by G. Brown
Sometimes you feel like a nut…sometimes you don’t –feel like a White woman. A South African woman says she’s White, but she feels like a Black person trapped in a White woman’s body.
Anita Ronge, also known as DJ DuchAz decided to take her heavy burden public (on Twitter) this year and began posting about her trials. In one of her post, Ronge says, “I get rejected for not being “black enough” and being “too black” to be white…I’m #KasiMlungu & I’m proud.” Her hashtag is a term which roughly translated means ‘Mlungu’-White person and ‘Kasi’-a slang term for township. Ronge says she didn’t give herself the moniker but she gladly embraces the label like she has “Black person trapped in white skin”. Many are applauding Ronge for her colorblind approach to racism. Ronge posted two emails from people who praise her for tearing down walls of racism:
But others are having a “Rachel Dolezal flashback” and think Ronge is just seeking attention…
In this season where America has seemingly unofficially adopted the idea of ‘Make America Hate Again’ with Muslim bans and increased threats against Jewish synagogues, Ronge’s declaration may feel like a breath of fresh air that personifies Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. But being Black isn’t a dance move, music or hot sauce. To think you can cram the total sum of a race of people into a few stereotypical symbols is naive at best.
Black people like every other race have an origin story—a history of struggles, accomplishments, defeats and victories. Just to wear your hair in dreds or to wear a boubou or kaftan makes a fashion statement–it doesn’t make you Black. You can adorn yourself in all the African garb you can get your hands on, but that doesn’t mean you connect to the history behind it . For instance, the dhuku or those beautiful African head wraps represent something. The dhuku was often pictured on the heads of Egyptian, Nubian and West African royalty and Pharaohs in hieroglyphics of early civilization. The dhuku can be a simple scarf tied in a specific manner (usually folded in a rectangle and tied) or it can be more opulent with the attachment of beads and feathers. By the time Africans were stolen from their homelands and forced into slavery in America, the dhuku descended into a derogatory meaning. Women now wore the once royal symbol as a badge of slavery. The head-wrap was tied in a way to make women bow their heads. Eventually, the symbol became synonymous with servant-hood, slavery and mammy. But even as the origin of the dhuku was being ripped from their culture, some said African women continued wearing the head-wrap not as a symbol of servitude, but of identity and rebellion… as a way to remember their royal blood and their history.
How much does Ronge know about the culture she so passionately claims to embrace? It’s easy to want the look, swag and attitude of what you think defines Blackness, especially when you know that you will never have to actually live the burden of being a minority. You will never fear being discriminated against, beaten, shot, hated just because your skin is dark. Being Black isn’t something Blacks get to stop being when they decide it’s too hard or no longer hip or fun. Until you can feel that sting of being hated, disrespected, dismissed or physically harmed because of the color of your skin—then no Miss Ronge. You are not Black enough. Being a White woman trapped in Black skin is far, far easier than being a Black person actually in Black skin.
What do you think…is Ronge identifying with the struggle of Blacks or is she just another person looking for publicity?