When Margaret McCarthy found herself pregnant with a mixed-race child she gave the idea of adoption serious thought. She was told that as the baby's father was black it would be more difficult to find a family to adopt. Margaret realised that her baby was being labelled even before it was born. She decided to keep her baby, a girl who she called Mia.
Ever since Mia's birth she wondered what it was like for other mixed-race people growing up in her native Ireland. My Eyes Only Look Out reflects the views of twelve people of mixed-race; most are private citizens in everyday occupations; all have their own experiences of growing up looking different in a mostly white society.
One of those featured is Anne: Daughter of a German mother and a Nigerian father she lives in a rural part of County Cork with her family but she grew up in London. Talking about her feelings for colour she says:
My mother was blonde and blue eyed. I never had a problem with my colour as a small child. I never realised that I was coloured. When we moved to Kent, it seemed I was the one and only black person around, and, in a way, I just wanted to be classed as white. There wasn't any kind of positive image of black identity; it was all very negative. At one stage, I remember thinking that I wanted to be a teacher, and then I thought, I can't be a teacher because you don't have black teachers. I think I wanted to be white all through my teenage years - from about ten to seventeen. I didn't like being coloured because it caused me problems and it didn't seem to have any advantages. I think it was after I got the job with the vet that I started to feel good about myself because they thought I was a really good worker. Once he said to me, 'God, you really are a hard worker. You work like a black.' And then this embarrassment. And I remember that I didn't mind him saying that. Excerpt from My Eyes Only Look Out.
My Eyes Only Look Out is available from amazon.co.uk