I don’t go round with a nagging need to explain, justify, and to defend myself, or apologize for being me. Neither do I go round with a need to be recognized, approved, accepted, acknowledged, understood, or liked. I am that I am; thinking, feeling, and doing what I do the way I do it all because that’s just the way it is; that’s me living out the best of my intentions from the outset. I’ll never go changing to try to please you; if you so choose, love me just the way I am. Take me or leave me, as you wish, in accordance with your democratic choice prerogative in a democratic society.
If I don’t choose to withdraw and disappear from your world, I’ll always pounce hard on you though the moment I detect unfairness and non-justness directed towards me: my person, my values, and my beliefs. In an active verbal communicative interaction process, be condescending in any way towards me, and you are guaranteed to see and feel the full wrath of my verbal and body language fire power. You see, my physical dimensions may not match up to those of an American Football player’s, but my ego is the size of the highest mountain, and my passion for things I stand for goes deeper than The Black Hole.
What’s the reason for my blubbering like this today then, you may wonder? Nothing more than a response to an irresistible urge to continually work at refining and sharpening my writing skills these days, the chosen theme just happens to be a real life issue I’ve lived with for as long as I can remember. However, if it’ll help you acquire even the slightest appreciation of why and how I, as well as many other people like me, can become so frighteningly intense during heavy discussions and debates, so be it. Otherwise just have fun and enjoy yet another nicely done piece of writing from Chilembo Warrior Moves Intellectual Factory.
I’m the first to know that I’m far from an Einstein. But then again who wants an E = mc2 the second? And who wants to know more about a Rose? But I can read and write my name well. Being a university graduate who did do his work diligently as a student I’ve gotten to read a lot of books in my time. Looking back, and indeed to the present day, I’m with tremendous humility convinced that my entire academic training from Grade 1 (Sub A) through to university levels, including professional training in the various things I do, have been spearheaded and inspired by some of the very best teaching brains of my times during the various phases of my academic, intellectual, and professional development and growth. Therefore, much of what I stand for of values, beliefs, philosophy, and political orientation is rooted in some solid long-term academic, intellectual, as well as professional training, coaching, and mentoring foundation. So, don’t mess with my brains!
I am an outsider from birth; I have I always been treated as such any way, more or less. Having inherited more of my non-South African father’s physical attributes, dark and short, and combined with the fact that I would be the tiniest of children of my age till about age 9, I was a constant target of direct verbal and physical abuse in my formative years. I was often called the most uncomplimentary names, and it looked like everyone thought it their legitimate right to want to push me around.
Although I do not recall my father ever being as loud-mouthed as I’d later become myself, I discovered early that he was a good speaker. Not only was my father a man of class and style, he had a way of speaking that would like mesmerize people. But then again I recall that my father lived with massive direct animosity towards him almost his entire life. In his earlier years in South Africa he was this proud, relatively well-off foreigner with the most beautiful wife, and the smartest children. This drew a lot of envy and jealousy, and sometimes people would be outright ugly towards my father and his family. Somehow I understood that, although he’d almost without exception eventually win over these evil people, Pappa had to be extra careful given his vulnerable position as a foreigner.
On my part I somehow knew I was South African from the word go, and I decided very early in my life that I’d play more hardball than Pappa in the face of animosity and adversity. As it were I’d regularly be attacked by more than two, often older and bigger, boys. In my self-protective response I had to do everything much faster and harder than them all. For example a missile like this would be sent, “Hey, you, ugly foreign bastard…!” And I’d retort 100 times louder, faster, and nastier, “What is it you ugly, stinking, starving, stray dog…?” If you want to survive unfairness and injustice in a city of about 1 million people, and a country of 50 million people, you have to speak very loud and clear to be heard, and to be taken seriously. Remember also that I’m talking of growing up experiences under and during the Apartheid years of the old South Africa; and I’m not our beloved Desmond Tutu. Need I say more?
As an adult and immigrant in Norway since 1988, I’ve had many, many discussions and debates with all kinds of people on all kinds of topics. What constantly both fascinates and infuriates me more than anything else is the condescending nature and attitude of many people of European ethnicity. I have time after time encountered situations where it is taken for granted that I shall be humble, passive, and apologetic when I discuss issues of, for example, racism. No one can, and should, define for me how I have experienced, and how I should continue experiencing the condition of being Black in the world in my time. I was born and brought up in South Africa, remember? The historical brutal effectiveness of European domination and expansion in Africa is, of course, well documented. In the 21st Century many individual Africans are liberated and strong, they are no longer pushovers like their forefathers. And we are educated in the Western European tradition. To refuse to respect my opinions not out of internal fallacies inherent in my argumentation and reasoning (from the point of view of the listener), but because I’m too loud, too intense, or too angry is tantamount to denying me exercising my freedom of speech rights in a free country. Then I get even more fired up; but never angry, because You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry. I got angry once; I ended up in a ditch.
Please, when I, with solid logical but, yes, extremely intense argumentation, refuse to give you a chance to say what sounds crap and base to me, never tell me CA-AAA-ALM DO-O-OWWWN NOW, Simon! like you’d say to a child, your unruly pet, or a moron.
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