I was bingeing on episodes of House, MD yesterday – I love watching Omar Epps in action. In this particular episode from series 2, there is a male African-American patient to whom Foreman (Epps) offers medicine, because it is suited to African-Americans.
The patient takes great exception to this and needless to say, he is effed off and sees it as Foreman being an ‘oreo’. When it’s House’s turn, the irasicible doctor offers the patient the medicine, but later tells Foreman that he offered him the medicine saying it was the ‘white’ medicine, when it was infact the drugs for African-American patient. Then comes a powerful soliloquy where Foreman teaches House for once about the shades of white privilege in nuanced words.
It was intense to watch but it broaches a bigger issue: the place of black people in the Western work place. We all have our own experiences and not only article or anecdote tells the full picture. However, some of this picture was painted for me in its’ full glory today.
I went to university early in the morning so I could scan some magazine pictures of black stars like Rio Ferdinand & Tyler Perry, who are on the covers of The Observer Sports Monthly & ESSENCE magazine respectively.
When I got to the IT office, I asked the gentleman if I could use the scanner. He gruffly said yes. He was a black man, and I am pretty sure that he was of West Indian origin.
I was having a little trouble working their second rate scanner so I asked for help. After all, aren’t we taught in secondary school that the only stupid question is the one we don’t ask?
He reluctantly came to help me and explained that I had to shut the scanner off to see my scans in my folder. So I thought I did but again, it wouldn’t work. Then he came over again and this time sat in the seat and was sighing and puffing like the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood. He did not want to do his job. He looked at me like I was some idiot who needed him to stroke my head.
At first, I was like ‘he’s just a hacked off bloke’ who has to come in at 8am. Then, by this time, it was 8.30am. Then, two twos, his (white) colleague comes in the office and he is all smiles, running his mouth like the bloody Road Runner and all smiles.
Part of me still thinks he was just shite at doing his job, which is helping me the student. But this is not the first time this has happened to me, when I have been around Black British people in public and received nothing but coldness even after smiling.
I should have prefaced this with saying this is not a tirade against West Indian people. The love of my life is from the Caribbean and in fact, I have a soft spot for Black Caribbeans, having spent some time in Martinique when I was at university.
My problem is those black breds. The black people who have been ‘bred’ into thinking that they must shun other black people in order to get ahead. Those black people who think that of course race doesn’t exist and I’m just my nationality. Those black people who can’t see the wood for the trees.
If I offend anyone with this post, it is not intended. But I think I have been living in England way too long. The concept of blackness is fading quicker as each day passes with these stupid attitudes where black people *purposefully* act like …… to other black people.