Mariah Carey's family history and background are diverse. Her late father, Alfred Roy Carey, was an aeronautical engineer of Venezuelan heritage, while her mother Patricia Hickey is of Irish American ancestry.
The couple married in 1960, when racial tensions in America were at their height, and interracial relationships were frowned upon within many quarters. Unsurprisingly, race featured strongly during Mariah's early childhood growing up in Huntington, New York City. “It's been difficult for me, moving around so much, having to grow up by myself... my parents divorced,” she recalled in Mariah Carey Revisited. “And I always felt kind of different from everybody else in my neighborhoods. I was a different person ethnically. And sometimes, that can be a problem. If you look a certain way, everybody goes ‘White girl’, and I'd go, ‘No, that's not what I am.’”