Between two worlds

What's it like growing up in a mixed-race family? Watch 15-year-old Tillie talking about her experiences. 


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Hi, I'm Tillie and I'm from Leeds, which is in the north of England. I am half Ghanaian. This is my Ghanaian dad ...

Tillie's dad: Her father.

… and I am half English. This is my English mum. 

Tillie's mum: Hello!

Having two parents from different countries is really cool because you get to go on holiday a lot. Er, and also you get to experience two different cultures and, kind of, create your own culture, 'cause you get to mix them both together.

Being mixed, I did realise I was different. For example, at the age of seven, it was a PE day, a normal day, I had my hair down and it was drying at its, like, full capacity. It was very big. We got changed in the cloakroom. Everybody was excited to do PE. So was I. Some girls had their hair down, some had earrings in, some had it up, and I remember being asked by a teacher, 'Can you tie your hair up, please, Tillie?' So the teacher give me a very, very tiny hairband. I just remember saying, 'I can't do that.' So I then got in trouble for not being able to tie my hair up and having to miss PE, which was one of my favourite lessons. And I had to sit on a hill and watch everyone else play PE, like I'd done something wrong, like I was bad for having big hair. And feeling really, really sad.

I remember being at primary school and having another friend that was mixed race and her being a slightly darker skin tone to me, and constantly having to justify that I'm mixed race too. People wouldn't believe me, and it still happens now. My complexion is naturally quite lighter anyway. Everyone comes in different skin tones.

In terms of food, I love to eat English and Ghanaian food. But these are some of the Ghanaian foods that I like to eat. There is some plantain here, but these are actually the chip form, the crisp form, which are really good. Um, and also there's some chin chin here, which I absolutely love. And one thing that's fun to make in the kitchen is, er, fufu. That's always good. Er, fufu is an instant plantain. You dip in, er, a sauce and it's like, kind of a doughy texture and it's really nice with your food.

I remember my first trip to Ghana, walking down Jamestown, where my grandad's originally from, and seeing lots and lots of magical things. Goats roaming the streets, dogs roaming the streets, children playing, music … You never see a goat walking down the street in Leeds. In England a lot of people know me as Tillie, but my Ghanaian name and birth name is Amatillie. And when I got to Ghana I instantly felt welcome when there's about five Amatillies walking down the street.

Having parents from different cultures definitely means a lot to me. The problems that I thought were a problem when I was six, for example, have definitely changed. I feel like I've accepted that I've got big hair and it's made me tougher and stronger and want to embrace where I'm from even more.



Do you, or any of your friends, have parents who are from two different cultures?

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Submitted by PolinaLogvinenko on Thu, 07/28/2022 - 10:08

One of my classmates has parents from different cultures. She has Russian father and Korean mother.

Submitted by Macumbo on Mon, 08/30/2021 - 08:51

I love African foods
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Submitted by Andrii on Fri, 07/02/2021 - 17:08

One of my classmates has parents from different cultures. He has Turkish father and Ukrainian mother. But says he's 49% Turkish and 51% Ukrainian because he was born in Ukraine.
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