So I am 1/4 Native Cherokee Indian from my father’s side as well as Jewish from my mother’s side, so Polish Jew, there is also some collective Irish in there as well..
My family upbringing was very much around inclusivity, because we had mixed heritage ourselves, both my father and mother were supportive around different cultures in the community we lived in.
It was great as we had a large group of friends from different backgrounds and cultures, everyone was part of a bigger community in our street. I remember how diverse our childhood was, we got to experience multi cultures, different foods, and different experiences.
Most of it was good, but when people knew about our heritage, there were times you would get racial slurs or people trying to be funny, making the typical comments in relation to Native Americans, not within the wider community but outside of that. I can’t say it was a frequent thing to be honest because we had such a diverse set of friends that all stood up for each other.
I have to say both my parents instilled in us to be respectful of everyone, we would all be out helping neighbours and friends, sharing stories, playing out in the street together. It allowed us to experience what a community should be, helping out other people when they needed help, being there for others, we owned the local corner shop, that sold groceries and everyday items. This helped in building that community and meeting new people, enjoying new foods, and meeting people from all walks of life.
It allowed me to become the person I am today, it shaped my experience and I have a greater awareness of what community really means. It made us feel inclusive and how we could be supportive to everyone we meet in life, we are all a very large community and we should all look out for each other, not with an intent of anything in return, other than that you have been able to help your fellow neighbor or community be that social, work or chance meeting.
I am proud to be of mixed heritage, it has shown me that we are all different in our own way.
We all have a sense of belonging to who we are and where we come from, we all have unique experiences and stories and by sharing them be become better human beings, with a better understanding of others and their own diverse backgrounds.