Like many of you, I struggle to navigate the minefield of today’s world that is political correctness. Even as a 26 year old mixed race Irish/Nigerian male I still stumble as to the correct way to describe myself at times.
For certain people I wouldn’t be dark enough to be ‘‘black’ but at the same time many consider me too dark to be Irish. I’m told ‘coloured’’ is an offensive term and to reject it but if someone refers to me as ‘a person of colour’ I personally don’t take any offence.
You see I reckon I’m a bit of an anomaly. I was adopted and raised by a predominantly white family, rendering me the whitest black guy you have ever met. Mentally I’ve always seen myself as an equal, I knew I looked different to many of my friends, family and peers but race was rarely raised as a direct issue, it was more of a side note.
We learn from the environment that surrounds us and I have definitely picked up a few bad habits. I’ve used the term ‘nigga’ in casual conversations. I’ve made racial, misogynistic and homophobic comments. And I struggle to fully comprehend the issues relating to gender and the many different ways in which people identify with it.
But one thing I try to never be is scared. Scared to ask the question, scared to put forward my point of view, scared to go against the consensus, scared to say ‘hold on a minute this makes absolutely no sense to me!’
After moving to South Florida in September of 2016 I became a little bit scared and quickly had my eyes opened to the racism in our world. It stretched far beyond the occurrences I tolerated in Ireland, to a much deeper and systematic level. One that I couldn’t comprehend until I arrived even though I and all of you witness it daily in advertising, on TV and within the justice system.
I was warned by colleagues numerous times of my need to behave different to my ‘normal’ Irish colleagues when out and especially while dealing with police. I was now seen as a ‘brother’ or a ‘nigga’. I was no longer myself. I was now statically black.
And so Not A Nigga was born. A weekly discussions on racism, debates on cultural interaction and the self edited ramblings and observations of an ethnic Irishman continuously fighting for the underdog.