So what I’m about to write isn’t new, in the sense that countless black people have written about this issue before, but I’m going to add my two pennies worth to the conversation anyway. Perhaps my contribution won’t be as articulate as others, and perhaps I won’t bring anything new to light but I’m willing to join the chorus of other people talking and writing about this issue until people get the message and change their behaviour accordingly.
Growing up, I remember countless women lamenting about how awful it was to have random strangers accost them in the street and, with no permission, start rubbing their pregnant tummies. The women spoke and wrote about how intrusive and rude it was to be felt up by someone they didn’t know. They spoke about pregnancy being uncomfortable enough without having their personal space invaded by some creepy nutter with no manners.
I think, for the most part, society now realises that it is absolutely not okay to stroke a stranger just because they happen to be pregnant. This isn’t a community bump, there to be fondled by passers-by who happen to like babies. It’s someone’s baby encased in HER body which, unless she has said otherwise, is not to be touched.
So why doesn’t the same apply to black people and our hair? Continue reading
In 1984 I lived in a council flat in a dodgy little place called Shoreditch. As I was a baby at the time, my parents lived there too!
I have very fond memories of our time there; the neighbours, most of whom babysat me at one time or another; the lady next door with the Rottweilers and – for reasons only known to her and her family – a pet monkey; trying (and failing) to ride a bike in the hallway and, best of all, the parties! It seemed like every week friends and family would congregate at our flat and it would always turn in to a party. The sound system blaring, the flat packed full of people, alcohol, jokes…It was brilliant!
There were things that I was too young to notice at the time but that I found out about when I was older: the queue of people outside on the balcony waiting to buy drugs from the dude next door; or the fact that one of the kids my parents forbade me from hanging around with had fleas (that kid belonged to ‘Rottweiler woman’ who, I later found out to my eternal disgust, used to let the dog have her puppies on the fur coat that she always wore but never washed). I was protected from all of that nonsense and even though there were a few… shall we say, eccentric sorts in the area it was generally a safe and really friendly place. Continue reading
He was wearing a very light blue – almost white – T-Shirt and blue Jeans and he was really short, about my height, which is weird because I’m pretty sure he’s quite tall. Anyway I approached him, said ‘hi’ and he looked at me like he’d just been approached by a giant talking turd. I mean, seriously, the look of contempt on his face was so awful I woke up in a cold sweat. It took me a while to process my surroundings, I wasn’t at home in my own bed. Then followed the inevitable question: Why the fuck do I keep having the same dream about Tobias Menzies? Continue reading
When I was at school I used to be accused by a small group of arseholes of not being black enough. This was mainly due to my complexion (I have albinism), my obsession with Backstreet boys (AJ was my favourite) and my mostly white circle of friends.
On one occasion I was alone, walking to the bus stop and a girl from a few years below me made a point of saying (loud enough for me to hear) “Urgh! If I looked like that I would kill myself. I love my colour”. She was right to love her colour, she had a beautifully dark complexion but I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself some weeks later when said girl’s ponytail, which, despite the protestations of her friends and anyone with eyes, she insisted was her real hair, fell out in the lunch queue. Or was it pulled out? I can’t quite remember, I only remember seeing it on the floor and thinking how strange it was that a person could be so proud and ashamed of themselves at the same time.
Let me pause here for a moment and explain that the ponytail itself wasn’t the issue but rather her insistence on passing it off as her own hair. Not every girl or woman with a weave or clip-on hair has identity issues.
“Former Cop, Daniel Holtzclaw, Convicted on 18 Counts for Sexually Assaulting Black Women”.
What do you mean ‘who’s Daniel Holtzclaw’? It’s been all over the – oh wait. Okay, I’ll fill you in.
Daniel Holtzclaw is a former police officer from Oklahoma City. While working as an officer of the law, he used his position to and rape and sexually assault women. Holtzclaw was very particular about his victims, they were all black and all women who could be described as being on the fringes of society (sex workers, drug users and/or those with criminal records). Continue reading
So in the news this week…
Social media almost exploded after hate-filled, disaster of a human being Donald Trump called for the “Total and complete shutdown” of Muslims wanting to enter America. He later went on to say “We have places in London and other places that are so radicalised that the police are afraid for their own lives”. As a Londoner born and bred I have no idea what the Hell he is talking about and can only assume that he is referring comments made by “Terror Expert” (!) Steve Emerson on Fox News a while back. Continue reading
This is a plea to all the people out there who talk over others in conversations; who wait for their turn to speak instead of listening to what the other person is saying; who monopolise conversations…
STOP IT! Continue reading