Photo: Nyssa Paige
Sometimes I am in a room, full of smiling faces with familiar empathetic nods. Exchanges of tips and information take place. Conversations about being realistic, compassionate and understanding. We talk about our truth, knowing we can’t have it all but still giving it a damn good try. Sometimes I am in a room that is full and seems friendly but I am alone.
We talk about supporting each other, overcoming hurdles teaching our children to be boundless without imposing our own insecurities or living vicariously. We smile, we nod and we laugh ignoring the Elephant in the room.
We can talk about all of this as long as we don’t talk about the intersection of race and how overt and subtle systems of racism permeate through my everyday experience.
We can talk about all of the above as long as I don’t tell you that you referring to me talking about something that made me angry as me getting ‘ghetto’ is at best insulting, at worst steeped in a racist stereotype.
We can talk about our journeys as long as I don’t mention the worries I had about raising a black boy in London because of racism and the relief I felt when I gave birth and found out baby was a girl.
We can talk about all of the above as long as I don’t talk about Donald Trump’s racism in the same breath that you mention his pussy grabbing. We can be sisters in solidarity as long as the issue is not centred on an experience that is unequivocally about my racial and or cultural background as well as my womanhood.
We can talk about our concerns for our children growing up in society as it is today as long as I don’t express my concerns about the internet and social media emboldening racists.
I can be:
Feminist as long as it’s not intersectional.
I can be pro anything as long as I am not pro black because for many pro black automatically means anti white, divisive, stoking a fire. There is no space to consider the necessity of deep meaningful self love due to centuries of and continued injustice faced by black people (me) daily, creating a need for us to be pro ourselves lovingly, unapologetically, assertively. This assertive unapologetic loving assists in building my self esteem on my own terms which is uncomfortable in a system which is based on me needing Eurocentric validation.
Being in environments like this (baby group 🤦🏿♀️) contributed to the creation of this space. I needed a space where I could talk about my motherhood in its entirety without being shut down. A place where I could learn, share and be accepted without any Elephant’s or any other tropical animals in plain view.
A place to be whole.5