Friday, 8 December 2017

Thoughts for the weekend: Who is “person of colour”?

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

WHO is this? Who indeed is “person of colour”? Would they also be termed “coloured person”? If not, why not?

No one should ever toy with their identity, their history – particularly African peoples, especially those domiciled in the pan-European World. Crucially, in this geographical space, as well as in the Arab World, the cardinal constructs of African identity have in the past been expunged in stretches of robust state/quasi-state programmes aimed primarily to deny or distort the saliency of the African presence.

This is why a person who presents themself, for instance, as African British, African American, African Caribbean, Igbo British, Ethiopian American, Congolese French, Biafran German, Jamaican Canadian, etc., etc., actuates a presence unmistakeably that references or resonates with history. In contrast, employing a dehistoricised expression/epithet in referencing someone, however expedient, even fanciful, questions that person’s presence and surely accelerates their slide to quite often tragic alienation.

ALWAYS insist on who you are. This is not the responsibility of somebody else’s.
(McCoy Tyner Quartet, “Contemplation” [personnel: Tyner, piano; Joe Henderson, tenor saxophoneRon Carter, bass; Elvin Jones, drums; recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, US, 21 April 1967])
Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

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