"Back in 1962,
I was in my early 20s working as a door-to-door tallyman. At one of
the places in Walsall lived an attractive young woman. We got friendly.
One day, she
asked me in for a bite to eat. It was boiled green bananas. I gagged
on them because it was something strange. But we got talking and
I fell for her.
"Within a year
we were married. It did not go down well with the folks. My mother
didn't really say anything. Anyone that wasn't white and Catholic
didn't count. My father was an ex-public school boy, theoretically
he took a stand against racism, but black people were all right
so long as they weren't in his family. I must stress that later
my parents modified their views and gave me a lot of support.
"We had to suffer
regular sarcastic comments and verbal abuse from neighbours, friends
and acquaintances. At one stage it was so bad I used to keep a written
record of all the incidents of racism. There used to be at least
three a week and sometimes there would be five or more.
"A lot of white
people say it's the children who suffer but there are very few West
Indian people who don't accept mixed race children as black
only lasted ten years but the break-up was nothing to do with colour.
Pauline and I are still friends. And I'm pleased that mixed-race
couples today don't have to put up with the kind of racism and bigotry
that we suffered.
"I have two
mixed-race children and three black stepchildren. They are black,
British and proud"