The struggles of growing up brown in a place of non-browns

So my real name is Vijithaa, but everyone calls me Vij or Viji (which I thoroughly deteste). I was born and bred in York in a town called Market Weighton which most people normally haven’t heard of and I now currently reside in Essex. I think that’s where the name ‘thatasiangirl’ came from because I’ve always lived in an area full of caucasians and being the only brown person I feel that’s how they may have referred to me if not knowing my name.

I’ve always wanted to write blogs but something to do with education was always in the way e.g. GCSE’s, Alevels and finally University. Thankfully, I am done with Uni and can now sit on my ass and worry about how I do not have a job nor I do not know what I am doing with my life but hey, at least I will have my blogs to write, right?

This first blog post is going to be about how I grew up.. As I mentioned before I was born in York and I lived there for about 5 and a half years. I had the whole yorkshire accent and to this day, I still cannot pronounce certain words such as yoghurt (pronounced yor-gurt) or yellow (yal-low). I was kind of bullied by some boys in my class because I was brown and small but it was never really that bad until I came to Essex.

Essex is stereotypically known for its fake tanned essex girls who go to Sugarhut and Kosho and think they’re all ‘ard’ as well as saying OH MA GAD in every sentence. There are a few of us who are not like that by the way, however I can be guilty of sometimes say omg in a typical essex accent. Including Market Weighton school, I went to a total of 4 schools. Moving around was hard because whenever I made friends I then had to leave them and make new ones, so I always felt like a bit of an outcast.

The first time I was subjected to racism was actually when I was with my friends walking through tesco car park at the age of 7 and all these boy teenagers were sitting on the wall and my friend turned around to me and said ‘OMG he called you a paki’. To be honest, at this point I was too young to even understand how that was offensive and my response was to laugh and say ‘but i’m not pakistani?’

From being called paki to our house getting egged every halloween to ‘oh look she’s going to bomb us’ on my 17th birthday in Romford, I’ve basically had it all. But you know the best way to overcome bullies like that? It’s by not caring, not listening to the ridiculous BS that some people come out with because they’re so uneducated or ignorant to the fact we now live in a multicultural society and they don’t realise that the cheeky indian they are ordering on a friday night would not be available if it was not for us non caucasians coming into England in the first place.

I always struggled with my identity of being a British Srilankan and never really embraced it. Now, I’m proud to say I am british and yeah, I’m tanned because I’m originally from Sri Lanka and I can speak another language which I can put on my CV so for those of you hating, you can get on ya bike or jog on.

Over and out

Vij x

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