Let’s start with a sweet poem that I love. It has an unusual title
VEJEA SPEAKS ON RACISM
God’s pen paints my limbs and skin with melanin
And so begins my history, but you curse me for his creativity
thus my nativity is a scene of injustice,
just us, created in his image,
best wishes for faded color lines
debated these lives of mine
a fate chased by prejudice.
Freedom, a story, a race then edited by race
Race that we are still running
about to be Erased by the colors of hate
so I await
Dreaming like Martin I awoke to the strokes of God’s brush on my flesh
and realized that we are still blessed as we all are, stand tall and we cannot fall
take baby steps
crept into equality swept away past follies of yesterdays
and pay attention to tomorrows
to rectify coming sorrows of these borrowed souls
And we were meant to love one another as sister and brother under the sun
and we were meant to eat at the table of brotherhood
sisterhood, your hood, my hood,
the good of a people created equal are in their souls within
and not in the hues God will choose to paint their skins.
PS: I recognise that racism works across and against different groups and not just people with more melanin. I think the poem is beautifully expressive.
PPS: I know that colour is spelt with a ‘U’. LOL. I copy-pasted the lyrics from an American site
PPPS: I do not own any part of the poem
Having lived in South Africa for 2 years has let me see race in a new light. Growing up in Kenya, all my friends were Black, majority of Kenyans are black. And since I didn’t go to fancy international schools, I had no white friends. The closest I came to white were my Indian and Seychellois friends. 🙂 Well, I had Belgian friends (being born there) but I was really young then. Lemme just say now that I see nothing wrong with using the terms Black, White, or Coloured. People who strive for political correctness do. They prefer the terms African, Caucasian and Mixed-Race instead. I mean my skin colour is closer to Black than White. Honestly, whatevz. As human beings we always want to classify each other. We are all different, culturally, economically, socially, politically. However the problem arises when we start to use derogatory terms and discriminate against one another along the very classifications we have created. So, I was saying, the closest I came to white…
Then comes South Africa, Cape Town to be specific, and there are people of every colour. Including white, Indian and ‘pointy’ Kenyans! And they are all beautiful people (most at least. beautiful here not referring to physical beauty). For the first time in my life I am a minority. I have to come out of my comfort zone and make friends with people who have straighter and lighter hair than me, eat different food from me, find jokes that are unusual to me funny, speak differently from me, spell colour without the ‘U’… generally different from me. But we’re also similar in that we share a love for music (different genres maybe, but music still), love humanity, love education and to have a good time!
Race is something we have constructed ourselves along the lines of colour and sometimes physique, yet these are differences like any other: some people have curlier hair than others, some bigger eyes than others, some lighter skin than others. It’s diversity. I think it absolute stupidity to come up with notions that one race is more superior than another and bind one’s life by them. All I’m saying is racism is stupid. It’s as stupid as dictatorship and slavery, and we all need to fight against it. I love all my new friends. All of them. One hundred different shades of skin, because souls are within, and not in the hues of skin.