‘Act like a Bruvva but think like a white guy’

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SURVIVAL: Every successful black person had to be cunning to survive in a white world

A WELL-traveled American friend of a friend came over the other day and wondered out loud why it was that wherever you go in the world the darker skinned you are the lower down the social order you are most likely to be. She had traveled the seven seas and had seen it to be the case in Brazil in South Africa in the Caribbean and even in Canada with the exception of Toronto. And now she was seeing it in Britain.

Well, what could I say.

I wanted to dismiss her comments outright with all the passion of black pow-wow jazz poetry but I wasn’t sure I could entirely dismiss the premise.

On a ‘rest of the world’ basis that is.

I have surmised as much in the Caribbean, and even more so in Africa. Not to talk of Asia. Not least in India where it is arguably constitutional that dark-skinned folk are ’untouchables’.

But over here?

The furthest I am prepared to be drawn on how things are over here is that, there are still an awful lot of us who feel that ‘going white’ is a step up the social ladder. To venture further opinion would be to drift into the realm of ‘divide and rule’. And I ain’t falling for that hokey-cokey that got us into this mess in the first place.

We’re all black. Whether your complexion is high or it’s low. We are all ultimately in the same boat and sink or swim together. It should never be our complexion that divides us, but worthlessness. I don’t care how ‘black’ you are, if you’re worthless you’re dead to me.


Now, I’m no brain surgeon (you might have gathered that) but surely when it comes to ‘whiteness’ the facts speak for themselves: There are too many of us black folk toiling each day, from dawn to dusk, and not getting anywhere with it.

You gotta wonder why so many of us can’t really make it. And, staying in wonderland, consider what’s different about us who can.

Let’s leave the ‘R’ word outta it. We dun know that a’ready. We can’t let it keep on keeping us down.

Racism is out there. It’s real. It’s part of our narrative. But I’m telling you, we can’t let it keep us keeping us down because it saps our energy and destroys our creativity. I’m exhausted even writing this paragraph, so I can imagine how knackered you are reading it.


When you’re trying to make sense out of nonsense, however, the facts have got to speak for themselves. And all the ‘R’ word really tells us, in an institutional framework, is that the white folks who run tings have got a problem with us and have put structures in place to ensure that they keep us down.

And it’s not just us. The recent ‘Panama Papers’ revelation of how the rich hide their wealth from the tax man whilst the rest of us who can’t afford to squirrel away our cash have got nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. So it’s not just us they got a problem with, these white dudes who run tings. Though it’s only us that the ‘R’ word can be used so effectively in keeping down.

The ‘R’ word, however, doesn’t tell us that they’ll SUCCEED in keeping us down.

Any other species would find a way around the problem. For no matter how much I block the route of the fox from my next door neighbors garden into mine, that damn critter finds a way around it or over it or under it. Surely WE should be cunning like that.

And maybe some of us are.

Which successful black person in Britain has not had to use cunninglingus (if that’s the right noun) to achieve success in this country? Do you honestly think we got to where we are by lying on our backs? No, star. We had to use every ounce of cunninglingus to get here and we use every gram of it to stay here.

So why can’t the vast amount of black folk across the world use the same amount of cunning to get around the same obstacles that we got around by employing twice the amount of effort and twice the amount of guile (as our parents instructed us) essential for our survival in the world that we find ourselves in?

And yet, working twice as hard, the vast majority of us have got little to show for it and thereby drag down the median level of black people in the social orders to below par, despite I and many others having performed beyond the call of average.

Let’s be real now. It’s not physical. Like I say, we work twice as hard and all most of us have got to show for it is back strain. So it’s gotta be something going on in our heads that re-enforces the notion that, on the whole, white is better than black.


For whatever reason let’s not get into colonialism and enslavement and all of that. Because this isn’t some history lesson. This is trying to find solutions and more specifically, trying to chart a roadmap so that we can all navigate through the peculiarity of the narrative trajectory that we find ourselves hurtling through.

It does seem, on the surface at least, that white is better. Despite all its problems, its governments seem to be better, its countries seem more stable and it seems to protect the lives of its people better. We can rave as much as we want about how we run faster, play basketball better and of course, you know we got soul if we didn’t we wouldn’t be in here.

We have all got the ‘winning’ mentality (do you know anybody who wants to be a ‘loser’). But it’s the ‘cunning’ mentality that separates the winners from the also rans and the losers.

Most black people couldn’t give a stuff what a few black people do better because it doesn’t percolate down to I and I.

Most black people want what white people have got. It’s like the white sprinter who looks along the starting line and sees only black guys from one lane to the next. He must have to cleanse his mind of the stats and history and the reality before his eyes to even bother to break wind.

It’s all in the head. If you think simply ‘white is better’ it will make you throw up both your hands and say, ‘what’s the point of me even trying’. But if you start thinking like a white person you’ll see what they see when they see you. Does that make sense? Look at YOU from their point of view and see if you would employ/promote/invest in YOU. That’s what every successful black Briton does. We know white guys better than they know themselves.

Source: http://www.voice-online.co.uk

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