In response to the English Rose

Hi everybody.

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Welcome to my blog. I have had it floating around for a little while, with nothing going on, mostly because i am so damn intimidated by the idea of mommy blogging. But… I felt so compelled to say something after reading Shante’s Blog post that I am here today writing my 2 cents.

 So before we get to it, let me just introduce myself. My name is Ali and i am by no means a writer, so please bear with me. I am a mom to an amazing lil 7 month old named Corey, I’m a mom to two fur babies too, and a wifey to a health and fitness freak/human calculator. I started my little instablogger/instamommy journey as a bit of a diary, but I thought it would be rad to share OOTD’s, favourite things, tips of ways to deal with random life and baby things that have worked for us and of course, vegan recipes for baba and big people. I named it ‘Compassion Kid’ because compassion for all things is one of the most important values i would like to instil in my son. IE: showing compassion for all living creatures by living a vegan life, compassion to the planet we live on by making better, greener choices as a consumer and leading a minimalist life, being compassionate towards other people by minding our own ego’s and embracing the notion that we are all different and we need to respect our differences whether we agree with them or not. I will get into more detail about these ideas in another post, because this is something I am so passionate about about!

 Ok, so this morning, I got a message from my favouritest mamma, Cisca from Raising Hudson DK  asking if I had seen Shante’s latest blog post. So I quickly hopped on over there to check it out. I was excited as I read what she had to say, as it is something that I am constantly complaining about to my poor hubby, not only in blog land, but in the whole world land! I am not a person of colour (POC) but I am a mom to a POC, and as his mom, it is also my responsibility to explain to my child as he grows up why there is so much whiteness, or white washing all around him in a country where white people are the minority. (shoh, that was a long sentence) Why when we go to the shops to buy plasters, the flesh coloured ones are only the colour of white peoples flesh, or if he had to scroll through my insta feed he would only see white children modelling the cute little outfits I love to dress him in. How do I explain this to him in a way that doesn’t show him how blatantly or subconsciously racist the world is. I noticed in the comments on the post that there was a suggestion that ‘POC are used in some brand campaigns but not all types of products.’ I’m still trying to decipher what this means, if it is clothing, all different races should/could be used, if it is children’s toys, last time i checked children of colour don’t play with different toys to the toys that white kids play with, the only possible thing that i could think of that would be race specific would be an advert for foundation, and even then i would like to see a model with both skin as white as snow and skin as black as ebony and everything in between because that is what cosmetic companies should be offering! (please excuse my possible passive aggressive tone here, I am ranting)

 There was another suggestion that blogging and influencing has nothing to do with race, it is all about quality of ‘product’. Correct me if I am wrong, or maybe a bit sensitive on the topic, but doesn’t that that come across as a little ‘white people provide better quality blogs and thats why we see more of them than POC blogs’ ish… What is stopping these white bloggers and influencers that are so amazing at what they do from collaborating with a blogger that is a POC? Or whats stopping them from head hunting the next big Insta model that happens to be a POC? And for that matter why aren’t the brands doing this?

 When white people use the ‘It’s not about race’ line, I know the point has gone straight over their heads. If it is not about race, then why is my insta feed so full of white children modelling the brands I love so much?  To quote another commenter, a beautiful woman of colour ‘I would love to support more of these local, small companies but their lack of representation puts me off’. If it is all about quality and marketing and numbers, surely these brands would want to tap into the POC market, especially in South Africa, where the majority of our citizens are indeed POC. Have you seen a brown baby lately? They’re gorgeous, they would make amazing models for these local brands, but no one seems to pursue this because, and this is my assumption from reading the responses to Shante’s post ‘it is not a look the brands are going for’. If brown is not a look you’re going for as a brand, you are blatantly discriminating against POC. FULL STOP!

 I am not in a position to speak on behalf of people of colour, as i am so white, you can see my veins, there is no melanin in me. But representation is something that I am acutely aware of, every time i walk into a shop, the lack of representation SCREAMS at me… walk down the toy isle and all the dollies are white, all the super heroes are white, all the damn plasters are for white people. (guys I cannot get over the plasters) Now if you’re white, you probably don’t notice this, because well, the shops stock all that you need. And thats why it is so easy for you to say ‘it isn’t about race’. We’re not the ones not being represented in everything we see, so its a non issue. Thats bullshit, if your fellow man is not being represented, that is your problem, that is something that we should ALL be outraged over!

 I want my son to grow up feeling included, feeling represented in the world he sees around him, I want him to never hear a white person say ‘I am so sick of this race conversation’, I want him to be proud of the colour of his skin, I want him to feel safe, I want him to be confident enough to speak out against racism and discrimination of any kind. I want every person to check their privilege before engaging in these conversations, I also want every person to check their ego at the door and come into these conversations with an open mind and not feel like they are under attack. If your ego comes to the conversation, there is no point in having the conversation, as you as the listener have already made up your mind that you’re under attack. As white people, this conversation is NOT about us, this conversation is about representation of POC. Thats it! do not get offended, do not get defensive. Rather ask yourself, ‘what can I do to make the way I blog more inclusive, or how do I make my brand more representative of our beautiful people’. or simply, how can i be less of a dick to my fellow man, whether they are pink or brown or caramel or male or female or gay or straight or transgender (this list is not exhaustive of all the possible shapes, sizes and types of people in the world)

 Ok thats all i have for now, I need to take a break before I break my keyboard. Please let me know your thoughts, if you’re a person of colour, I am so stoked to hear your thoughts on this topic as the more info I can gather, the better I can transfer this knowledge onto my son, so he grows up feeling represented in the media. And if you feel I am completely off track, PLEASE SET ME STRAIGHT!

 Thank you Shante for starting this conversation, I hope it is one that continues until there truly is equality and representation for all the different people of South Africa and beyond!

 I hope you have a great day everyone!

Dont be offended!

Dont be kak, be lekker!

xxx

 

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