‘I can’t tell you how good it feels to know the first black president actually did well for the country. Like I think I will have Obama posters and whatnot in my child’s room before they can even see.’ Brian said as they watched the President address the nation.
‘Hmm, I’m not trying to rain on your parade or nothing, but first, you haven’t even got a girl to impregnate, and more importantly, he isn’t really black, is he? He’s half white.’
‘So what exactly is your point?’ Brian asked.
‘Well, I cringe a lot of times when I hear J. Cole with his pro-black and anti-white lines, because he is half white too. I just think this whole “one-drop theory” thing is crap. Like, why will black dominate all other racial identities? It’s not exactly like a tribal system where the father’s tribe becomes the child’s tribe and the mother’s people have no claim.’ Brandon wasn’t a fan of racial dialogues. He never considered himself to be racist, but he could admit to some degree of unease when the subject came up around black people he was not exactly comfortable with. Brian was not one of those black people. He even let him call him the n-word in public though it didn’t always go down well with onlookers.
‘You know the problem with racism isn’t exactly the ignorance on the issue or the fear of blacks. Most white folks are aware enough to understand racial equality as a concept. We are all equal and all that. The problem is that white folks don’t and maybe can’t even understand what it is to be black.’ Brian had to caution himself about his temperament. He was of the opinion that getting your point across in an aggressive manner was the quickest way to kill any lesson hoped to be passed on around this issue.
‘That’s not a fair statement to make. I might not be able to completely imagine what it is to be black, but I can still have an opinion on things like how mixed race kids are just considered black.’ Brandon was careful not to overstep his boundaries. In his mind, he saw himself as someone free of prejudice. He had black friends, had slept with black girls, played more hip-hop and jazz than anything else, and he even loved fried chicken as stereotypical as that may be.
‘You have a right to your opinion. And I really think it’s cool that you can actually speak up even if it can be considered a bit offensive. I’m not a fan of this forced political correctness that has everyone bullshitting each other so hard this country is gonna be full of manure soon enough. All we are doing is sweeping issues under the carpet to keep up appearances. It’s ridiculous.’
Brandon reached for the remote to turn up the volume. The news anchor was saying something about feminists organizing another naked walk, or as they called them, slut-walks.
‘We need to go check this out. Naked girls on the street, can’t say no to that.’ Brian said.
‘You see, to these women, we would never understand what it is to be a woman and that is why we can’t take this effort seriously.’
‘I see what you are trying to do here Brandon, but it is hardly the same thing. Men that rape women aren’t exactly going to watch a slut-walk and be like “oh, a woman’s body is her own. Just because she is dressed in a certain way doesn’t mean I can harass or rape her”, so who are they doing it for? Guys like us that don’t play that game would approach a girl the same way whether she was wearing a curtain or some spandex.’
‘The point is to create awareness, to keep the conversation going and to keep the issue relevant so we as a society can imbibe feminist values. They aren’t trying to end rape or harassment by walking around naked.’
Brian was silent for a few seconds.
‘Seems to me you understand their plight more than what black people are going through. So I will take your lesson on slut-walking and give you one on racial identity.’
‘Seems like we have a deal.’ Brandon agreed.
‘Black is not just a colour, it is an identity forced on us by the society. It’s not like J. Cole and Obama had people treat them with half-racism while they were growing up. The society identifies and treats mixed race people as blacks. In fact, anyone with a bit of visible blackness is treated like a Nigga, excuse my French. So naturally, that is what they will identify with. Are they supposed to see themselves as white when they have endured all the black suffering with no white privilege?’
It was Brandon’s turn to sit in silence. He had never really thought about race as an identity concept. This is probably why blacks that had never experienced prejudice viewed the racial problem completely differently to those that had. Our identity could not be detached from our personal experiences. Regardless of what we thought ourselves to be, the society had a box for us and living in denial of it did nothing to change the reality of our existence. Identity was actually derived from outside the self and not within it.
‘I never really thought of it that way.’ ‘You’re welcome. Now we’re even.’
by William Ifeanyi Moore
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