My name is not BAME*

* This is a continuation of my last post,’ I don’t want to talk about this but…(Part 1)’

20 THOUGHTS ON RACE

  1. My name is not BAME. My name is Funmi. I am not a minority or a victim. I am a champion. I am not a person of colour. I am a person. #Wordsmatter.
  2. Before I was Black, I was a human being.
  3. That said, I cannot afford to be ‘colour-blind’. That shit will get you killed in parts of the country. But, if you truly believe you’re colour-blind, please click this link.
  4. Racism is a state of mind. Discrimination is action. #Languagematters.
  5. It’s hard to ‘prove’ a mindset. Please don’t ask me to. 
  6. I prefer overt racists to covert racists. The latter love me in public and hate me in private.
  7. Yes, it’s true. There’s no proof George Floyd was killed by ‘racist’ cops. (See Point 5). The only certainty? He was killed by cops. Irrespective, something has shifted, something has changed. Why? Why now?
  8. I squirm when I hear the terms, ‘White guilt’, ‘White privilege‘. (See Point 9) I want to hear of ‘Action’ from those who hold power not guilt or tokenism or another enquiry or review or white paper or commission….
  9. A one-sided conversation is pointless. We, the collective, need to engage in uncomfortable conversations about race without getting defensive, guilt tripping or ‘cancelling’ one other. Demonising people only drives them underground. Light does not live underground.
  10. I’m tired of seeing Black folk being given a public platform only when the discussion is about knife crime or ‘youf’ work or gangs or poverty. I want to hear about Black people thriving, not dying. I want to hear about Black painters and sculptors, entrepreneurs and pioneers, creatives and cyclists, thrill seekers and randomites. #portrayalmatters
  11. ‘Black lives matter’, is sometimes met with the response, ‘all lives matter’. This response which misses the point is not worth my breath or finger strength to counter. That said, I won’t applaud companies/politicians who are saying/hashtagging BLM but really don’t care about Black people. Did somebody say bandwagon? BLM is not a slogan which empowers me personally. Why should I beg for something I already have (the right to be treated with humanity and dignity)? BLM is not a slogan I would use but it is a slogan I would defend. More so when phrased as a question. Do Black lives matter?
  12. My declaration of strength does not negate your strength. My beauty does not negate yours. Black people are intelligent, powerful and beautiful though mainstream media ignores or throws shade at our beauty.
  13. Nina Simone’s song, Young, Gifted and Black empowers me. It counters the narrative that Black is bad or criminal, or poor or dying, of Corona and other maladies.
  14. My pain does not invalidate yours. But ‘our’ pain is invalidated when we are told, ‘it’s a figment of your imagination’, ‘prove it’. Black people cannot keep ‘proving’ their pain’. When collective or individual pain is dismissed that pain is swallowed up until it explodes and kills ‘us’ or ‘you’ or causes sickness of mind or body or both.
  15. We are not a homogeneous group. Don’t treat us as such. We have shared experiences but we are not One. The term ‘Black community’ is a misnomer. It’s a plea (come unity). It’s as real as the term, ‘White community’.
  16. If you choose not to counter racism, you are complicit in it. I once sat at a table where the P word was used to reference Indian (not Pakistani) people. No one at the table spoke up except for me, the only non-white. Why?
  17. I struggle in all-White environments in a way that I never used to. I once worked for an organisation whose nod to Black History Month was to ask the following ‘trivia’ question: how often were African Americans lynched before Black History Month began to be celebrated? Suffice to say I didn’t hang around for the answer. When I was young, I had the mental strength to shrug off this and other Nonsensebut as I grow older, I grow more tired and more anxious in these settings. The result? I avoid/remove myself from these environments. (See Point 18) #sanitymatters
  18. Before I was Black, I was human. Don’t ask me where I’m from, don’t tell me about the Black people you know, don’t centre our conversation around race and don’t dismiss the prejudice which slips from loose lips. (See Point 17).
  19. I don’t want to see any more traumatic images of Black/White interaction. I don’t want to see more Amy Coopers or so-called ‘Karens’. I don’t want to see videos of Black folk being abused/brutalised. It makes me mad, reminds me of the negative interactions I’ve had with White people. The negative interactions don’t outweigh the positive ones. But the negative ones remind me that some people will never see beyond my race. I love my race but I am more than my race.
  20. I want to talk about something other than race but this world won’t let me.

 

 

 

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