I hate Black Folks.

I hate black folks.

Now before you send out the lynch mob, allow me to articulate my thought process in black and white so you (and I) can understand why I would make a statement that reeks of self-loathing.

Firstly, I must clarify that I abhor the term “black.” It is simpler to use such a generalized category and so I must admit that the term has slipped into my everyday vocabulary. But what is black? Who defines black? With human beings being such complex and unique beings, to lump millions of people into one monolithic category based on vague and often ridiculous stereotypes is absurd.

One such stereotype is; because you are black (in South Africa), you must speak a Bantu language. I will not enter into the “you live in our country, you must speak our language” debate because there are good points on both sides of the arguments and in its heatedness someone is sure to invoke Godwin’s law. It is unlikely that engaging in this debate again will sway my views; I have heard and seriously considered all the arguments. And you can dismiss this rant as that of a foreigner who should go home anyways. Either way, it is frustrating that as a native francophone, I am not afforded to opportunity to communicate in the (official) language that I am most comfortable with. You try addressing a taxi driver in Johannesburg in anything other than Zulu; it will feel like hitting a brick wall over and over. It does not matter how many times you politely reply ‘I beg your pardon?’ they will continue to respond in Zulu or it will take several tries until they concede ‘oh! You don’t speak Zulu? Ok, I was saying …” For your information, I do speak a Bantu language. I speak Lingala. There are more than six hundred Bantu languages and only a handful of those are spoken in South Africa.

Another stereotype about black folks that I would suppose began with early explorers, was perpetuated by colonialists and continues today as a legacy of Apartheid/Racial Segregation is; black folks are simple-minded and therefore they are useless at anything other than hard-labour, blue collar jobs.

*PAUSE*

I could give you a history lesson but I’ll refrain. But I take exception to being thought of as simple-minded and useless because I am black. I am Muluba (of the Luba people) and my ancestors, my people thrived in a civilization they founded in the “jungle.” These “savages” built a great kingdom that prospered for three centuries pre-colonialism, in the depth of the “jungle.” The Luba are a proud people and as my father will tell, we are an intelligent people too.

So when a person looks at the colour of my skin and brands me as simple-minded and idiotic, I picture myself slapping them. Hard. Because I am an intelligent, articulate and impressive young woman, I am not just black folks. How are you going to reduce the greatness of the Kikuyus, the Zulus, and the Lubas to black folks?

And what is worse is you will find a large majority of black folks actually exist.

 

This is where I become pissed off.

 

My girlfriends and I are addicted to Groupon. I mean who doesn’t like getting goods and services at reduced rates. My girlfriends and I have been on numerous excursion; lunch dates, coffee dates, spa days; thanks to Groupon. But recently, I we’ve had more complaints than praise for the establishments that advertise on Groupon. And my observations have dismayed and frustrated me.

Of the last three Groupons we purchased, the establishments were run by black folks. Now, I am sure that when these people decided to become business owners and provide a service they were not out to become black folks. Too many black business owners get slapped with the ugly moniker because they do not uphold the customer service/cleanliness/integrity standards that other (yes, sometimes white) would.

It is frustrating that I am more likely to get an infection from a manicure by a salon run by black folks. It is frustrating that after I book and pay for driving lessons with a company run by black folks they will disappear and no longer answer my phones. It is frustrating that I will most likely find a roach in my pizza at a pizzeria run by … you guessed it … black folks? It is frustrating that when we do succeed and steer away from the stereotype of black folk our fellow people will sneer at us saying: ‘Does she think she’s white?’

So what you are saying is that my successes make me think I’m white? Why do white folk hold the monopoly on success? Why is it when I do things differently to black folks, and it works, it is immediately attributed to me trying to fit in with the white folks?

 

I ain’t tryna be white, no sir!

 

I am frustrated (feeling distressed and annoyed) that black folks continue to frustrate (prevent a plan or attempted action from progressing, succeeding, or being fulfilled) their own attempts to shake off the vestiges of Apartheid/Segregation and prosper.

There is no self-loathing here. I don’t believe that for my people, the Bantu peoples, to excel in life, they need to imitate white people or be anything other than what we are. The civilizations and dynasties we built before the white man even stepped on the “Motherland” will show you that we have done and can do it again, on our own. Do not misunderstand my tirade; I DO NOT believe that the opposite of black folks is white folks. White is not right. I have yet to coin a term for the opposite of black folks BUT IT IS NOT white folks.

But why must we prove the slave master/colonialists right? Why? Why do we perpetuate the stereotype of black folks? Why? Is it because we still believe hundreds of years of indoctrination? Do we truly believe that we are simple-minded and therefore useless at anything other than hard-labour, blue collar jobs?

 

I would just like to know why?

 

 

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