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‘Black people is a term used in certain countries, often in socially based systems of racial classification or of ethnicity, to describe persons who are perceived to be dark-skinned compared to other given populations.’ Who comes up with these definitions?
When I am asked to describe myself, black isn’t part of the adjectives I would use, and not because my skin is a lighter shade in comparison to my countrymen. I have always been somewhat blind to racial prejudices. I am from a continent and country where separation isn’t based on the colour of our skins. What tends to separate us is based on tribe, religion and football teams never the colour of our skins.
Everything I knew about racism I had read in books, and even still, I did not entirely comprehend. Maybe there are certain things you have to live through to fully understand the weight of the issue.
I still don’t entirely understand racism because my brain has failed to register why any race, any human would think oneself better than the other when we are all going to die at the end of the day. Spoiler alert
Three years living in the land of the free and the home of the brave I still do not understand why racism is alive, well and, flourishing.
I have been painfully aware of my skin color but I don’t particularly feel sorry for myself; after all, I have a box to check on the ethnic origin form. I have a language. I know my ancestry. I have a home.
I made a friend late last year, ethnicity – African American, she stumbled upon our eclectic shop, and I sensed she was burdened. As she got more comfortable with me, she shared the struggles of being African American. How could she be American when she didn’t belong? How could she be American when she didn’t feel protected? How could she be African American when she does not know what African country her ancestors originated from? Where exactly is her place in her own country?
Charleston church shooting – June 17, 2015
Prominent people in “shock” and “enraged” called the shooting in Charleston ‘an unthinkable act’, news everywhere labelled it as ‘an unthinkable violence’. Am I the only one who wants to add ‘LOL’ at the end of those comments? UNTHINKABLE? Seriously? Really?
Let’s bring out our dictionaries and define ‘unthinkable’ – (of a situation or event) too unlikely or undesirable to be considered a possibility. Had it been the first act of violence towards African Americans it would have perfectly qualified as ‘unthinkable’ but it wasn’t. Why? Because this violence has been ongoing for ages and every story dies as fast as it started and the country moves on to something as silly as ‘who can wear a crop top.’ The root of racism has never been uprooted and will it ever be?
I like what Charles P Pierce, (in which we confront the dark heart of America, again)wrote in the wake of the shooting, ‘…somebody thought long and hard about it. Somebody thought to load the weapon. Somebody thought to pick the church. Somebody thought to sit, quietly, through some of Wednesday night bible study. Somebody thought to stand up and open fire, killing nine people, including the pastor. Somebody reportedly thought to leave one woman alive so she could tell his story to the world. Somebody thought enough to flee. What happened in that church was a lot of things, but unthinkable is not one of them.’
For a while I only spoke about racism in my mind, I was afraid of what feelings would come out of me so I just ignored what did not directly affect me.
I see how we are looked at when we go to fancy restaurants, I feel the reluctance to serve us when we first make entrance in an upscale department store, I see the surprise on people’s faces when they find out I am an African who speaks English, because I am supposed to speak moo?
Although those are seemingly little things, there are many people who are suffering from brutal violence, unemployment and racial injustice, although we have a choice to choose our battles, we never should remain silent in the face of any and all injustice. Black or White, we all should be equal, ‘hating people because of their colour is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which colour does the hating.It’s just plain wrong.’ Muhammed Ali
There’s just about enough injustice in the world to go around, in the words of Charles P Pierce, ‘think about what happened. Think about why it happened. Talk about what happened. Talk about why it happened. Do these things, over and over again’ until our tears, our losses haunt those who we trusted with the highest positions to do something beautifully controversial for all the underdogs.
“This is one country. It has become one country because all of us and all the people who came here had an equal chance to develop their talents. We cannot say to ten percent of the population that you can’t have that right; that your children cannot have the chance to develop whatever talents they have; that the only way that they are going to get their rights is to go in the street and demonstrate. I think we owe them and we owe ourselves a better country than that.” J F Kennedy, Civil Rights address.