!Colour Does Matter by Tanimomo Oluseun (TPoM)
Dear There-is-only-one-race-the-human-race White Liberal,
Don’t say there is no colour line because there is. Colour didn’t go with the 20th century. Colour still matters.
It matters in the bus: when white people decide to stand in their numbers in a crowded bus than to occupy an empty space beside a black person. Colour matters when your not-so-young academic mentor, a Doctor is asked if he is still a doctoral student. You see, it seems hard to believe someone that young can be a Dr. and a lecturer.
So you see, unfortunately, colour still matters, besides you were not there when he came to us, that proud white boy. He came to us, my friend and me, to ask if I was a Christian or that religion which Africans practise. No, he didn’t say it exactly that way, he wasn’t that smart; instead, when he wanted to say “that religion”, he waved his hands like a magician conjuring some magical things, he also had no word but I read the contempt and derision all over his face. That religion, we, Africans spill human blood to appease our Gods for. Or something like that, he must have thought. Something he must have fictionized after reading or seeing one of those TV progs where the African story starts media res. No airports, no roads, nothing, only jungles: the stories start and end in the African Jungle! Oh, they love the Serengeti!
It was also him, that boy, who asked me if I had watched the Lion King, I told him no because by then I had had an epiphany, a realization of his foolishness decorated with salad cream and icing. So, he wondered how bad the educational system in Africa was because I hadn’t watched “Lion King.” But I was the gentle one, the phlegmatic who soaks bullshit up like a sponge but my friend wasn’t (still isn’t) she gave it to him hard, fast and smart like Okonkwo gives his opponent (by the way have you read Things Fall Apart? Imagine my autocorrect just underlined Okonkwo! Sacrilege! By now, Okonkwo should be a “standard” word, and you say colour doesn’t matter?). She called him ignorant and told him to read more.
Then he told us the story of his girlfriend’s African flatmate who still fries banana in the 21st century. Let me tell you why this matters, “Africans” are close to monkeys, monkeys like bananas you know? So it does matter if there is a German word for plantain – Kochbanane, he didn’t bother to think. So, this his girlfriend’s African flatmate loves banana so much she even fries it in the 21st century! What other way is there to describe an innocent act like frying plantain as primitive if not by placing it in a century that is not this present one. I can write a whole paper on this!
Then imagine that every time I write an essay, I have to check if Smith, Derrida, Kant, Descartes etc. agree or said something about it. I must find a way to inject them into what I write before it looks “theorish.” Imagine reading my essay without any of those guys, no Greek mythology and the likes. You see?!
All these are through my eyes, and I’m gentle and introverted o, I allow things to pass I even rarely talk in class, I instead think about my crush and I under the waters of Erin Ijesa. I don’t make many friends too and I really don’t care because I don’t plan to stay in the West for a long time after my education. So if I noticed and experienced these, now think about what many others experience. Ask those who work here about their experiences for a starter.
And by the way, colour bias is not a white-only thing. So, in 2014, while visiting my aunt and cousins in the UK, I decided to go to church on my own. I charged my Oyster card with 10Pounds on what I had, I don’t like embarrassment. Unbeknownst to me, Oyster cards can’t take you round London. At the Dartford station, it was clearly written on the walls, Oyster cards can’t be used here (or something like that). Long story short, I walked up to two security men, both black, they didn’t ask questions they suspended their brains and started screaming “so you mean you travelled without a valid ticket?”, even though my Oyster card was valid to the station immediately before that. It was a white man that saved me, he advised me to go back one station and I would be fine from there. So why did the black men serve me with a plate of their stupidity marinated in idiocy? Because in their minds, black men don’t buy or use the correct tickets. NB none of my black friends has ever been booked for a ticket offence.
Colour is also the reason some Africans assume that Africans married to whites mostly do so because of papers.
So, my friend, the next time a person says they see colour, don’t tell them it no longer exists and also don’t sermonize about the one human race thing. Just ask them “how?” For that is the sensible thing to do. Sebi you are sensible? Have you eaten?
Editor’s Note: First published on Facebook by, Tabimomo Oluwaseun. This is an unedited publication for the purpose of reaching a wider audience.