I recently found myself engaged in what initially seemed like redundant small-talk till it spiralled into a heated and somewhat necessary “argument”.
A well-spoken, well-dressed; pretty much well put-together black gentleman decided to call me out on my preference for weaves after what I suppose was him feeling slighted by my rejection of his inappropriate advances. According to him, I am a sell-out for advocating societal ideals of what a woman should look like if she is to be deemed beautiful in the Western context. I “needed to embrace my ethnicity and cultural values more”. Fair enough.
I guess my mistake was assuming that the lesson on black consciousness and emancipation from the clasps of the white man was more of a discussion than an instruction. The self-satisfied expression on his face vanished as quickly as it had appeared when I decided to mention a few of my observations about him; such as his German-manufactured vehicle, his iPhone and Nike garb, the fact that he chose to address me in the Queen’s language (and introduce himself to me as ‘Mike’) as opposed to his mother’s tongue, his preference for American music – basically, his overall bulk consumption of Western culture, much to the delight of our spectators. “Pabi, boma ye!” I imagined them chanting.
You see, nothing is more pretentious than “new money”. However, I feel it’s necessary that I rephrase that statement for this piece: Nothing is more pretentious than a fairly educated darkie who’s acquired enough money to get out the hood. The snobbish behaviour displayed by this lot is something to marvel at. I can say that because for one, I am a black woman myself, a very proud one at that (so I kinda know what I’m talking about); and secondly, if I so much as dared to call, say, White people a group of charlatans, I’d be a racist, prejudiced and a promoter of hate speech – woe unto anybody who is seen in that light in this, our rainbow nation.
The problem arises when, despite your education, and your money, and your false sense of authority and/or superiority, and your blatant arrogance, etc., your latent ignorance still gets in the way of the actual level of black consciousness and emancipation we as a people should be striving towards – one that the late Bantu Steven Biko had envisioned. The double-standards really need to stop. The truest form of truth is that no amount of “twanging” can conceal ignorance. We see right through you.