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Less Judging And More Solidarity In The Black Community, Please

I know what it's like to be ostracised by my own people.

14/06/2017 03:57 SAST | Updated 14/06/2017 03:57 SAST
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Anybody who knows me will tell you that I pride myself on being black. I am in constant awe of our tenacity and resilience as a nation. I love being black so much that I'm an advocate for black activism. Yes, that includes black Twitter. But even a proud darkie like myself will admit that there are occasional moments where certain acts of ignorance by my fellow people make me cringe, followed by an inexplicable urge to hide my head in the sand, i.e. savage acts of tribalism and xenophobia, where one group will not hesitate in the slaying of members belonging to another group simply because they are darker, belong to a different ethnic group, or because they speak a language that's foreign to their own.

While I can't say I know what it must feel like to be persecuted by your own race because of the latter, I do know what it's like to be ostracised by my own people because I'm different from them in some way or the other. I have been mocked for speaking "white", ridiculed because "I have a flat ass for a black girl", and accused of thinking myself better than my peers because I'd rather have a quiet night in with a good book, as opposed to attending a party and engaging in the debaucheries of the evening.

I have also been called out for not embracing my ethnic hair. Yet, my natural hair has never been desirable enough according to the unspoken hierarchy of "good (natural) hair". I recall how I once found myself engaged in a heated verbal exchange with a very articulate and dapper black gentleman. According to him, I was a sell-out for encouraging societal ideals of what a woman (a black woman, to be exact) should look like if she is to be deemed as attractive. My mistake was being of the assumption that the lesson on "black consciousness 101" went both ways. His messiah complex quickly perished when I decided to share a few observations of my own about him.

His German-manufactured vehicle, the American-manufactured smartphone in his right hand, his Italian shoes, how he felt it necessary to address me in English (and subsequently introduce himself as 'Anthony', as opposed to his native name), his preference for American music – basically, his overall bulk consumption of Western culture, much to the delight of our spectators. I imagined them chanting something along the lines of "Pabi, boma ye!"

Naturally, he hurled a couple of insults my way, before getting in his car and driving off. What I find amusing is that more often than not, such cases of prejudice towards each other as a people, whether severe or trivial, always seem to share a common denominator: they are always blamed on a Western (read, white) influence of sorts. So, I suppose it's okay for us to express this hatred towards each other openly, just as long as everyone else who isn't part of the black circle turns a blind eye, then? Here's to hoping that solidarity within the black community will cease to be a quixotic concept in my lifetime.