I have a confession to make. I am a reality TV junkie. I watch them all, the housewives, the hip hop, the non-wives and baby mama’s of athletes. I watch them, and I get mad at myself for watching it, then I read the blogs and I get annoyed at myself but allow me, I have a lot of time on my hands right now.
There is a particular show which shows a lot of women throwing bottles and jumping on tables and acting a whole fool for a paycheck but they have singled out a particular girl which has sparked a whole colourism debate.
This particular lady is from 1st generation Nigerian American, she has strong African features and she plays American football, she has been called ugly, she has been called aggressive, she has been referred to as a monkey and her castmates have said that she is too dangerous for her to be in their presence. There are some other darker skinned ladies on the cast, however, they have good hair, small frames and European features so even though they have had fights, they are seen as less of a threat. The Nigerian lady in contrast has not actually laid a hand on anyone but she has threatened a few ladies (they did poke the bear though), but nonetheless has not raised a hand on anyone.
I have a few theories here. I believe in America, it is a lot like UK in the 70s and 80s. When I was growing up, the Caribbean’s had been in the UK for a number of decades and when the African’s came over, it was very much “us and them”. Each side thought they were better than the other, and each side said they didn’t like the other because “they feel they are better than us”. It was a load of BS but we got through it and especially now where we are marrying cross-culture, we are kind of getting along.
In US, let’s face it, a lot of people don’t own a passport, they think Africa is one country, so African’s are still quite alien to them.
In addition, this lady is Nigerian. Before I go on, I love Nigerians, I love the way they are unapologetic about their hustle and they say it as they is. They are aggressive though. Not in a beat you up kind of way, but they are aggressive about getting their money, they are fiercely protective of their people and they come across as aggressive when they speak. Like if you listen to Nigerians holding a conversation, especially in their language, you would think they are fighting until they start laughing. They are just passionate in the way they speak, so if you haven’t been around them you may feel intimidated by their boldness.
On the ugly issue, I don’t find anyone ugly, attraction is subjective. To call someone ugly is just ridiculous as someone could find you the same way. It is more socially accepted for a black woman with more European features than one straight out of Africa. Somebody (black person) has actually said to me that I don’t look African because of my straight nose and lighter skin, “I’m pretty”. I said in Ghana where I am from and across Africa we come in all shapes and sizes.
On the colourist issue. Yes, it is possible for a person of colour to be a colourist. Yes, there is also a prejudice that is associated with it, and yes, you can have dark skinned children and still be colourist. I remember when I was in Ghana, I had been there a number of years so my skin had got a lot darker. I actually hadn’t noticed until an Aunt came over from London and didn’t even say hello “you look so dark” she said, and repeated it a thousand times as if I really should give a damn. Even smother commented when I got back that “my colour had come back”, as if my darker colour was some kind of barrier to life.
Smother’s side of the family are all fair, however my sisters and I rank from fairly fair to dark. She doesn’t treat us any different based on our tone but she does sometimes make comments which I liken to white privilege but for the black community.
Circling back to this show, do I think they were colourist. To be honest, I don’t get paid as a celebrity blogger, and I write on my blog for free. It’s trash TV and they sign up for the BS to an extent. I will say I don’t like bullies and I hate to see people get bullied in any form, especially when it is amongst our own. We have enough problems within our society without fighting amongst ourselves.
In lean manufacturing they have this thing called “go, see, think, do”. Maybe a trip to “Africa” for those who think we are ugly may open your mind.