The Small Town Anomaly of Being Black (well…half)

October 19, 2012

Don’t get me wrong; the ‘small town’ feel of the place is great. Everyone is so friendly- it’s as if they’re family. To be honest, a large proportion of them are…in a Jeremy Kyle way. You get waves, honking horns and small chats when you pass someone on the road: “How’s ya ma’am?”, “When’s the bah-bee due?”, “Did ya’s hear about Lisa’s wee lass?”. There is always someone around for a laugh or a quick drink at the pub or even a shoulder to cry on when you need it.

I walk down the street and I feel great! Here I am strutting my stuff, with my ‘big city’ handbag and my ‘expensive’ jeans. I can see the necks snapping as I walk by. My ego loves to hear the whispers of praise and envy. Clearly they’re loving how I’m pulling off being 8 months pregnant: my waddle is barely noticeable and my bump is all neat and tidy in the front.

That’s why they stare, right?


But here’s the thing; I’m black- well half. Which normally wouldn’t be a problem anywhere… and to be honest, it isn’t exactly a problem here. They’re not racist… just curious. I think I might actually be the only ‘black’ person (well half), to pass through this ‘white-haven’ since the coal mines closed and the soot was bathed away. I’m sure they don’t mean to stare but they’re using every ounce of will power not to poke.

The fact that I’m black (well half), means two things: 1) I am not from around here and 2) I must be that black girl that Thomas is dating – the one who is pregnant, wants to be a psychologist and moved to England from Canada. Being an outsider means they know plenty about me, enough to walk into any pub and have a chat about “me mam” or the “bah-bee” or “Lisa’s wee lass”.

However, I do get the odd question that you don’t normally hear around town. ‘No, my dad is nothing like Patrick Truman.’ ‘Yes, Rasta Mouse is a funny show.’ ‘I don’t know any Rastafarians personally.’ ‘Nope, that’s not how I “really” sound, in fact, that isn’t even Patois.’ ‘Nope he’s not like Morgan Freeman either.’ Let me be clear: this definitely isn’t a race piece, like I said, they’re not racist- just curious. No one is unkind, patronising or derogative. I often wonder if I moved here, would the hype settle down?

I don’t mind it really- I like being ‘exotic’. Of course, with the weather up here I’d lose any hint of colour in my skin in a few years, then who would I be? I’d lose my appeal- I suppose I’d be like everyone else. I would have a growing web of family relations up here- I would know the intricate details of everyone else’s life and soon my kids would be have kids with the next door neighbour’s kids.

No. I couldn’t. I’d have no choice but to grab the family, black ourselves up and move to the next self-sufficient small town. Somewhere where once again I am a township gem. Somewhere where my existence ignites conversation and people stare, simply because I’m special, different, exciting, beautiful, new…black, (well half). 

How’s the real estate in Aspen?


Guest Blogger: Michela Preddie

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