By: Emm Jee On: Mar 8 2011 2:28PM
I had to stop being black when I left South Africa, and I survived it. In retrospect the inevitable BEE avenue through which I had to pass in corporate South Africa in fact hindered my growth, recognition and reward. Coloured and free from the vexing deal between the white owners of financial capital and the black owners of political capital, the deal that presumed I was deficient and needed affirming because of the colour of my skin, for the first time outside South Africa, I was being measured, recognised and rewarded according to my merits. And in this my contributions became vastly more relevant than the colour of my skin, which has not been referenced in my proffesional life in 3 years since I left South Africa. When people ask me about my race, I say I am Coloured. When they ask, "What is Coloured?" I tell them that it is a community born of a mixing of races. I tell them we have our own way of speaking, our own way of greeting each others' mothers, of asking girls out to a movie, of getting together on Sunday, of establishing priorities, of worshiping in our faiths, of telling jokes, of playing sports, of living, loving and dying. We don't believe in ancenstors nor have totems or tribes. We don't speak black African languages in our homes, nor have chiefs, nor ascend mountains for mass ritualistic circumcisions. We are not black, although we have adopted many of the best features of our black ancestry. We are not white, although we have adopted many of the best features of our white ancestry. We are Coloured, and in the end, we are going to take over the World and re-write history for the last time. How will you be remembered? Thanks Trevor for doing what you think is right for me, which is trying to ensure that on the basis of the colour of my skin I enjoy a privileged position relative to other South African citizens. However I don't need this kind of help. I am looking for a world where everyone is measured by what they contribute, not by their racial classification.