Poet Lebo Mashile shares some of the racist situations she’s found herself in

The poet was triggered by people sharing their #Racism stories on the TL

22 May 2020 - 07:00 By CHRIZELDA KEKANA
Lebo Mashile shared some of her experiences at the hands of racist people.
Lebo Mashile shared some of her experiences at the hands of racist people.
Image: Instagram/Lebo Mashile

Poet Lebo Mashile and many other black people were triggered by the racist tweets of a teenage Bianca Schoombee, which resulted in them going down memory lane to reflect on racist incidents they were subjected to.  

Lebo joined many other tweeps who shared their painful experiences of incidents in which their blackness was used against them in a racist manner. For Lebo, the stories she read took her right back to the time she was schooling in the States.

These conversations are so triggering. I remember when I rejoined my family in the US as a small kid. I couldn’t speak English and I was the only black kid at my school at that time. School was a place of daily isolation and bullying. I had only two friends, an Indian girl and a Latina.”

The poet remembered with a broken spirit how much racism — obvious and subtle — she had to endure.

I did half of my high schooling in the US at a high school where we had to take aptitude tests to get in. Based on those tests and my grades, I ended up taking some honours classes. There were a few white boys who would cough 'quota' into their hands when I walked into class.

Every time we learnt about black history, it was an opportunity for white children and teachers to show their true colours. Challenging stereotypes or what was written in the schoolbooks made teachers hate me. Keeping silent made me hate myself. You cannot win with racism,” the poet said.

Lebo shared another painful incident that happened when she did her first year in varsity.

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