Friday, 13 January 2017

Black First, Human Last

This last Christmas my partner's parents had us over. I'm not Christian, and christmas was never a thing for me but it is important to his family so I went along.

In the spirit of more than just exchanging material presents we were asked to mention things about eachother that we love.

Without any hesitation his father said that he loved my curry...

I ignored this, as I have resolved to do when it comes to my partner's family saying racially insensitive things to or about me in my presence.

But this time I could not let it go, it's now been three weeks since Christmas and I still feel this sick hollow feeling when I think about what his father said, and how his father in specific sees me.

See, this is the thing. I have been a part of this family for a couple of years now and even if they don't love and accept me (which I honestly think they do) the least they could do is fork out something lovable about me THAT IS NOT RACE RELATED.

But this is the thing with white people, and I think this is what hit me hardest about that comment:

At the most spiritually significant and poignant holiday of their religion, this man could not see past my race when trying to fork out a quality that he supposedly loves about me. And to him I AM MY RACE. To him I AM CURRY.  And he loves THAT about me.

I lost my humanity in that moment. And that is why it has been eating away at me for three weeks now. It is also why I have to keep reminding myself to stop expecting more from white people. I love my partner, I even love his family, but to them I will always be an other first, and so I have to keep reminding myself that they are white and to not expect more from them. In fact expecting more is setting myself up for disaster.

At this point you may say, "Hold up, the man was just joking. Give him the benefit of the doubt". Well guess what? If the first thing he said he loved were say, my hair, then can you see  how this is the first thing he sees and can't see past. Or my nose, or my skin colour, or any defining feature that is intricately linked to my race. I am these things to him. Jest or no jest, irrespective of whether he loves the damn curry or not, I am the fucking curry to him.

The point is that this poor man does not even realise the extent of his own prejudice, and I sure as hell am not going to point it out to him, I just don't have the energy for that. I suppose my partner will explain it to him at some point. But until then, we will keep living in this world where "good christians" will attempt to celebrate the true spirit of Christmas and celebrate humanity without actually acknowledging the humanity of POC in their direct vicinity.

We will keep living this hypocrisy.