Thursday, 15 December 2016

Thought Picnic: Facing the stereotypes of being black and dealing drugs

We will not shrink
Generally, one is rarely inspired to write about this topic, but there comes a time when something does need to be said, and my blog is a forum for such when it matters.
As a minority of many facets in living and thankfully thriving within a majority of diversity, the greatest triumph of the person is to be comfortable in one’s own skin when met with the various indignities that are doled out by the ignorant and those who should know better either at work or at play.
The indignities are many
The fine line between being patronised and being belittled in the corny device of faint praise or acknowledgement is constantly being crossed and with great restraint and the discipline that comes with rearing and bearing, one would bat off, ignore or challenge the infraction to ensure that such unhealthy encounters do not become the norm.
Earlier this evening, I was met with such an encounter from a stranger who no doubt had grown his knowledge of people like me from some odious script or noxious experience that I cannot care to be concerned about.
It is without doubt that one along with many like me; and I mean black men, in this case, have suffered such indignities and disrespect that demands a response in rage, but elicits the riposte of a polite put down, if a monosyllabic retort will not do the job as efficiently as one would desire.
Nonsensical stereotyping
By enquiry, I received a message with the subject heading, ‘Busy?’, the body of the letter read thus;
Hi, weird question. I really wanna get some weed tonight. Can you help me babe? Xx
Let us not belabour ourselves with the many issues with address and import, the context was layered on like a slice of toast so heavily buttered, its falling from any height would create an oily splatter and there could only be one response and I quote it below:
Hello,
Just because I am a black man does not mean I do drugs, deal drugs or know a dealer.
I am a highly placed professional and I have had enough of this nonsensical stereotyping from the drug-addled lot that have no gumption beyond seeking the pleasure of illicit highs.
I have seriously restrained myself from the needed use of an expletive to tell you off totally.
Regards.
Just too many times already
Now, you may ask, what would elicit this kind of response and the answer is in a long history of encounters of a similar kind. A stranger sidles up to me in some public place or writes to me in some social forum and for some reason or the other which I dare say can only be borne of some stereotype or the atrocity racial profiling, asks if I have drugs or know a drug dealer.
The misfortune if that is what one could generously call it is my life and many others I know are not true to that stereotype or that profile. We have through many determined and fortunate turns in life lived and enjoyed privileges that is the substance of the dreams of others. Not that we have to wear such luck around our necks and rattle those blessings with the aplomb of the arriviste; understated remains the quiet class of discretion.
It must stop
However, after a holiday in Spain, where for almost the umpteenth time, one was unwittingly besmirched with the odium of trading in illicit and illegal substances, the usual silence now demands a more forceful response.
Yes, we are black, no we do not use drugs, we do not have drug dealers as friends and honestly, stop asking a black person anywhere whether they can acquire drugs for you. The simple inquiry for your inordinate pleasure is to the other person, a badly served slight and insult, we would overlook such abuse no more.


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