Tag Archive: people of colour

How to be a better ally text

When i was looking for an image to reflect the idea of becoming an Ally i found this poster and really liked it. Because the question that i am wrestling with at the moment is just that: How to Be a Better Ally, specifically when it comes to matters of Race.

And possibly one of the biggest pieces of this puzzle is that the answer should not have to come from people of colour. Continue reading

Let’s crank this thing up a notch. Two articles that have caught my attention recently [Thankx Tsholofelo for the first one] and have a lot to say in this Race conversation that we’ve started and are engaging with each other on [although am still hoping to see more of that].

These feel like they could be part of the ‘can of worms’ and ‘Pandora’s Box’ i was promised [threatened with?] when i said that i was going to start a conversation about Race on my blog, which thus far feels like it hasn’t happened. But i have this idea that a lot of people who are a greater part of the problem, if i could even get them to read these two articles, would easily dismiss them.

The only problem is that there is so much truth in each one. And it is truth that white people [who have traditionally or historically been the dominant race group in both Americaland and South Africa] really could do well with hearing, and trying to understand.

I have only included snippets from each article in this post, so do yourselves a favour and go and read the whole article and then come back here and share your thoughts, whatever they may be.

The first is an article titled, Racism 2.0: Living in a post-racial America by Zach Freshley [the lines i have quoted are not one section but rather different thoughts i have pulled out from different places in the article]

If I had a dime for every time I’ve been called “the whitest black guy I know”, I could pay off the national debt. Ok, not really, but you get the point.

That HAS to be one of the most offensive things someone can say to a black person i imagine? Black friends help me out? And the worst is, i have this strong inherent feeling whispering to me from some distant memory that i have probably said that to someone before. Completely not meant offensively. i dunno, am i over-reacting? today it just feels really unkind…

Wrong. Racism is sneaky nowadays. It lurks in our conversations. It slips its way into the way we interact with people of different races. It embeds itself into the way we think. It’s not blatant and it’s not obvious. And most times, it’s not even intentional. But its subtlety is exactly what makes it so dangerous.

People say things like this all the time and it drives me crazy. You take one look at the amount of melanin in my skin and assume that you know everything about me. You assume you know the type of music I listen to. You assume you know how I should dress. You think you know all these things because you don’t see me as a unique human being. You see me as a category. You see me as a box to be checked on the census form.

And while I don’t apologize for anything I’ve said, I don’t want you to read this as a white person and feel like I’m attacking you. Because I’m not. I just want to let you know how we as minorities feel. I wanted to give you a small taste of what I go through on a daily basis. Not to elicit sympathy. Not to make you feel like a terrible person. I just want you to think. I want you to think about the way you treat people you don’t even know simply because they have a different shade of skin than you do. I don’t want you to treat me any differently as a person because I’m black. I don’t want you to see the color of my skin and make judgment calls on who I am because of it. I don’t want to be Black Zach. I want to be Zach who happens to be black. And if I can get you thinking about that distinction and how it applies in your life, then I’ve succeeded.

the second article is one that has been doing the round on the book of facements and it is titled 18 things white people seem to not understand [because, White Privilege by Macy Sto. Domingo and i think there was maybe one i didn’t agree with, but the rest are so true [and i only came to realise, see or believe a bunch of them since living in Philly and now Oakland where we have witnessed them first and second hand to be true]. Again, go and read the full list, but here is a taste…

2. White Privilege is being able to watch a movie, read a book and open the front page of a newspaper and see yourself and your race widely represented and spoken for.

4 White Privilege is living in a world where you are taught that people with your skin tone hold the standard for beauty.

9 White Privilege is not having your name turned into an easier-to-say Anglo-Saxon name.

10. White Privilege is being able to fight racism one day, then ignore it the next.

14. White Privilege is being pulled over or taken aside and knowing that you are not being singled out because of your race/colour.

15. White Privilege is not having to teach your children to be aware of systematic racism for their own protection.

It is quite easy and maybe tempting to dismiss some of these things, either by denying that they are true at all or by throwing out a ‘Can’t we just be done with this all and move on?’ statement which refuses to admit and own up to the reality that some people face. White privilege for the most part, with people i know at least, is not something we necessarily have chosen, but rather something we need to realise we have simply by having been born white in the country we were born in. I encourage you to read through both of these articles with fresh eyes, really seeking to hear the truths that are being shared. The come back here and let’s engage in some conversation.

How does reading that make you feel? 

mymind[To jump back to the start of this conversation on Race, click here]

my friend Tsholo had a bit of a p.s. to her first share on racism and i felt like it warranted a post of its own so it didn’t get lost – this is a 47 minute video but i encourage you to make some time and watch it because it is so powerful. i am a little scared that the choir will get it and everyone else will make excuses so try and watch it with an open mind, especially if you are white and don’t think you are racist.

Tsholo: I watched this video and the saddest part for me, the part that made me cry, was when the biracial guy talked about how he had learned to assimilate into whiteness so that his blackness wouldn’t hold him back, but no matter how close to whiteness he got, he still had that fear that his blackness would cause him to be judged negatively…whether it’s all in his head or not, it is real for him:


[To continue to the next post by Mhlengi Mpongose on Race, click here]

[To return to the beginning of this series, click here]


i wasn’t originally thinking of this as a Taboo Topic topic.

but then when i started looking on the book of faces for people to write for me and had friends using terms like ‘can of worms’ and ‘Pandora’s Box’ to describe what i was suggesting, it made me wonder if that is not exactly where it needs to go.

is no one speaking about this?

having lived in Americaland for the last three years [in diverse and mixed culture neighborhoods, more so than ever back home i think] and been somewhat aware of some of the bigger questions of race over here in terms of issues such as mass incarceration, stand your ground, the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman trial and more this feels like it is as relevant over here as it is back home.

being a white, heterosexual, able-bodied, right-handed, male i pretty much fit into every box of privilege possible [except perhaps for my dreads, they help me lose a little ground, thank you dreads] but we can’t deal with them all here so let’s start with white and we can move on from there.

i certainly did not start apartheid or have anything directly to do with enforcing it, but i certainly benefited from it [while also losing so much because of it in the greater scheme of things] and as much as i’d just like the idea of that to be over or dealt with or forgotten so that we can “just move on people”, i don’t believe that is the solution. all of us need to truly own our past so that together we can walk more strongly [and hopefully more united…ly?] into our collective future.

Identity and What makes me me – a collection of stories from a variety of people with a race-related theme to them.

Race in South Africa: Moving Towards a truly Rainbow Nation: Some thoughts on first steps for white people from some black people i have met.

What I would like my white friends to hear/know/consider – i asked some friends of mine who are not white to share with us some things they’d like us to hear

Some thoughts i [and others] had on White Privilege – Such an important part of the conversation and a difficult one for whites to seem to admit to or even realise.

Dear Bloggers of Undetermined Colour – Thoughts and reflections on some Heritage Day vs Braai Day posts…

Mixed Race and Culture connections – What happens when two worlds meet? Stories from mixed race/culture relationships…

I will not apologise for my white privilege – a compilation of some of the thoughts being expressed out of Princeton this week

The Wisdom of Others when it comes to conversations about Race – Three more helpful perspectives from the USA relating to different crucial aspects of this conversation.

Exploring White Privilege – some helpful outside perspective thoughts on South Africa from someone studying these things

Don’t strive to be Colourblind, work towards being Colour Brave – with reference to a TED talk by Mellody Hobson

The Power of Words – Sometimes the words or the questions we speak can have such a powerful effect.

The Truth hiding behind the Humour – comedian Hari Kodabolu shares some insights on race and particularly ‘the other’

Some thoughts from the Internet – on Post-Racial America and White Privilege

With White Power comes Great Fragility – Why is it that white people tend to freak out around the race conversation?


i don’t know if this is the right place to begin this conversation on race, but it is a place and so will hopefully get the ball rolling and then we can see where it goes from there.

i think we would be foolish to believe that this conversation will be easy or comfortable all the way through – i am hoping we will be able to get to a place where people can be really honest [maybe in a raw and rough and edgy in-your-face kind of way] even if it does not feel good to hear and i am desperately hoping that we will really make an effort to listen. much grace and love and forgiveness and patience is going to be needed and i believe i know some really quality people who will be able to bring all of that to the table.

the place i have chosen to start this conversation [well, this is my second go at this, my first attempt a few months ago was an epic fail and so hopefully this question will go down better] is by asking the question to my friends who are not white, ‘What would you like your white friends to know/hear/be aware of?’ and i am hoping that a number of you will email me at brettfish@hotmail.com if you have something to say on this…

Sarona Reddy shares one Indian woman’s perspective on some aspects of race

Tsholofelo Mpuru speaks into the issue of white privilege and more

Mhlengi Mpungose shares one black man’s perspective on some of the fears and prejudices black people face

Hulisani Khorombi’s shares some of her story and specifically her take on the term ‘Coconut’

 Siki Dlanga speaks about the idea of ‘the better black’ 

Tshego Motiang shares some incredible insights about the need for open communication

Tasha Melissa Govender speaks about Indian accents and why you shouldn’t ask her to cook you some spicy food and more

Juliet Paulse talks about having her own racism exposed and pursuing deeper relationships with white people

%d bloggers like this: