I’m of the opinion that we are all one. I don’t see colour; I see people. I see people who are the same as me. If I cut you, your blood is the same colour as mine. If we hold on to hate and narrow mindedness, things will never change.
But it’s true to say that some people do see difference – something that became very obvious to me when I went on holiday recently with my Nan. It was the first time she had been away in quite a few years. She deserved to have some time out after what has probably been the worst couple years of her life and we never really get a chance to have quality time together.
What should have been a fun-filled trip full of sun, sea and sangria became tainted because my Nan became very aware of people staring at us…constantly! It really bothered her and made her feel so self-conscious that at times she didn’t even want to go and have dinner in the restaurant because she thought everyone was looking at her. She would walk with her head down, sit quietly in a corner. I was infuriated that this had such an impact and could ruin her experience of being in such a beautiful place.
I told her that people were staring because she is so beautiful (which she is!) but it broke my heart to see her so upset. I know that things like this can really impact the older generation much more than younger people who are sometimes better able to shrug it off. I say Sod em! Easier said than done for most though.
When you are a part of an ethnic minority group, it can be hard to travel to unfamiliar places, where you aren’t necessarily going to see other people who that look like you. It made me wonder how many other people experience this?! If they do, why do we never talk about these things?
It’s something my dad seems to be aware of too. Whenever I decide to go somewhere new and I tell my dad, he is always so proud that I’m brave enough to go out there and do my thing, but the first question he always asks me is ‘Are there any black people there?!’ I always laugh because it never something I really think about. The experience with my Nan has caused me to really think about it.
Of course, people staring or making judgements isn’t new to me, but it is not something I let bother me. It been something I have had to get used to if I’m ever going to enjoy the delights the world has to offer. I didn’t even notice the staring while we were on holiday until my Nan mentioned it! That makes me sad, but it also makes me wonder if I didn’t notice it because I’m so used to people staring at me wherever I go in the world.
Being in an ethnic minority group in society today is challenging, it has been and always will be. Historically, we have to be smarter, work harder. We have be more aware of everything we do.
I maybe in an ‘ethnic minority group’ and have to wear that label, but in my head I’m not a minority. I’m a normal person. A normal person exploring the world just like everyone else. People stare at me all the time, sometimes because I’m a black woman, sometimes because of my hair (a curly frizz ball!), sometimes because they are wondering if I looked in the mirror before I left home! But most of the time (I tell myself) it’s because they are dazzled by my good looks and wit!
Do I notice?
Sometimes I do. But most of the time I let it wash over me and I don’t give a shit!
Because as well as being a black woman, I’m many other things. I’m a daughter, I’m a granddaughter and I am a human being that has every right to be in this world and co-exist with other nationality and races.
Don’t get me wrong I am always aware of my own personal safety when I’m travelling (that is a given), but there hasn’t been a time where I have felt that under threat. But in the future there might be… Just because I am black.
I am proud of who I am and I am proud that I’m black. I don’t care to label myself as a minority (even though I know society will continue to make me feel I am) I feel my race and my culture are thing to be celebrated. I am rich in more ways than one.
If people have a problem, then that’s on them. I will always walk the earth with love and compassion for others in my heart and soul. I love them for who they are and not how they look.
As Michael Jackson says…it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white!