I've often noticed how we continuously misunderstand each other as people. Non- white people in particular, often feel as though they have to explain themselves to their fellow white brothers and sisters and white people on the other hand would always want to prove to know more than a black person
Being the model citizen I am, I have put together a little guide which should help. Feel free to e-mail or tweet me with your suggestions too. (Bigots, racists and homophobes need not bother).
1. Let's just get this out of the way right now. Yes, non white people wash their hair. Do I hear you ask how often? As often as any other race: every day for some, twice a week for others, once a month for others. Get the picture? Great. Let's consider the matter buried then.
2. Criminals scare us, too. We don't feel comforted by the fact that someone who's the same race as us is robbing us. Crime is crime. So sit down and think before insulting or painting people with the same brush. Criminals, exist in every race.
3. "You speak English so well" is something you say to a two-year-old who's just learned how to talk. No matter how well you mean it, stay away from that phrase - it makes you sound like a WASP berk. Speaking of language, until the day you can say English words properly, you will hear ‘’sorry I don’t understand’’ You wouldn't do that if the person was French or Italian - you'd think it's cute.
4. If you have to say: "My black friend Lucy", then you have a problem. We will automatically put you in the same box as closet racists. Sorry, I meant to say uptight liberals.
5. None of us represent the entire black race, so blanketed enquiries about why black people do this or that won't get you anywhere. We're individuals first before we are black. In addition, Africa is a continent not a country like some people think.
6. There isn't enough space in this column to express how intensely it bothers us when you grin when you make eye contact with a non- white person especially after there has been something bad on the news about people from the same race. It makes us feel like you're afraid we'll take your wallet or have a bullet in your head. Every race has good and bad people. Nothing to do with skin colour! Next time you make eye contact with a colleague or stranger, either walk past or say "hello’’ Just don't grin. It's not warm, it's fake.
7. We can swim. Oh come, don't act like you weren't thinking about it. Some of us can even scuba dive and snorkel.
8. Talking slowly as if to a deaf person- ‘’Do ---you---speak---Eng..l..ish? It does annoy considering that speaking a language has nothing to do with skin colour
The dangers of stereotyping, huh?
In my campaign against FGM I have heard people saying,
''O why bother,let them continue with their barbaric practices,it has nothing to do with us''
Please have empathy. Violence is violence ,it has no boundaries. 'Remember the solution in ending this horiffic parctice is not a one size suits all solution' Each country is different and any campaign should be tailor made for the individula country.
And of course I am not stereotyping. I appreciate the work being done out there and well done. No to FGM!