This might offend some of you, so if you’re not open to hearing about underlying racist things – this is your warning.
I’ve faced a lot of racism in my life, it’s gotten to the point that you kind of get used to it. I remember sitting in a sociology seminar and the professor/PHD student leading it asked us ‘Do you think racism is still an issue?’ and I burst out laughing. Mind you, this class did have some diversity, but people were shook by my response.
Maybe it was the laughing, maybe it was my monologue of how I’ve had every racist phrase used against me, even ones for other races (like if you’re going to be racist, at least use the right slur), and instead of portraying the strong angry black girl. I was just laughing at the idea of having this question be presented – of course racism is still a thing.
We all love to discuss the slurs though, the active, hurtful, fucked up acts, but as a whole everyone ignores the small things. Like how, when I walk into a room/meeting at work people often are surprised when I actually know what I’m talking about. Or how they tend to ask the white guy a question, before asking me, even if we’ve been in the same role for the same amount of time.
There’s also the uncomfortable stuff like touching my fucking hair (I will keep mentioning this until it stops happening). They don’t even ask, they just dig their hands into it. This has happened a lot in my office work, but the time it freaked me out was when I did door to door sales. An older woman I pitched said ‘ooh I love your hair’ and then proceeded to touch it/stroke it as she said this. Without asking permission, just pet me like I was an animal.
Assumed hostility is also hella racist, and very alive. I don’t know if it’s because of the stereotype of black people being angry, but every move I make is always assumed as more angry than it actually is. I won’t deny being someone who is quite angry, but try to judge the situation without the lens of race please.
I don’t know why this happens, but I’ve never understood people who proudly say ‘I really like black girls’ and don’t see the fetishisation of that phrase. I’ve heard it, felt it, and honestly it creeps me out. How does someone not understand that they’ve turned you into fetish, an ideal, an other. You’re happy to be attracted to whoever you want, but when you say shit like this, it’s not coming from a good place.
Can you also stop referring to our skin colour as food items? As much as you want to believe that calling someone chocolate is a compliment – in most cases it’s not. You’d never really call white skin something like cream or meringue, so why are darker skin tones seen as food? The answer is simple – it’s another way to dehumanise us. Yes, I went there. Think about it, when you refer to someone as food, you’re calling them an object, a snack, something that exists to nourish the human eating it. So when you take that to the extreme, you’re essentially saying that we exist for your consumption. I know it’s a wild tangent, but take a moment to ponder, think about how dark skin is viewed, and let your mind be blown.
The last one I want to get off my chest is something that was probably more relevant 10 years ago, but the idea of the ethnic geek girl being rare is so lowkey racist I could write an essay on it. Firstly it categorises everyone into stereotypes, like we can’t be into different things. Or have interests outside of our stereotypes. As a result of this, it leads to a lot of creepy men fetishising us. If you’re nerdy, a woman and ethnic – own it. Don’t feel like you’re the only one, there’s many of us. (We might need to create our own safe space though, because the manic pixie dream girl thing makes it hard for us.)