Yasemin Sunbul – Embracing my mixed Turkish Nomad and English heritage

I am half Turkish, half English with my Dad being Muslim, my mum as no religion and myself as no religion.

I am half Turkish, half English with my Dad being Muslim, my mum as no religion and myself as no religion.

I struggled with my identity growing up as I didn’t know which ‘box’ I fitted in. I constantly asked myself, am I Ethnic, am I white, who am I? I even tried to suppress my ethnic side so that people wouldn’t say mean comments or that I would fit in more easily.

Something that has always stayed with me was a situation where we were learning about syllables in primary school and we had to answer how many syllables were in our name – mine is 3….Yas-e-min. It was my turn to answer so I said 3, to which my teacher, in front of the whole class, told me I was wrong and that my name only has 2 syllables. I felt so embarrassed and started to question so many things including my name, which is a BIG part of my identity.

I decided to take charge of my identity when I started high school. I openly spoke to my father about his culture and what made him proud. He would tell me lots of child hood stories and where my family came from. He explained that we were nomadic Turks which led me to continue with my own research.

This was a turning point for me, I no longer suppressed who I was and instead took time to engage people in my culture. I started ticking the ‘Mixed- White/Asian’ box on the diversity questions on forms instead of the ‘White’ box. Since owning my culture and identity, I have really grown in confidence and had many successes in my career to date with big aspirations of becoming the youngest CEO of a FTSE100 company.

I am unique, open minded and a true people person. My heritage has definitely had an impact on the person who I am today.

I am proud to be of Mixed Heritage.

Do you have a story of your mixed heritage to share? Let us know your story here

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