I feel a bit like Obama at the moment. It seems as if the race card is being played. Or rather that people are all of a sudden interested in my race. Black or white? For the record? People keep on asking. It really shouldn’t be this difficult. Just a little bit of research will clarify it all up nicely. Really. Let me give some help here. But before we go there.
I am interested in why people want to know if I am black or white. Does it matter? Does it tell you all you need to know about me? Will the reaction be “Ah, I thought so”. Thought so what? How would my race make it any easier to understand what I say? The accent and language will still be a bit of a problem. Will it make it easier to dig through what I write and find the white or black warning lights? Will it help in making me fit into the box? The boxes we build.
Most know that I don’t think the world is black or white – no pun intended – but shades of grey. Nothing is definite. Nothing is final. Nothing is the final answer. Nothing is as it seems. There is always another angle. A third angle. But still. It should be easy to tick the box next to my name. But everyone seems to struggle a bit with that one.
It should be easy. Just a little bit of research is required. And you don’t even have to leave this site. Start at the start. My first blog – I wasn’t born to be an activist. It tells you all about where I come from. At the least the first bit. That I wasn’t born to be like this. No. I wasn’t socialized to be like this. I wasn’t brought up to be like this. I was brought up to think about race. As a racist. It’s easy to follow the trail from there onwards. Just read from the back – everything under “An Accidental Activist” will give you an idea of the journey so far.
I don’t mind the name calling. Really, I don’t. Another one you can read is about the name calling. Read Umlungu – becoming a white bastard. That was my first bit of name calling. But I actually liked that one. I’ve been called worse. Much worse. But the name calling isn’t really much of an issue. It’s the race card that is an issue.
It’s happened a few times. Being called out because of the color of my skin. At the UN while being asked by my African colleagues to co-chair a meeting. And some black non-Africans complained that I wasn’t the right color. Or rather – not the right shade. It is odd. Very odd. The only places where my color of my skin was never questioned was at NACTU and at the African Caucus.Guess what. There wasn’t a white face around. Not a single one. Except my shade. Makes me think a bit that one. Their response was always the same, “So what. Look at his heart. Look at his deeds. Look at his blood. Look at his soul.”
I think it might have to do with the fact that racism doesn’t have anything to do with race, and has everything to do with race. People just want to put other people in little boxes. If you’re gay you are this way. If you are male you are that way. If you are black you are this way. And if you are Chinese you are that way.
Maybe the only way is people. Just sit down. Close your eyes. Listen to your soul. And listen to the voices around you – not the one in your head. Hear the wonder. Hear the beauty. Hear the people of this world living. And we can be part of that. Or we can be living in our own little box.
So what am I?