A drop is all it takes

America loves its one drop rule. A person from mixed racial background-most commonly Black and White- is automatically Black. Yes you are technically biracial, but is your hue even slightly darker than milk? Then you are Black. This rule may have been invented by racists who wished to distance themselves from racial hybrids, but now everyone lives by it. A biracial person who wishes to identify as biracial rather than Black is sure to annoy some Black people. “Oh you are ashamed of being Black? If the KKK walks in here do you think they’ll see you as White or bi-whatever? No you are BLACK black blackitty black”

Side Note: I particularly find this KKK point quite daft and do not understand why people think it is a valid argument. We are telling people they must identify the way racists want them to. The KKK thinks this so you must be it. The same KKK that thinks we are scum unworthy of life.

A biracial person who wishes to identify as White? Just throw them away and keep the bath water.

Biracial is usually taken to mean Black and White (because as we know these are the only two races in the world), but regardless of what the other race is, as long as there is a drop of Black in your genes, you are considered Black.

Some may say: why yes it does make sense to label a biracial person as Black because black genes are strong and well a person mixed with Black will have darker skin and therefore no longer qualify as White. 

Okay even if we accept this argument, there are lots of people who do not look Black at all but are still referred to as Black *Cough Mari-cough-ah*. I am speaking about the White Passing.

The first time I came across this term-though I did not know it then-was in a Reader’s Digest story of a Black man who lived his life passing as White. Even his wife had no idea of this and it wasn’t until he was on his deathbed that his secret came out. My ten year old self found the story so intriguing and baffling. How is it possible that no one knew he was Black? Didn’t his children look Biracial? I realise now that he must have been a biracial man himself, and if so he was not passing as White.

White Passing.

One drop is so strong that not only are people with darker skin called Black, but those who look White are still not White but rather Black people passing as White. It is remarkable.

This issue was recently brought to the fore of my consciousness when I saw a headline about a singer called Hasley who is in her own words a White passing Black woman. I was quite confused because this woman looked quite White to me-not even biracial-just White. Turns out her father is half Black. This white woman who has three white grandparents and looks white says she is a woman of colour who passes for a White woman. Huh?

The headline took me back to 2009 when there was a reality show on BET called College Hill. One of the cast members was a White man with cornrows who I did not pay much attention to until a scene where I heard him say to another cast member “You know I’m Black right?” The details are fuzzy but I think he said his mother is Black and he spoke about how he doesn’t look Black. I was stunned. Wow I would never have guessed he was Black. Now I think about this differently.

A biracial person is White and Black. Due to the politics of the land, they are labelled Black because of their darker hue. If a product of an interracial relationship is Black because of the darker skin tone then surely a person who does not have this darker skin tone is White. What is all this White passing nonsense?

I daresay most racially mixed people (want to) identify as Black, even those with tenuous links to Blackness. Why? Because despite all the struggles, it is “cool” to be Black. Why be White and have to apologise for White privilege and Slavery when you can identify as Black and get to say Nigga whenever you want?

 

Derek Jeter is yet another person I would never have guessed was African American man until he was outed by Diddy.  Who else is walking about looking like a Caucasian from the mountains of Caucasus but is really Black? Fret not, someone has helpfully compiled a list of celebrities most people don’t know are black.

All it takes is a drop.

Biracial identity is treated like the relationship between milk and coffee. A drop of coffee in a glass of milk will change the colour of milk ever slightly, whereas a drop of milk barely makes a difference to a cup of coffee (or does it? I don’t drink coffee or milk for that matter). Daft analogy, I know. I do dislike analogies of this nature, where people are compared to food or to keys and locks (you know what I’m talking about) but this does seem to be the case.

If the one drop rule was created by racists, when then do we work so hard to maintain it? Is it because we think it is reasonable? Is it because we need more people on our side?

Another incident that comes to mind is that of footballer Ross Barkley who was compared to a gorilla in an article in The Sun. At first it was a silly jibe-white man compares another white man to a gorilla. Then it was revealed that Ross Barkley has a Nigerian grandfather and bam! it became a racial slur. This man was White until someone called him a gorilla now he is a man with a Black grandfather.

White passing is not the same as people who look obviously biracial. I have always thought it was unfair to say a person is not Black enough because of their fair (not White) skin and curly hair. I also understand that biracial people are caught between two worlds and the Black community is more likely to feel like home. These points do not in any way contradict my earlier points. It is just interesting to me how the one drop rule works. You see someone and think they are White, until you find out they have a Black ancestor then it’s oh I didn’t know you were Black.

If people have to see your family tree or genealogy records to confirm your blackness then perhaps you are neither Black nor White passing. You are White, and that’s okay. (unless you have found the cure for cancer then come here my beautiful African sister)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Society of the perpetually outraged

Social media has become a hellhole. A watering hole for the society of the perpetually outraged. A nirvana for people so immensely talented in the art of extracting offense from the highest praise. Heaven for those who jump out of bed in the morning with the sole aim of reaching their outrage quota; those who live by the motto “take offense first and understand later

The citizens of the society of the eternally offended have become mindless zombies, fueled by their righteous anger and nourished by think-pieces and thirty-tweet threads. There is no original thought in this new society; its citizens peek out of their covens to gauge the general consensus and then furiously type out dissertations that reiterate these opinions. They must be careful not to stray too far from what everyone believes lest they find themselves cancelled with a t and an exclamation mark. These worker bees buzz around the web, tirelessly sifting out the asleep and the slightly dozing off, burrowing deep in search for employment information with which to punish these errant deviants.

The citizens of the society of the perpetually offended are so voracious and dedicated that they will consume their own from time to time. They patiently lie in wait for anyone-even a fellow citizen- to forget to cross their Ts and they pounce. An erstwhile prominent offence taker and outrage expresser is cut down mercilessly by fellow citizens who admit they always knew this person was problematic all along. The bottle is spun again and it is the turn for another offense taker who was just taking offense at a fellow offense taker to be put down. Slowly, everyone is torched, but they bounce back quick. They have to, a spot in this society is never open for too long before someone runs in and fills it with their own fifteen dollars and seventy five cents words.

They steamroll their way through the interwebs, flattening every and anything in their wake. If Jesus descended today from the heavens to heal the world in a chariot of fire surrounded by a million angels, he would be cancelled with a t and an exclamation mark for reasons that will be outlined in no less than one thousand tablets filled with words make sense to the members of this society and no one else. Then another faction of this society will creep up to cancel these people for cancelling Jesus and will in no less than two thousands tablets outline the reasons why the cancellation of Jesus is really the real problem. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Stones (PETS) will then unleash an incoherent rant asking why we write on stones and not on babies; why do we breastfeed our babies but leave the stones to fend for themselves?

The slogan of this society is See the offense you want to see in the world. Offense can be drawn from every single thing-cotton candy, a baby’s laughter, a drop of rain- and if you do not agree with this then you are the reason for world hunger and global warming and you are cancelled with a t and an exclamation mark.

Apathy

I remember the moment I stopped feeling.

Yet another bomb had been detonated
Scores of people had died yet again

As usual, I grabbed my phone and made to join those already furiously criticising the evil. This was an act I had performed over and over again but this time I could not find the words-or the will.

I was tired.

What could I say that I haven’t already said?
All the curses have been uttered;
All the anger expressed
The perpetrators damned to hell over and over again.

How many more ways could I condemn the evil,
when even as I say it I know it is only a matter of time before the next one?

My thoughts are with…
Pray for…
The hottest part of hell belongs to…

Meaningless.

Rest in Peace.
Utterly meaningless.

What exactly do we mean when we tell people to be careful?
“Watch out for any bombs!”
“Be careful not to get killed!”

Stupid.

 

What’s in a name? (2)

Is it not strange that we impose on others rules that we have created and then discriminate against them based on these rules?

In many parts of the world the male child is revered while the girl child is a consolation prize; the dry bread you chew on absentmindedly while waiting for your main course to arrive.

I asked the elders: why is the boy child preferred to the girl child?
Well, they said, a girl cannot carry on the family name. She will marry and change her name. The boy is more valuable because the lineage lives through him.

Wait a minute. Aren’t we the ones who made it so that the female has to change her name? Her X chromosome does not dictate what name she bears. There is nothing in her makeup that says she must change her name; same way there is no reason the boy cannot change his. Aren’t we the ones who say children must take their father’s names and not their mother’s? We have painted the fish pink and then banned pink fish from the ocean.
The solution is simple. We must allow women to keep their names if they want. Let children bear their mother’s name. Let the lineage live through the one who births it.

Shut up. You women of now-a-days want too much.

 

What’s in a name?

A woman’s lifespan as chattel begins the day she is born.

Two babies are born: one male, one female.
They are christened Mr. X and Miss X in the names of their first owner.

He will remain Mr.X until the day he dies, barring this and that
He belongs to himself and himself alone. His name reflects that.

She belongs to whatever male owns her at the time; her names reflect this.

She will be Miss X until she marries Mr.Y, at which point she becomes Mrs Y. If things go well, this will be the only change she makes. She will forget about ever being Miss X and completely immerse herself in her new identity. All her children will be Y with no trace of her original identity.

But things do not always go right. Mr. and Mrs Y decide to split up. He remains Mr. Y.

The divorce is barely official and the whispers begin:
“Why is she still bearing his name”?
“My children are Y and I want to have the same name as my children.”
“Irrelevant!” the crowd yells. “You no longer belong to him and must must return to being Miss X until you find a new owner who will give you his name.”
“But this has been my name for 20 years. It is my identity.”
“It is his name! Move on!”

Little Miss Y sees this and says to herself: “I will never change my name. If my brother does not have to worry about this, then why should I?” She marries the thorn of her flesh and does the unthinkable: does not change her name to reflect new ownership.

The crowd goes mental. “What is this madness?” they rage! “Women of now-a-days are ruining everything!” The crowd tear out their hair and roll around in ashes, stricken with grief and insanity.  Men who die with the names they are born are the most confused. Men who do not even have to change their title-Mr. at birth and at death and everything in between- do not understand why this woman would want to keep her name.

The more rational people in the crowd say: “Okay, even if we permit you to keep your name, what title will you use? Will you be Miss or Mrs? You are married but you still have your old owner’s name so how will this work?” They smirk, pleased at having trapped her in this conundrum.  How shall she escape this dead end?

“Well I will be Ms. Y”
“Ms? Isn’t that for old unmarried spinsters?”
“No. It’s the female equivalent of Mr. It can be used by all women: single, married, divorced, widowed, old, young.”
“Have you at least considered hyphenating your surname and being Mrs Y-Z? It’s not ideal but it is still better than this nonsense.”
“I don’t want to.”
“Why don’t you want to take your husband’s name? Are you ashamed of him?”
“Why doesn’t he take my name? Is he ashamed of me?”
The crowd goes berserk, incandescent with rage.
“Arrrghhh women of now-a-days have ruined everything! Fuck you feminism!”

“That’s not all,”says Ms. Y. “Mr. Z and I are having a baby, and all our children will have both our names.”

The crowd spontaneously combusts.

Women of now-a-days

There once was a man and a woman who lived in a shoe.

The man had his role to play
Build, hunt, and protect.

and the woman did too
Cook clean and birth the young

There once was a man and a woman who lived in a shoe.
Women aren’t women anymore! The angry man grumbled
Our grandmothers always had food on the table
and the house was always spotless
Our grandfathers dared not enter the kitchen or pick up a broom

Women of now-a-days want to outsource the cooking,
he spits angrily and bangs his fist on the table
Crack! Oh crap. He will have to call the carpenter to fix that.

What is that sound?
Drip drop drip drop drip drop drip drop drip drip drip!
Ugh the bloody tap. Wasn’t the plumber just here a few days ago? By God, it is impossible to get reliable help these days.

Why just the other day, the mechanic tried to fleece him. And what about the builders who he hired to build the house. It took them almost a year over budgeted time to finish.

His stomach grumbles. He hopes she picked up some chicken at the store. He is craving a nice chicken stew.

What is taking her so long? She is going to come back from work claiming to be tired-like he doesn’t work as well– and then suggest he eats something she bought. Imagine that! Women of now-a-days. Our mothers wouldn’t have dared you know. They raised the children and cooked feasts without complaints!

He feels a cold coming on. He must remember to book a doctor’s appointment, lest it be fatal.

Ugh it’s time to pay school fees again. She really needs to start pulling her weight financially.  She works as well so there is no reason she shouldn’t pay half the bills.   After all isn’t that what feminists want?

Cook, clean, birth the young+provide
Pay someone to build, eat what another has hunted, provide part of it

Women of now-a-days.

 

 

Unpopular Opinion

Ahmed’s clock was not a clock

A contraption in a suitcase
Not a clock
It might have started out as a clock
but
by the time the mischievous boy dismantled it and put the carcass in a suitcase
Nope. Not a clock.

We can stand and still say that thing did not look like a clock
A passerby does not see that on a bench and wonder what time it is
The time is the furthest thing from the mind of a person who stumbles upon this invention
Open suitcase with wires strewn everywhere
What else could it be if not a clock?
It did not look like a clock

The only thing that made it a clock is that they said it was
What is that? would have been the question if they hadn’t said it was a clock beforehand
“Ohmygoodness is that a…?”
Wise people to have prepared the ground first
so by the time the clock was unveiled everyone was already standing
The Powers That Be agreed that this was a time telling device invented by the boy
and no one wanted to be the fool who said Not a clock
                                          You know how they get
and so the Emperor walked around the town naked.