I often want to blog about real things said/done by real people. By real people I mean those I interact with. By real things I mean those things that some people do or say that are so incredibly stupid/outlandish/bizarre that had I not witnessed it I would struggle to believe it possible.
The only thing that stops me is the fact that I have great difficulty in using my non-anonymous blog to effectively bitch/ridicule/put down those I interact with. This is why I am so grateful to Endemol, the creators of Big Brother UK for providing me with real people. Granted the contestants are not people that I interact with but the very nature of the show means that the contestants are chosen because they represent aspects of society. The things they say or do (especially when not aware of the cameras) are things that real people say or do.
Which leads me on to last weekâ€™s Big Brother’s stupid statement, which came from the former teacher and 1996 winner of Most Handsome Man in Italy, Roberto. Roberto began a lengthy monologue on black peopleâ€™s physiological superiority as reason why they excel in sports. At one point, Science, a black contestant joined the conversation briefly but soon left after Roberto began explaining how Scienceâ€™s nostrils were perfect for absorbing oxygen while taking part in sports!! Science gave Roberto one look and walked away in silence
For a split second I was mad at Science for not â€˜fighting for the causeâ€™ and speaking his mind. Then I thought back to the many times when I had been in similar situations. More than once I have been in the company of at least one white person who has turned to me and commented on how better equipped we are at all things physicals, that we are just natural at boxing, running, jumping. Often it is said in a light hearted manner, in the middle of a light hearted social event. In wanting to keep the atmosphere I have found myself looking away and changing topics. I do this not because I lack the words to speak my mind but because such comments are rooted in racist mythology that has been recited too many times. These myths have become so engrained especially in white western minds that it is now considered fact. Many of those who hold these ideas to be true do not even know the origin of these myths and any attempt to set them straight is usually met with accusations of playing the race card.
Of course I could on so many occasions have easily responded by pointing out that no athlete gets by on physical ability alone. To imply that we as black people rely solely on our genetic make up to see us to the finish line undermines the great deal of mental and psychological preparation that our successful athletes have to endure. I know though, that there is no way I could say all this and let it end there.
If I had it my way I would start by pointing out that the slave masters used the very same â€œblackâ€™s are physiologically superiorâ€? argument as they lined up our ancestors along with the mules and oxen for sale into a life of manual labour in the fields. Then again I know that this response shall be met with, “why canâ€™t you guys just move on from that whole slavery thing, I am not responsible for what my ancestors did“.
In an attempt to draw on more recent experiences I would then try and remind them of the many times that they have told me that my brothers were â€˜hung like a horseâ€™ and my sisters were â€˜buck wild in bedâ€™. Letting them see that it is this focus on our physiology that has allowed our sexuality to be constructed as animalistic and dangerous. Undoubtedly there shall be more than one white man who will declare that he would love to have women taking about the huge size of his penis. Possibly even one ‘sexually liberatedâ€™ white woman who shall ask “…and what is so wrong with being called wild in bed?”
Moving away from sex I would highlight the many times that young black students have been pushed away from academics by tutors and career advisors. These same students are encouraged to devote their time to sports, since after all; they shall find it much easier than algebra. Ha! I know that the one person, usually the one with three Oxbridge degrees shall â€˜jokinglyâ€™ comment that s/he “would love that bling lifestyle that those NBA players live” The word â€˜blingâ€™ clearly used to show me that they are down with my lingo.
Getting more pissed off I would have to mention that it is this same crap about our bodies that has led to the production of the Masai Barefoot Technology (sic) shoes. Because, apparently the Maasai physiology is so superior that they never develop back aches and that this trait can be transformed and packaged into an (anti) shoe. This argument shall of course be silenced by happy customers screaming at me “but the shoes work, my back doesnâ€™t hurt anymore!”
There are no genetic characteristics possessed by all Blacks but not by non- Blacks; similarly, there is no gene or cluster of genes common to all Whites but not to non-Whites. [Full text here]
Though I can easily predict that at least one person will accuse me of being elitist because I have chosen to rely on texts that the â€˜common manâ€™ does not read and then a few others will tell me that I donâ€™t need to take everything so seriously. Someone will ask, â€œwhy does everything have to be about racism?â€? Someone else, usually the person who made the comment in first place will probably say â€œChill out, this is a party and now itâ€™s your turn to by the drinksâ€?
That is why, when Science walked away from Roberto, without uttering a word, I did not get mad. I realised the look he gave Roberto, his silence and most importantly his decision to leave the conversation spoke volumes. He his actions captured everything goes through my head when I am faced statements like the one made by Roberto:
Just because you choose to exercise your right to spout bullshit do not expect me to jump in and attempt to wade through it.