Call for the fight for the green and gold of our landNovember 1, 2023
Usuthu star succumb to cancerNovember 5, 2023
My daughter wanted to know why she could not do ballet anymore and to protect her 4-year-old heart, I told her that the little studio by the church had closed.
I couldn’t tell her the truth, which was that the children who were at the lesson when I first took her to her first ballet class hadn’t shown up to the next lesson.
Instead of a small group of children dancing around; there was just my daughter and her cousin.
My daughter wanted to know why the other girls were not in the class.
I had no answer that she could comprehend; only that pungent smell of hatred that you get a blast of whenever someone has convinced their minds and hearts that you are a lesser being because of the colour of your skin.
The pain I felt at the realization of this rejection was immense; was this really happening in 2023?
So, of course, I pulled my girls out of the ballet class.
When I informed the instructor that my kids would pull out because of that negative experience, she explained that I was mistaken; the other kids’ parents’ schedules had changed, and she would accommodate my kids at different times, blah, blah, blah!
Of course, she was not racist, nor were the other parents.
I decided to accommodate a racist’s impassioned declarations of non-racialism and tried to understand their perspective. Which was, that they are not racists but, maybe a tad bit protective; protective of their privilege, protective of the spaces where only they must fill, protective of their resolve not to let their children see black people as anything more than maids and gardeners.
From that day onwards, I found it more and more difficult to pretend that there was racial harmony when there was none; I found myself seething at some individuals’ audacity to hate and hurt children and exclude them from an activity because of the colour of their skin.
They can exclude me; I have had doors shut in my face my entire life.
But to shut a door to my child’s face for such a reason is unacceptable.
I will continue to lie to my daughter – because she is too young to understand that such a thing as racism exists. And too fabulous to be in a space that seeks to make her question her value and worth in any way.