Monday

Review: Race relations

A friend of mine who works in South Africa went to the beach with some black people last weekend. Well done, friend!

I find her example inspiring and intend to spend the next few weeks making friends with black people who are not related to me. Next month, I’m moving to a country where everyone is black. Last time I was there, I received this brilliant summary of my racial identity, from a man in a market: “You’re white,” he said, “but a funny colour.” Thinking of the money I’d saved on buying books by Paul Gilroy, I bought a sack of rice for 20p.

A few years ago, my father, who is Jamaican-Irish, decided to rediscover his African roots. He took to wearing batik-print gowns and yin-yang necklaces, in a triumph of mixed cultural messages. Before dinner, we’d do a libation to the ancestors, which is where my dad went out into his Manchester back garden and poured a bowl of water on the tomato patch. Go the ancestors! Roots, I believe, should stay buried underground, where they can make themselves useful.

The benchmark for a truly inclusive society is an STA Travel advert in which a racially mixed group of attractive young people gambol around in a tropical paradise, raping the local culture. Advertising has always led the way in the area of race relations: when my brother and I were small, people in supermarkets used to congratulate my mother on her children, saying we were just like a Benetton advert. This was before the period when Benetton adverts featured Death Row inmates and AIDS patients. It seems obscene, now, that Benetton ads used to be culturally relevant. The 1980s were a desert, even worse than the Noughties.

Race relations: As a child, I was under the impression that we weren’t allowed to eat South African fruit because the man from Del Monte killed black people. Later, I worked in a bar with the daughter of the actor who played this heartless monster. True story! 6 out of 10.

12 Comments:

At 4:49 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are very politically correct indeed. Can I marry you? We can be like a benetton advert.

 
At 5:30 pm, Blogger UnderCrackers said...

can I be you adopted beautiful small arsed child?

 
At 10:42 pm, Anonymous Philip said...

Did it ever occur to you that the man from Del Monte used antigravity oranges?

Seriously, though.

 
At 7:59 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 10:22 am, Anonymous eskimo said...

Hmmm. Go away, Anonymous 2.

 
At 11:07 am, Blogger Hated thrice said...

hmmm… Humour and a white supremacist — that's a joke in itself.

Hey Eskimo, I thought your dad was Jamaican-Irish-Brummie.

Don't you find it strange that one of the most openly racist (and sexist) societies spawned the Benneton ads.

 
At 11:09 am, Blogger Hated thrice said...

Sorry … Italian's a bit rusty. Can't spell Benetton

 
At 11:56 am, Blogger Mr K said...

Every racist has a friend of whichever race the intend to discriminate. Or at least, pretends too. So they can say something like "hey, I don't HATE them. Some of my best friends are them! But.... why don't we send them all home?"

This phrase is also friends with "I'm not racist but...."

 
At 1:18 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea I know what you mean. Im not a racist, every white man should have one.

 
At 5:02 pm, Blogger Beeps said...

I am that friend in South Africa and am proud to have found (relative) fame chez Eskimo. Here's an interesting fact, despite being the Rainbow Nation, there is no Benetton in Cape Town! I have been informed there is one in Joburg so am going at the weekend to check it out. Will keep you updated...

 
At 1:55 am, Blogger littlemissprincess_86 said...

May I draw your attention to http://www.blackpeopleloveus.com/index.html

 
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