This entry is gonna bite me.
My latest obsession has been a “trans-black” internet character that goes by the name of woahhvicky. I say character but she’s actually a very real 17 years old girl from Georgia, USA that claims to be black in spite of not actually being black. The internet is furious about this and therefore by definition, she’s getting a lot of attention. That girl is famous for this!!
The first time I saw her video, I didn’t see anything wrong with her wanting to be black. I mean we’re out here straightening our hair and wearing makeup colors made for lighter skin. But then I got to see more and more and I started to think maybe she’s just a little sick in the head…..and then I saw more and saw that she was playing racist stereotypes like making a video about how black people can’t swim and she pats her head the way girls with weaves do to scratch their heads even though she doesn’t wear a weave, and there’s the way she talks ratchet and I don’t know why it was necessary to talk like that. There were multiple videos where she was caught lying about funny stuff like being pregnant but still calls the babydaddy a “virgin” and I thought maybe she’s just a little juvenile and probably thinks it’s funny so I went ahead and watched more and more videos (I need a life I know) and I figured this has to be an organized conspiracy made to teach people some kind of lesson. This can’t just be someone trolling the internet for fame. She’s very pretty. It wouldn’t have been that hard to make people like her….
I’m writing this here after having snapped myself out of my woahvicky marathon like damn the internet is not a healthy place….and now even I have started to talk like her but I guess no one would be offended if I talked like that. Because I am in fact, dark of skin.
Let me jump off topic for a second and tell you about a poem I heard on the December Edition of the Poetic Saturdays event thing (I guess I learn a lot going to that thing. Ima have to go more often. ) It was a poem performed by iTimothy telling the Addis Ababan youth, “sorry but you are not my nigga”. He wrote this in annoyance from people here in Addis learning that he was from the US and calling him “My Nigga” He tells in his poem about how the term “My nigga” holds a whole different concept to him and his and how there are different meanings to the term “nigga” and how you don’t just up and dub yourself “a nigga”. You earn it somehow.
I was right there with him nodding and applauding and trying to think of times I have used that term or heard it used in the mainstream. It’s not even that it’s a bad word or a cool word but because it’s just not here. There’s a whole controversy over what the word carries. People, even here in Addis, sometimes get offended by it because someone with lighter skin used it to identify someone with a darker complexion and there are others who feel entitled to it just because they are black. And then there are those who believe that the term doesn’t apply to us Ethiopians at all because the term “Nigger” was used to refer to black slaves and they believe that Ethiopians were never slaves which is technically not true because Ethiopia wasn’t officially put under colonial rule but there have always been Ethiopians sold into slavery basically throughout history…..even now apparently. So I’d conclude that if Nigger means black slaves then there have been Ethiopian Niggers.
So there you have it.
Now the wave of controversy over the idea of “cultural appropriation” was a thing a while back and I don’t remember how exactly but it had something to do with Beyonce wearing something for a photo shoot and the internet reacted to it in outrage.
The term Cultural Appropriation or is it misappropriation? Are they using this first term sarcastically? What the hell? …Anyways the idea of it according to Wikipedia….I’ll just put down the whole first paragraph down in quote:
is a concept in sociology dealing with the adoption of the elements of a minorityculture by members of the dominant culture. It is distinguished from equal cultural exchange due to the presence of a colonial element and imbalance of power. Cultural (mis)appropriation is often portrayed as harmful in contemporary cultures, and is claimed to be a violation of the collectiveintellectual property rights of the originating, minority cultures, notably Indigenous cultures and those living under colonial rule. Often unavoidable when multiple cultures come together, cultural exchange, as well as misappropriation, can include using other cultures’ cultural and religious traditions, fashion, symbols, language, and songs.
That is why everyone is annoyed that woahvicky wants to be black so much and she’s not even saying she “wants” to be black. She’s saying she absolutely is. She’s saying she found through an ancestry checking site that she’s 25% black but she’s always known that she was black deep down; that she’s “black in her head and in her heart.”
I struggled very hard to understand why everyone was pissed off that she wanted to be black so bad. I mean if she wants to think that she’s black, let her. But the girl is annoying. She seems to be the type of person you want to hit with a chair when she opens her mouth to talk and she’s a very weird kind of racist. I guess it annoys people when some with better privilege try to bring themselves down and create their own type of struggle to try and sympathize? And I say this because I found another “trans black” woman, Rachel Dolezal, who’s been receiving quite a bit of heat after being outed as a white woman posing as a black woman. This woman was a civil rights activist, mind you, and she was a prominent figure wanting to appear black. Some people were frustrated. I don’t get it.
Clearly the woahvicky girl, as some people on the internet put it, is a rich person who in no way receives the racism that black people receive. In fact there’s a video of her being outraged that a doctor wanted to know why she ticked ‘black’ on her form when she was clearly white and she and her friends were really angry that he tried to call her white when she clearly identifies as black. They called what he did racism. She’d gone to this doctor to “make her butt thicker than it already is.”
What I really wanna know is if it’s all about the fact that certain people, and not just black people, but all people who are a minority and face a certain type of struggle, feel insulted when someone pretends to know what they’re about? Does cultural appropriation (misappropriation) really belittle these struggles? Or is there some other sophisticated side to this that I am not seeing?
I read an article the other day by someone I know through conversation and he’d written about how Ethiopians have tried to exempt themselves from that “black person” idea because the racism is mostly a color thing and a culture thing. And while I disagreed with some points he raised or maybe just the way he presented his ideas, I think I understood what he meant about Ethiopian people needing to just accept that they are black. You can’t remove yourself from it, colonized or no. People see you and they still see a black person. He also talks about some racism he’s faced because of his skin color even right here in his own country by his own country men.
So I see all this on the internet and no lie, I have given myself a migraine. Now I’m wondering what to think of The Legend of Tarzan. And I’m thinking if how the way you were raised, if you were raised culturally black and have faced discrimination for having been raised that way, do you qualify as black then even if you’re white? Or do you absolutely have to have black skin?
Where do Ethiopians stand in all of this? Where does cultural appropriation begin and end? Does that work for Africans using another Africans’ culture or have they left Africans out of this concept? Should cultural appropriation even be a thing?
Can we complain about African Americans using the real African culture as being cultural appropriation? How about when it is used wrong? Does anyone remember the character of an Abyssinian Solomon Ogbai in Davinci’s demons and how they dressed him like a west African? (even though my cousin argued with me that they could make the case that he just might have changed garbs on his way north from Abyssinia to Europe.)
Ethiopians are African people who, like mentioned in that article I talked about above, sometimes struggle against internalized racism in our own country and sometimes live with the confusion of whether we want to act like the white westerners or the black westerners. And so I have no idea what the African American struggle is about because that’s not exactly something that has happened to me and I some times talk like woahvicky. Do I get to be mad at her?
Some would deny the effect that globalization has on them but what the fuck internet?! I blame you.
P.S. My questions in this article are neither rhetorical nor are they sarcastic (for the most part). Because I am an irrelevant blogger who doesn’t even try to be better, I know I don’t have a lot of readers but please help me understand this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!