A few days ago, a much-loved Belgian actress was charged with racism after an incident in an Antwerp restaurant, causing all kinds of random commenting, mostly off-topic. We, Dominique and Stefaan, felt personally hurt by the events and we feel we have the duty to use the platforms we have created to write our own piece.
Even though our Fams are like : “We fully support you but this is scary shit.” The thing is, I’m not scurrred. We have a Danny McBride attitude about this: “Come at me bro.” ‘Cause that’s what you learn after a while. (OK, a couple of decades.) Kindergarten scolding will start you thinking about it, crying about it. But the most important pinnacle is the moment when grown ups start saying the same kind of stuff. While you were trying to be the grown up all the time. I don’t care though, this is for all our kids.
Here we go. And I hope you’re ready.
This one’s for all my peeps. Their parents. Their children. Basically this one’s for You.
N-WORDS AND LEARNING HOW TO KEEP QUIET
“I wasn’t there, so…” That’s the phrase people tend to use when the subject of a racism-related incident comes up.
So what? So we can never know what really happened? Because we do know. And everybody has been there at some point. It probably did not involve a celebrity. It probably involved awkward silences, some shuffling about and watching as the N-word is being poured all over someone else’s head. And how shitty you felt afterwards. Or not at all.
What I’ve been taught: that I shouldn’t mind as much. That I should work twice, thrice as hard to prove myself and then maybe people wouldn’t be able to touch me. (Na nana ..) I did that. Turns out, it still hurts when people I’m working with toss about the N-word. And not in the way my favourite artists are using it. Not like: ‘you are like me’. More like: ‘you are something else and I’m going to point that out to you right now, and you know what: please go away when I’m done’. Or like: ‘I think you’re cool but it’s hard to find other N***** I can use. Do you know any? And do they come with a warranty?’
Yes Sir, I can read and write and defend myself but I’m kind of sick of it.
Having a discussion on ‘Is X racist or not?’ is easy. Because it’s always about someone else. (“I wasn’t there, but…) That’s why everybody loves joining in, preferably in an environment where we can claim our right to an opinion: Facebook, Twitter, the gossip columns… Just like everything else you can read about in those places, the noise will fade soon enough. And afterwards, the swarm will alight and descend on the next juicy bit. But here’s the sad thing: no matter how eagerly we are discussing it now, next time we’ll keep quiet again. And I’ll have to prove, once again, how much it hurts. And there will be a next time. You ‘ll have changed. And you will think the world has, too. But you’ll still be a nigga in a coupe.