This post was inspired by an article I read yesterday by Keith Haney about the guilt that White people are made to feel about the privileges they enjoyed in the past, and probably still enjoy today. I shared my comment under his post, but I got to thinking… What is worse? Feeling guilty for being privileged or being disadvantaged for the colour of your skin?
As much as we think we have progressed and racism is no longer a serious issue, I would like to suggest that it is. Until we no longer identify ourselves as Black or White people, then I reckon racism will still be an issue. Sure, as much as possible, we need to move past blaming people, who live in a time where racism is being addressed, for the crimes committed when racism was rife. The problem is not White people, the problem is RACISM. So please, this post is not about blaming my White brothers and sisters, but addressing the problem that is racism.
Racism has become a sort of truth, an institutional and structural problem that needs to be navigated, until it can be eliminated. However, saying it isn’t there is simply lying. Are some Black people milking the racism card to get a leg up? Hell yeah! As in, the poor use their poverty to get charity, and in America they use it to validate their request for food stamps (I don’t know if that still happens), so why can’t Black people use the recognition of their disadvantaged circumstances to get a little sympathy and support?
However, those who are successful among Black people, those who make it to the top alongside their fellow White humans don’t get there with the attitude of charity or by appealing for favours due to their skin colour. They actually get there by believing that they are just as equal as their White counterparts, that they have what it takes and damn the limitations, they will succeed – without grovelling or having a pity party.
These Black people are to be respected. They are the ones who have realised that the structural framework that is racism can be navigated, and that their success if not dependent on what others offer or provide for them, but what they fight for and make for themselves. However, though many Black people may have such a mind, few get to the top – and that is still evidence of the struggle caused by institutional racism. Because otherwise, it should be almost 50/50 by now, represented in Government, Media, Academia, Business et al!
So, if you are being true to yourself and to the reality on ground about the existence of racism, in favour of White people, would you rather be White or Black? I know it is a tough one to answer, especially for the many who are “Black and Proud”. But seriously guys… What is the truth? Would you rather be Black and work twice as hard to get a break or be White and suffer the occasional guilt that comes with being favoured?
I know it will be hard to answer publicly, so help a Sister out by using my poll to answer privately. There is a poll for those who are White, another for those who are Black and yet another for those who don’t fall into either camp (if you’re mixed raced, being half-Black and half-White, apparently you’re Black). I know that there are other races (another issue with institutional racism that seems to ignore Asians and others in the Black and White feud), but for the sake of the Black and White feud, I would like to clear up what race people in general consider preferable.
Let me speak honestly. I know who I am and I love myself and everything that has made me who I am. Though I know this is a man’s world, I wouldn’t want to be any other sex but female! I am Black and content, not exactly proud, because being Black was not my choosing nor my making! So if I’m being honest, given the reality of racism, I wouldn’t mind some of that guilt please, if that is the cost of being White. And I’ve never liked my African hair! It’s a whole lot of stress to be beautiful with it, and I would much prefer the easily maintained White, Asian or Hispanic hair (which I believe is the case among lots of my Black Sisters who buy human hair to use on their heads).
Now, while we are wishing, I would rather have an American or British passport than the Nigerian one I hold. I wouldn’t mind enjoying the Visa Waiver programme all of you are enjoying, while I have to suffer queues and interviews and rejection and abuses to get a visa to visit a country like America. Sometimes I wonder if Nigeria would be as bad as it is if we were a race of Whites, or if the treatment we receive when we visit other countries would be better if we were a race of Whites. There are many more issues to this race thing than the Black American experience of racism.
Finally, I know there will be those who will say, “I’d rather be what God made me to be”. Please spare us the religious mumbo jumbo here. There are people who are born physically disabled and have to go through life living with a limiting disability, who would much rather have been born able-bodied. There are also many who were born with terminal illnesses or even chronic illnesses that have to suffer all their lives. Given the choice, I am sure they would rather have been born healthy. So please be real, and dig in your hearts and be honest. Is racism still a reality?
Thanks for your honest contribution to this poll. Please help me share it, and let’s get to the truth of the matter!
Photo credit: www.patricialovino.blogspot.com