Monday, August 31, 2009

The Artificial Construct of Keeping It Real

Wannabe. Oreo. Coconut. Fake. All of these contumelies will be familiar to anyone who, at some point, has been accused of "acting white." It could be something as simple as preferring heavy metal over hip-hop, or having the "wrong" accent. Whether warranted or not, the insult serves to put the recipient on notice that their behaviour has been interpreted as a form of cultural betrayal. While the situation may be more familiar to black people in the West, the accusation is not limited by geography. Even in Kenya, where we do not suffer the social disadvantages of being a minority, and where the effects of colonial racism have arguably been less devastating than the United States, it is still possible to face the charge of somehow letting the side down through one's behaviour.

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