I AM NOT BLACK
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In the words of Owen Alik Shehadah: Black is not a racial family, an ethnic group or a super-ethnic group. Political Blackness is thus not an identity but moreover a social-political consequence of a world which after colonialism and slavery existed in those colour terms. The word "Black" has no historical or cultural association, it was a name born when Africans were broken down into transferable labour units and transported as chattel to the Americas."
I'm a dark-skinned Italian.
Aesthetically-speaking, I'm West African, but because people can't fathom the fact that a black person could be Italian, I get questions such as these:
“I mean your background, where are you originally from?”
“What are your parents though?”
Or just a straight up, “You can't be Italian, you're black.”
This is what modern racism has evolved to, where if you claim to be from somewhere people will reject the idea because you don't fit in to the stereotyped aesthetics of the nation you claim to be from.
And when I get really frustrated and passionate with my answer people tell me to calm down – no, I will not calm down, what you should do is calm your closed-minded mind down. For the past twenty years of my life, it's been the same epic tale.
Another thing I detest is when after telling people that I'm Italian, they ask me if I can speak the language as if that is some concrete proof of my claim to be an Italian but of course if a white person was to say they're Italian, they would not be asked such questions.
But isn't it just so funny when a white person says that they are South African people so readily accept it and move on with their lives?
The world is not less racist. We just live in a more “polite” world, where people reserve their racist opinions in the comment sections of the internet anonymously or in the comfort of their home where they can vent to their empathetic families.
We still live in a very xenophobic society. What pisses me off about the topic of immigration is when the Western world can be like, “Oh no, we don't want any more immigrants, they only come here to take advantage of the social welfare system and don't contribute to the economy.” So it was okay for all these Western nations to colonise African, Asian and Carribean territories, profit from their mineral sources, pinch their land, strip them of their identity and basically make them peasants in their own country?
The colour black itself I love, but not what people have associated with that name: Black-list, black-market, black-hole, black- people. No, thank you.
When a white person does something, it's like standard, but when a black person does something it's like “Oh my gosh, he/she is the first black person to do this.” People become surprised that black people can achieve things and therefore the whole world needs to know about it and make it breaking news because who knows when such a feat would ever be accomplished by a black person.
The fact that there's such a thing called, 'Black Excellence,' is ridiculous to me.
Where's Asian Excellence? Where's Caucasian Excellence? Where's Latin Excellence?
The fact that there's such a thing as a black caucus groups in the American Congress is ridiculous to me. And following on that, rarely would you see any university without an Afro-Carribean Union, African union, or some other Black Student Union that whilst its purpose is to empower, to me it just feels more like a pity party that further segregates.
The fact that so many black born Americans refer to themselves as ''African- American'' is ridiculous too. It's like you're not good enough to be just American and just to really alienate you, we're going use an hyphen so you don't forget that you're not all that American, we just didn't where we purchased you all from.
If a TV advert had all just black people, people would think it was to make a political statement but nobody would think otherwise if it was just white people.
And another thing I find ridiculous is when white guys (and guys of other ethnic groups) think it's appropriate to say ''I've never dated a black girl before.''
In my head this is what I hear when such an idiotic ignorant bastard says that to me, “I usually go for humans, but I'd like to try out how it is to date an alien.”
How is that a compliment that you like black girls? Am I supposed to feel honoured? Should I feel special sir?
Why do you think it'd be any different to be with any other ethnicity?
That. Is. Not. A. Compliment.
One time at work, I was talking to this girl and somehow the conversation got to her telling me that her boyfriend was white. Her facial expression and the tone she said it in one could tell she was a little bit too excited about her boyfriend's shade. It was as if it proved something about herself, like it added to her self-esteem.
People treat white people as the hypernym for all ethnicities and the coloured people are genetic anomalies.
I always feel like as ''black'' people we constantly act as if we need to to prove ourselves to the ''superior'' race: “Master, master look at me, I can afford to live in a gated community just like you, I can buy designer clothes just like you, I can become the CEO of a global company just like you, I can become the president of a Western nation just like you.”
By emphasising that you're black and successful does not make you more successful it just puts the spotlight on your insecurities.
When there was a white man ruling Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, South Africa was there any fuss?
You have nothing to prove to anyone, except God. God doesn't focus on colour, so why should we?
The sad truth is that so many of us have been born into that mentality. But I can only pray that the next generation of children that are born grow up with culture, where people of different shades can speak in one voice and not feel threatened because they don't share similar physical features.
I'm a dark-skinned Italian, whose parents are Nigerian. Having Nigerian parents plays a big role into how I am as a person. I grew up living with two cultures.
It means I have dual nationality. I sympathise and empathise with things that go on in both countries. It means I can understand more than one language. It means my mind is a little bit more open.
When it all comes down to it I am abstract art.
It was only when I was five years old, that I realised I had a skin colour. Before that I was dancing naked to the tunes of Bob Marley, Sunny Ade and Fela Kuti because it was pure and I didn't understand the political and social reasons that my dad would play such music in our house.
So why can't we just accept that we're all living art pieces?
Let's celebrate God's creativity for He is the Master Artist and Lucifer is just an art critic.
Enjoyed reading this and want more? Click on the links below:
- Eféctive Guest Post by Mayen Writes: The Art Of Healing
- Efé's Thought for The Month: Empathy for The Young and Depressed