By Victoria Luckie

Mama am I black?
Black is black
I said
a black thing.
And white is white
I pointed to a paper
Look at our skin
I am speckled egg
You are butterscotch.

Though I grew up in the UK, my half-Mijikenda daughter and I found we had very different cultural and social backgrounds and attitudes to many of the people around us.  Through my daughter’s experiences, I saw for the first time, the impact of the sort of implicit racism and racial bias that I previously had not thought existed in the town I grew up in. 

Butterscotch tells a story of a real and heart-breaking conversation between myself and my daughter. The first time we had discussed her skin colour, because a boy at preschool had told her she was black and possibly ugly – or she had somehow associated the two together. I could have decided to put her in one of the silly, nonsensical, pointless tick box categories, imposed by a council who understood little about her culture or heritage.

I could not bear to do that. Instead I chose to use our own, more accurate category that she could identify with. I am partially Scottish and she was therefore the lovely colour of Butterscotch.


Photograph used in graphic by Victoria Luckie.


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