On Being African Stories Travel
The Island Pt. 2: On Privilege and Wokeness
June 7, 2017
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Firstly Public Announcement 😅

Just appreciation post to those who have subscribed and are faithful readers and supporters of my inconsistent posting habits. Bless your souls. But as self improvement I have decided my posting needs to be more consistent and deliberate so expect posts from me on a more regular schedule starting next week

Now onto the day’s agenda… 

For those who haven’t read my First Post from the Island: On Whiteness and Rightness this is a bit of a follow-up. On the island I met this girl. Her family comes from Brazil. I am staying with a Brazilian couple so it is only fitting that the friends they introduce me to are from back home. 

Photo cred: Le moi

If you know the country Brazil, you would know it is comparable to a rainbow nation, with black, white, and everything in between. That, however, is not seen. They don’t call some people coloreds like in South Africa, or yellow like in Western Africa. The couple I’m staying with could pass for half-casts back home, but Tais, the light brown wife with curly-not kinky- hair told me in Brazil you are either black or white. There is no halfway point word for caramel. In Brazil they are simply black, here on the island some would still refer to them as muzungu. 

But I digress… 

The girl. Her name is Bruna. Her family is white. Bruna is fourteen years old and going to the International school on the Island. We went for a party at their house and as everyone else was speaking Portuguese, I sat, trying but miserably failing, not to look too out of place. 14 year old Bruna was the Savior of my lonesome sad adult self and she struck up a conversation with me in English. We talked about school, the transition into high school, and how she was in the process of begging her father to let her go and study in Europe for high school. – I won’t even go into an African parent laughing in your face and then telling you, you should try stand up comedy after suggesting such an idea to them when you are fourteen.-

Somehow the conversation landed on a school project she had been working on. A project that pulled together several strong women in history who had contributed to fighting for freedom. She showed me the mini exhibition she had put together on her tablet. I was awed at the beauty of these stories brought together so simply. Rosa Parks, Malala, and others who have fought for black lives, and minorities: all of them spoken about with the reverety they deserve. 

Bruna then went into telling me about this project she’s one of the leaders of in her school called ‘Girl Up’. They are currently writing a simple English book for the women and girls of the Rural parts of the island. They sometimes travel to those parts and give English classes. She spoke about the project with so much passion, her eyes lighting up as her words tumbled out of her mouth. 

“Are you a feminist?” I couldn’t help but ask this fourteen year old child before she responded without taking a breathe, “definitely”. 

All I can think about now is how when I was fourteen I was probably only thinking about the struggles in my life. High school, annoying childish boys I liked, self esteem. Etc. 

Wokeness wasn’t even a thing for me until college. I didn’t know who Rosa Parks was or others who fought in the struggle. This fourteen year old white Brazilian whose parents can afford to be expats on an Island across the world, is more aware of the world’s hurt than I, a black African young woman was at her age. 

The question plagued me. “Does Privilege negate wokeness?” How do we find the balance where her desire to fight is accepted but without the toxic White Savior mentality? Is her struggle less validated than mine? There is a difference that lies, however, in that her privilege instigates she will not face some of the struggles she fights freedom for. Whereas someone without that privilege is fighting fiercely for their own life, for the lives of their children.

Whatever the case, she was a beautiful light I was thrown with her innocent thirst to speak for the voiceless. 

P.s. I’d love to hear your thoughts, don’t be afraid of the comment box.  Also my posts will be more frequent. More from the Island this Friday. 😊

P.P.s. Like. Share. Subscribe 😊


About author


Going on twenty something Black Girl with chubby cheeks,fat lips, big hips, and a really kinky twa (Teeny-weeny-afro) Believer People Watcher Storyteller Favorite color blue, boo!

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