This blog’s tone has always been more or less superficial. I write about clothes, cosmetics, sneakers, cool photos, music or stuff to do. I don’t rant, I don’t call out people. Sometimes, I give my opinion, but it’s only rarely that the subject of a blogpost actually means something to the face of the planet.
As I’m getting older, I’m also getting more and more conscious about some issues of this world, and getting more comfortable with the idea of talking about them here, on my blog.
So today, I wanted to reflect after I heard and read some comments that upset me. Some were addressed to me, but mostly it was random stuff that people posted in the comments section of Mashable, tweeted to the world, wrote clickbait-“articles” about or mentioned on Instagram.
It all started with Kylie Jenner. You remember her cornrows, right? You remember the debate it unleashed in the US? Because cornrows are a “black people thing”? Right. Kylie Jenner has a unique style, that you may or may not like or approve. Kylie likes long nails, sportswear, cleavage, diamonds. She’s also known for enhancing her lips with the help of plastic surgery and tons of lipstick. Good for her! Who cares, right? Well, because she’s borrowing and reinterpreting some of the traditional hip-hop and r’n b codes, because she emphasises her lips and made them bigger, because she’s sporting an ‘african’ hairstyle, Kylie is regularly accused of “wanting to be black”. Many girls, famous or not, dress like that, but the fact that she is white apparently makes it terribly wrong. Am I the only one bothered by this? Wait. It gets more personal.
A few weeks back, I attended a blogger event for HEMA, where I got my hair braided by Hair by Hoodrat. I loved it, it felt great and lasted more than 3 days, and I received a lot of compliments on how it suited me. But apparently, it was very offensive to a person who decided to “call me out” for being “a little racist and ignorant”. Yes, you read that right. Fortunately, this comment didn’t come from anyone ‘IRL’. Nope, it came from this amazing anonymous paradise called Instagram, where anyone can say anything they want to anyone they don’t like, which seemed like the perfect medium for this particular user to unleash their hate on my innocent selfie.
My mistake was to immediately delete the comment. I didn’t want it to have any consequences, I didn’t want people to even wonder whether I had said or done something racist. I wanted it to go away. I was shocked and hurt of being accused of racism. It stuck to me for weeks. At some point, I even questioned myself, wondering if this comment could, in any way, be sort of true or justified. Thing is, say it anyway you want, I don’t get it. I don’t get how this can be interpreted as a racist act. I’m myself a pretty funky mix of european and african genes with asian background, and I’ve always lived in a very multicultural environment, so to be honest, racism is a notion that is pretty far from my daily life. Actually, if some idiots weren’t there to remind me everyday, on Facebook, on TV, in political debates, that it exists, I would be glad to say it’s an outdated and barbarian concept that doesn’t have its place in the modern world. But hey, apparently, it does.
What revolts me beyond the accusation, is the fact that some people still think, in 2016, that certain physical attributes are reserved to a certain color of skin. Isn’t it time we get rid of this racial vision of style and beauty? Why should any piece of clothing, make up item or hairstyle be reserved to only black or white or asian or latino people? How progressive and modern are you if your vision of the world still builds walls between skin colours? By perpetuating these stigmas, you feed the inequality of society, you legitimise the assholes that believe that there actually ARE limits to what certain ethnicities can and can’t do. The reality of today, in Belgium for example, is much more complex and varied than that anyway: several immigration waves, coming from all Europe, from all Africa, Asia, South America… have turned our monochrome country into a rich, diverse, multicultural gem at the heart of Europe. Colors, languages, origins are mixing and rubbing off on each other, and it’s been going on for generations. Our world is only getting more diverse, and it’s great! I feel like we need to be really positive about the influences mixing and creating new global cultures, instead of trying to keep them apart. The more we will try to keep communities closed, the more communities will feel different from each other and unaccepted. And the less we will be able to live together. We have to open our boundaries and our arms, we have to share our knowledge and our ideas, in order to build an awesome future together.
I never thought I’d write such a serious article – I mean hell, all I did was getting my hair braided – but this simple, innocent action set off things that made me realise how something so insignificant can have such an impact on people’s visions of their (and other people’s) identity. I feel like ethnicity has become such a huge deal, especially in America, that people got stuck into this narrow world where everybody gets offended by everything and has no tolerance for anyone, resulting into even more racism. People have to start making a difference between racist acts/words, and what are just some healthy consequences of multiculturality. Take a chill pill, peeps!