Non-black people have more or less understood that the word Nigger is not for them to say because the history around the word is one of exploitation, oppression, murder, you can continue at your will. We have a couple of people here and there who get a bit too comfortable and thus utter the word and what then happens is an entire onslaught of being put back into your place rather ungracefully and with chunks of hair missing…metaphorically of course and deservedly so.
Now what seems to be a continuous miscommunication is regarding white people painting their skin to appear to be a person of colour, more often than not, a black person. Now blackface comes into the regular twitter news cycle every month or so: honourable mentions include part of the Kardashian clan, most of the Netherlands, a couple of white comedians on late night shows (yes even the Jimmys), Gigi Hadid. A couple weeks ago it was the poster boy Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, which I got a bit shocked at the level of outrage, do people really think that the long running joke of Canada being a polite utopia is true? Did we forget that for it to exist another people had to slowly disappear? And this week it’s Egyptian Lifestyle and Make Up Blogger Maha.
Now I’m not gonna get into the history around blackface, just go Google it. However, let’s just remind ourselves of the fact there are real racist undertones in Arab society and Arab history also has a very lengthy period of slavery. Since people will very easily brush that off and say that it’s of the past, and that’s not the reality, I’m just gonna remind you that there is currently a very real slave trade going on in Libya of people who were promised a better life in Europe and have fallen into the hands of traffickers and modern slavery structure, but no one is ready for that conversation.
When black painted caricatures are used in comedy sketches, or the comedic relief in a stage play is a white or white passing person painted black. When there is an entire public holiday where a white majority country paints themselves black with very large red lips or makeup artist wants to put some grey undertoned mess on their face and adorn themselves with bright scarves and jewellery, it is not because you love the skin colour. I find it offensive because there is not a time where it is done without mockery.
For this blogger, who is a bit melanin deficient, who I assume from her complexion and features is not a descendant of the original people of Egypt, the Nubians, I can bet that many like her do not speak of darker skinned Egyptian women with praise, so I’m not even gonna get into what she thinks of the darkest of us. And what’s disturbing is the amount of support that she is receiving, the colourful messages and praise is nauseating and I would catch a case if I ever ran into anyone like her.
Supermodel Iman said in an interview that at the beginning of her career a magazine editor-in-chief had referred to her as “a white woman dipped in chocolate”. Let me explain to you why this might have been upsetting to Iman and why I am going off on this rant. We want to be black just for the look, but to actually be a black person would be less than right? You would be an abeed (Arabic for slave). What is infuriating is the audacity that on the one hand black people are systematically oppressed, even in lands that are originally theirs, and their oppressors want to turn around and say “no this blackface is in honour of you”, “we love you”, “you so pretty”. At what point has any white person honoured a person of colour?
- when you fetishise us?
- when you steal from us?
- when you kill us?
- when you belittle us and look down on our intelligence?
- when you have continued to be a cancer in our lands?
- when you colonised the minds of generations?
- when you tell our histories and make yourselves the saviours when you in actual fact were murderers?
AT WHAT POINT IN HISTORY HAS A BLACK PERSON BEEN HONOURED FOR ANYTHING? We don’t even honour ourselves because we still believe the white man’s story.
So I am tired of seeing op-eds about the history of the word nigger, and the history of blackface, and the history of slavery. We’re in 2019, why are we shocked? Why are we over explaining? Some people do not respect the fact that you are alive. Some people would much rather not see you alive and thriving. So you either give into their noise and drive yourself up a wall or you give them zero attention and let them self-destruct in the silence. This lifestyle blogger is not the first or last, this was clickbait. None of these people are unaware. None of them are this stupid. They are doing it for the reaction. And this will be the first and only time I ever speak on blackface.
Let’s not be so outraged all the time and help them market their stupidity.