Why Penny made me cry

This weekends #pennysparrow drama has me heart broken…
I know many black people don’t feel like coloured people share their pain. Fair enough.
I have only been coloured so only really know my own story.
The story of knowing people look at our little boys like mini gangsters in training and that comments like “she’s coloured but bright” has been used to describe me way more than it should.
Penny Sparrow’s words hit me hard this weekend.  I remember growing up, every year end my dad would round up people who would ordinarily never have access to the beach and organise a bus to take them on a day out (also how my parents met but that’s another story)
It was around 1995, I was 9ish and playing on the beach with my brother who was 5ish at the time.
Playing with our “big Christmas gift” a set of “walkie talkies” he wandered into the path of two white ladies coming out of the Kings beach toilets, I grabbed his sandy hands and smiled as a way of apology.
The one woman pulled her bag close and looked at the two kids with curly hair matted from the sea water and sun tans begging for after sun lotion and said in exaspirated Afrikaans… “I guess we better get used to these monkeys everywhere” and it broke me!
I bundled up my brother and wanted to go home but instead hid away while the other kids played, so I wouldn’t spoil their fun.
Up till that point I never thought of myself as less than.
I grew up and went to school in a coloured area but never saw any race as different to me (mostly due to my family and to all the Christian camps I attended)… I knew we looked different but that’s the case at every family function anyway so it didn’t effect how I saw people.
That day I hated what I looked like I felt unworthy and it took me quite a while to trust again. After that a little part of me hated older white women who would ask to touch my hair and would clap and point me out to their friends because I was just so smart and spoke so beautifully…
I don’t hate anymore. I understand how people are victims of their circumstances and I usually just feel sorry for racist people and their shallow little minds.
But Penny Sparrow’s comments hurt me… I could just imagine kids hearing it!!! Their outing spoilt because people like Penny see them as unworthy.
I hate littering but I’m very sure I’ve seen many a place be littered and many a race do the littering.
The point is too many people say shiz without thinking.
Like can you hear yourself?!?
Do you realise your skin is an accident of fate? You could easily have been anyone else and then you Penny (and people like you) would have to explain to your crying child why that auntie is calling him and his loved ones monkeys (cute and playful my foot) think about that over your store bought latte on route to yoga which sorry to say all of us can do now too. (Not me so much cause I’m unfit but loads of us darker ppl do)
My problem is that I’m naive I think of a world where we are all just PEOPLE and that seems feasible to me… I hate when I stand corrected on this point 🙁

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