Identity is who you are, the way you think about yourself, the way you are viewed by the world and the characteristics that define you.
A young, anonymous African woman has shared a funny but true story about 95 per cent of Black women.
The story goes thus:
I am a young Cameroonian mother who lives somewhere in Europe. About two years ago, I went to the neighbourhood park with my son.
Tired of playing, I took refuge under a tree from where I watched my son having fun in the sand.
There was close to the tree a bench on which sat two Caucasian women, in their thirties. A Black woman passing down the street waved her hand to greet them.
The two White women didn’t seem to recognise her. One of the women looked around to make sure the Black woman was talking to them, then shyly raised her hand and swayed with a smile.
The Black woman in the street smiled and continued on her way.
The two Caucasian women looked at each other surprised and one of them asked:
You know her? I can tell she was talking to us, but I didn’t recognise her.
The other woman replied:
You’ll laugh, but I didn’t recognise her either. I was a little embarrassed to see her greet us without any answer from us. That’s why I put my hand up.
The other woman, laughing, said:
“Ah African women! when you finally think you know them, that’s when they change their wigs. They change their minds all the time. It is difficult to recognise them in these conditions.
Yesiii!! added the other. They have tons of wigs that they change all the time. It never stops. Especially those who were not born here in Europe. Do you think it’s cultural?
NO, I think it’s a personality disorder.
Surprised, the other asked:
Such a generalised personality disorder? The majority of these women change their wigs as one changes clothes. I think their natural hair is not growing.
Convincingly, the other replied:
Ohhh yes, it grows and even very well. But they don’t like their hair. They prefer wigs that don’t even look like their hair. You know, when you don’t know who you really are, you are everyone, and at the same time no one.
There was a short pause, then she continued:
These women have lost their pride since the traumatic events of slavery and colonisation. Their roots have been destroyed and now they have serious identity problems. This is why they copy all the time everything they see. Many bleaches their skin and Black men love and encourage it.
Here! Two weeks ago my new Congolese neighbour was blonde with short curly hair, last week she was red with straight hair. I saw her with a wavy brown wig when she was going to accompany her daughter this morning, maybe it was her in the street with the Chinese wig.
The two women burst out laughing and went to play with their children. I was still near the tree and heard their entire conversation.
I was shocked and wanted to go tell them that not all African women have identity problems. I wanted to tell them that there is a new authentic and conscious generation that is growing in strength.
I had so much to say to defend my community. Then I remembered that I was also one of those women who are nothing without their wigs. These women who change their minds like changing clothes. I had always thought it looked chic, that it was proof of growth, wealth, social status … I had just discovered in a few seconds that I didn’t know who I was, that I was everyone and at the same time no one. It was true. I had Chinese, European, Indian, Brazilian, Peruvian, etc. wigs. I was everything except myself.
When I arrived home with my son, my throat was tight and I couldn’t hold back. I shed a tear for myself. I shed a tear for my sick people. I thought about my ancestors and cried all night.
In the morning, I took off my wig, then I ran the clipper over my relaxed hair. It was the start of a love affair with myself. Since then, I have learned to know myself, to love myself, and to accept what I am with pride.
Be proud of your Identity.