What It’s Like To Be Labelled As An Angry Black Girl (325/365)

Spoiler alert = it’s not fun.

So, let’s talk about a tale, a tale of being labelled as an angry black girl, which is basically my whole life. I think it doesn’t help that I’m a naturally confrontation person who is willing to stand their ground, alongside being blunt – but these personality traits were developed before I knew that negative black stereotypes would plague my entire existence. I also don’t want to become someone who is the opposite of myself as a result of societies need for POC to be submissive, so it’s a weird catch 22 situation there.

In case you haven’t heard there is a horrible stereotype associated with black girls and it’s becoming the ‘angry’, ‘sassy’ black girl. The one who appears in movie and television as aggressive, crazy and lacks a lot of self control. The one who kisses their teeth whilst also snapping their fingers in a ‘Z’ formation, and they’re generally feared but never respected – that girl is a girl that people think is actually real, and they associated any black woman who isn’t ridiculously submissive as this girl.

The angry black girl isn’t someone people want to be around, they fear her, look down on her and don’t respect her thoughts or opinions. They also assume she lacks intelligence, but I feel like that comes from a different and more inherently disgusting place of racism. This stereotype is honestly one of those things that I didn’t realise was a major issue until I entered the work force.

Weirdly enough the stereotype helped me avoid bullying in secondary school – people assumed I was stronger than I actually am because of it, back to adult life racism.

I feel like this didn’t hit me until my adult life because for most of my childhood and teenage years I was surrounded by people of colour, specifically South Asians, so I wasn’t even aware of how we’re supposed to act around white people until it was too late. A lot of POC tend to assimilate and make them selves more palatable to white people as a basic survival tactic, which is effective, but in doing so you’re essentially allowing an environment where we put in all of the work to be accepted, but the other side does nothing to balance the playing field.

So, remember how I mentioned I’m a naturally confrontational, blunt human, well that didn’t go well. I didn’t really realise it until I saw the weird looks, the lack of eye contact and some people generally showing signs of fear or possibly intimidation towards me. Now, I wouldn’t consider myself an intimidating person, but I’ve been told I am, and I know part of it is because I will shut people down for fun, but a big part of it is also because of the stereotype linking black people to aggressive and dangerous.

Being seen as the angry black girl isn’t fun, even when you spend time away from the people who project it. It’s not fun knowing that despite your skills and intelligence you’ll have to work 10x harder to be seen as a respected individual and your hard work will be overlooked unless you have a manager who isn’t effected by racial prejudice (i.e isn’t a racist).

You also end up in weird situations where even your colleagues will make jokes about you being the ‘aggressive, crazy friend’ or the one who could stir up some drama, when in reality I don’t want to be that person. I will always happily defend a friend, or defend myself, but confrontation for the main point of just playing a role is just horrible and it kind of made me feel like a zoo animal, an other and ultimately an outsider.

You lose a sense of belonging to anyone unless your blessed with having other ethnic minorities around you – very few white people actually understand it and I’ve lost the time and effort to explain it to people, which is why it’s ironic that I’m even writing down this blog post. I guess pettiness gives me energy I didn’t realise I had.

To Everyone Who Defends Their Racist Friend (324/365)

I think it’s safe to say the theme of this week is racism, and it’s inspired by pure pettiness – I wish I was a better person, but I’m really not.

Now we all have one friend who’s about a decade or two behind with everything, the ones who complain about political correctness or are still learning that oriental is an offensive term – but the thing is a lot of us don’t excuse their behaviour. Personally, if I’m becoming friends with someone I make it my job to educate them, because sometimes their backward behaviour is pure ignorance, and that can be unlearned.

There’s a difference between educating and just allowing this behaviour and the latter is what we’ll be focusing on today. I’ve seen this too much and honestly it’s disgusting because it see’s racist, sexist and xenophobic remarks as just a personality trait. Which not only excuses their discriminatory actions, but promotes it because they’ll never see anything wrong with it.

I’ve seen this happen way too much to be silent on it, groups of people just saying their friend is awkward, when in reality he has a problem with people of colour. That same ‘awkward’ person will have no issues speaking to white people, but the second anyone has any form of melanin it’s like eye contact is a myth, they start to fidget and worry about their own safety – guess what folks, that’s called racial stereotyping and is a racist way of thinking.

As an adult my main issue with this school of thought is the people they excuse are usually people in power, they’re managers and are responsible for a team of people and if you live in a major city – that team will probably have at least one person of colour. Unless the people are involved in the hiring process, then they’re just going to let their conscious and unconscious racial prejudices stop people from BME backgrounds from getting jobs.

We speak about systematic racism a lot, but people forget that these systems are made up of people, and their thoughts towards their fellow humans can either allow POC to thrive, or keep things at it is – which is difficult.

So next time your friend gets accused of racism, instead of thinking the person accusing them is probably just ‘using the race card’ (which by the way is a myth created by our oppressors to make it more difficult to call them out), maybe take into account that your friend is a product of their society, benefits from their privilege and is in fact a racist.

Do they have time to change? – of course!

They won’t change whilst you and many others excuse their fucked up actions as just a quirky personality trait.

So, My Old Work Place Found My Blog Post About Their Racism.. (323/365)

Honestly, my inital response was laughter, not only because I can trace who spread it, but because their reaction was what I expected – they sympathised with the racist, because ‘he can’t help his personality’, ‘he’s awkward’, and ‘he must have just rubbed her the wrong way’. They can’t fathom that the post came from a place of truth and not just an emotional response to a disgusting working environment. They’re also the people who allow racism to happen and flourish, hence why I’m not surprised.

In case you couldn’t tell from my title, my old work place found out about the post I wrote about some of their racist antics. I didn’t even find out until today, so I’m just writing my raw unfiltered thoughts since I did need an idea for this post, and they just handed it to me on a silver platter. There’s a reason I left that place, and it wasn’t just because I found another job, it was because the working environment was toxic and breeded sexism and racism. Many of us were the targets of it, and even more fight to keep it alive without even being aware of it.

I think the problem is, they think racism only extends to people shouting n*gger, or being overly aggressive. They don’t understand that racism is also about microaggressions, isolation and stereotyping of people of colour. It’s about how a diverse team of 60+ has only a handful of white surviviors because the man who made the decision ultimately didn’t see any of POC as viable, valuable.. hell he didn’t even see us as people, just as stereotypes that he feared.

He never spent time with any members of his team that were of ethnic minorities that could be intepreted as intimidating, he actively created a circle of people he spent time with and guess what they looked like (if you can’t guess.. then you might need some help). The whole work place kind of takes on this level of racism in all honesty, and I never really realised how bad it was until I ended up in a department where this wasn’t the case.

I won’t repeat what was in the post I’ll link it here but honestly to everyone who spread it – thanks for the views.

To everyone who judged me for it – fuck you.

To everyone who defended who I wrote about – you’re part of the problem, and you’re also racist (don’t worry I know who you are).

You can keep gossiping and saying your comments because at the end of the day, you’re just a cog in a racist system, so enjoy the benefits of that, and stop telling yourself that your black friend or partner makes you any less racist.

My Transition from being a Tomboy to the Woman I am Today (321/365)

Like many girls who grew up and experienced their teenage years in the naughties, I was a proud tomboy. Part of it was because I rejected anything feminine and looked down on ‘girly girls’ and another big part of it was because I crave comfort over anything else. So I looked down on dresses and wearing pink and embraced tracksuit bottoms and anything baggy. This sort of led me into an emo phase as well, when I didn’t want to look like a ‘roadman’ but still continued on to rejecting anything girly.

I have no idea why I’m really writing about it, or if anyone gives a shit about this topic, but I have lots of younger sisters and seeing them go through similar phases kind of makes me nostalgic. Although, because they have me as an older sister they can’t get away with rejecting femininity and praising masculinity as I will call them out on that behaviour in a way I wished any adult did with me when I was growing up.

A big part of my tomboy phase came from hating being a girl, or the connotations that came with it. Through my many experiences in different schools and variations of bullying I never wanted to appear weak, so I adopted an alpha female personality, and with alphas comes a rejection of femininity. This led to me wanting to be more relatable to boys and eventually being described as ‘one of the boys’, which wasn’t bad, but it led to a lot of self rejection as I did want to be feminine at times, but this identity didn’t leave any room for that to happen.

Thankfully I grew up, made more friends and managed to widen my scope of my internal identity and that’s when I realised I could be both. So I allowed myself to dabble more in wearing makeup, and even dresses… although that didn’t last long, I do really enjoy comofort and at that point I didn’t have the self esteem to pull off dresses. Back to topic – through this I realised one important thing, identity is too complex to put ourselves into stupid boxes.

Also you don’t have to put down a group of people in order to feel comfortable about your own self.

I mainly realised that I am actually a really feminine person, I do enjoy girly things, pink and cute things, as well as loving comfort, black and mens clothing, so I just incorporate both into my style because fuck what society tells me I should conform to.

I realised a big reason my younger sisters tend to merge both masculine and feminine styles easily is because they grew up watching me do it like it was normal. They saw their older sister love video games, anime, wear makeup, wear black, trainers, boots and openly buy mens clothing at times. They weren’t exposed to the rigit constraints of society first, and when people told them how they should act their instinct was to tell them they’re wrong because the first thing they learned was girls can do whatever they want.

I’m lowkey jealous that I never got this treatment, but at the same time I’m happy they were exposed to this before society tried to tell them otherwise. It took me years and even as a 26 year old I’m still trying things that make me uncomfortable because I’m still battling against my own internalised nonsense.

Feminine identity is a struggle because it’s seen as weak by everyone, and in order to suceed we’re pushed to becoming more masculine, or at least trying to be, when in reality you can succeed regardless of how you are, it’s more about you competance, your drive and your willingness to learn!

It’s Always Good to Keep an Eye out for Red Flags (310/365)

I’ve written extensively on red flags, what they are and how to identify them but weirdly enough I haven’t written about the importance of collecting them. Not everyone who has a red flag is an abuser, or a horrible person so they don’t need to be thrown in the trash but that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth being aware of their faults and maybe (if you have the time/energy) you could let them know about it in a nice way. No one is as an unproblematic angel, and we’ve all had times where we’ve had to come face to face with the fact that we’re problematic.

We’re all products of our environment, regardless of whether we want to or not, and sometimes we absorb the negative social aspects of this environment.

I don’t know when I started doing this but I sort of look out for little mini red flags in people after meeting them and make a weird character study based on their behaviours – obviously this takes some time, but it’s good to keep an eye out. Whether it’s just to see how someone actually is as a human, whether they’re behaviours could be harmful to you as a person or just to gage their reliability.

I obviously wouldn’t recommend being obvious about it or even starting off with heated questions like their stance on feminism, because not only would that lead the other person into a defensive place, it would also paint you as an aggressor, and no one reveals their red flags to any possible enemy.

A lot of spotting red flags also comes with paying a weird amount of attention to someones responses to things and assessing whether it is a red flag or not, as not everything is a red flag and it’s important to be able to tell the difference at any given time. I guess practice makes perfect and practice would help you choose who you use your time on as lifes too short to spend it on someone who’s annoying, but lifes also too short to not even try to help someone out.

If you’re at a meal with someone and they’re rude to the waiter, it might be worth calling them out about their behaviour, if they defend it – then put them in the bin. If someone isn’t a feminist but it’s because it’s about ‘hating men’ then it’s not a red flag, they just don’t have a clue about feminism, so it might be worth letting them know the actual facts. Ignorance isn’t a red flag, but they’re behaviour once they’re no longer ignorant can lead to one.

I guess spotting red flags is also a survival tactic, and as a woman I can’t stress the need for it enough. Be aware of the people you let in to your life, not everyones nice, and it’s important that you at least try to gage someone before giving them access to your personal time and space.

What I Wish I Was Told As a Teenager (307/365)

When you’re a teenage girl you’re sort of told loads of contradicting things and are somehow supposed to come out of it as a healthy functioning adult. At mosque I was told I need to get married and have children I had many arguments saying this notion wasn’t very Islamic as women aren’t seen as incubators for children in Islam, at home I was told to go to university, get a job and still somehow find time to find a ‘good Somali boy’. At school I was told to make every single life decision that would effect my future, but also treated like a child consistently and put down by some teachers for having the audacity to speak out against them – a lot of my teachers were also lovely, honestly, I can’t write that past sentence and not give a shout out to them because my school was an underfunded shit hole and they did their best.

Media taught me that I needed to be lighter, brighter, skinnier have bigger eyes, smaller lips (at the time), being smart but not too smart because boys don’t like a smart ass. I also needed to be funny, slightly clumsy, charming and not too nerdy, because nerdy girls were seen as ugly. I was encouraged to be the cool girl essentially and live my life according to some creepy old mens fantasy of how a girl should be.

I was never the pretty girl in real life, or even any object of desire, and those media messages letting me know that a girls goal is to be desired really left me in a warped state of how I looked at the world. I looked to to the opposite sex to give me validation, I tried to be a cool girl but I couldn’t do it, something inside me just smacked it out of me, which didn’t make school or college easy.

There was this game that friends would play, especially friends that had boys and girls, and it involved everyone rating each other. Whenever this happened I would honestly make every prayer out there that I wouldn’t be mentioned and thankfully I got skipped over, whether this was because they forgot to, or just saw me as too ugly to rate I’ll never really know, but at the time I was thankful. My self esteem couldn’t take more hits than it already did.

I really wished at the time there were more people out there telling us young girls that our lives didn’t need to be like this. I look at all the influencers now giving the advice I needed as a young teen and I’m happy they’re doing it, but also slightly jealous that my generation missed out on it. We needed a lot of the advice, so here’s some things I wished my younger, stupid self knew.

  1. Don’t find validation in boys, not only are most of them just stupid, but living like that will lead you into a toxic hole.
  2. Learn to love yourself, like actually love yourself for who you are. Take yourself out on dates, be happy in your own alone time, because at the end of the day whever you go, you take yourself with you.
  3. Stop looking for someone out there to save you from your bad mental health, that’s not how life works, you need to take the first few steps.
  4. Despite the last point, rely more on your friends and open up from time to time!
  5. If you’re friends (I say if, but there’s no if) make you feel like an outsider, get rid of them. I promise you’ll be so much happier.
  6. All those relationships you see in movies and YA fiction are toxic, just stop wanting what they have, because they’re abusive and gross.
  7. Never let a boy you like call you ugly, too dark or generally insult you – taking the hits won’t make him like you, just walk away.
  8. Stop being mean to people under the lies that it’s ‘honesty’, you don’t have to say every single thought that pops into your head.
  9. Say No, don’t always agree to meet ups, they’re cringeworthy and not worth the awkwardness.
  10. Adding on to that, just because you bumped into someone, it doesn’t mean they get to enter your life again – this will save you years of emotional abuse and hurt.
  11. Friendships can be abusive.
  12. Wearing makeup won’t make you more beautiful, it’s fun, but be aware when wearing it that it’s an accessory not a neccesity.
  13. If your gut is giving your warning signals, listen to it, your gut is rarely wrong!
  14. Stop trying to be pretentious, it’s not cool and you’re coming across as a dickhead. You don’t have to prove your intelligence, you’re smart!
  15. You is smart, you is kind, you is important!
  16. Find validation outside of your appearance, you’re smart, you’re funny, you’re unique and you’ll find people who love you for who you are and not for who you’re pretending to be!

F*ck Everyones Expectations (306/365)

Anyone relate to being told that they should grow up to become a doctor or a lawyer and get married and have children and then reaching the age where you’re making these decisions and not wanting to do any of them. I’m aware I’m quite lucky that my parents (whether they want to or not) sort of give me the freedom to make my own choices, they’re not pressuring me to get married or anything, but I know deep down they wished I did when I was a little bit younger.

I’ve also watched a lot of my dear friends face aggressive pressure from their parents to get married, almost as if picking their life partner was a life goal that needs to be acheived, and when they expressed not wanting to do this, they’d be faced with a lot of emotional blackmail and guilt tripping which is honestly very fucked up when you actually look at it. Your life should be about you and not anyone else – but sadly not everyone has the privelege to live like that.

Not everyone can run away, move out or do anything for themselves without massive ramifications, so I’m going to try to tread lightly with this post as I know that despite the fact that my family do need me, they don’t pressure me about my life acheivements and despite me saying I’m going to tread lightly, I still have one major point to stress and it’s in the title.

Fuck their expectations of you.

I know it isn’t always easy and sometimes it’s going to cause a battle, arguments and a lot of emotional blackmail, but sometimes if you really want to do what you want to do, you’re going to have to fight the good fight, and if it’s difficult – plan the good fight.

Not all of us can walk up to those pressuring us and say our feelings so sometimes you have to finesse it, manipulate them, get them when they’re in a good mood, and really cultivate a good plan because some people live in situations that can get violent, aggressive and some could even get kicked out and I never want to give advice that would fuck you over in the long run.

So make a plan thats catered to your situation, find out how far you’re willing to go and don’t listen to anyone who won’t take your situation into account. If they’re living a life where they can do what they want and think everyone can do the same, then they’re not going to give you any advice that’s worth taking.

A simple ‘fuck it’ mentality helps though, it’s something I started doing over a decade ago and honestly it helps. Sometimes I just think ‘what’s the worst thing that could happen’, assess my options and if it’s something I can live with, will then think ‘fuck it’ and do the thing anyways.

I know that doesn’t really go with the stereotype of that mentality as it usually doesn’t require a lot of thought, but remember that point I made about some of us not having the privelege to do whatever we want – well that’s why I make my assessments. I’ll admit, there have been a lot of times I’ve forgotten to do it, and sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t, but it is what it is and I can’t spend forever crying about it – lifes too short for that shit.

Once you sort of get to the place of no longer caring about everyones expectations of you though, it’s like a weight has been lifted, apologies for the cliche but it honestly is. You’re suddenly able to see things through a different lens and live a life that you want to live or at least try to. Once you finally let it all go, you’re able to focus more on yourself and not everyone else.

So fuck everyones expectations of you.

If you want to pursue a career in law, art, writing, whatever go fucking do it.

If you want to be a house wife/husband – go for it.

If you want to get married and have loads of children have fun, just make sure you have the money and mental health for it.

If you don’t want to get married – go for it, and ignore everyones judgements!

Live a life focused on what YOU want to do, and have fun doing it, life’s too short for caring about everyones expectations, it takes a while to fully get rid of it, but it’s something thats definitely worth doing!

My Experiences with Work Place Racism (305/365)

I don’t actually know why I took so long to write this post, but in all honesty it refers a lot to my previous job (and the one before that) so maybe I was trying to be smart about it. As the title suggests this post will be about my personal experiences with work place racism because guess what – it’s still a thing. Mainly because businesses and workplaces are run by people, and people still have ingrained biases against anyone of colour.

It can sort of present itself in small ways like you being looked down on by a line manager, being left out of vital conversations and having your achievements being overlooked time and time again. I’ve dealt with a lot of weird micro aggressions as well as the major stuff and honestly it’s fucking exhausting. Part of me doesn’t even want to write about a lot of it in detail as I have a heft Glassdoor review that needs planning and I can’t write it all here.

So lets start off with a little story time, a little tale, a tale of a line manager who was so inherently racist that a lot of us people of colour didn’t stand a chance to begin with. We were all on fixed term contracts for a year, we were working on a massive project that involved changing up a whole website for a major brand so we were in for a wild ride to begin with as there were a lot of weird politics happening within the office as a result of it.

With new projects comes waves of recruitment, they needed a whole new team for this as they’d have to keep their preexisting people to maintain the ‘business as usual’ work. So back to this project, it was a lot and I was part of the first wave of 10 people, then came the wave of 30 people and honestly they’d essentially hired 60+ people for this project by the time I’d been there for 5 months. With waves of recruitment in Birmingham comes a more diverse team, as when I started you could literally play a game called ‘spot the ethnic’, as we were the real minority, but on this new team, we had a good bit of diversity.

So this line manager had his clear favourites, the people he spoke to, the chosen few and guess what their demographic was – white as fuck is what it was. I remember trying to speak to him in my early days about work and asking general questions, and when I say he looked terrified to answer my questions, I’m not exaggerating. Further down the line I had the same conversation with other people of colour and generally we came to an agreement that he was uncomfortable around people of colour.

Because I was part of the first wave of recruitment, by the time the team got larger I became someone who was in a position to help out more, do some training and really take on more responsibility outside of my actual job. In my previous job I already had experience training people so I really utilised that and befriended a few seniors who were also aware of this. Whenever my senior was off, I would take on his responsibilities and manage the team, alongside someone else who had started around the same time as I did.

Of course with any workplace that has a social atmosphere comes my own personal fuck ups, I did get too ranty at some points and really expressed my frustrations at the blatant favouritism my white colleagues got over me, maybe that was my mistake, I should have played the game better, but that’s the thing, I was naive and thought my actual abilities would shine more.

So remember the contracts I’d mentioned well we’re getting there and in order to explain the impact of the decisions made I also need to set the scene a little bit more. Let’s talk about my team, now there was a weird thing going on where they’d put a lot of us who ‘looked’ the part on markets like MENA (Middle East North Africa) which was weird because none of us could speak Arabic, it’s one of those things you wouldn’t really notice until you actually looked at us.

There was also the fact that amongst the Seniors at the time, the white senior had a team that was mainly white, and the other got most of us people who had any form of ethnicity with the other, who you might of guessed it is a person of colour. So that was weird, because it was intentional not accidental, but also something you wouldn’t notice unless you really had a look at it.

The reason I highlight this is because a lot of these team structures were built on unconscious/intentional racial bias and that’s important for setting up how our line manager actually saw us.

The team I was on was also arguably the best team out of the project (before work beef tore us apart), and we were a diverse team as well. We never got recognition for doing our work fast and efficient, we were never thanked for helping out other teams and our line manager not only ignored us all of the time, but in his lovely seating plans he always sat us on the edge, so we couldn’t really engage with the wider team.

Before our contracts came to an end I moved department, mainly to grow my own personal development but because I knew I was wasted on this project. There’s only so much extra work I could take on with no recognition for it, and also our project was filled to the brim with gossips and that wasn’t healthy for me at all. So I move departments and got to experience a smaller team and a line manager that actually treated us like adults and with respect – when I say I was shook, that’s an understatement.

On our big project we were so used to being belittled and treated with no respect that I honestly just assumed that’s what the whole company was like, so to see another side to the place was shocking.

You can tell at this point that the way this place dealt with contracts was disgusting. So one day they would call in people one by one and give them a letter essentially letting them know they weren’t being kept on, some (white) people got positive news, most of us got negative news. Most people were also shocked that I wasn’t kept on because I had helped out so many people. So I was angry, understandably because I knew it wasn’t due to my skill, but due to upper management being arseholes.

One of the reasons my contract was effected by the old department is because my move to a new department was a secondment, which is basically a fancy way of saying doing a new job for a bit then moving back to your old one, so technically my ‘extension’ decision would be made by the old awkward line manager.

Now I didn’t even piece together the racial aspect of it all until after. So despite my contract being cut, because I moved departments they somehow found a way to keep me on, explaining it is far too long but basically I was kept on. So when I came in I was able to see a common denominator between who was kept on and who wasn’t – every single person of colour was scrapped.

In a diverse department of 60+ people they literally yeeted away the melanin. It had nothing to do with skill, I had personally worked with a lot of people and they got rid of loads of people who were great at their jobs, and kept some on who were ‘meh’. I don’t care who goes against this, but that decision was straight up racist. The audacity of them to blatantly get rid of a whole department of people of colour and act like it was based on skill, honestly it was disgusting and that really should have led a riot, but it couldn’t, because the only people left were white and honestly a lot of them didn’t see the issue with this.

They still don’t, they probably never will and honestly I’m glad to be rid of the place.

There’s so much more I want to write about, but your girl does not want to get sued, so instead this is what you get, a little tale of something that happened last year and a reminder that work place racism is very much still a thing!

Being a Somali In Pro-Black Spaces (302/365)

I’m going to try to not offend anyone but honestly I can’t make any promises because this is personal and based on my actual experiences. It’s also something I don’t feel the most comfortable writing about, but sometimes the truth needs to be spilled and this is something that everyone kind of forgets about.

So sometimes I actually make the effort and socialise or interact and go to events and a lot of the times it’s wonderful, insightful and I learn a lot. I’ve been to a lot of events surrounding Black activism, feminism, South Asian excellence and I enjoy these spaces a lot. Even as an outsider I do genuinely feel like everyone can benefit from learning and watching other cultures celebrate their amazingness. This post is going to focus on my experience around pro-Black spaces because honey it’s a lot.

So incase you didn’t know I’m Somali, which means I’m east African and therefore Black – the thing is a lot of people won’t really see me as Black as there’s this weird exclusion of Somalis when it comes to the notion of Blackness.

I’ve written a post about this but I grew up hearing this phrase a lot:

“You’re not Black, you’re Somali”

Now this is something that still gets thrown around and honestly it’s ridiculous in every single way, but the thing is people still feel it and therefore Other us a lot. I’m not even sure why, I can make a few guesses though since Black identity as a whole tends to refer a lot to West Africans, Afro Caribbean and anyone who looks the part, whereas Somali’s tend to look different, our culture is different and our religion is ultimately different, which leads to a lot of exclusion in these spaces.

I’m sure there’s more to it than this, but as someone who feels excluded I can’t really answer it. I’m also genuinely too afraid to ask the question as the response could lead to a level of ignorance that would make me either angry, uncomfortable, sad or all of the above.

I’m not even sure if people intentionally are aware of the exclusion or if it’s all subconscious bias taking place. People’s ideas of Blackness still have a long way to go, even in activist spaces as there needs to be a general expansion of thought considering that Africa is huge and not every culture looks the same. You can’t sprout pro African ideals and then only cater to a specific section of the continent.

I’m still open to going to these activist spaces purely because I do enjoy them and learn a lot, but do I feel at ‘one with everyone’? – fuck no. I’m aware of my distance from it all and honestly I could try to break through and do more but this requires a level of effort that I’m not always comfortable bringing.

-Obviously I’m aware a lot of the Othering isn’t intentional, just wanted to quickly make that clarification-

Weird Ways We White Ourselves Up In Order To Assimilate (299/365)

If you haven’t heard the term ‘white yourself up’, or whiteness being used as a seperate behaviour for POC, then you’re either white, or don’t know enough POC (or live in a country where this isn’t a thing). For the rest of us living in a white mans world we kind of have to ‘white ourselves up’ as a basic survival mechanism and that is called assimilation. We don’t get the benefit of really being our true selves because in order to do that we risk being ‘othered’ or ostracised or even just never having a chance to make money and navigate our capitalist world.

So what is ‘whiteing yourself up’?

It honestly ranges from little to big things like:

  1. Shortening your ethnic name or allowing yourself to have a ‘fun’ nickname because your name is difficult to pronounce.
  2. Preteding to understand white banter (I refuse to believe people actually get it)
  3. Skipping on talking about your race, your culture and your heritage because colonisation fucked it up and you can’t speak about these things without being condemned.
  4. Not talking about racism, discrimination.
  5. Looking down at groups of people within your own race or other races.
  6. Saying ‘I’m not like <insert race> people’ .
  7. Not using slang terms.
  8. Not speaking in your language.
  9. Fighting the urge to be pro-Black or pro-Asian in terms of language, clothing and your general aesthetic.
  10. Not wearing symbols of your race, culture or religion.

The list goes on and writing it is annoying me so I’ll just state some of the extremes. We have people of colour in government condemnig immigrants because they truly in their heart have whitened themselves up to the point of forgetting how their parents/grandparents got them to the country they live in. We also have POC people who are pro-Brexit – which is ridiculous as the second that drops we’re all fucked – yes even you, with your good job, and your white friends, it doesn’t matter, at the end of the day when you walk into a room all they see is your skin colour.

When your a person of colour living in the Western world it’s kind of difficult to navigate it without having to fall on these methods, because on some level we do need to assimilate in order to function. Some people use the word integrate, but that suggests a manner of choice and to be perfectly honest we don’t.

Anyone who says otherwise is either painfully ignorant or probably someone who’s neglecting their own truth (yes those two options are the same, but one sounds nicer right?).

It’s weird how we kind of have to do this, because some of us even have a ‘white people’ tone when it comes to answering phones or presenting ourselves in job interviews and when you really break it down we’re just putting in an extensive amount of effort to appear palatable and non threatening to the world which is intrinsically fucked up.

Due to our physical features like our skin tone, our hair, our clothes and anything that isn’t ‘white’ we’re automatically in the red when it comes to how threatening we are. It’s why anyone who dares to say anything is automatically assumed to be aggressive and sassy, and anyone who is excessively timid is just normal when in reality we’re just trying our best to not get killed, attacked or even fired because we dared to behave like our white counterparts.

The way we navigate our white world isn’t healthy and honestly I feel like the fact that we have to overthink everything fucks us up. I’ve even made the mistake of being myself, and let me tell you that shit gets you fucked over in the wonderful world of employment.

This post started off weird and got very political, it wasn’t planned and honestly I’m going to end it here as I’m about to go out of my house.