BLACK Pt.2: How do you think the world sees you?

See: transitive verb:

  • to perceive by the eye
  • to form a mental picture of: “can still see her as she was years ago”

Source: Merriam Webster 

See: verb – to understand, know, or be aware

“I can see why you didn’t want to go out with him.”

See: verb – to consider someone or something in a particular way

“I can’t see my brother as a businessman.”

Source: Cambridge dictionary

Perception is everything. Used as a way to determine one’s worth before you are afforded the opportunity to engage in dialogue, it is ingrained in each of us. But where does it stem from? Though we all share the essential roots of the human race, we have branched off in a plethora of subcultures that define us. And that is a beautiful thing. But there’s a catch.

In life, there must be balance. And where there is beauty, there is an ugliness that resides on the underside that grows out of jealousy, contempt, envy and a failure to understand or even comprehend the differences that make us who we are. In the Western world, the ugly side of perception has installed a historic systematic bias towards black people. In the Western world, the ugly side of perception has imposed subjugation and oppression by the ‘ruling’ elites. In the Western World, the ugly side of perception has made demonised black people so much that we are taught to fight for our rights with every ounce of strength for what others are afforded on a platter.

In a continuation of “what does it mean to be black?”, this week I present:

“How do you think the world sees you?”


Grace: Photographer / Storyteller 

“For years I always thought that I wasn’t seen at all; I felt invisible. The world sees me now as someone who is carefree; who is hopeful, who has faith, who is constantly encouraging people to be whoever they want to be and they see me as someone who is welcoming.”


Compton: Assistant Team Manager / Photographer

“I think this is a very tricky question. It depends on where you live and who you are around, and for me, I know I’ve got friends that support me for who I am and like me for who I am, but also live and work in an area that’s predominantly white. I’ve had issues where I’ve had people be a little bit different around me especially going into lifts and stuff where they’ll not go into the lift at all if they see me there. For me, its all about where you live and who you’re around. If you surround yourself with like-minded people, they’ll like you just for you are.”


Chanice: Actor / Dancer / Model

“I think some people see me as a threat to them, but I think some people see me as a normal person exactly like them.”


Corey: Recording Engineer / Producer / DJ

“As a black man I feel like the world sees me in a couple of different ways. One, a statistic. Two, could be seen as a threat. Three, personally I think the world sees me as being successful as well because I don’t fall into a statistic of being in certain circles or having done prison time or whatever. I feel like the world currently sees me as a successful black man.”


Danieka: Model

“The world has seen many versions of me. I mean for example, it’s no secret that most black people we have two versions of ourselves. We have our true version and the Western version. The Western version is the version that you probably see us use at interviews or when we’ve been wronged and we gotta dial down how upset we are as we don’t wanna be labelled as a stereotype. We don’t wanna be labelled as angry or upset – you know, any of those negative stereotypes. The way I think the world sees me is, un-apologetically living my truth, embracing who I am and empowering people along the way. I don’t really concern myself with how the world will see me because all that matters is how I see myself. You have to be the change that you wanna see.”


Dao: Actor / Filmmaker

“Many people see me in many different ways. Like I’ve had a lot of covert racism, a lot of overt racism and some things in between. Like examples of overt, I’ve been called like the ‘n’ word; I’ve been called a mutt, an inbred, I’ve been called a monkey and in-between where they don’t see that it’s offensive. They’ll be like: “what are you?, where are you from really?” And then the covert racism is like: “oh, you’ll make the most beautiful babies with a white person”, which kind of is insinuating that I wouldn’t make beautiful children with another race, but also it says that I am not beautiful as me – I have to be diluted with a white person.”


Darian: Senior Business Analyst

“I think as a mix raced person, sometimes I’m accepted, sometimes I’m rejected – and that stands for both the black and white communities.”


Demar: Photographer / Writer

“The world sees me as a threat, but I don’t conform to that because the world also sees me as a good person. The unknowns will see and judge me before they take the time have a conversation with me to know who I am, and the knowns, my family, my loved ones, I ride out for them every day.”


Georgette: Dual-trained Barrister & Solicitor / Entrepreneur

“First of all the world sees me as a black woman – and then they realise I’m a black educated woman. I am strong, I am powerful, I am ground-breaking, I pass it on to the next generation. They realise I am ME.”


Dias: Fashion Image & Styling / Creative / Model

“It’s a difficult one because I intersect with both being black and being gay. So for me on one side, I’ve had black people tell me I’m not black enough, that I’m not part of my culture but at the same time being gay, it’s like I can’t fit into that culture because it’s still white dominated so they don’t reflect me and my values and the things that I like. So it’s not to say that I don’t like blackness too, it’s just to say that I’m a nuanced blackness. Blackness is so stereotyped so many times it’s like there’s no difference and people don’t see the difference in blackness and I think that coz I’m different, I don’t automatically fit in but I still love my culture either way.”


Amesha: Student

“I know the world sees me as being prestige; as being dumb, as being someone that doesn’t care about things around me, someone who prefers social media than using my platform to speak on awareness, but that’s not me. I know it’s not me! People are surprised when they get to know me. The world sees me as someone who’s going to take from what we built, take from other people. I know the world sees me as someone who shouldn’t be here. Someone here to thief another person’s spot, to try climb to the top to abuse it but I know I’m not.”


Hayden: Student

“I think the world sees black people as naturally aggressive, when that really isn’t the case.”


Jermainah: Small Boutique Owner / Medical Patient Coordinator

“My answer to this is very short and sweet – the world does not see me.”


Marcel: Teacher / Coach / DJ

“I think some people see me as a threat – I think some people would see me as someone who comes from a vibrant culture.”


Eli: Lawyer / Musician

“I think the world sees me exactly as how I see myself. The difference is, they see fear and they see jealousy and out of that you get racism. But maybe, instead of focusing on what the world thinks of us, we should re-direct our energy and concentrate on what we think of ourselves and how we can undo some of the mental traumas we have.”


Yinka: Plastic Surgeon

“Negatively. In the words of Notorious B.I.G, you either sling crack rock or have a wicked jump shot. When people see me, they assume my success is due to negative and underhand gains. They never think that I could have done something which is legitimate and helping the community.”


Tileasha: Fashion Designer & Fashion Illustrator

“I don’t think the world does see me.”




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