Race Relations

“Racism still alive, we just be concealing it”

Art 1

Illustration by Daisy Bwonditi

Yes, I started this piece with a line from a Kanye West track. One of his better lines from back when his music was decent. A time when even 2pac might have been proud of him. And why did I choose a Kanye quote? Because I’m black. And every black man has to know at least a few lines from his favourite black rapper.

Actually I’m not even black. I’m a sexy golden-brown.

Kenya isn’t all that muti-cultural so it doesn’t surprise me that most of the people I see around share my brown hue. But it bothered me that I didn’t have many white or Asian friends. And why would I want to have more white friends and Asian friends? Because they look good on your arm. Walking around with some lighties in your entourage gives you a serious vibe. A vibe that says “this guy is a man of the world” and “Alco-blow? Do you not see the white man in my car? You must be joking.”

To make things worse, I still hadn’t dated a white girl. Oh, the embarrassment of not having added a pale skin beauty to my list of conquests. Looking back, most of my conquests were of the same tribe as me. I started to feel like that guy who goes into the same restaurant for dinner every night, looks at the variety of dishes and only ever asks for githeri and mukimo.

I believed that things would change once I got to England. Two years in, I looked around and noticed the same pattern as when I was in Kenya. All of my friends; black. All of the girls I chased; black. And I lived in a house with only black people in it.

The fuck? Here I am in a country where Caucasian is the majority in a city known for its cultural diversity yet somehow I find myself exclusively in the company of niggars. Not that there’s anything wrong with hanging out with black people but the truth is, I’m only black on the outside. I’ve always been a coconut. When that new Drake track is all the rage among my friends, all I care about is Kaskade’s set at Coachella 2012. Most of my black friends considered me to be their white friend.

I’ve heard black people say colourful things about Asians who drive around pumping Mavado. Only the white girls with sizeable booties dare to wine it with the voluptuous darkies. So where does that leave a coconut such as me? Enjoying the best of both worlds.

I’d go to parties that have two rooms and it would be like walking over a large yin-yang poster. One room would be filled with white people and a few black people and the other would be largely black with a few white. I had one friend who asked me to join her for yoga classes because she didn’t feel right being the only black person in the room. I liked going with her but I couldn’t handle all the super-sexy stretches. The ‘blackest’ thing about me is my preference for beautiful bums and those yoga-pants can be a helluva blood pumper.

It may not necessarily be a race issue but a propensity for people to gravitate towards people with similar tastes and preferences. People of the same race tend to listen to the same music, watch the same TV shows and hang out in similar places. Pub lunch for the lighties and Nandos for the darkies. Video gamers hang out together, potheads recognize, book lovers congregate at the library and drinkers are bound to meet up at the bar. Like attracts like.

“Jack is the one that can bring nations and nations of Jackers together under one house. You may be black, you may be white; you may be Jew or Gentile. It don’t make a difference in OUR house. And this is fresh.” – Jack’s House.


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