The Ugly Truth Behind Why I Hate Light Skinned Women

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What three words would you use to describe yourself?’

The lighting is always perfect in hotel bathrooms. It’s hard to resist the temptation to take a selfie though you know that the tiled wall in the background will give your location away.

She arches a perfectly shaped eyebrow and bites her lip, ‘I’m quirky, individual and-‘

‘Beautiful,’ I think, but I don’t say it out loud.

I’m only half listening now because my mind is preoccupied with thoughts of how perfect she looks standing in front of that mirror, nervously smoothing down her perfect dress, resisting the urge to chew on her perfect fingernails.

If she looks at me she will see me staring at her. And on my face will be a mixture of awe, admiration and… something else.

‘Something else’ which is triggered by situations like a night at the pub when that guy’s girlfriend wouldn’t stop gushing about how pretty she looked. ‘Something else’ that rears its ugly head when men risk whiplash to get a second and third look at her. ‘Something else’is envy.

I dare not say it out loud.

People say that being light skinned is a social currency.  In the economy that is black beauty, the light skinned ones are the goddesses – men flock to their temples to worship. Regular women either sit at their feet playing the role of the dark BFF, or stand in the courtyard hurling insults while the choir sings ‘Don’t hate me cause I’m beautiful.’

So there I was standing in this well-lit bathroom, staring at this goddess in front of me and realising that this envy thing was very much alive on the inside of me.

Because she was beautiful. And in her space I didn’t feel like I could be beautiful. The mirror, the bathroom, the world didn’t have room for my kind of beauty when she was around.

If you’re honest, you’ve felt the same way. You’ve hated going out with your friend to watch her hog everyone’s attention. You’ve struggled with loving her to bits but hating her at the same time. You’ve tried to make up for what you lack in looks by having a larger than life personality.

I’m not about to start another conversation about skin lightening cream or light skin privilege vs mnyamane discrimination. Countless blogs, newspapers and magazines have already done so.

I think it’s time we moved away from discussing this in ridiculous terms like ‘yellow bone’ and ‘red bone’ and got down to the real issue: Most women worship the idol of beauty that demands adherence to a false standard of beauty (and worth).

On the surface this results in women bleaching their skin and getting silicone implants. The deeper consequence is an inability to love yourself and to love others.

I hate light skinned women because I perceive them as having attained a status, reached a level, met a standard of beauty that I could never meet. They don’t have to try, they woke up like this. This makes me envious.

Pretty Girls and The Rest of Us.

There are two kinds of women reading this post: pretty women and regular women. The pretty women are like my light skinned friend in the bathroom. You’re pretty all day every day, even without makeup, even after an all-nighter where you didn’t get a wink of sleep.

The regular women on the other hand, have nothing that makes you exceptionally beautiful, and after an all-nighter you look like you’ve been run over by an express train three times, followed by a convoy of gusheshes, after getting caught up in taxi war crossfire.

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The difference between pretty women and regular women may separate us on Instagram, but in reality it does not. Because we are all worshipping the idol of beauty. It doesn’t matter whether you or other people think you’re closer to it (pretty) or far away from it (regular) because it’s an illusion.

The standard of beauty that the world adheres to is a false god.

One day when we’re old and we can barely make out each other’s faces beneath the creases on our skin we’ll know what truly matters. We’ll laugh at the foolishness of our youth and regret the time and money that we wasted on feeling insecure and envious:

‘What three words would you use to describe yourself?’

She’ll arch a still perfectly shaped eyebrow and bite her lip,

‘I’m quirky, individual and-‘

This time it’ll be different. Because although my vision has faded, the eyes of my heart have been opened and I finally see her clearly.

‘Beautiful. You are so beautiful.’

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What If Different Was Good? Re-imagining Race

When black people give in to anger and choose to punish white people, neither wins. Your words or actions may destroy a white person but bitterness will kill you eventually.

When white people give into fear or intimidation, they alienate themselves even more. Denial, apathy or flight is not the answer. This problem is not ‘out there’, it is within you too.

Black people, we are prejudiced. Our prejudice cannot be justified because of our history. Our pain, yes. Our anger and suffering yes. But not our prejudice.

Racial prejudice only confirms the lie that the enemy spoke a long time ago, the lie that someone’s appearance is something of
significance when judging their character and value.

White people, we have a responsibility. “I wasn’t there.” can no longer fly. No, it’s not our fault. No, we don’t hate black people. But we are responsible because our reality today, sometimes for worse but usually for better, is the fruit of our forefathers doing. The privilege of the few, to the disadvantage of the many.

White people need to start asking questions, even stupid questions. We need to study people who are different to us. Not the way we study flowers or birds, as if black people were an alien species. Three things are needed: humility, respect and value for things that are different to us.

Black people need to start asking questions too and get the facts straight. We need to learn our history or we are in danger of repeating it. Injustices were committed by humans not a colour. White is not the enemy.

We were stabbed in the back but years later if we’re still walking around with that knife, we only have ourselves to blame for the rot.

I venture into this topic with great caution because I realise that the issues of ‘race’ and ‘racism’ are sensitive topics. I know that not all black people are the same. I realise that white people aren’t the same either.

However, I do think there are common threads of thought and experience that run through groups of people who share similar cultural backgrounds so generalisations aren’t completely false.

I want to acknowledge that not everyone is black or white. There’s a minority of people that fall through the cracks in these discussions. If you’re someone who wants to share your unique experience please email me on realmukoko[at]gmail[dot]com

I dislike and disagree with the terms ‘race’ and ‘racism’. The idea of race is not based on any form of truth; it’s based on wrong science and false philosophies. The term ‘racism’ is loaded and people go on the attack or the defensive with it. It’s not very helpful if you’re trying to have a constructive discussion.

I’m going to use them anyway because we use them in our conversations, don’t get bogged down on the terminology.

What if we stopped making assumptions and asked questions?

What if we let go of our fear and embraced curiosity?

Share this with your friends and look out for more posts like this!

This article was originally posted on http://www.realmukoko.wordpress.com. No copying, remixing or republishing without permission of the editor. Subscribe to the blog by email to get latest posts straight to your inbox!

55 Ways To Be On Your Worst Behaviour When Drunk

30% of South Africans have an alcohol problem or are on the verge of having one.

60% of road traffic accidents in South Africa are a result of someone driving under the influence of alcohol.

In South Africa, the penalty for driving under the influence is a maximum of R120,000 or 6 years in jail for drunk driving. You could also have your licence suspended.

We see the effect of alcohol abuse next door and on the news. We hear stories of crimes like murder, rape and domestic violence that are linked to excessive alcohol consumption. A lot of what shocks us is the things that seem distant- the gruesome, movie style incidents.

But what about the things that are happening every day? The barefoot student singing to himself as he walks up to his res on campus. The young woman puking behind the tree. The funny, the dumb, the what-in-the-world-were-you-thinking kind of stuff. I have a list of the craziest things that people do when they’re drunk and they’ll probably make you laugh. But afterwards, let’s have a serious conversation. All of these are drawn from real life.

How to be on your worst behaviour:

#1 Drunk text your mom. Depending on what your parents are like, they will do one of three things: suspend any financial support they’re giving you; tell you that they and their church are praying and fasting for your deliverance; or order you to come home immediately. Whatever happens, this is guaranteed to shatter their illusion that you still drink apple juice out of sippy cups at parties.

#2 Apologise for apartheid, colonialism and slavery. If I had a rand for every time a white guy said sorry, told me he loved me and then tried to hug and kiss me, I wouldn’t need to fake being a sign language interpreter for a living. As mushy as one may feel on the inside, a drunken moment is not a Truth and Reconciliation Commission moment. No washing of feet, no reciting of Mandela or MLK quotes and no hugging of black people.

#3 Steal a flag. Flags billowing in the wing have a way of stirring up nationalistic feelings in one’s breast but as heroic as it may sound, climbing up the pole to take down your symbol of national pride is not a good idea. Just ask the guy who fell from a height of 5m and broke his femur.

#4 Laminate a raw egg. In case you were thinking of trying this, it didn’t work. Instead, this genius ended up with a smoking laminating machine and probably a letter of termination with a bill for the cost of replacing the laminator attached. What an egg-noramous.

#5 Go night canoeing. One’s sense of coordination is so messed up that your canoe is guaranteed to capsize and send you down the river. Boating is even more dangerous. People have died after they lost control of the boat and it capsized and drowned them.

#6 Go swimming. This is a trap that most black people are not in danger of falling into. Go to any black party and you notice that the people are by a pool or the beach, maybe even wearing their swimsuits, but they have no intention of entering the water. Alcohol (or weaves or relaxed hair or eyebrows that have been drawn on) and water do not mix well. They are wise.

#7 Bargain for cheaper or free food. In my university days it was not uncommon to see an inebriated individual trying to hustle a boerwoers roll from the woman who sold them just outside the pub. In exchange they’d promise something outlandish like one of their kidneys or an executive job in their dad’s multimillion rand company. The munchies will make you desperate.

#8 Phone your boss. One is especially at risk of this if their boss’s number is the last received one. Here’s how it would go: You’ve just been for an interview for your dream job and a dream salary. Your future boss phones to tell you that you got the gig. You’re over the moon. You go out for a drink to celebrate. Your phone is a touch screen. You pocket dial her number. She knows it’s you and can only hear dubstep and shouting. It’s 2AM. This happened to a real person in real life. The guy is still a bartender.

#9 Phone the police. You and your buddies may think it’s funny to phone the popo to report a crime that you made up but this kind of thing could land you a criminal record. It won’t be so funny when you’re appearing before a judge to explain your sense of humour. It’s also just ignorant and selfish considering the fact that they’re real crimes going on in your city that need police attention.

#10 Play with fire. In the best case scenario, you could burn your finger trying to light a fire. Worst case, you could end up in casualty with the stench of what used to be your Brazilian weave. Don’t use your lighter as a torch, don’t light a candle for an evening bath. The consequences could be fatal.

#11 Smoke. Mixing your alcohol with a bit of weed is fun,right? Wrong. It could make you really sick (think nausea and vomiting) or it could lead to a psychotic break (this paranoia and severe anxiety). Do your research. Just because your best friend is doing it and she’s okay, doesn’t mean it’ll have the same effect on you. There are people who have even fallen asleep and set their own beds alight.

#12 Did your makeup. Do this if you’re going for the Joker in Batman look.

#13 Shave your eyebrows off completely. Some humans actually shave their eyebrows off only to draw them back on again in a completely sober state, others do it drunk. The sober ones are a separate issue for another day. If you are of the drunken variety then make sure you have an explanation for when people ask you why you look like Voldemort.

#14 Take selfies with your expensive smartphone that you’re still paying for. So you just imported the iPhone 6 (mailed straight from the US) and you thought it would be cool to whip it out and take a few cute selfies. The selfies aren’t the issue, you drunken state is. You’re going to leave it on a table somewhere or someone will lift it off you and you’ll wish you’d carried your Nokia 3310 with it’s green screen.

#15 Attempt to cook Sunday lunch. In the heat of inspiration and intense hunger, some have almost burnt their houses down.

#16 Experiment with extreme sports. Pretty ordinary things become extreme sports when your judgement is impaired. Don’t dive, the ground is closer than you think. Don’t jump over fences or walls, the other leg is heavier than you think. Don’t let your friend punch you in the stomach, you’re not as invincible as you think.

#17 Urinate in public. This is my pet peeve. It’s not only disgusting… In fact, it’s just disgusting. Qha.

#18 Go on a long distance trip. If you’ve ever been on a trip with a group of drunk people (or worse sat next to one), you know the agony of hoping that each next stop is theirs. Drunks are entertaining until they start to grate on your nerves. When you realise that they’re not getting off any time soon you pray that they fall asleep.

#19 Take a bath. When you’re in an altered state of mind, the bathroom is the most dangerous place to be in, a bucket of water can drown you. The floor is slippery so there’s a high chance of gravity working against you. You could slip, fall in the shower, break your tooth and end up having to wear a gold veneer for the rest of your life.

#20 Updated their Twitter/ Facebook status. The temptation to go onto social media to air your joys, frustration and intellectual revelations is especially strong during these times. Many people go on rants about why they hate their ex or love their girlfriend or why the world has no meaning. It’s always embarrassing for everyone involved and deleting posts can’t undo the damage done.

#21 Tan. Until my varsity years I had no idea what a big thing tanning was for some white people. Thankfully I had a kind friend to explain it all to me. The main danger with tanning is this: you will probably fall asleep under the delicious sun. A few hours later you will wake up with a severe case of heatstroke and an undesirable skin tone. Either the Donatella Versace Orange or the Manchester United red. Neither of them are a good look.

#22 Cycled/ skated/ ran down a hill and stopped. Eventually. Predictably, there was a thorn bush waiting to receive them at the bottom of the hill. If you’re lucky, you might topple over and end with a painful hip and angry red scratches on your hands, side and face that have tiny black tar particles embedded in them. Ouch.

#23 Watch a romantic comedy. Rom Coms seem to be the go-to thing when drinking is induced by heartbreak. The inevitable consequence of you watching Maid in Manhattan is calling one of your exes. Stick to Rambo!

#24 Turn the heater on. I once left a heater on and woke up to my blanket being on fire. I wasn’t even drinking on that night. Don’t do it. You could end up with serious burns or worse, you could burn to death.

#25 Publicly confess your undying love to someone. They call it Dutch courage, I call it the-worst-tactic-ever. It never works. At best, he or she will pity you and say something like, "Aw, thanks." Chances are that when you feel recover you will be so embarrassed that you won’t have the guts to approach them again. Epic fail.

#26 Write a wake up note. Here’s the brilliant logic , "I won’t set my alarm. Instead I’ll write a note that says WAKE UP AT 630 and viola! It will happen." Huh?! Yes, people do this. Weirdly, sometimes it works. Most of the time though, you wake up with a splitting headache, your supervisor on the other end of the line and a half chewed piece of paper that you tried to eat last night.

#27 Submit your thesis to your supervisor. Alcohol induced intellectual philosophising may be entertaining to your audience but will be detrimental to your degree. While you’re at it, why not do your plagiarism check through turntup.com instead of turnitin?

#28 Babysit. This should go without saying and yet there are people out there who decide that a house full of minors is the best place to indulge in their brew of choice. Grow up!

#29 Write a Billboard #1. This guy wrote a song called We Like to Party. Here’s how it went: "We, like, to party. We like, we like to party. We, like, to party. We like, we like to party." I guess Drunk In Love beat it to the top spot.

#30 Break into your house. One unintended consequence of drunken revelling is that it increases one’s chances of leaving your keys in some unknown place. And because your dazzling new iPhone got stolen at the club you can’t phone that 24 hour locksmith. So you break and enter instead. Your landlord won’t like you very much.

#31 Break into someone else’s house. See you in court buddy.

#32 Hitchhike. Getting lifts from strangers is risky in itself. Doing it drunk is a 100% riskier. Jokes aside, this is really dangerous, especially if you’re a woman getting a lift from a group of strange men.

#33 Shop for groceries. Supermarkets and drunk people don’t mix well. There’s the guy who ate two rolls of bread dough and paid for it on his way out. If all goes well you’ll just leave with a trolley of things you don’t want. If you forget to pay at the till, things will go horribly pear shaped for you.

#34 Get a tattoo. Save yourself the trouble of having to explain that it’s not an anteater on your arm but a springbok. What may seem like a perfectly good idea at 1am in the morning could turn out to be the worst mistake you’ve ever paid for.

#35 Get a piercing in a strange place. Again, piercings in a back room always seem like a great idea after you’ve downed a few glasses. The risk of infection from unsterilized instruments doesn’t actually cross your mind. Think wounds oozing yellow pus.

#36 Lead worship the morning after the night before. Church should be a place where everyone is welcome – drunk, sober or hungover, but if a Joyous Celebration song is sounding more like Tracy Chapman on a Sunday morning then it’s time to check if someone is filled with another kind of spirit.

#37 Withdraw cash from the ATM. In general, one’s rule of thumb should be not to perform any financial transactions except on a cash basis. ATMs are tricky things because you could very well end up adding an extra zero and blowing your entire salary in one night. Also, drunk people are targets for criminals.

#38 Run across a rugby field. This is a pretty routine thing. If you’re a member of the rugby team. Not when you’re a spectator, it’s 15 minutes before the end of the match and you are stark naked.

#39 Go for a nice evening walk in the park. This is Africa, you will get mugged or worse, get picked up by the police for loitering. I’ve heard of people who walked as far as 15km and got found passed out somewhere in a faraway field.

#40 Pay your bills. Some people are so efficient when they’re drunk that they get stuff done on their to do list that they procrastinate on when they’re sober. My question is, How do you have the presence of mind to remember all those passwords and beneficiaries? Wonders never cease.

#41 Run into a wall of people. In junior school we played a game called ‘Landrover’ that involved one person running through a wall of people with their arms interlinked. If you managed to break through to the other side, you got a point and a chance to do it again. If you failed, you had to join the chain and form part of the wall. Win or lose you always ended up with intense neck pain and a concussion. We were 12 and sober, I don’t know why we did that to ourselves. Or why this made the list.

#42 Try to crowd surf. Be warned, unless you’re a celebrity or a revolutionary who has just liberated her people from 100 years of bondage, people aren’t going to bear you up in their arms. Don’t test my hypothesis, you will fall.

#43 Play 30 seconds. 30 seconds is not a game, it is war. But when people are intoxicated, it is hilarious to listen to them try to describe or answer the simplest things.

#44 Go for a job interview. This is a true story: a man went to an interview after a night out, without showering or brushing his teeth. He knew he smelt of booze so looked around the reception for something to mask the smell. The first thing he saw was a bottle of sanitizer. Did he resign himself to his fate? No. He put some on his face and hands, and just as he was putting the final touches by squirting some into his mouth, the CEO walked.

#45 Challenge your nemesis to a fight. If you’ve unthinkingly done this, here is your plan of action. Firstly, ask yourself why you haven’t been able to do this in a sober state of mind. Once you’ve established the fact that it’s because his hands are double the size of your head, step away slowly with your hands up and run.

#46 Participate in an auction. Sometimes you go to corporate or gala events where they’ll have an auction to raise money. If you plan on drinking at one of these, ensure that you have a chaperone to monitor your behaviour. If you don’t, you’ll end up like the guy who began to bid for a random pearl necklace and won. He spent thousands of dollars on something he’ll never use.

#47 Propose. Marriage is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make and you better make it with all of your faculties intact. If you suddenly realise what you’re doing just before you say the words but you’re already on bended knee, pretend that you’re tying your shoelaces. If it’s a hot summer’s night and you’re wearing flip flops, tell them you lost a contact. If your vision is 20/20… Well, you’re on your own chap.

#48 Say yes. It doesn’t matter how perfect the moment seems, ignore the full moon, the stars and Luther Vandross tune playing in your head. Don’t say yes. Smile sweetly and help them to their feet. The next day, consider reevaluating your relationship because, Are you sure you want the father of your children to be a drunkard?

#49 Dance on a table. Those women made it look cool on Coyote Ugly. But you’re not them. The higher you are, the harder you fall, the harder you fall, the higher the chances of you breaking your collarbone. And just embarrassing yourself nje.

#50 Dance. Period. Especially if you don’t have the courage to dance when you’re sober. If your friends have told you never to dance then don’t do it.

#51 Shave. This one applies to both men and women. Sharp objects in general should not be handled at all. Are you still on the shaving eyebrows tip? Shame on you!

#52 Juggle knives. Especially if you’re the kind of person who watches the Black Belt channel in the hours of the morning. Ninja moves aren’t as easy as they look.

#53 Reenact WWE wrestling scenes. When the disclaimer says that these are trained professionals and you shouldn’t try this at home or anywhere else, believe them. Stick to watching it on TV and ‘air imitating’ the moves.

#54 Chop your hair off. A guy in my class actually did this. He showed up one morning with one side of his head shaved off completely because he didn’t have time to fix it before class. Oh, dear. Don’t be the girl who chops off the hair you’ve been lovingly growing for 5 years

#55 Do a best man’s speech. A good wedding speech makes you laugh and cry and slightly embarrasses the couple. A drunken wedding speech makes everyone feel so awkward that someone spontaneously breaks out into a Zulu wedding song at a Tswana wedding. It’s that bad.

What’s the moral of the story?

Anything that can be used can also be abused. Getting drunk out of your mind is abuse. It’s funny now. Now when you’re in university or you’re a bachelor. Now when you’re acting out but not dealing with your inner demons.

It won’t be funny when you can’t deal with your emotional issues because you’ve been stuffing them down with booze. It won’t be funny when you get fired because you’re slacking at work. Nope, it won’t be funny when you became the father or mother you vowed you wouldn’t become.

Do you think you might have a problem?

People say, "I know my limit." but the truth is that few of us actually do. Do you ever crave a drink? Do you feel like you can’t get through the day without a drink? Are you repeatedly getting so drunk that you don’t know yourself? Take this test to figure out where you’re at. If you have an alcohol addiction or are on your way, then you should look into how to overcome it.

Is alcohol wrong?

Alcohol socially acceptable drink, it was in Jesus’ Day, it still is today. Alcohol is a drink that is used and often abused. In fact, the abuse of alcohol goes all the way back to the days of Guinness Genesis. In Genesis 9, Noah got so drunk in his tent that he exposed himself to his children. We see that excessive consumption of alcohol can lead ‘good’ people to do bad things.

If you’re a Christian, then note this: the issue is idolatry. The problem is when we use alcohol to help us deal with our issues: pain, loneliness, depression, stress, shyness, [insert your issue]. The problem is when instead of bringing our issues to God, we try and solve them by ourselves. You know something is an idol when it starts to master you and you can’t resist it. Be honest with yourself and get the help you need.

Here’s that test in any of the official South African languages that you want to take it in.

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SOURCES:

Stats SA website.

No Child Dreams of Being a Domestic Worker When They Grow Up

I’m an optimist.

I have hope. If there’s an opportunity to look at something humorously, I’ll take it. That’s why I wrote 16 Things Black People Wish They Could Explain To Their White Friends. It’s good not to take ourselves too seriously.

But every optimist needs to cross over to the dark side now and again. Every optimist needs to stop and realise that, "Whoa! The world is really, really messed up!" Every optimist needs to turn off the Kardashians and get a dose of reality.

On a long distance bus ride from Johannesburg I eavesdropped on a conversation between two women sitting behind me. Both of them were well dressed black women. They were gossiping about some of the other passengers, talking about their families and work.

One of them was a domestic worker. She spoke fondly about the little white babies who called her Mama and her white "Mrs" who loved pap. And how the little boy who adored her interrogated her about who she was: "Are you my aunt? No, you can’t be my aunt because you’re black!"

I chuckled inwardly.

And then reality struck: this forty-something year old woman sitting behind me was a domestic worker. She probably didn’t finish high school. She never went to university or had the opportunity to choose a career. She spends most of her days with little ones who call her "Mama" but aren’t her children. Hers would be waiting for her at home after work. But first she needs to take a long taxi ride home from the leafy North to the poorer South.

She’ll shout, After robot!, hop of the taxi and walk home briskly, clutching her handbag tightly to her side because the street is dark. It’s the middle of winter and the power’s out. The children will be waiting, her oldest girl will have supper ready for the family, and her little boy will be in for a scolding because he hasn’t polished his school shoes. She’ll check their homework, finish evening chores, take a quick bath and collapse into bed. Exhausted. Tomorrow morning she’ll hug them goodbye before sunrise.

Another day’s work.

No child dreams of being a domestic worker when they grow up. Or a car guard. Or a bathroom cleaner at Rosebank Mall. Little girls dream of being doctors and pilots and social workers. Little boys want to be lawyers and musicians and engineers. But most of them will fail high school or get through by the skin of their teeth.

They’ll never pursue a diploma or degree or even technical training. The pilot will be a car guard; the engineer a cleaner; and the doctor a domestic worker. Their dreams will be extinguished by the harsh reality of a poor education system and economic inequality.

I’m still an optimist.

Because there is dignity in all work. The idea of ‘menial’ jobs is a false because all work is worthy of respect. My grandmother and that woman on the bus, the people you call your ‘maid’ or ‘Mama’- they do important work. And the fact that their careers were constrained by their circumstances doesn’t change the fact that their work matters.

I still have hope.

Because there is a man in Soshanguve who was born into poverty. So poor that he couldn’t stay in school and became a gardener instead. That same man worked his job and raised enough money to finish school, study towards a Bachelor of Arts, his Masters and finally his PhD. Read Fannie Sebola’s story and be inspired!

Crazy,right?

Not if you’re an optimist. Not if you have hope.

I love your comments, keep them coming!

Subscibe to this blog by email! Want to continue this conversation? Email Zola at realmukoko[at]gmail[dot]com

10 Things Every Human Must Understand About Growing Up In a Black Home

My policy: No reblogging or reproduction without
my consent. Contact Shula on realmukoko[at]
gmail[dot]com

In my post 16 Things Black People Wish They Could Explain To Their White Friends I talked about things that black folks do differently. I think those differences have a lot to do with the way we’ve been raised. Here’s a post that will give you a little bit of insight into what it’s like to be raised in a black home.

Of course, every black person has been raised differently so these things won’t apply to everyone! What you have to understand, as a child in a black household you have no rights. There is no Constitution. That’s the first rule of engagement.

Or rather, let me say you have no rights except for the ones your parents choose to endow on you. The right to education? Black parents will give their blood, sweat and tears to make sure you have the best education they can afford. The right to healthcare, food and water? Standard, you got it.

That was their idea of rights.

As a child you knew that for as long as you were in your parents’ house, the idea that you had full “rights” wasn’t going to fly. Here’s what I mean:

#1 The right to equality. Your parents didn’t care if you were 4 or 24, equality with your them was not an option. To this day, even though you’re making your own money and do your own thing, it’s still hard for you not to defer to their demands.

#2 The right to freedom and security of person, which includes the right not to be deprived of freedom arbitrarily. Being a teenager in a black household felt a lot like being a prisoner. You said you wanted to go to the party, your mom said no. You said you were going anyway, she said you know where the door is and if you walk through it you better not be coming back. Ever. Conversation closed.

#3 The right to privacy. From a very young age you reconcile yourself to the fact that privacy and personal space is not a value. You caught your mom going through your diary once. Relatives invaded the house without warning and you were forcibly evicted from your room. No one cared that it was ‘your’ space.

#4 Freedom of religion, belief and opinion. Opinions for who?! When you start earning your own doe you can buy the right to an opinion. As for religion, you were more terrified of your mother’s wrath than God’s so you’d be up early for church on Sunday morning, in your Sunday best, singing those hymns like you meant it. Oh, you don’t believe in venerating the ancestors? Let’s not even go there.

#5 The right to life. Your mother never hesitated to remind you that she brought you into this world and could take you out of it (with that look in her eye).

#6 Freedom of expression. The idea of ‘expressing yourself’ was something you only saw on YoTV. As for you and your house, children were there to be seen and not heard.

#7 Freedom of association. You remember living in fear of your mother catching you talking to that boy on the corner. Woe betide you if this happened, you didn’t even want to find out what the consequences would be.

#8 Freedom of trade, occupation and profession.
1 Law
2 Accounting
3 Medicine
This is what you told your parents you’d be putting on your university application. Actually you’d chosen Politics, Drama and English but you couldn’t tell them because to them politics isn’t a profession, drama is a movie genre and English is a language that people speak not study. You waited until the middle of your second year to tell them that you were studying Drama. It’s that deep.

#9 The right to property. You had to share everything. When you were a child the things that you were possessive over were things like sweets and toys. Forget that. When you cousin sisters and cousin brothers visited, you knew that you had to share those things and your parents weren’t interested in your complaints.

#10 Right to housing. Being in that house was a privilege, not a right and they would remind you every chance they got. You didn’t get gold stars for doing the dishes, polishing the floor or helping with supper, it was expected. If someone gave you a dollar for every time that you heard the words, AS LONG AS YOU ARE UNDER MY ROOF and I’m paying the bills… You would be a millionaire.

We learned so many things from our parents, especially the importance of respect, love and discipline. While our parents made many mistakes, we honour them for being there for us and bringing us this far! Ours is a different generation and we will probably do things differently but we salute our parents for who they are and who they made us.

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Honey love,
Shula
xoxo

Editor’s note:
This post does not condone the abuse of children or anyone else. If you think it does you’re missing the point!