I can not live in a world where SILENCE is my morning meal. I can not grow, send my roots down and my blossoms up, in a land that poisons the sand that I lay claim to. This is the truth.
Cape Town, the Mother City, this outwardly beautiful place is rotting inside. That is the truth.
I have been invited to speak often about diversity, what it means and why it is necessary. I have been speaking at high schools and I have been speaking to parents. The invitations have been coming in fast and furiously. Parents and children want to have these conversations. The willingness is beautiful to behold. That is the truth.
I wrote a facebook status not too long ago about my school experience and found myself bombed by white guilt, white anger, and white insecurity. I am not the type of black to shy away from white pain. I am not the type of black to step aside and let white naivety walk past. That is the truth.
I am often questioned about why I talk in colour. My answer is, “Because it is there.” I can not ignore such a painfully beautiful thing. I can not and neither should you. Grow some balls and call me what I call myself. Call me what I ask to be called. Question me and prepare to listen to the answer. I call myself black, do not attempt to call me anything other than what I am comfortable with. That is the truth.
This past week has marked a shift in my white friend circles. Much has broken and much will not be mended because I do not have the tools with which to do the mending, but much has changed. Two of my white girlfriends made the effort to speak to me. These same two women made the effort to listen to me. These two white women took the time to open their minds, shift fear and anger aside and clear a place for calm and learning.
As the black person in an often far too lily-white situation, I feel the pressure to raise awareness and speak out. In my friend group, those who have spoken out before were ignored and from pure exhaustion have left in search of a more quiet, nurturing support group. I was on the verge of doing the same and in some situations I do do the same. Often I am tired. That is the truth.
I have come to the conclusion that diversity is a mindset, not a colour demographic. If people are not willing to open their minds, true integration will not happen. I have racist friends telling me all the time that they are not racist, that they are on ‘my side’ as if there is a side other than mine to be on. It is these same people, so called friends, who tell me that I am anti-white, crazy, angry and hurtful. They feel they have the right to tell me things but refuse to listen to my answers. It is these people who keep Cape Town toxic and diseased. That is the truth.
Black people can not change the minds of white people. White people have to start that ball rolling in white spaces. My two white friends took one giant leap for themselves but are yet to grab the hands of the other white people in their communities. Sadly, black people have no influence over people who do not see them as equal. That is the truth. Ugly, cold, stark and boring and exhausting. The truth.