Africa’s Color Wheel
We’ve learned many things so far on this trip, and many previous misconceptions have been shattered. One of which, is the distinction between “white,” “black” or “colored.” Our friend Ludo was telling us about the differences between them and how they are perceived. In the states, most people think of “black” and “colored” as the same thing, however, we were informed otherwise. In Africa, “colored” is someone of mixed race, with a white parent and a black parent. We were also informed that being colored, or of a mixed race, was something that people took quite a lot of pride in, for example people take pride in dating a colored person. This distinction between the three is shown in social workings as well. People segregate themselves in places such as bars. We were told that a black person would rarely enter a colored bar, and vice versa.
Distinctions such as these are ones that are often overlooked or missed in the states. For example, the phrase “colored” is one that is rarely used, and sometimes seen as offensive; however, here it’s something one would take pride in. We’ve even seen an example of this within our own group. When Chelsea was getting her hair braided, a few MAP girls came up to her and commented on how much they liked her hair, they followed this comment by asking if she was “colored,” and seemed to link this with her shnazy hair.
The history of racism and ethnicity here varies from in the US, and takes its own form, but still holds similar grounds.
By Ellie and Chelsea
P.S. Love you parentals.