Last week, someone retweeted some ridiculousness into my Twitter feed. No need for me to set it up, take a look at the nonsense:
THIS CAN’T BE LIFE.
Except it is life. Depressing, still goes on, tiring, unnecessary, run-of-the-mill life. It seems natural, however wrong, that humans are programmed to seek similarities and by extension, differences. Even when they are the stupidest, headdesk-inducing, most asinine differences, like complexion.
As a child in Nigeria, I got to accompany my dad on a lot of his work outings. One such time, I was offered a refreshment and asked for a Coke. Laughing, the woman who’d offered me the drink joked, “Are you sure? Coke makes you darker!” I was a fairly confident child, and knew that my complexion was an ultimately irrelevant aspect of who I was. Even so, I changed my order – I switched to a Fanta. It would not be the only time. I’ve written briefly about skin-lightening in the past, so I won’t go on about it again, but how depressing is it that this kind of silliness – however tongue in cheek, as I’m sure the organisers will label it – still exists?
When I was at secondary school in east London in the 90s, there were cliques of girls based on where they and their parents were from. No, I didn’t go to the high school from West Side Story, and we didn’t have ‘click and dance’ fights after class. But there were clear lines – the Caribbean girls existed in an obvious and separate group to the African girls. It wasn’t exactly spitting and Molotov cocktails across barbed wire, but I remember the worst insult you could lob at someone was “Why are you behaving like a Jamaican?” if they were African and vice versa. We were 15 – a modicum of idiocy is still allowed at that age, but I’ve seen stuff like this in my adult years too; I’ve seen a flyer for a party for which the theme was Africans vs. Caribbeans. Seriously? Seriously.
I’m tired. Seeing that poster has enfeebled me. Goodbye for a while, cruel internet.
ETA 5.22pm: The event for which the flyer was created has been cancelled. Ah, the power of internet rage!