Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Small Town Angst And Forgetting

Small towns are not easy spaces to grow up in. They are inevitably spaces that must become part of your past if even in theory only.

I have been spending some time thinking about Kimberley and Kimberley coloured people over the past week.

Kimberley is not exactly small but it is definitely not big.

I was was walking through the local grocery store last Saturday and I came across a couple faces from my primary school days.

"Aaah that is so and so and wow does he look old," I thought not giving too much mind to my age creases.

So and so saw me but looked away in that manner that is so common to coloured people in Kimberley.

I did not go up and say "hi" either. That is not the done thing.

It is usual to just make like you do not know so and so.

If you really want to get to know so and so again you would have to be re-introduced while s/he pages through their mental block for your reference.

Eish hey!

A strange small town Kimberley thing, yes.

To be sure, it is a cullard thang for the most part. Am I right Cliff?

Some of the brightest minds from William Pescod High have convened to ponder why coloured folk fake amnesia. ;0)

No consensus yet but I have a few thoughts.

It seems to me that it is about status and confinement. Folks here are tied to wanting to be thought of as different.

Part of being different is about escaping the mediocrity of a small town like Kimberley.

So when you see folks who have not really left dodge they act like they are not there.

Of course it does not explain why I play along.

I guess it is just easier to make like I am forgetful too.

Aaah coloured identity. It does not really exist but so many Kimberley coloureds act like it really does.

Fake on or get out of town for real.



Dade said...

Fascinating, Ridwan. I just went to a 30 year reunion of my high school (which was in a small town). We were the exact opposite. That is to say, we warmly acknowledged each other.

Cultural differences I suppose.

(Glad to see your back to blogging!)

Erica said...

I get that when I go back to my hometown but you know my philosophy. I could care less.

What age creases?????

Ridwan said...

Hello Dade!

I am happy to hear your reunion went well and was engaging!

I talked to me moms about our small town front and she made an excellent point.

She said that this practice of forgetting was mostly found among the "uppity" class of Kimberley coloureds.

She is right for the most part.

Class consciousness brings on an even greater delusion in my small town.

So to be more exact it is not a general forgetfulness.

In race theory/studies the practice of passing is well documented. (In South Africa and the US.)

I think that forgetting is an extension of passing to a certain extent.

Making yourself invisible in race adversity is as much a survival tactic as it is about race/class climbing.

In Kimberley it is so pervasively practiced among the uppity coloureds (colourpeans) that it may be culturally manisfested now.

Be well my brother.


Ridwan said...

Hi Erica!

I am not surprised that you get the same front when you go home.

Like I said above it is a phenomenon that may have its origins in the practice of passing.

Fred Sanford made fun of "uppity Negroes" for these reasons you may remember.

I recall one episode where Lamont was dating a woman whose father had a good job at the post office.

He was (the father) light looking and kept saying he had a window at the post office.

Fred was irritated and said something like "he probably cleans windows" at the post office.

As you know I am fascinated by these kinds of race-class interactions.

You are too kind about my creases pretty lady!

Miss ya,

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