“We all know that friend who maximises on what I like to call the “Ethnicity Competition”: clinging onto distant relatives from more “exotic” (and most likely more white) origins as a way of bolstering their self worth. They fall victim to the sick belief that it somehow makes you special, when in reality it is the total opposite. There is nothing special about being reduced to an ethnic fraction.
“In my own experiences I can’t help but notice the disappointment on people’s faces when I tell them I’m “just” Nigerian and English. At first I used to laugh along, boosted by their ‘compliments’ that I don’t look “typically Nigerian”. Was that shame or guilt at not being “exotic” enough to satisfy their subconscious fetishes? I’ve had boys tell me they’ve “always wanted a mixed race girlfriend”, as if my heritage somehow make me, or even more disturbingly, my partner more superior.
“Hearing people dash backhanded compliments like “You’re pretty for a black girl” or “You’re one of the hottest black girls I know” as if we, as women of colour, are beautiful IN SPITE of our blackness, rather than BECAUSE of it.
“So I’m tired of brainwashed, self loathing fools like Raven Simone denouncing their heritage. I’m tired of having to be overly nice so people don’t think I have a superiority complex due to the fact that my parents don’t share the same skin colour. And I am so so so tired of mixed and black girls making excuses for their blackness because, for example, their afro hair doesn’t fall in line with other people’s skewed standards of “good hair”. I refuse to accept being ‘exotic’ as the new white. The media’s pathetic attempt at inclusion has still left WoC feeling inadequate when they don’t fit the mould of ethnic diversity.
“Don’t get me wrong, I am all for multiculturalism, but for the exact opposite reasons. Mixing ethnicities and cultures should be about acceptance and understanding, not fetishisation and exclusion.”
Photo credit: Paula Akpan
Editing credit: Ming Au