Recently I was engaged in a heated debate on the TL, the main topic of which was the whole Black history/diversity conundrum. I was not surprised to be seeing that a lot of White people were agreeing with this sentiment, but what did not surprise me was the amount of non-Black – or should I say people of colour (POC) – who were also of the same opinion that a whole month should not be dedicated to one race’s achievements. “We don’t see the Asians calling for a Asian history month” was a phrase that was frequently used by both White and Asian commentators.
I am not going to go into a whole tirade on why such a sentiment is ludicrous and explain what Black British history month is really about. Benedicta Denteh’s Black history month article already does a great job of this. Instead my focus is on my dislike of the term People of Colour and the false allyship between Black people and POC.
As a Black woman I despise the label “People of colour”, I am a black woman and like to be referred as one. The label was created to categorise everyone who is non-White and to create an agenda of “minority solidarity”. I applaud the idea behind the term but at the same time most note that it is a romanticised idea to believe in such a solidarity as that means we are denying the widespread anti-Blackness in non-Black communities of colour.
My first experience of receiving a racial slur was from an Asian woman in my local corner shop and I can assure you it was no less frightening to my 8-year-old self than if it had been a white person in a similar context.
There is a racial hierarchy in this world where black people are at the bottom and white people are at the top and I am not going to ignore that POC benefit largely from this hierarchy. All ethnic groups face discrimination but my struggles and battles as a BLACK woman differs as this is an individual battle that only BLACK women will relate to. We are not one homogeneous group, I will never try to erase the the problems that other minorities face that are exclusive to them but time and time again Black peoples struggles are continuously minimised.
I am not denying the necessity of unity but in a world where I need to verbally make it known that Black Lives Matter, my identity lies solely in my blackness and I refuse to hide it under the lazy guise of “people of colour”.