felt that being half-African I should know. It bothered me that I didn't.
I felt I had to explain. I said that my dad didn't bring me up, I didn't
grow up eating African food.'
striker Rachel Yankey grew up in west London with an English mother;
her Ghanaian father did not live with them.
Sometimes it is the small
things about a mixed-race background that make the most impression. 'I've
been in a shop with my mum and they've looked at both of us and gone,
'I can see you're related', and I'm thinking, 'Why say that?' Or hairdressers,
that's the most common one. I remember going to white hairdressers with
my mum and they couldn't cut it right, or they put the wrong products
Rachel says she feels uncomfortable when people assume things about her
because of how she looks. She tells the story of an African mother to a
child who attends her coaching sessions. 'She brought in some traditional
African food for me and asked if I knew what it was. She wasn't quizzing
me, but I felt that being half-African I should know. It bothered me that
I didn't. I felt I had to explain. I said that my dad didn't bring me up,
I didn't grow up eating African food.'
Rachel also says her feelings differ according to the colour of the people
in the room. 'When you go in the white room you know you're different looking,
but I've grown up with white people so that's probably where I'd feel most
comfortable. When you go in the black room you look similar but you don't
feel as comfortable inside. I'm happiest when I'm surrounded by a mix of