23 Mar 2016

ON RACE: DOES COLOUR DEFINE PEOPLE?

{#getintheframe and forget about perfection, the kids will remember you not the bad hair days}


So, I don't think colour shouldn't define people.

I am proud to be Black African but at the same time I am proud to say that I love the diverse culture I've experienced. This has always being the case since as long as I can remember.

Before I moved to Italy, I never thought in colours. The most important thing that mattered to me was my name. And how people teased me because they thought I was too skinny. They called me one, because they said my face looked like the number - well, I don't look number 1 anymore!

They also laughed at my out of the ordinary name, but no-body teased me based on my skin colour - I guess it was because we were all the same skin tone. How dark I was never bothered anyone at that stage in my life.

Once in Italy at elementary school my friends never teased me based on my skin colour, in fact no-one teased me, apart from one guy saying to me "You are egoist...!" I didn't know the meaning of the word, but I cried so much my head hurt because something told me it wasn’t a nice word.

Then middle school rolled in, the first year was carefree. I made new nice friends with whom we laughed about silly jokes we wrote on our school books. Then life changed from the second year. The last two years at middle school scared and scarred me. I lost most of my confidence and went through a hard time. Some will say those were the hardcore teenage years, but I say it was just two years of bullies.

They were three or four guys in my class who teased me. They teased me because my skin is dark brown. They also teased another girl because she is tall and clever. I stood up for myself and sometimes for the other girl. I never hid my identity and always knew who I was and what I stand for. I was proud to be brown and I am proud to be brown. But they called me nasty names. I told myself that I was strong and nobody was going to break me down. I told myself which part of me I love most. I told myself that I am BROWN  and BEAUTIFUL.

But somehow their mean comments triggered something in me. I started to worry about my appearance. At the time of career choice I opted for flashes and television. I wanted to become a model. I didn’t want to go back to school for more teasing. I wanted to show those guys that I am beautiful and successful. I wanted to be known. This pushed me to go to modelling and acting classes, but I missed going to school. So in February 2001, after four years out of education, I enrolled to study optics. However, my passion for writing made me study English Literature and History at university. But my passion to promote love for one identity and to embrace different colour is still strong in my soul. I don't want to sound like preaching, but I am happy to be able to use that experience for my stories.

My writings is centered around Brown, mixed race and multicultural people living in Italy/Europe. The struggles they have to face on daily basis and how they over come them. The search to be seen first and foremost humans. I write about the love I have for Africa and the love I have to my second home Europe. I write to embrace the multicultural life of African-Europeans.

My life experience has influenced my writing and my thinking. I am not colour blind, but I don't believe in pushing people into one box. I believe in humans with many cultures at their disposition. So, no colour doesn't define people. Life experiences define who you're.

Do you have any experience you would like to share with me? Have you ever lived in a predominated White area and you've been teased before.

Please leave a comment and don't forget to stop by my INSTAGRAM account
to keep the conversation going on.

2 comments:

  1. I don't think color has to define you, but I think that it can. I grew up in predominately white schools, but was fortunate enough to only recall once teasing incident. Kids have gotten a lot meaner since then. What you went through certainly made you stronger, but I think it's a testament to your character that it never broke you.

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  2. I'm from a predominately black country where the "blacks" are actually categorized as light skins and sadly, black. Ultimately the light-skinned would be treated better than the darker ones and I fought so much to voice that we are all still black. We do have other races here but what's sad is that the teasing and bullying would come from the people of the same race...who would then turn around and call themselves "Pro Black". Like Cece said, your experience made your stronger and you have a story to tell :)


    XO |EESH

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