|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|For so many years I have worked very hard and waited for my left hand to be right. I’m still working hard and waiting …
I admit. This is not my writing style at all – especially when reporting myself. But then here we go. Eisch!. I have decided I share with you some random snippets of my experience or non of it over the 20-plus odd years I have lived on this side of the pond; for I forever shall live in mortal fear of being misquoted or lack of it thereof; or worse still forgetfulness and forgettable. Non consequential or just as ‘SHIT HOLE’ as US President Trump’s characterization of Africa and its populations myself included.
You see! I have seen it all. From ‘dog-whispers’ to ‘bull-horns’ of racial slurs. Some deliberated, calculated and unleashed and the outcome assessed, and blatant and yet others random and ignorant. From people pretending they don’t understand my accent, and least still cannot spell my African surname even as it shows clearly on the identity badge laying on my lapel all the time, all written in English alphabet – and (‘by law’?). Wait! Aah! You name it. But jog on still.
But it still hates …
Take accents for example; and their names. Already cause anxiety and discomfort among and between some lot.
One time years back; just over one-year after September 11: my partner and I planned visiting with friends in New York. Our respective annual leave were generous – could take a good 4 weeks in the summer. We didn’t think much about itinerary or anything except booking the tickets online – lastminute.com and whacked email to our friend Monika – a Czech – American to let her duly know we were on our way and asked what we should bring her from London. Flight Tickets were cheap; £420 apiece return and all.
Except for me to be denied a visa DESPITE the fact I lived in America before. In Louisiana (Lousyana). Barton Rouge.
Despite I was the professionally fully employed between the two of us. As if it should have mattered.
Despite we had our own two bed room flat in North East London; Walthamstow . We bought it for £182.000.00. On mortgage of cause.
My bank statement at that time was very healthy. No reason to complain in this department … at that time at least.
Despite my manager John Pink at Community Volunteers (CSV) writing a passionate passion-able letter vouching for me; tax returns and payslips; bank statements; and the fact that I had not taken sick leave for all the 3 years I had been working with him. And that there was no reason whatsoever for me to get stranded or live off some American public freebies or on government recourse for that matter – we had enough savings in personal and joint account as it stood.
You name it. The whole shebang.
My application failed.
The ‘computer said no.’
Their Sentiment: “There was no sufficient evidence with my application to suggest I would want to return to the United Kingdom after my holiday in America.”
In their pitifully blinkered or myopic eyes on issues of human and social mobility, geography ie population movements and settlements; they had just done some non formulaic calculation; I wasn’t gonna come back to the UK – would go on a runner. ????
And they said my partner could still go ahead though and travel to visit with our friends as she was on a German passport. They made it sound we were very fortunate at least one of us could still be travelling. Dough!
No refund for airline tickets even as we informed the Airline two weeks in advance.
We took it in our synchronized stride and jogged on.
Images of ‘black men’ doing ‘black man bad man tings‘
Is it me? Every time I watch news on telly and there is some robbery or stabbing or even an accident that has taken place. I’m conditioned to quickly check if the aggressor, violent person at that were a black man or not. Simple demographic statistics. And praying … “Oh God Let It Be Not A Black Man This Time.” Of course there is disproportionate representation of black man crime versus white man crime. The media do that everyday. I work there. Masochistic!
Look! As black men we are wired to self doubt; confess; self interrogate, and question our selves first before the other in any situation what ever situation; a bad one or a good one. We can be impressionable, callous, belligerent and gullible. Don’t speak out for fear of being labelled cocky or arrogant or both or self aggrandizing; therefore double-down on self-minimization and our lack of potential; assumed of course- trying to prove we can fit in while all the while dying of self-pity. The vulnerability.
I’m not a pub man but when I do do happen to go into one all sorts of things happen.
EXHIBIT 2 – Pub In Barcelona
Las Ramblas Barcelona;
Las Ramblas is often the first landmark that most tourists identify with the city. It is the central most boulevard which cuts through the heart of the city centre and is a vibrant and lively promenade filled with Barcelona action at its best and sometimes the worst.
Antoni Gaudí i Cornet was a Catalan architect who is the best known practitioner of Catalan Modernism.
Gaudí’s works have a highly individualized, and one-of-a-kind style. Most are located in Barcelona, including his main work, the church of the Sagrada Família
Magnificent! We went up to Gaudi House’ by cable car; did little of nosing around and taking pictures. A cup of coffee. We were four of us; an English couple who had traveled with us from London; long time friends shall I say, and the two of us. My partner then heavily pregnant; irritable, irritating and all … as you can imagine. We all decided we needed a drink after the excursion up the Gaudi Hill. We headed into the next pub that came to sight by The Ramblers, except I thought I remain outside for a little-while to finish off my ‘fag’. I had just started smoking then, and drinking for that matter. And why not – that was pregnancy stress, anxiety and all.
I casually walked in the pub a little while later. Took a quick glance and spotted my little gang patched on a wide table by the corner.
Drinks ordered including my San Miguel. Happy days. Before I realized ; a notably smartly dressed gentleman whom I assumed to be a staffer walked up to me and accosted:
” PARRDONH! My ‘pathronh‘ patrons/customers are not pleased seeing you here.” he said.
“There is another nicer pub down the road,” he added helpfully of course.
Sheepishly and meekly as I always do in ‘these’ circumstances …; I smiled my normal broad smile showing only the white teeth and said something to the effect;
“Sorry. Thank you. Thank you so much. And God’s Blessings!”
What is that all for?
I believe BLACK CONSCIOUSNESS, BLACK BROTHERHOOD just as SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS has undesired consequences and outer-limits for thoughtful intercultural and interracial dialogue; and our common struggle against prejudice: religious, race, creed or OTHERWISE.
Or some pointless meaningless mumble of some sort.
This all happened in full glare of the Mexican and Brazilian dance troupe who stared at the scene in bewilderment, and bemused . World vision! Consequently my lot including the cacophony of the dance ensemble – wobbled out with some apologizing on ‘their behalf’ to me … which was bizarre but understandable for such brazen attack will not happen in the UK where I live; as I am still aware. I presume.
EXHIBIT 3 – Black on black crime and the language of self – hate and hurt.
I don’t know about you. I have decided the British Law of Etiquette & Decorum still works.
It doesn’t really matter what you are at and where are you at in life as long a you are not hurting or hating others, fair and fine.
For no reason.