And why does society keep telling me so?

Photo by Ussama Azam on Unsplash

You might have heard about the recent debacle around the £267,000 or $372,000 annual salary of June Sarpong, the new head of Creative Diversity at the BBC, the UK’s national news agency. While some understood that the salary matched the job’s deliverables, others excoriated her for being grossly overpaid. The twitterstorm is dying out, but the whole situation had me thinking about my personal circumstances and those of so many of my Black female friends.

When it comes to salaries, Black women tend to be significantly underpaid in comparison to white men for example. Don’t take my word for it…

Because it re-traumatizes them all over again

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I was on the phone with my black friend Savannah the other day. She was complimenting me for my courage in writing about racism.

“You are speaking for us all, we are so proud of you”, she said. We started talking about the racial microaggressions she was facing at work and then, she said:

“Rebecca, I have to tell you something”. Her voice sounded stern, almost ominous. I was worried that something was wrong.

“I stopped reading your articles about racism Rebecca. I had to. Every time I read one, I could so strongly relate to what you were saying…

And white supremacists are having a hissyfit

Photograph credit: Simon Biles, Instagram

When I found out that Simone Biles, the four-time Olympic gymnastics champion was withdrawing from the team competition at the ongoing Olympic Games in Tokyo, I was happy for her.

Happy because she had prioritized her mental health and shown that athletes are not bionic, Marvel-like, super-human creatures that can keep on going to inflate our egos and entertain us. We don’t own them.

While some have shown empathy, others like Charles Kirk, an American conservative activist, and radio talk show host, are excoriating her for pulling out of the competition. …

Because we can’t deal with racism anymore

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As countries start to reopen post-Covid 19 lockdowns, I’ve sensed a growing level of anxiety amongst my black friends on the topic of returning to the office.

Most of these friends can’t afford to go without a job, but the racism they faced at their places of work pre-Covid 19, is something so toxic and traumatic, that they’d rather go poor or earn a lower income than go back into it, and I can’t say that I don’t understand them.

Remote working during lockdown has given many black and brown people a break from racial microaggressions that we frequently encounter…

A cautionary tale

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Despite taking a few days off during Christmas, in January 2020, I was exhausted. I had trouble sleeping and felt stressed all the time. Simply put, I felt overwhelmed.

I had a subscription to several international newspapers and magazines but was getting increasingly frustrated by their content. I was tired of hearing the point of view of white privileged men wherever I looked.

I wanted to hear what black and brown women thought about the state of the world, the Trump presidency, the Covid 19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter, and the Me Too movement. …

Where lies myth and where lies reality?

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A recent comment on one of my articles had me thinking. In it, the author asserts that swimming is a white sport which explains why black people are not good at it. The comment took me back to other assumptions I have often heard about there being black sports and white sports.

For example, swimming, skiing, and surfing are considered white sports while track and field, basketball, and American football are black sports.

The reality, however, is that there are no white or black sports, there is just racism that partitions the two.

As a result of white supremacy, lack…

Another place where white supremacy hides

Photo by Albany Capture on Unsplash

My Mum and I were shopping for my first bra. I was an insecure teenager realizing just how fast my girlish body was transforming into that of a woman.

We went to one of the largest department stores in Geneva. The sales lady measured me and offered to bring some bras for me to try on. Would you prefer white, black, or nude she said? I liked the idea of a nude-colored bra, I thought it would be a lot more discreet and that I could wear it under white t-shirts as well.

When she came back, I noticed she…

And that’s why I have promised myself to no longer pay attention to racists

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the racist comments I get in response to my articles don’t bother me. Some days more than others and yesterday was one such day.

For a moment, I thought of throwing in the towel, of giving up on writing about racism. The toxic racist trolls had won. I was pretty much sure that other antiracism writers on this platform could carry on the baton. There was no way I could continue writing about racism.

I went into town for a walk, anxiety was gnawing at my insides. I was pondering whether to…

Or how systemic racism lurks in the most surprising places

Photograph credit: Ekua King

“Your daughter’s going to need glasses”, the ophthalmologist said to my Mum. My heart dropped. I was 14, the kids were already bullying me at school, glasses were going to give them another reason to tease me.

I squinted and could make out the letters on the examination whiteboard that lay a short distance away.

“But I can still see if I do this”, I pleaded with the doctor. “I really don’t need glasses”.

“If you don’t squint, you can’t see”, the doctor responded. “And I’m sure you cannot see the blackboard at school either. …

And it’s surely not what you think

Photo credit: Adrian Fernandez for Unsplash

If I could swim every single day of my life, I would. I love swimming, but often, I find myself having to choose between preserving my Afro-textured hair and going out for a good swim. You see, I can’t expose my Afro hair to pool or salt water every day. It would simply become dry and brittle and break if I do. The fact is, depending on the hairstyle, I tend to have a lot of volume on my head — none of which can enter into a traditional swimming cap. …

Rebecca Stevens A.

I write about racism, but there are so many other things I would like to write about instead. Help me dismantle racism so that I can get to that.

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