In the wonderful world of Black UK Twitter, you are bound to come across some of the most ludicrous comments and opinions one could ever think of (but I’m not judging). However, there are times when you can also find interesting and thought-provoking opinions which remind me all is not lost on us. Funnily enough, a couple of days into Black History Month, I stumbled across a tweet which listed certain things black people have ‘ruined’. This list consisted of red velvet cake, Santorini, Dubai and more. The list was quite extensive but I actually can’t bring myself to write them all as the idea of a people ruining cake by nothing other than buying the product is literally the foolishness I was referring to at the start. Luckily enough the person tweeting had written that the list and the idea that black people could ‘ruin’ things was as inane as Trump being president. Despite the idiocy, I wanted to delve deeper and understand why we (Black Britons) have a tendency to disassociate with products and places once the majority of us start to consume it.
“Would you stop consuming something because too many white people use it or go there?”
After examining the timeline and asking my peers some questions about why they may think this is I concluded as some already have that it’s a form of self-hate. There is a not so subtle hint of disdain when we begin to consume these products and places. I remember clearly when Santorini had been discovered by UK Black Twitter and how everyone couldn’t wait to go at some point in the near future. It’s beautiful landscape recently resurfaced on my timeline but not long after that followed ignorant and distasteful tweets soon after pictures of black Britons enjoying their holiday in Santorini began to surface. The holiday destination became considerably less desirable overnight as to almost insinuate it had reached its black Briton quota. I’m aware a lot of us won’t subscribe to what I’m discussing here and Thank God for that but I still worry about those who consciously or subconsciously carry these negative thoughts. Like anything however, it’s a process. I’m not writing this to prove a level of awareness or ‘wokeness’ but rather to promote the clear and succinct fact that we only enrich that which we consume.
I can understand not wanting to go to certain places due to personality traits or not wanting to wear what everyone is wearing as to come across as more of an individual; however, even with those justifications I want to know, would you ever harbour the same views for another race? Would you stop consuming something because too many white people use it or go there? Or is this only something you say when referring to black Britons? I’m asking a lot of questions but I’m only interested in challenging mindsets and getting to the crux of the issue.
If I were to ask black Britons whether they felt inferior or not worthy of enjoying certain things in life I’m sure I would be met with a resounding no, however, the opinions of some, knowingly or unknowingly, only fortify that thought process. There are obvious systemic issues which require discussion and account for a lot of what I’m discussing but for the mean I want to focus on what we can do for ourselves to empower us. Right now, it’s about noticing not only the beliefs within this discussion but anything that causes black Britons to feel less than and doing our best to remove the cancer slowly killing us.
I close by encouraging you all including myself to question these thoughts and ideas. Where do they come from? Are they detrimental to me and the way I see my people? Let’s think and talk about these perceived ideas and begin to unlearn these hurtful tendencies for the betterment or ourselves and the way we see each other.
Written by Paul Olasehinde (Thoughts of a Tall Man)