The British Library

Priya’s Story

I am a second generation immigrant. My dad was a dr and an economic migrant from south India. I grew up in the north west of England in the 1980s and 1990s in a very white and quite affluent area. I didn’t face much overt racism growing up but I always felt different and felt as though people would stare when they saw someone brown in their village or town. People would also innocently ask me where I came from which felt like a stab to my heart every time. When I told them Warrington where I was born and raised they would ask again or thought I was being obstinate. I never understood why they wanted to ask a small girl this question and persisted even though I felt awkward about it. It was only as I studied social policy and got older that I understood ‘othering’ this is what happened to me but certainly not all the time. Being one of the only faces at school that wasn’t white made me memorable to teachers and other students and I used that to my advantage,

I was always taught to integrate as a small girl but as I got older it became more apparent that the norms for my friends and their parents were different to my parents, they were not quite as comfortable with sleepovers, alcohol and mixing with boys.

Now that I am older and live in multicultural south London I love the anonymity that London offers to people from ethnic minorities. As well as much more of course!

-Priya, London

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