Does my Afro bother you?

Ever walk into a restaurant and find that waiters take longer to approach you? Or offer you the worst seat under the pretense of a reserved table (even though nobody shows up for the next three hours you spend there)?

Or have therapists tussle over who will do your nails, presumably, because of your supposed age- or who will wash your hair because of your texture?

Better yet, ever go for an apartment viewing and find that you are patronized because, coming from work or having had a busy day, you are not dressed to the nines?

I titled this post ‘does my Afro bother you’ but I am speaking about something a lot deeper: does my skin colour, my age or appearance amount to your prejudice?

Let’s face it, often, assumptions are made about us and our ‘being there’ before we take that seat, make a purchase or lay down an offer.
Stereotypically, we are told that we cannot afford something, before making our decisions to purchase, by a group of workers who have begun to profile us – and quite unfairly so.

Worse, still, if you ask questions about the product or service, wanting to make the best choice, and find that the answers are rather short- almost condescending.

Sometimes, I want to make swipe and buy to prove that person wrong- and tip my usual 10% plus to prove a point. But why do I need to do that?

There are places in our city where my Afro is a topic of positive conversation- and there are spaces where my hair, literally, amounts to, ‘Oh no, not one of them’!

Discrimination is deeply rooted in some of our experience as South Africans. I could turn a blind eye and take the stance that your opinion is not my problem; but my experience of your prejudice makes me uncomfortable.

It’s shameful. It’s insulting. It’s hurtful and it cannot be accepted as a norm to our public and shared experiences.

These occurrences beg the question: do I, a human being, bother you?


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