See No Evil (or More Monkey Business)

Coolest Monkey in the Jungle

This was originally an Instagram post that spilled into the comments as it was way too long.  So, I made it a blog post, cos ownership and all that…

It’s a week later and I’ve calmed down. Life continues and some more shit has happened.  But I haven’t forgiven and I won’t forget.

Cee x

I didn’t want to talk about this anymore because I am drained of energy; however, I also didn’t want anyone to mistake my silence on the issue for apathy. I have been anything but apathetic about any of this.  I have been bolstered by the solidarity shown by many of you, of all hues, on social media and in the real world, but also greatly disappointed, nay, angered by the wilful ignorance of many others 😐

I have watched this play out and have tried to remain objective. But I can’t 😐

As a “POC” (😑), and a Black mother, I know, only too well, how subtle, yet insidious and incredibly powerful, racism can be. I have seen the effects first-hand. Having grown up in this country for the past 30-something years, I know that when a non-black person (and sometimes a black person cos you know self-hate is real) really wants to try to hurt another black person, the racial slurs come out. Hence, “monkey” and “go back to the jungle” are commonly used by lazy racists. (N.B. For the early origins of this usage, please see @srosegregory post, @whattheschujj post and @mumsthatslay_crew (A BLACK, FEMALE, KIDS’ FASHION STYLIST – YES, BIG BRANDS, THEY DO ACTUALLY EXIST. LIKE, HELLO?!) stories or simply use Professor Google) 😐

So, when people say:

“I don’t see colour. All I see is a child in a sweatshirt.  If you see anything else, then you’re the racist one”, I say “Please don’t lie to me or yourself. Of course you see colour! And don’t insult me by telling me that the most significant element of me is invisible to you.  My colour frames my identity.  If you don’t see my colour, what do you see? Cos you cannot be seeing me.” 😐

And, when people say:

“It’s just words. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. Don’t be so sensitive!”, I say “Have you ever heard of this thing they like to call bullying? There’s also another phenomenon that they like to call grooming. Both can be incredibly damaging and both have gone cyber now. It’s basically just words on a phone or computer screen. However, people have killed and been killed because of it. Crazy, huh?” 😐

And, when people say:

“Anyway, I call my child a cheeky monkey all the time so what’s the big deal”, I say, “I do not commonly call my child a monkey and the fact that you call your child one has nothing to do with me and, furthermore, have you or your child ever had bananas thrown at you while being called a monkey as a slight on your humanity or have you only ever experienced it as a slightly silly reference to your child’s lack of ability to sit still? Hmmm…? And, please do not tell me that the monkey problem is news to you, especially if you work in fashion retail, because Matalan did something similar just 3 short years ago…” 😐

And, when people say:

” So is it one rule for white kids and another for black kids now? Maybe they were trying to make a statement and show that there is no difference between a black child and white child” I say, “It’s been that way for hundreds of years and a certain Scandinavian clothing retailer is not going to change that with one image on their online catalogue. If they really wanted to make a statement on the racial injustices of the world, they would have made it a campaign…you know, like that one they did that was fronted by Naomi Campbell?” 😐

And, then, when they say:

“But if the mother doesn’t have a problem with it then why do you?” I say, “Sometimes, it takes a village” 😐

Don’t get me wrong. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but please make sure it is informed first. And, just so we are clear, your opinion can never trump my experience, so…😐

And, I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about, so I’m not going to provide any further free publicity 😐

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