In this blog post, I will candidly share a social observations and experience with white privilege during my visit to Dakar Senegal.
These are my observations opinions and experiences. While others probably have had similar experiences but choose not to talk about them, I am choosing to share mine.
I want to preface this by saying, I overall had a wonderful time in Dakar. The people are amazing. The food is outstanding, and I will share a blog specifically dedicated to that subject separately.
But in this blog post, I want to share an encounter I had with white supremacy and privilege, because I think it is something that comes up often that many of us choose not to speak of, but we should.
I was out at a bar and restaurant called Phare Des Mamalles.
Phare Des Mamalles is located at the top of one of two major mountains in Dakar. The African renaissance monuments is on the other. The restaurant is located right below a lighthouse. You have to take a shuttle to get to the restaurant and back. The atmosphere was great, the food was OK, the drinks were strong, and it was a very diverse group of people present in other words lots of “whytes” were present. I assume a lot of them work for their country’s embassies and some of them were probably tourist, but whatever.
My friend snagged us a table overlooking the dance floor, and the live band set up, but on the upper level and we were sitting directly in front of it with a great view of everything.
Then a group with a table right next to us with a similar vantage point and view, decided to come stand right in front of where we were sitting and completely block our view, while they laughed and chatted apparently completely unaware of how incredibly rude they were being.
I loudly commented about the fact that they were blocking our view and being rude AF (direct quote), and the woman said “well, we’re celebrating his birthday“. To which I replied “I do not care you’re still being incredibly rude.” She then apologized and started to move with the rest of them but birthday boy Brad had the nerve to say “I’m sorry but you could say it nicer.” And I replied “why do I need to be nice when you’re the one being rude?” What struck me in this interaction was the assumption exerted in western society that black and brown people are expected to be “nice“ i.e., deferential, even in our correction of their bad behavior. But in the words of Drake “nice for what?“
Deference and colonialism
I want to talk to little bit about the entitlement that so many Whytes have and how their assumptions of entitlement and privilege show up during travel. And I also want to note that this sense of entitlement and privilege allows them to be blind to the fact that they’re being rude in the first place because they assume that they have a right to engage in rude behavior just because they are who they are. Many of them really do seem to feel the right to be rude especially to local people.
Many seem to not even notice that the locals exist unless they’re there to do something for them.
I don’t do nice with whyte folks or anybody else if they are out of order. If you’re out of order, I’m going to say so, and I’m going to say so in whatever tone of voice that I deem appropriate because I wouldn’t have to say anything if you weren’t out of order in the first place.
I noticed that there is a lot of deference shown to the whytes on the African continent, and that is very clear in Dakar. I chalk it up to colonialism, which has inbred the desire for white proximity acceptance and approval not just in Africa but all over the world.
I frankly don’t think that they deserve our deference anywhere in the world especially not on the continent of Africa.
Considering it has gained us nothing it’s time to start treating them as what they are, equal to us, and not better than us.
To my African brothers and sisters, as well as my other black and brown brothers and sisters around the world, especially in the diaspora – stop treating the whytes like they’re magical creatures – they’re not.
I understand that a lot of it is about the money that they bring into your country but frankly they’re getting as much out of the experience as the locals are.
You’re equal to them so stop treating them like they’re special. It’s painful to watch and I can imagine it’s just as painful to perform. Just stop it. you can be nice and welcoming without sucking up to them. I know how much they love it but you don’t owe it to them and you don’t have to do it.
More candid observations about my experience, traveling in Africa and elsewhere will be shared, so make sure you are subscribed.
I’m going to share with you observations that might not be as popular and thoughts that others might not be willing to express because I think it’s important to be completely honest about what I see and observe as a Black woman of a certain age solo traveling around the world.
I use the term”Whyte“ because I like it, and it references a very specific type of white person. Even though they are the majority of white people I encounter, I leave room for the possibility that some don’t adhere to these norms, but in my experience, unfortunately, most do especially those that like to say “not all white people“. So if you’re white and you’re reading this and you feel triggered or offended that’s good. Spend some time figuring out why it bothers you so much maybe it’s because you feel singled out. maybe because I’m talking directly about and to you and if that’s the case, do better.
Thank You For Reading!
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