I’ve had a huge, almost viral response to the piece I wrote last week, where I mostly agree with Trevor Noah’s sentiments about the Coloured community.
I went into some detail with my opinion about the comments he made in his book, Born A Crime.
He states that Coloured people are socialised in European cultures and that few speak any African languages.
But the paragraph that rubbed most people up the wrong way, ends with: “For all that black people have suffered, they know who they are. Coloured people don’t.”
And with that, Trevor had scratched where there has either never been an itch, or an itch that we had simply been ignoring.
Whenever a Coloured thinker has attempted to address this issue, they have overstepped one boundary, which is summed up in the saying “unspoken truth”.
And that seems to be the one boundary that Trevor overstepped; he dared to speak about something that some Coloureds would prefer remain swept under the carpet and unspoken.
I can see now that it’s even worse when the speaker is an outsider.
I started by saying that we are bad at taking criticism, but what Trevor said wasn’t criticism as much as it was observation, albeit observation that stung some of us.
As for me, the fact that I agreed with some of what he had to say, offended many.
But being offensive and being wrong isn’t one and the same thing. Just like being polite, doesn’t make you right.
If you are offended by some of these opinions, then you need to ask yourself whether that is because we are wrong, or is it because of the discomfort of having to face an awkward truth.
And what exactly is so uncomfortable about my view, which in a nutshell is: the multitude of bloodlines that others find so confounding about Coloured heritage, is the very thing that gives it its unique beauty.
Our inability to embrace and celebrate that diversity is our biggest challenge, which is why people like Trevor make the observations that they do.
But it appears that many among us are even intolerant of my expression of tolerance.
I had a good laugh at the crude, angry comments telling me off, but what surprised me most was how people hated what I had said, while agreeing with most of it using different words.
For example, many people said that I didn’t have a clue what I was talking about, but would then go on to say how wonderfully diverse the Coloured community is and how it was something to be proud of.
That is exactly what I have always believed and what I said.
Others exposed their inability to argue their opinions logically and maturely, resorting to ugly name-calling and off-colour comments that have nothing to do with the issue.
Here’s the thing: If Trevor is indeed off the mark with his comments, then the lesson we should take from it is the fact that we are being observed in a certain light; and the impression you create is half the truth, so we should work on projecting a better image of ourselves.
For example, you can’t claim to be a genuinely nice person, because you treat your friends and family well, but you also treat waiters, homeless people and strangers like rubbish.
Lastly, there were again those who objected to us being called Coloured; or even that some of us are brainwashed by continuing to call ourselves by an apartheid epitaph.
But just like in the movies, when technicolour came and made black and white better, given our broad and diverse bloodlines and beliefs, I want to suggest that we more accurately call ourselves multi-coloured.