1. You are very different from other (insert African country) people I know – Well, could it be because I am a different person?
2. When I was in nursery school I had a friend from (insert African country) – Hold on, should I nominate you for the Nobel peace prize?
3. Do you tan in the sun? – No, I’m an alien and this isn’t really skin, it’s rubber. Erm, what’cha think?
4. Your (insert European language) is so good – And considering I’ve spoken it all my life, why shouldn’t it be?
5. You have a typical African figure – OK, this might likely be a compliment, but we could do without the stereotyping of an African woman’s body. We come in all shapes and sizes just like any other woman.
6. Your name is so difficult to pronounce – well, Klu Klux Klan is not the simplest either, aye
7. Any questions or comments about hair as a concept rather than a style – In other words ‘I dig your new hair do’ is OK, ‘Is your new hair do your real hair?’ is not.
All things are true and more. Don't forget the ever popular, '..hot enough for you?'; what do you think?, i am sweating as much as you are. I was asked that once and i just 'sized'(looking at the person up and down with a look that goes like you-are-crazy) the person. oh, she got my answer to that question.
Great article! I can relate to just about everything on this list.
It is baffling how many impolite things people think it's OK to ask or state…
Sweating as much as you? LOL that's ludicrous!
Thanks for checking in Nani
Ha ha, this is a funny post Minna! Please make my day and tell me this is how you reply when people ask you these questions? I'd love to see it!
Some of it is just plain ignorance like 'Do you tan in the sun?' and I actually go on an education mission , throw about the word melanin and hope that I'm saving someone else from the same question in the process!
My favourite is any reference to being 'African' – Okay, yes, I am from a county IN Africa but you know Africa isn't one big country right? I'm Nigerian, not 'African'!
Have you ever had relaxed hair? Number 7 doesn't bother me any more and it's because of Nigerians, who should actually know better. The number of times people would rub my scalp (without my permission) and exclaim with surprise, 'Ah, it's your hair!' or literally eye me suspiciously while they ask 'Is it your hair?' Lol!
Nana Yaw Asiedu says
Lol, you present the truth so well. Much on the list applies to, and irritates, men too.
@Vickii, I tone it down in my replies to these type of comments, most of the time anyway 😉
I do always try to get the point across to whoever is asking that they are (perhaps subconsciously) being extremely ignorant.
Indeed, all about saving someone else the same questions!
@Nana, thanks 🙂 Many do apply to men too, and Afropolitan men probably get even more outrageous comments to an extent
I really like your blog and the topics discussed here…will be visiting more often!
ha ha.. this article is on point, funny how they don't realize they are being rude sometimes
@toks77, hi and thanks, pls do keep visiting and let me know what you think..
@fabladyH, exactly… 😉
Remember, it goes both ways: as a blond woman, I hear similar questions as soon as I meet people from Asia, South America, Africa… They wanna touch my hair, and they assume I can't be cold because I'm from "a cold country".
@Camilla, thanks for bringing to attention to the flip-side
If you're referring to Africans, South Americans etc that are quite unexposed to blonde people ie. have not traveled or seen many blondes then as annoying as such comments can be I'd forgive them more easily than if those comments came from Africans, Asians etc who live and work and travel amongst blondes
Oh trust me girl, those comments come from everyone, whether they are world travelers or not. I reckon it's a universal thing, regardless of race or nationality.
A K says
Oh my gosh I love this…it’s so true! I hear these things all the time and they irritate me, but some more than others. The hair concept one being at the top of my list. I mean, why is there always a theory about why people hairdos are not their “real” hair?
A K says
Oh and yeserday I was just reading an article about someone ranting on about the “African figure” and I felt extremely offended, so I relate to you there. Like you said, it is stereotypical as any woman from anywhere can be of any shape or size.
Hey A K, I’d like to understand the hair thing…I think I’m gonna do some research when I get time to find out why it is!
Thanks for sharing 🙂
Joy-Mari Cloete says
How ’bout the infamous ‘all Africans have rhythm’ bit? That’s when I get all teary-eyed and say that I can’t possibly be a ‘real African’: I can’t dance.
@ Joy-Mari, that reminds me of how many times I have disappointed people who chose to be on their team based on my heritage: relays, b-ball etc..
They believed wrongly that all Africans are athletic.
“You speak so well!”
(Often said by someone who can’t string a sentence together, who then proceeds to ask what school you went to because if you are articulate in anything other than an African language, you must have been trained by Europeans!)
Great article. All so true!
You know, although I speak Swedish fluently, when I lived in Sweden I occasionally came across ppl who would reply to me in (bad) English, when I spoke to them in Swedish
Quite funny actually!
Nice list , you should add – “You’re from Africa , how come you speak good English?”
I did! Always gets to me too 😉
I fail to see what the Ku Klux Klan has to do with someone having issues at pronouncing a name of african origin…
A cheeky comment, but nevertheless there is a certain kind of person who entertains themself with their incapacity to pronounce African names and feels a need to point it out – I say, just pronounce it the way it was said to you, no need to point out that it’s not part of your name vocabulary, understand that you are more used to Africans that have western names but that doesn’t mean it’s the norm
I absolutely love this! LOL @ number 6! I grew up in a small village in Belgium, where the majority of the people were white. In fact we were one of the only black families there. People were so curious, they wanted to know so much about us, as if we came from another planet. There is a fine line between genuine curiousity and complete ignorance (or even malice, sometimes) and I think I have seen people cross that line a lot. However I’m so used to people being intrigued about my origins, my style, my hair, etc. and it even makes me laugh. Funny enough I get similar questions from fellow black girls too. This is my first comment on your blog, looking forward to reading more!
Is this true for all Afropolitan women?
lol I was asked about my hair ” is it real?” by a black lady who did not even do me the courtesy to look me in the eys when she said it.
At first I did not think she was even speaking to me !
I love how true this is. I get so annoyed people have this perception of AFRICANS they see on TV and forget that in reality we are not all like that and should be treated as individuals. I talked about this briefly in my blog https://themodernafrican.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/being-african-equals.html
Great post 🙂