people who know me are aware of the fact that this is one of my favourite things to say; which, to be honest, is a bit of a shame, and points to the fact that too many things go wrong. one of them would be yet another example of total ignorance and face-palm-worthy behaviour, namely what happened to anti-racist activist and author, noah sow.
having been invited to their “festival contre le racisme” by the university of fulda’s student representatives to read from her book “germany in black and white” (which deals with her experience as an afro-german and racism in this country), noah sow had a rather preposterous racist experience with the organisers herself.
as noah writes on her blog, she was picked up by one of the organisers of this anti-racist event series, who did not only talk to her quite offhandedly from the beginning without knowing her personally (and one has to question why that is, given the fact that people of colour are being talked to condescendingly by white people in germany on a daily basis), even better: the organiser did not only have no idea how many people of colour where enrolled at the university, but did not even know what the term “people of colour” actually meant. so much for anti-racist credibility and just knowing the mere basics, namely a term that has been in use for over 20 years and, if you would care about either racism or anything related to history or social inequality, you would have come across at some point, i am convinced.
it gets better, however, because noah is then led into a room for her lecture that actually contains a rather charming relict, or rather, embodiment of old-school racism (i.e., blunt, rabid, unsubtle, colonial racism), shown in this picture. pointing out that this has got to be some sort of bad joke, noah decides to leave and not give a talk after the organisers react as ignorantly as possible, saying they don’t know what her problem is, and then thinking the solution is to simply put the lamp into the next room. may i just say here: well done, noah!
you’d think there’d be a consensus among people who’d call themselves anti-racists or progressives or whatever, that this is a really infuriating example of a culture of dominance (one might even call it: white supremacy, just sayin’…) and a complete racist FAIL on the part of the organizers. but, of course: nope. time and again, people simply have to demonstrate how awesome it is to be able to be completely unaware of or brush aside anything related to political and social struggles of so-called “minority groups” and then act all surprised. even more so, many white people get completely flustered and throw a tantrum when a person of colour dares to act as uppity as noah did, not being nice and friendly and all educational about these racist incidents (that merely showcase more or less subtle and relentless racism) but refuses to play along with the “nice negro”-expectation that makes many white people think that having “darker skin” makes you a mobile education and sensitisation device for people who have their heads up the places where the sun does not shine.
ultimately, people cannot refrain from calling noah “arrogant” and complaining that her reaction did not solve anything, and since she was a peaceful agent for change, she should have stayed and explained why this was a bit of a problem.
i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again: go fuck yourself!
“people of colour” is such a basic term that people who pride themselves in being anti-racist activists and yet, have never heard of it, are completely ridiculous poseurs who are just as useless as every n-word-using person they allegedly want to educate. expecting people of colour to be your educational service instead of educating your damn self when you get push-back on your language or behaviour makes you part of that useless category, and is a very unsubtle indicator of your white-privileged stance. expecting people of colour to be all nice about these things which happen on an almost daily basis for many of us for our entire lives, makes you a super-special asshole who cannot but express a disdain for shockingly insubordinate people of colour (*pearl clutch*) and demonstrate the 2.0 version of the patriarchal slave-owners’ expectations of “docile”/”mammy” “coloreds” who are happy to sing and dance and be all friendly and rhythmically gifted for the entertainment and benefit of the stupidity of the dominant class of people. because as long as people of colour stay in their place, they’re fine – it’s when they have human reactions that don’t come out of the “friendly”/”charmingly exotic”/”culturally stimulating”-box, they become an upsetting nuisance, an arrogant foreign presence that needs to be reminded where it actually belongs.
you know what? that’s as racist as it gets. and my reaction to that? what noah did! making sure you know that you’re a racist asshole. turning around and leaving you behind all flustered. telling you to go fuck yourself. …so sorry to ruin your romantic expectation of sweet, smooth chocolate for your convenience.
[yes, i have posted this video many times before – t’is awesome ;)!]