Part 3: Cultural Competency in the Bar Scene as a Succulent Babe
“Oh baby, I’ve got jungle fever tonight!”
Did your skin crawl? Did you just get a little nauseous? Did you eye roll so hard that you've developed an eyestrain? I know YOU know why this is so heinous. However, for those of you that have had the privilege to never deal with this, and/or feel that there isn’t anything thaattttt bad with that pick up line - keep on readin’ to get an inside scoop.
Although I’ve grown up and live in large multicultural Canadian cities, I’m typically The Only One. The only black person in the class, the only black person in the office, the only black person in the friend group and so on and so forth. I won’t go into the struggles of being the token one, but I do want to point out that I understand the “novelty” perspective. However, this is a slippery slope to fetishizing. Making it clear that you're only interested in me because of my "booty" is fetishizing. Solely complimenting me on my "chocolate skin" is fetishizing. While this may appear like pleasant things to say, it doesn't acknowledge me as a whole person and simply perpetuates micro-aggressions.
So, here's the bad news - unfortunately, since our world is still striving for social justice, we ("the others") are going to suffer more gripes. Here's the GREAT news - we do NOT have to accept it. At. All. In fact, when I decided to own my culture, my ethnicity and who I am as a person, I attracted my real deal ride or die.
I know, I know, there's already so much self-love we have to do - about our bodies, our faces, our hair, etc. Yep, we have to do some more self-lovin'. But isn't that fucking great? Please take the time right this second to find a mirror and tell yourself loudly and proudly that you love YOU! Loving yourself results in increased resilience to all the culturally incompetent assholes you will inevitably encounter. Loving yourself results gives you the power to stand up and say a big fat nope to the culturally insensitive words and actions happening in your environment. Loving yourself results in the law of attraction working for you in a positive way! I promise on all that is holy that loving yourself will be the best thing that you ever do, not only for yourself but also for society at large. Can you imagine a world where every last individual is walking around loving themselves? Think of all the issues that would be resolved!
To those of you who have the aforementioned privilege, I want to make it abundantly clear - it is not our job to educate you. That onus is on YOU! The sole responsibility that marginalized people have in terms of social justice is to live our best lives. Maybe out of the goodness of our hearts, we'll take the time and effort to tell you what's up (yo, and be super grateful if and when this happens!) but at the end of the day, you have to do your part too.
The Lesson: Knowledge is power!