#BlackLivesMatter

Nicole

 

"How lucky!“ they exclaim," you're so exotic". I can never help but wonder, what if my dad instead had fled from a war-torn country, or somewhere that didn't offer poolside cocktails? Subconsciously, would I be worth less to you?

 

Growing up, like many others in the mixed-race community, I was bullied for my skin colour and second name at school. I remember, as a young child, white adults around me saying things like "people pay money to go on holiday & sit out in the sun to look like you", or "I wish I was that colour". Okay. But what if I was two shades darker? Or three? What comfort or solace would you provide for me then?

I suppose I implicitly learned a lot about desirability politics from a young age. To this day, when people ask my ethnicity, and I explain my dad is from Mauritius island, I am met with coos, wide-eyed, as the connotations of the popular 90's 'honeymoon island' fills their mind - lush green vegetation, palm trees and coconuts, luxurious and hospitable.

"How lucky!“ they exclaim,"you're so exotic". I can never help but wonder, what if my dad instead had fled from a war-torn country, or somewhere that didn't offer poolside cocktails? Subconsciously, would I be worth less to you? This is a privilege that I experience, amongst others, and I am well aware of it.

I would ask people to question how they react to those with "desirable" ethnic backgrounds vs less "desirable" backgrounds. Consider your knee-jerk reaction when someone explains their heritage to you, meditate on if it, even subtly, influences your opinion of them, what you associate with them, and what you infer about them. The answer might surprise you.

 

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