Doubting Thomas(ina)

Negroes - smileyYou embark on what you believe to be a life-altering experience in the Orient, untainted by hallucinogens or any other mind-altering substances. Landing on the hot humid shores, you find the climes to be nothing less than frosty from the natives. Eventually you get used to people moving away when you sit next to them on the trains, unsure whether it’s because you are fat. Or black. As one South African eloquently phrased it – ‘Our blacks smell different’.

Looking around you realise the term ‘token’ has never been more apt. Darkies are hardly a dime a dozen this far east, even the Nigerians have failed to penetrate the market in their rapidly-spreading-fungus kind of way.

When eventually you do meet fellow people of colour, your heart bounds with unbridled joy, a certain kindred flame kindled. But accompanied with any hints of intimacy comes the disturbing realisation that colour, like the world, is not enough.

An odd hollowness rings around this bizarre coupling of people who have nothing more in common than the levels of melanin in their skin. This has you doubting the entire value system that you have been operating on for the last 20 odd years.

If this is wrong, what other misguided conceptions and fatal fallacies have you been operating on?

16 Replies to “Doubting Thomas(ina)”

  1. I remember the other day, when I was at a bar/lodge and I was talking to a brother just because he’s … a brother. Most boring convo ever!

    Still, I know you can win them Japs over with your charming personality and winning smile.

  2. Gee Elle, that pick is creeping me out. That really a black person or a white person trying to look black? If the former, apologies.

  3. Like this English DJ the other day says: I cant see black people in the dark unless they open their mouths. It would probably help if she actually opened her eyes.

  4. That post made me sooooooooo sad coz its true. I went on a “Looking East” trip a few years ago and eish, was eager to get back on to the Dark continent, just so i could see people who look like me.

    ANd yes, melanin is not enuff to forge a relationship…believe me!

  5. Once again reading this blog I get that “outsider” feeling- there’s something I guess I can’t truly grasp that I know is reality for some people yet somehow distant fiction for me. My roommate is a Jamaican girl, our friends are every shade under the rainbow and while all of us here in the hinterlands have seen some form of racism / cultural cliques, it just isn’t as pronounced. Or maybe I’m just a naive caker… I’ve been both the majority and the minority in situations and never really noticed the difference.

  6. Mate, until you have been told by a recruiting company that they are only ‘looking for Caucasian native speakers’, you have no idea how badly black people are looked down upon as a whole. I cant begin to tell you the number of jobs I have been turned away from for being Black African, especially in Asia, its most pronounced in China and South Korea, like they have that much going for them. It’s hard not to get bitter about it sometimes, but other people’s ignorance shouldnt keep you down.

  7. I have always thought us Zimbos are a little more thick-skinned, having grown up “under the thumb” so sto speak … we can make the most of any such situation, and I know you, Elle, won’t let it get you down.

    Alias, I guess a major element of blogging is to let others see life as you do, and I bet if Eleanour was in a rainbow nation she’d be far much happier.

    Just imagine, you’re dining in a posh restaurant and an elderly white american couple are staring you as if they’re shocked the monkeys can use cutlery. Picture that.

  8. You say that, a black friend and I were eating out in Tokyo a few weeks ago. This J-woman walks past and did the biggest double take I have ever seen. Then stopped and gawped for like a full 5 seconds. you could see her thinking ‘wow, they let out not one, but TWO of them, out of the zoo’.

  9. Lol! At least we salvaged a point (being really optimistic here).

    Don’t let it get you down Eleanor, you know you’re more than competent. If they won’t give us our respect we’ll just have to take it!

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