I always love being told what my race is by other people who aren’t of the same race (hint hint, this is sarcasm).
I feel like this is an experience shared by every Somali diaspora across the globe, but I can only speak from the UK perspective – it’s ridiculous and it happens a lot. I don’t get it, it makes no sense, but people always love to tell me what my ethnicity is. It happens usually when a reference to race is made, or if I make a joke that links to being black – those five words are usually met with confusion, hostility and a need to whack someone.
“You’re not black, you’re Somali”
What is the response that we’re supposed to give, do we renounce our ethnic identity and just isolate ourselves as a whole. Yes, there are loads of Somali’s who claim other identities (look into how many claim to be Arab, it it is a confusing and wild ride). But, we’re black at the end of the day and when people try to say otherwise it’s really fucking annoying.
The people who say this are also never Somali, they’re always a different ethnicity. I’ve heard it the most from South Asians, but that might be skewed by the fact that I’ve lived in South Asian communities for most of my life.
When I was younger I was weirdly passive about being told this kind of stuff, I would stay silent or just make a very confused face. Younger Fatima was also desperate to keep her friends as well, so she also allowed a lot of other fuckery like casual racism and all of that lovely stuff. Now, I’m more likely to have a confrontation because reaching adulthood has meant that I’ve given out my last shit about keeping the peace, when that peace means erasing my identity.
At the end of the day, we’re ethnically black. Somalia and Somaliland are in the horn of Africa – so stop saying these stupid things. It’s annoying, ignorant and down right confusing.