The art of overcoming our rainbow consternation
Solomon Omogboye’s Resurgence is far more than merely a representation of the generic ‘African child’
In my misspent youth (misspent because I was far too responsible and well-behaved, whereas adolescence should entail at least a dose of recklessness, rebellion and sheer stupidity), I went through a phase of listening to Christian rock. It was anodyne stuff, often crossing over into the mainstream charts, and rarely concerned with the finer points of theology or politics or history.
Much of it was forgettable, but some songs occasionally earworm their way up from the recesses of memory into my consciousness. One of these is Coloured People by multiple Grammy-winning trio DC Talk. In retrospect, the song might seem like a kind of antiracism lite, a variation on that bland universalist question: why can’t we all just get along? Yet, revisited about three decades after its release, the song’s basic conceit — that we are all “coloured people” — can be appreciated in more nuanced terms.
In the US, for example, clumsy white-normative attempts to respond to Black Lives Matter still see race as something that happens to people who are not white. Recognising whiteness as a raced phenomenon itself, rather than a standard or “neutral” point of reference, is a prerequisite for productive conversations about how race continues to shape US society, in the same way that it has arguably been the primary determinant of the country’s history...