Friday, July 27, 2018

Black People Don't Do That!

I remember the funny looks I used to get on the weekends and school holidays when I would spend a vast amount of time at my grandparents caravan in Surrey. I'd overhear the odd comment but mainly it was just the stares. On our European holidays it was pretty much the same. I wasn't stupid, I knew what they were looking at - 'a black person camping?' 'A black person on the beach in Cyprus?'
You see back then, there were VERY few 'people of colour' that went camping and to be perfectly honest just as few that went on European holidays and although I am in fact mixed race I was always just viewed as black.




Growing up not much changed, I always seemed to find myself in places where I pretty much stood out. Then I had children of my own and I just wanted them to have as many amazing experiences as I had growing up. We used to frequent places like Godstone Farm, caravan holidays, Margate, The Lake District, Stonehenge and the White Horses and although I had got used to being in the minority it really hit home when my daughter said to me one day "Mummy, why don't other black people go to the places we go?" I can't remember my exact response to her but it went something along the lines of "because not everybody knows that these places exist." At only around 5 or 6 I wasn't going to give her a full on lecture in ignorance in culture.


That afternoon I sat and reflected on what my daughter had asked me, my childhood, my teens and early motherhood and the sad reality was that it was true, there had always been near enough no other families from any ethnic minority backgrounds at the places we would go.

WHY?? Why weren't black people on the beaches in Spain, Why weren't other black families taking pictures around Stonehenge? Why were we the only black family dancing to some dodgy redcoat songs at a holiday park?


The sad reality was I knew deep down why.  Back then, things seemed to be split into 2 categories 'things black people do' and 'things black people don't do.' I remember my friends saying of caravanning and fishing "Emma, black people don't do that" When I suggested to a friend that we all take the kids away for a long weekend to a holiday park she looked at me like I was crazy. "Em, WE don't do that kind of thing." The only response I could muster was "OK, well you and your kids will be missing out." And it was true because we did and always have had an amazing time.

Over the years I've noticed that more and more people have been mixing with folk from all walks of life and as a result it means that people are daring to do things that once upon a time 'THEY' didn't do.

Whilst it's refreshing to see people getting out there and trying new things I still think there is an attitude amongst some of ' black people don't do that' A perfect example was when I first began blogging back in 2011, so many friends thought I was crazy. They told me that 'WEdon't put our lives out there like that and that I was pretty much the only one of 'MY KIND'doing it. They weren't exactly wrong, for many years I have followed many fantastic bloggers, vloggers and other great people on social media and although I do enjoy their work, I have to admit that I do find it hard to fully identify with them because whilst parenting is hard work whatever your ethnicity and decorating is a pain in the arse regardless of colour there are some cultural and social issues which only people from a similar ethnic background will understand. For example, someone who doesn't have afro hair posted about hair care and products the other week and whilst I found the article interesting, it wasn't something I could relate to because quite simply, my hair needs are completely different. Or I watched a recent make-up tutorial not to long ago but the brands featured don't make products for my skin tone so another interesting but not particularly helpful video. There really isn't an abundance of black bloggers, I don't know the real reason why but I assume it does have something to do with the motto 'black people don't do that' and it can be frustrating. 




By blogging, vlogging and doing all the things I did do and continue to do with my children, I am one of a handful(which I would love to see grow) of people who are hopefully starting to break that viscous circle. I'm proving that we should not be restricted to what we can do just because of the colour of our skin.

I know topics like this can be a bit controversial but what are you thoughts?


Emma xoxo

10 comments:

  1. I think people can do whatever they want regardless of their skin colour etc. It must be hard to teach your kids they can be whoever they want to be though when people around you are always saying that you can't do something. I can't imagine how frustrating it must be when cultural bias begins in your own community.
    Debbie

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  2. I think it's a real shame for people, because of colour, to pigeonhole themselves through life. When I see people out and about I don't see black or white, I tend to see families with children, and families without, as I have a child myself.

    I'm glad you're breaking outside of those 'we don't do that' category and carving your own path!

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  3. As a black person, I can relate with what you wrote. There was a day we went to an Aqua park, with a lot of swimming pools. I can confidently say that we were the only black people there (as far as we could observe). It is true that there are some activities that black people don’t see worth spending time or money on, thanks for sharing xx

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  4. Well done for breaking the vicious circle - anyone's skin colour shouldn't dictate anything about their life. We should all have the choice to do what we want to do :)

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  5. What a shame that you were made to feel that way. I think everyone is entitled to enjoy theirselves doing what they please regardless of colour. I'm glad that you get out there and do what makes you happy. :)

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  6. I think it's a shame that coloured people think they can't do the same things white people. Underneath our skin we are the same and I think it's brilliant you don't let it hold you back. I follow a few coloured bloggers on social media and it's unfortunate there aren't more. Hopefully you and they can encourage others to break free and do what they think they can't or shouldn't do x

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  7. I think things definitely need to change. Several makeup companies have made fools of themselves fairly recently and upset a lot of people by not catering for the full range of skin tones, for example, which is just ridiculous in 2018! No one should feel excluded from anything because of the colour of their skin. Although, as a white woman, I know that’s easy for me to say x

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  8. I instinct was to smile as to me questioning black people camping us so ludicrous, then I felt really sad. I’ve always had such a mixture of friends I have no opinion on their skin colour I just accept anyone for whether they are a good person or not. It’s such a shame that people have these bizarre perceptions.

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  9. I had never even thought of this and I can’t say I’ve ever sat somewhere and been surprised to see people of different ethnicities there. But saying that i’ve been reading a lot about white privilege lately so perhaps I’m not even aware of what I’m doing. Seems a shame people are missing out, it’s similar to gender - the culture of men don’t do that it’s women’s work etc so clearly in all areas of our lives there are loads of stereotypes we need to keep on working at breaking down.

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  10. Your post really makes me think as I had never really noticed it to be honest. I see families those with children and those without. But good on you for doing what you want to do, I am sure you are teaching your children they can do whatever they want regardless of the colour of their skin. I for one think that’s one of the most important things to teach our children. Not to be. I strained by other people’s perceptions. Xx

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