Asking where we're from....Originally
So, when you asked me where I was from the first time, I said Derby. You paused and looked all mystified, like I’d just asked you to explain quantitative easing, so you asked again. I toyed with the idea of saying Um Bongo Land, because that’s what I think you were expecting to hear, but instead I said Derby. Louder and more slowly. I know you’re curious, but if what you really mean is, "where are your parents from?" just say. Repeatedly asking where someone’s from, “originally,” makes it sound like you don’t believe them. I mean, who’d lie about coming from Derby?
"Can You Sing"?
It’s embarrassing not being able to sing when that’s what’s expected of you. What’s the point of me, eh? I’m like a flightless fucking bird. Or maybe I’m just rubbish at being black.
It’s true that I probably wouldn’t look out of place rhythmically clicking my fingers behind Sting on stage - there are a hell of a lot of ‘blacking’ singers out there, but I’m not one of them, so it’d be great if people didn’t presume otherwise. Thanks.
Let’s get one thing straight: fist-bumping is not the action equivalent of wearing low-slung jeans and diamond grill on your teeth. It’s not the key to urban cool and I doubt whether it’ll make any black person want to be your bezzie. Maybe you saw The Wire, got a little confused, tried to get down with the homies, but offering a fist bump instead of a handshake is not cool, no matter what your Nan says.
Being Surprised That We Tan
What’s that you say? You mean the sun’s rays don’t bounce off your skin like it’s a shield of steel? Your open-mouthed incredulity at the news that black people tan is both funny and a bit weird. I, for the record, only have to look through the window to get a tan, much to the apparent annoyance of my paler-skinned friends.
Getting Us Mixed Up
Happens a lot in offices, this one. From a black point of view, I find the easiest way to tell one black person from another is to look at their face. That way, you can usually make a mental note that they are somehow different to other people in the vicinity. It also helps to pay attention to any differences in height, weight, age and sex.
Adverts & TV
You could be forgiven for thinking our collective black lives were one, big KFC-fest of beach living, mainlining Lilt and bathing in Tia Maria, you know, all the usual. Of course, that’s just my fantasy. In reality, our lives are just as mundane as anyone else’s, although you wouldn’t know it if TV was all you had to go by. Occasionally, we pop up in washing powder ads but it’s largely confined to chicken, Bounty and Caribbean beverages, which is just as annoying in the 21st.