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Sunday, 1 July 2018

The 'White' Black Person

When I was in secondary school (bring out the anecdotes) a few kids described me as 'black on the outside, white on the inside' and said I 'acted white.' (Sometimes to my face, other times behind my back). The demographic of my secondary school was mostly black, and the white kids tended to be Turkish or Eastern European. Nonetheless, it bothered me, to the point where nine years later I'm still whingeing about it. But I do have a point, I swear.

I try and look at everyone for the person they are, especially as I get older. I try to look past racial stereotypes; I don't really have racial preferences when it comes to guys - if I think a guy is cute he's cute. I've never befriended a person on the grounds of race - friendship is all about personality and values (as opposed to relationships where physical appearance does play a part).

Yet I feel like wherever I go, the people who tend to 'bring it all back to race' are black people. They're the ones who mostly make a big deal out of race and point to racial stereotypes. They do it with each other, and with white people, such as making jokes about how 'white people can't dance.' Obviously there's nothing wrong with making jokes - we all joke around with our mates and I am totally not against racist jokes (one of my favourite shows is Family Guy, c'mon).

But yes, sometimes things do go past the point of being dry and dark and become - well, irritating and closed-minded. Its interesting that when a black person is intelligent, well-educated and doesn't talk like they're from the ghetto using phrases such as 'oi yeah bruv what's hanging' 'big man ting' 'ya get me mate' and actually talks in proper English, they get accused of being 'white.'

Isn't that more racist? It's assuming that black people generally can't be intelligent or well-spoken. And how is being from 'the ghetto' something to be proud of? If you were born into poverty wouldn't you desire to get out of it like successful black rappers and sports people?

Black people need to realize that it isn't white people who are obsessed with race. Of course racism still exists, but it exists among EVERYONE. It's racist to say black people can't be racist, and it's racist to say that the 'most racism' in the world exists between white people hating black people. The majority of white people are not racist and don't actually care that much about race, because they just get on with things.

When you stop giving a fuck about the superficial stuff and just accept things the way there are, you start seeing people as people and realize that little things don't matter.

And if you really do want to make a different regarding racism, do it in a way that's productive through actual non-racist activism (and I'm not talking about 'black lives matter'). You can fight racial stereotypes by working hard and becoming successful. You can make movies like Spike Lee and Jordan Peele about black issues. You can write books that feature black characters. You can inspire other black people to work hard and stop blaming 'the white man' for being poor. You can look at racial inequality through an academic and factual lens via research, not just by bitching and whining about stuff.

No black person living in the UK or America today has any idea what it's like to experience the horrific slavery that Africans went through hundreds of years ago. And no white person living today has ever been a slave owner. Most white people don't possess the enormous amount of 'power' that black people seem to think they do. Your average white person isn't trying to 'keep black people down', they're trying to work to support their families. Just like you.

Years ago I read this article a man wrote (I think it was in 'The Voice') saying that there was talk about X Factor contestant Misha B being 'too black' for the show, yet he had been described as 'not black enough' by the BBC. (Or some major media outlet). I've been trying to find it but can't, but thought it was worth mentioning.

Additional articles:

Benjamin Zephaniah 'it's not about black, white or asian'

Alesha Dixon 'you can't use colour as an excuse'

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I'm Zarina Macha, an author, blogger, and musician from London. I write about stuff on the internet 'cos having opinions is fun -- if you want to join the games, please note your thoughts below. All thoughts welcome, even if they're mean (just no spam links please -- can't tell you what a liability those are to remove).
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