The other day i tried my hand at a kind of spoken word piece with the title, ‘i don’t hate my skin’ which you can watch over here. But i thought some of you might appreciate having a closer look at the words and here they are.
i don’t hate my skin – by brett “Fish” anderson
I don’t hate my skin. The thought seems quite ridiculous.
How could I possibly hate something that’s been so very good to me?…
I don’t hate my white skin
I see it as a conduit for the work I know still needs to be done
I don’t hate my white skin
It’s a reminder of the inequality that continues to follow me
At a distance though, it’s not been my cross to bear
But opportunity arises every day for me to help repair
That which has been cast aside or broken
Words that have killed and yet somehow still continue to be spoken…
They say ‘Monkey see, Monkey do’
Which is alright I guess, as long as the ape isn’t the suit that’s being closely fitted around you
“Viva the Rainbow nation, Viva!” The irony seems lost in translation of how that is the anthem of those who claim to be colourblind. “I don’t see colour!” they announce as they cross over to the other side of the street lest they dirty their robes on the edges of the pit latrine, you know the one standing some forty kilometres from their house. That seems like a really long road to cross.
“White genocide!” they mutter in fear as they pass the mashed potatoes at another one of their all-white dinner parties. Which is the most unlikely of these two things you have to wonder in a country in which my kind make up less than nine percent of the population? It’s almost that you have to be intentional in a landscape where your skin colour appears inconsequential so much so that gatherings of only pink should not be called meetings but secret societies. Ones wrapped up in frivolous gossip and contemptuous pieties. Ones in which brown continues to serve before trudging off to their three stage homeward trek. But not before they’ve paused to tuck your children tightly into their electrified beds… “Okay now you may leave to look after your own.”… If they even still exist after all they had to face on their own today.
I don’t hate my white skin, but it does cause me to double take on an almost daily basis, as aware of the privilege it carries I still feel largely inadequate in being able to adequately use it to redress what has not passed me by. What has been available and conveniently attainable, the skills that have been trainable. You won’t drive past me sitting on the side of the road with my laptop hanging from a nearby tree imploring you to take pity on me and offer me a crust of last week’s bread to grind out a thousand words for you in exchange for my uber fare back home. Neither will you see me there many hours later when you drive yourself back home. Or to the gym. Or to the restaurant. Or to tonight’s experience. ..
My skin is white, but my heart beats African. That is a fight I am willing to take up. It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you. As if to somehow suggest that both our pasts and our futures could ever be in any way disconnected. Gonna take some time to do the things we never had. The very privilege that was built on the very things that were robbed from you also robbed me of the privilege of being deeply tied to you. We cannot miss that the past stole from both of us. Who will restitute my humanity? All of which makes me wonder if the very same bricks that we remove from the walls that kept us apart can somehow be strategically used to build the bridges between us.
I don’t hate my skin. But sometimes when I overhear how it speaks to you, when I catch a glimpse of how it looks down its nose at you, when I watch as it carefully removes the clicks from your name, one by one, when I read the vitriolic hate it spews onto the internet as if completely unaware that there is a human being on the other side staring back at a tear-stained screen, when I witness the whatness of whiteness, I don’t hate my skin, but sometimes It does make me want to take a step back into the shadows and like Peter quietly whisper, ‘I’m not with them.’…
I can’t hate my skin… there is still just too much work for it to do.
If you enjoyed it or were challenged by it at all, please consider giving this a SHARE on your social media platforms… Thank you.