Ethnocentrism And Other Stupid Things.

I talk about racism a lot. However, in recent months I’ve since slowed down on talking about things that often leave me feeling exhausted. Afterall, my mental health takes the biggest hit.

If you’re an avid reader I believe it’s in your best interest to take breaks between reading my posts. The subject matter is often uncomfortable to binge, and despite that fact, these issues need addressing.

Before I took my break, I was on a streak of unapologetically honest (often abrasive) posts. Since coming back I’ve done my best to enjoy writing for the sake of writing. It’s gone well. But true to form, I feel myself returning to that cynic in me. I seem to oscillate between being a teddy bear and being an actual bear. Entering teddy bear mode when I need a break from the world and it’s endless stream of bullsh*t. 

Consider this a potential warning, This post might go to some dark places. 

Edit: I finished writing it, It’s not as dark as I thought it would end up being. Controversial maybe, but not dark.

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As I said before, I talk about racism a lot. There is a tab on my page literally dedicated to black empowerment and all things related to being a black person. People often have a proclivity to assume when I’m talking about racism against blacks I’m automatically referencing white people. No, just racism overall.

If you’re racist you’re not safe from my ridicule. It takes a special kind of ignorance to be a racist. Believe it or not, it’s something you actually have to work hard to nurture. So yes, get offended if you’re racist, you deserve that and more.

Naturally, people often think I’m part of Black History month and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Because I’m black. But I’m most certainly not a fan.

The first is unbridled tokenism. The perfect tool to re-enforce an unspoken divide. If you consider Black History Month at face value you’ll think black people are getting something meaningful, I suppose that’s the intension on a commercial level; to give that impression. And if you believe I’m wrong, that’s great. I just think black history should be a part of American history and not something so isolated and condensed into a small a month lol.

To me. it just comes across as. “Here, have a month to enjoy your contributions to society. Don’t say we never gave you anything” 

But of course, this is just my personal interpretation and doesn’t need to be taken as the truth.

The second: BLM is something I have mixed feelings about. Look, I get it , a number of the injustices faced by the black community in America because of police brutality is staggering. No-one should have to go through that. But the whole movement is now diluted by crazy radicals who are quick to justify racism against whites or push a narrative of blacks being superior.

Any movement has the potential of nurturing rogue cells that misinterpret and misrepresent the initial message (similar to religion). Either through sheer stupidity, hypocrisy, entitlement or a weird blend of all three. 

See, it’s unpopular (as a black person) to call out some of these things because a part of the black community automatically assumes I’m siding with other races. That I’m devaluing the struggles that others have gone through and have fallen for the illusion of racial equality.

Not at all, there is no racial equality, and If given the choice I would always choose to be black.

Try not to take this the wrong way but IDGAF what race you’re from. I care about the human. If you make a habit of putting too much value in our “differences” you’ll enter a never-ending spiral of comparisons. And that breeds hatred and entitlement.

Now you might be wondering why I lead with such a lengthy prelude, it’s to help give context to what I’m about to say. You wouldn’t understand how I came to certain conclusions without it.

I hate racism. That’s obvious.

Despite the semantic overlap there’s one thing I hate more. Ethnocentrism.

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This is going to sound like a hit piece, it’s fine if it gets interpreted that way (check out my references at the bottom in case you’re interested). I’m going to use South Africa (SA) as a case study because I’ve been there and it serves as a living diorama for pornographically entrenched racism, classism, tribalism and other likely -isms I’m too lazy to think of right now.

See, majority of black people in SA are what happens when corruption, a lack of education, entitlement and desensitization to violence meet. Yes, apartheid was terrible, but it is often used as a crutch by the majority to validate their barbaric behavior. And you might think me calling their behavior “barbaric” is pushing it, but take a look at the xenophobic attacks from 2009 – 2019, doing your best to exclude the looting taking place at this very moment.

You’ve got bigots, politicians and tribalists (hardly separable in this case) kindling sentiment against minorities/foreigners in the country which fuels more of this xenophobia. It’s a complete joke, radio silence as people are ransacked or murdered. And when those in charge eventually speak, there is a political rhetoric applied that does nothing to speak against or quell the ongoing violence. Which only emboldens the barbarians of the population to loot and kill unabated. 

The only people who benefit from these kinds of situations are those in charge of the country. They’ve got perfect scapegoats (minorities) to demonize when they need a pressure release; the same people who help keep their economy afloat, whatever’s left of it anyway.

I didn’t mean to get too political, I try and avoid that sort of thing… but it’s driving to a point.

The reason I went on a frenzy is to give evidence to those that dine with racial hypocrisy. Often times, when people are called out by people outside their own race they apply emotion and not reasoning — and because that emotion makes them feel uncomfortable, they run for the racism card. Because it’s easier to rationalize it that way instead of identifying whether there is any validity to what’s been claimed.

Well, here I am, a black person calling out other black people. I dare you to call it racism now. 

Are there people from other races that guise their malicious intent using words such as “barbarians” towards black South Africans? Yes.

But does that take away from the validity of what’s being said? No. Majority in SA are angry over the oppression they faced during apartheid — and the wounds are still present. Check out footage of SA looting during the pandemic and tell me how normal that is. 

There is an underlying self-sabotage that seems to stem from lack of knowledge on how social or economic systems work and how such actions impact the country in the long run. No country is without its imperfections — I would know, my country (if you know it) is a breeding ground for corruption and is not much to look at.

But for someone to be blood thirsty, uneducated, ethnocentric and a racial hypocrite is a bad mix.

The culprits won’t listen to reason because they know better. They won’t go legit because their opportunities were taken from them due to apartheid, they see no recovery. They won’t accept foreigners because foreigners steal the aforementioned opportunities they are not qualified to take. They won’t stop a life of crime because they need to make up for not having a job. They won’t stop xenophobic attacks because their anger needs to be channeled somewhere. And in this hotbed of unreasonables they see themselves as completely justified in everything they do.

I just hope people can learn to open their eyes and see things with more clarity and not just lean on emotion. Otherwise none of us are going anywhere.

I liken this to my extensive research on slavery. It sucks reading about that but at the same time it is very insightful. A part of me still gets hurt thinking about that history. I will never forget what happened, however, it would be unreasonable of me to put every white person I meet under that stencil. 

I’ll base my judgements on character, not skin. Because skin color is fundamentally useful for data collection and building a framework; but it doesn’t automatically make someone a good or bad person. If that sounded obvious, you’re clearly smart.

It would not be a stretch to say there are those who would argue against this. Well, to you I say “You know everything. You clearly don’t need anyone’s help”

 

– O.D. ©2021

 

Art by: iamdetour

 

References:  

Soni, P. 2014. Tribalism in South Africa compromises democracy, freedom, development and the character of the state. Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review.

Khuluve, M. 2021. Adult illiteracy in South Africa. Department of Higher Education and Learning.

Landau, L, B. 2015. Political rhetoric and institutions fuel xenophobic violence in South Africa. The Washington Post.

 

 

 

 

Black Fire Depository.

You can call me black — no harm done,

Limitations of language and understanding.

You can even take it to the 70s and go full Rhodesian

Despising and metricizing worldly pigments.

 

 It’s not your fault for being that stupid — they call it dualism of the mind

And you, my friend, are a slave to one side of that coin

Shackled, to the fickle nature of hauling five senses.

Collared, lovingly, to the physical realm — like a mangy dog neglected by its owner

You are in the late stages of spiritual starvation; married to earthly hallucinations;

I don’t expect you to see past that mirage —

To see how my spirit burns, a blaze untamed

In a reality you’ll never understand.

 

Diagnosing me as the devil is the first step to misidentifying my presence

Demon possessed? Maybe.

Are you afraid? You shouldn’t be.

I’m beyond such petty schemes

Peddling cheap scares — pandering — placating

Surface level habits that give me nothing.

You’d do well to call this a panoramic view of satori —

I see it all. The collective sequence of events that denote your existence

I was built to be a passive observer of humanity’s choices and lack thereof.

Your life will begin and it will end with the deterministic value of a movie reel

And there I’ll be,

Using this body you hate so much to live through yet another Earth rehearsal;

Living through yet another time where you’ve seized to exist.

Confessions of a star seed:

This body will pass on

But my spirit and vision will continue pursuing what’s beyond;

Maybe as a sick joke next time I’ll possess one of you.

 

Dear racist, if all of that flew over your head

Do me a favor and at least try to understand this:

“You hating this flesh — this color,

Is not a waste of my time;

It’s a waste of yours”

 

– O.D. ©2020

 

Art by: ricardothb

 

I’m not in the mood to be nice. To be fair, I haven’t been in that mood for a while now.

When the BLM chants gained steam early this year, I refused to write about it here. Felt insincere as there were plenty of people voicing what I already felt. Furthermore, I’m not guided by some ethical imperative that dictates I prove my loyalty as a black person every time there is an injustice. It doesn’t make me more empathetic to be involved. I don’t need to prove myself. Simply look at how many posts I’ve written regarding black injustice (tracing years back) to see what I mean. I was speaking against injustice long before George Floyd’s unfortunate murder. There have been many others who people seem to forget and I fear listing all of them right now would dilute the point I’m trying to make.

Appealing to racists and entertaining their worldview (even as an Empath) is far too much for me. There are bad people to be found in all races, but many people are quick to try and play devil’s advocate before they catch up on their history. I’m talking Tulsa race massacre, the Tuskegee Syphilis study e.t.c .

Honestly? Do that first, then get back to me. 

And before you say that all of these events “took place ages ago” and I should move on”, I in kind, would gladly ask you to go f*ck yourself.

 

F😈lk Devils

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Categorize me however you please

Place me in a space that brings you the most peace

Come dusk, it matters little what I say or do.

I cannot dissuade you,

From entertaining your preconceived notions,

Notions that somehow carry enough sewing material

To blanket how you picture an entire race.

 

Story of my life: Pegged as a deviant when it’s all but convenient….

 

Because I can go wherever you go, I undoubtedly have to be dealing drugs right?

Because I bear the colour of the abyss, I am clearly in need of your saving grace right?

Because you feel you’re better than me, I should be thankful for your presence, right?

Because you assume an untapped level of self-importance,

I should let you call me the N-word …

No. Hell no. Get out of here with that garbage.

Consider greasing the shutters that shield your eyes from the truth.

 

Take a moment and liken that way of thought

To me assuming everyone who disagrees with what I say is part of the Klan.

A notion so ridiculous you would think after hearing it racism would end today.

But it won’t, because no matter how many times you try 

There will always be one more fool in need of convincing.

 

Whether its yay or nay, It’s okay.

You would sooner shoot me on the street if you intend my voice to go mute.

Because when it comes to this; I will never tire.

As long as there is still a body that proudly carries that colonial mindset

I, in kind, will not be too far behind.

If only to remind them that they cling to oxygen 

That has far outlasted their expiry date.

 

– O.D. ©2019

 

Art by: DanteReliford

 

As always, these poems come from a real place.

I have a thing against anyone who believes they are superior to everyone else in every way. It gets worse when it enters the realm of racism. I have no patience for that, no matter who you are.

Nevermind the subtleties of racism, because I know anyone can be racist without even intending to be (usually through stereotyping). I admit to having been ignorant of stereotyping in the past, but I have worked tirelessly to make it right.

In this piece I am talking to those who hate a particular race just ’cause… you (whoever you are) need to eat a brick.

Remind me to tell you the story behind this piece. It’s a lengthy one.

 

 

Afro·disiac

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I struck fear in their hearts

My skin might as well have been

The reflection of the colour you see

When looking down the barrel of a gun.

 

And perhaps it is …

Chuckling, I soaked it all in

A pleasant change of pace to be honest;

Simply having people afraid

And not believing you to be less than human.

 

Twisted yet gratifying perceptions of my mind aside,

Choose to keep or relieve yourself

Of the fear you have of me,

And let me show you the many talents

That hide within my form.

 

The darkness of my vessel is entirely reflective

Of the endless depth encapsulated by the vastness

Of the extra-terrestrial landscape;

Overwhelming yet enticing,

My skin is an Elseworld temptation

Which I urge you to touch at your own risk,

For it might just suck you in.

 

Full disclaimer:

After that happens

It will not be my responsibility

To bring you back to “reality”.

 

– O.D. ©2018

 

Art by: RonAckins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Real.

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No, you will never understand

What it feels like to walk a mile in my shoes,

So hold your tongue

When you feel the urge to ask me

Whether it’s now okay to use the N-word.

 

All I have ever known is being a foreigner

I would love to say the stares get a little easier

And at times, it feels like no one can get to you

But when a community singles you out 

For the way you look, you’re bound to get taken off balance

Feeling the unofficial divide between you and them.

 

Do I need to keep reminding them

That I worked for everything I have?

Maybe give them some proof?

That being black does not entail every solution I see

Lies behind a cocked gun?

And that is where the problem is; approval,

I do not need to explain myself to you or anyone else

Contrary to your sphere of understanding

It is not my life mission for you to make me feel included.

 

– O.D. ©2018

 

Art by: Paginacero

 

Working in a foreign country can indeed have its benefits. On the flip side, however, it is notably much easier to feel like an outsider. I’m in Thailand right now and where I work I’m the only black person, it’s a pretty cool place, and I truly appreciate some of the co-workers I have come to call friends. Here’s the thing though, when I initially started working there my abilities were constantly put into question; most of the higher ups wondered if I was up to the task (they were not really subtle about it).

My line of work needs people with great proficiency in the English language, and it was only when I showed my certificates that they started to take me seriously. Many might think I’m reading too much into this, I would agree if other employees went under such rigorous scrutiny. My friend (from Russia) was surprised when he heard how everyone was questioning my skill; considering how he relies on my help at times. You should have seen their faces when I showed them my qualifications, they could not believe it, their perception shifted entirely. A black person with more skill than his boss, unbelievable.

“People here are afraid of black people because of what they see in the movies” verbatim from a co-worker; she was right. Even my neighbour, really lovely old lady, I used to greet her every morning. I say ‘used to’ because I eventually stopped when I realized that she is actually afraid of me. She is so afraid to the point where, if we are about to cross paths, she walks in the opposite direction to avoid coming into contact with me. At first, I thought I was just being crazy, but when I saw that happen five or so times, in a row, I knew there was something fishy going on.

And these are some of the things I encounter on a daily. I am generally positive, but it’s these lingering issues that take a toll on me, and in all honesty, I have run out of excuses to give others. I do appreciate all the people who see me regardless of my ethnicity, and those are the only people I associate with. Those are the only people I use my time and energy on.

These poems I write about being black, they come from a real place. I’m not asking for sympathy but expressing my thoughts to those that take the time to read what goes on in my mind. It’s not easy being black, but at the same time, I would never choose to be anything else.

 

 

 

Spirit and Soul.

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I savour every frame

Of those picture perfect moments

Captured by my all-seeing eyes;

Unbeknownst to nay-sayers

I am not plugged in to the consensus

Instead, my spirit and soul

Find fulfilment at the prospect of my seclusion.

 

– O.D. ©2018

 

Photograph by: unknown

 

Totem.

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It took the intersection of my

Dispersed thought clouds, to combine vapoured yet

Paralleled lanes of understanding,

Into a richer, heavier, condensed form of thought.

 

It took, experiencing life through different lenses

For me to have a clearer picture of my intended purpose.

I bear stripes they try so hard to look past

Even as I tango at the center 

Of their one dimensional point of focus.

 

God gifted stripes in whichever shade you choose

Black or white, my enigmatic nature is of your making

Takes a closer look to understand parts of me

I would never dream of spoon feeding to you;

But that would be too much for you wouldn’t it?

Actually working for something, and thus, to you

I bid, Adieu.

 

Attempts at bridging positive thoughts to those 

That need them, with Reason(s) I can only hope

To remember when my days get darker;

Sad really, how you work so hard to gain my approval 

Even if it means you take the role of being the sole 

Source of toxicity in my social circle.

 

Uncustomary for a Champion to not take the time

To write for his people, my melanin brothers and sisters

“You are beautiful, let no one tell you otherwise”

And yet, within our ranks lie the uninformed,

Who sell our culture for cheap in a bid to garner cheap pops

To think slavery was a choice is a reality only you

Would bring from the plantation that binds you

In your mind.

 

A sell out like you could not begin to understand

That which we go through… …but let me stop

And take deep breaths, before I yield

To your wish

Of making this all about you.

 

– O.D. ©2018

 

Picture by: NicolasEvariste

 

Spoke to my father the other day, we were talking about my family totem which my grandparents (on every occasion) never hesitate making mention of. The Zebra.

My father said it was done long ago as a way of signifying clans or tribes (emblems of sorts) to help know who was in our bloodline. Furthermore, most of these totems were associated with character traits. An example he gave me was of those from the Buffalo tribe; how they’re considered to be short-tempered, I found it quite fascinating. 

I absolutely love Zebras (bias from it being my totem maybe) but it goes beyond that, the stripes resonate with me. Not to mention the all-powerful hind kick capable of shattering a crocodile’s jaw (Incredible!)

But I’m gonna stop now before this becomes a Nat Geo special.

 

Daily Post: Flaunt

 

 

 

 

 

 

Divine.

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You are, who you are

The world does not need

To understand your beauty

For it to make sense.

 

– O.D. ©2018

 

Art by: AlexanderIsPortraits

 

Foreign

Un·in·tel·li·gi·ble

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Culmination of each written piece:

Unearthed by the intertwining of multiverse mediums

My “Post-poetry-discovery” personality is past relatable; 

Constantly, I raise the peace sign

As a Self-defining Afrofuturist,

Champion of the Black Star,

Otherworldly ink slinger;

One, if not all, take your pick.

Not entirely the point of focus

As the only thing that needs understanding

Is my position in the war between dark and light.

 

Before I forget, woe to those

That would dare interfere

With the formation of my inner thoughts;

Often caffeinated as the ballpoint rolls,

Often told its a bad habit – or so rumour has it –

But, if that is indeed the case,

You might as well say the same

Of the source; the art form.

 

 

I dance between the parallels of perception

What you think you see of me 

May indeed be the remnant of my astral projection

As each verse does its best to compress

A different facet of my personality.

 

I am – to surrounding cliques

What Cinderella’s glass shoe is, to her sisters;

I don’t fit, even as they desperately

Try to wear me as their own.

See, when I say I’m transparent

Believe me, I don’t exaggerate

Like glass, you will see through me

But only get to see, what lies beyond me,

And not me.

 

– O.D. ©2018

 

Art by: Joshua Mays

 

Wrinkle

Africa

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“Always and forever yours, Africa”

I absolutely love this picture; a combination of the chosen aesthetic and power behind the stripes. I immediately got inspired.

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Out, standing,

As if to make existential, in the material,

That I am, indeed, outstanding.

Isolation facilitates

The unabridged flow of my thoughts.

 

My words and how I deliver them

Will undoubtedly trigger those

That would wish to have me in a position

That best suits anyone,

But me.

 

Black Magic is what I call my skin, 

I am the fable you grew believing does not exist,

I am that amalgamation of African spirits which

 Make me a nightmare to supremacists.

A sneeze? Please — perhaps even less,

Is more than enough to liquidate 

My supposed confinement.

 

How do I put this subtly?

“Your belief in my genius is irrelevant”

I am not your disciple; waiting eagerly

For you to say, what I inherently know to be true,

I am that intellectual phantom

You are yet to meet.

 

– O.D. ©2018

 

Photo by: sixreadrabbits

 

Wonder