If you have not heard yet, hip-hop artist Karim Kharbouch (better known by his stage name, French Montana) is being called out for his anti-Black comments in response to a Twitter user’s opinion. In their tweet, the individual states the following without tagging the artist directly:
Somehow, French Montana found the tweet and decided it needed a response back from him. Here’s what he said back:
After he tweeted this, thousands of Twitter users acknowledged the anti-Blackness in his comment and responded back to French Montana criticizing and questioning his own Blackness. Feeling attacked, the artist felt as though he needed to validate to the world that he’s not/can not possibly be racist with the following tweets:
Looking away from his misspelling of “offended,” I want to discuss how and why this tweet is anti-Black. The problem in this situation is not whether or not French Montana is black. Anti-Black/racist comments come from all races. The problem is that French Montana is most of you out there.
More specifically, I am directing this discussion to my fellow Moroccans. We are not White people who accidentally make statements and attempt to retract them by saying “that’s not what I meant”. We are Africans. Blacks are of our own people. French Montana should have known that nappy is a derogatory word. It is used within our own Moroccan community to suggest that women, in particular, should follow the Eurocentric beauty ideal and straighten their hair.
This is why comments like the one French Montana made hurt more coming from within the African diaspora. It emphasizes the vitality and remnants of the colonist’s mindset even in a post-colonial era. It is a shame for us to still cling on to the anti-Black brainwash and be racist to our own kind, yet claim we are not racist. You cannot perpetuate the White and European bias and then claim Africa and African descent in the same breath.
In truth, there are many Moroccans that don’t even believe they are being racist simply because anti-Black comments sound normal to them. This is how deeply rooted colonialism is in our cultures. Even further, I personally know several Moroccans that stubbornly refuse to claim heritage to Africa. To these I ask, do you even know who you are? Do you truthfully know your own Moroccan roots? Your lack of acknowledgement to the African community is racist in itself. The loss of love and support for our own identities was/is a consequence of Arabization.
When an entire country is colonized (several times) it leads to an erasure of original identity.
The normalization of racist slurs in our community had become more prevalent after the 8th Century CE. The process of Arabization impacted the bulk of the Berbers (original, native Moroccans). Using the spread of Islam to Arabize North Africa caused a fusion of a, “new ethnocultural entity,” according to a research done by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. This same study declares that, “Berber tribes sometimes claimed Arab descent in order to enhance their prestige.” What does this say about the supremacy of Arabs?
When an entire country is colonized (several times) it leads to an erasure of original identity. When we constantly want to be like the colonizer, we begin to think like the colonizer without consciously recognizing it. But truth is, we are no longer colonized. What we are is an independent country that is still brainwashed. We no longer can get away with the anti-blackness in our culture/selves. The first step towards this white-minded cleansing is to actually listen when someone calls you out on your anti-Blackness/anti-self and acknowledge that there might actually be a problem that needs resolving within our own selves/communities.