A rush of old tweets from influencers have once again resurfaced in which they made colourist remarks. Granted many of them have evolved and are sorry for the hurt they maybe didn’t realise they caused seven years ago, but unfortunately the devaluing of black bodies has not been obliterated.
Remember when ‘blick’ was a common slang word to describe very dark skinned people? I used to say it too and it was all fun and games, until one English lesson in year eight. Our white teacher furiously declared that anyone who used that word, no matter the colour, would be punished as it was racist and had roots in the apartheid. That word has mostly gone out of fashion but it did make me think.
I am clearly a dark skinned woman and thankfully I cannot remember a time when I have been directly berated for my colour. Looking back however, I can see where I could have been overlooked. I used to be glad that I wasn’t made a target like some of my darker skinned classmates and that thinking alone is problematic. Worse than that, our ignorance towards each other made it possible for a white boy to be brave enough to embarrass another pupil in front of everyone! Although we didn’t make a lot of noise about this sort of BULLYING in those days, it doesn’t discount that the victims were greatly affected. If I could redo my school years with the person I am today I would confidently call people out. It doesn’t make sense to blame that way of talking on age. A teenager knows what words and phrases have the potential to be horrible, it’s almost a disservice to think you were that dumb. Yes we say stupid and hurtful things in our immaturity, but it’s better we realise that the way we thought was wrong rather than use age and society as an excuse.
Cancel culture and constant rehashing of the past, especially for those who have evolved for the better, isn’t profitable. There is no need to constantly say sorry and be at the mercy of the world. Nevertheless there are always consequences for our actions and human nature will make sure you don’t forget it.