your most memorable moments when you were made aware of being mixed race.
🅐 Being mixed I’ve found that to other people I will never be Asian enough, West Indian enough, Arab enough or Turkish enough. I will never forget when people tell me that I am not from where I am from. I identify as Indo-Guyanese and Egyptian…one of the main reasons I don’t say Asian is because it was the Asian community that made me feel like I wasn’t one of them. And much like an Afro-Caribbean doesn’t identify as African, there is too much history in my ancestry for me not to be proud of my Caribbean-ness.
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━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━ 🅠 How old were you when you became conscious that people saw you differently? What impact did that have on you?
As soon as I started school I knew that there wasn’t a category for me. The age you start making friends is when you start to discover your similarities and differences, I simply couldn’t relate. Living in multi-cultural Brent, a lot of people LOOKED like me but when it came down to cultural similarities I was never enough of any race to be able to relate. Kids didn’t really get it (which is totally understandable, at that age I didn’t even get it). I look Asian with a slightly lighter skin complexion, my grandmother has a Caribbean accent, my mother is Caucasian looking but spoke Arabic. I am mixed, mixed and then mixed again… and the funny thing is I grew up letting other people tell ME what I was because I didn’t even know who I was. The feeling of not being able to relate made me feel really isolated to be honest. As much as being unique is great, it’s human nature to want to conform. I never had a group of friends I perfectly fit into. That was until I got to high school and my group was the most multicultural group on the playground! From Ukrainian, Bayesian, English to Asian, West Indian, African. I truly felt at home!
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━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━ 🅠 Do you feel your parents prepared you for life as a mixed race person?
🅐 We never had discussions on race and identity because they were of mixed origin too. Race in their eyes has never been a stigma but they have had to shelter me and my siblings from discrimination. I have three other siblings and from my dad being a mid-tone shade of brown and my mum being an olive tone of white we each fell somewhere in between with different shades of brown, tan and white. When moving to Princeton, New Jersey, an affluent area of the state, we soon realised a mixed family in the 90’s was not normal in this neighborhood. As my parents noticed a distinct difference between the way Princeton treated the darker side of our then five figure family, they soon understood that London was where they belonged.