Being part of a diaspora can be termed as a beautiful burden or a cultural confusion. Harsh? I currently beg to differ. I say currently because like culture I may change. I am not the biggest fan of boxes they are so restrictive and can aid in limiting in a person’s growth. I am making reference to demographic boxes eg gender, race, ethnicity… Such boxes or labels always come with a stereotype or and antitype that for some reason many are expected to live up to. As a Black British African I do feel to a degree many think because I am African I automatically have an abundant knowledge of Africa and therefore it would only be right that I am given the task of being the patron saint of Africa or Blackness. The latter is truly nonsensical. Just because I am European and African, that does not mean that I am a walking talking encyclopaedia of my cultural demographics.
Whilst doing research for my essay entitled “The Consumption Practises of Black Women in their Twenties”, it was very evident that those who fell into the diaspora category very rarely saw themselves as just British or just African. This was because of influences from both cultures had moulded their identity. One of the participants made note that she selected and deselected aspects of her identity for identity was fluid. The women did not see cultural identity, as something that was or needs to be fixed, then why are the governing institutions enforcing boxed identities?
I recall quite recently my colleague and I were discussing the label Christianity. She mentioned at the previous establishment she worked with a woman there who professed such a label but life was contrary to Christianity. I went on to explain many use the umbrella of Christendom to mask their utter ungodliness and if I were to add to this I would have stated labels can help blind or distract the others on our actuality.
When we hear certain labels automatically we have some form of idea about that label. In labelling ourselves as female, Christian, African we to a degree encouraging other to develop an idea about us before we further interact and communicate our standards. Such labels have a polymorphic aspect. Rather than saying I am kind, loving or trustworthy a Christian may call themselves a Christian as a way to encapsulate such attributes. In the same manner when selecting female on an equal right form, indirectly some may be stating ‘There is a chance I will rear children so will need maternity leave”. Labels, demographic boxes propose a lax method of getting to know an individual and could create dangerous conclusion about a demographic.
In being vague when labelling myself I lessen the likelihood of the formulation of dangerous stereotypes. Although this would be a great let me be blunt and say that this will not be the case. If we want to stop the formulation of stereotypes then we need to reverse such categories and project ones that boldly contest the damaging demographic implications. Like the God I serve I to must wink at ignorance but also give reproof where needed (Acts 17:30 and 2nd Timothy 3:16 KJV)
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