african people, black, colonisation, colour, culture, discrimination, ethnicity, humble, ideas, identity, judge, judgemental, lessons learnt, mixed race, modern racist, racism, skin colour, thoughts, thoughts about race, white
It has been a particularly, emotionally arduous week…
Recently I appear to be really facing up to identity struggles. The Country that I was born in and the fact that I have 2 parents from different parts of the world, which then make my name and my physical looks and skin tone not match up quite so neatly when people ask me, ‘where are you from?’
No one will ever guess correctly though. A lot of the time they wont even believe me when I say where I am from. Sometimes people are so adamant that I am not where I say I am from that they put me through a series of questions to see if I am not just pulling their leg or something completely pointless.
Anyways, this whole identity crisis also made it difficult for me to grow up. Living in a majority white neighbourhood I grew up in a white culture. It wasn’t till my early teens that I started to recognise the colour of my skin.. I started realising subtle difference in the way my parents brought me up as compared to other people, the differences in the language, the distinction between my grandmother and others. The result basically made it difficult for me to fit in to any groups for much of my school life. Not feeling completely white, I struggled to be the only mixed race person in the group. Not feeling completely black I struggled to be the only mixed race person in those groups, and so on. I know it would have been possible, however…. something in me says I would need to adopt more ‘whiteness’ or ‘blackness’ as it were… in order to fit in with the respective groups. I wasn’t ablse to do that and so I opted to be a floater. No substantial, everlasting friendships, but people and groups that I knew here and there.
Inevitably this carried itself forward into my young adulthood. It has evolved from a feeling of discomfort of being the odd one out, and not quite understanding why there was discomfort, to a sort of judgemental psyche’. Judging all white people and black people and approaching situations with certain preconceptions and judgements.
For some reason this past week and weekend involved a number of different incidents that repeatedly pointed out these preconseptions and how they just dont work for me being able to get along with people.
1. my therapist told me I need to think about my own racism whilst complaining about racism I thought I had been witnessing between a white and black member at staff that was making the black member of staff look stupid (in my opinion)
2. looking at the apportionment of duties at work i perceived that the black people were given more work. As I was complaining to black member of staff he put me in my place. On this day that I felt the black people were being over worked unnecessarily he said that that day he was given the least work of all.
3. speaking to colleagues about the dismal 0.5% representation of black professors in UK Universities I started to get angry and worked up. The conversation veered into immigration, black education… and I insulted a colleague in my angst.
In all these situations I had been given another point of you. One after the other the situation occurred, I interpreted, and was brought back down off this racial bandwagon I appear to be galloping along on… Above all I feel very confused by my thoughts. Very startled by my judgmental attitude. Very narrow minded and very negative, for someone who sees themselves as a positive person.
It was a real eye opener.
Of course. I am not going to go so far as to now deny that discrimination and other peoples preconceptions of black races, or indeed myself, may be wholly flawed and riddled with ideas and assumptions stirred up by no actual substance or fact… but I will make a better effort to take more control of my emotions. To educate myself and other people in a more humanistic manner. Not approach people with my own preconceptions. Not always expect every white man to be racist and discriminatory to every black man! (very difficult to write that as a lot of my impulses tell me the very opposite)… but too many things have happened over the last few days to continue with that one track mind.
I will do my best to understand more, make sense more, and silently fight against the black and white ideas that lay so deeply within me.
That is not the person I want to be.