Saturday, May 7, 2011

Black and White: Grada Kilomba on dealing with Racism in Europe

"Black people look at themselves from the perspective of white people," says writer Grada Kilomba. "They don't look at themselves from their own perspective."

Kilomba, the author of “Plantation Memories – Episodes of Every Day Racism", has origins in the West African Islands São Tomé e Príncipe and was born in Lisbon where she studied clinical psychology and psychoanalysis at ISPA.

In a very interesting video she describes the nature of racism in Europe, how white Europeans can repair their relationships to minorities, and minorities can heal themselves.

In an interview which was republished in Africanvenir Kilomba answers the question: what exactly does it mean to be white?

"White is not a colour. White is a political definition, which represents historical, political and social privileges of a certain group that has access to dominant structures and institutions of society. Whiteness represents the reality and history of a certain group. When we talk about what it means to be white, then we talk about politics and certainly not about biology. Just like the term black is a political identity, which refers to a historicity, political and social realities and not to biology.

As we know there are black people who are very light-skinned, others who are dark-skinned, others who have blue eyes. It is the political history and reality that constructs these terms."


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