Girls Are Awesome Voices – Kaddi Sawaneh

“Even though you say, “I’m not racist”, you’re still a part of the problem and still benefit from the problem when you don’t speak up”
– Kaddi Sawaneh

racism | Voices

The third part in our three-part interview series on racism features Kaddi Sawaneh, the 25-year-old student and social media guru behind GirlCultDK, in conversation with journalist Mary C. Namagambe. “I wasn’t really bullied in school,” Kaddi says, “but whenever people were saying something to me, it was the N-word – that kept telling me that I wasn’t like, ‘normal’. And I feel like, because of that, up until I was 19, I hated my skin color, because I kept getting told that I wasn’t Danish enough or white enough.”

This is something that many white people may not think about – how often whiteness is treated as the “default” in a majority-white society, to the othering and exclusion of everyone else. “I would have wished that people spoke up because they are part of the problem as well when you don’t speak up, even though you say, “I’m not racist”, you’re still you are still a part of the problem and still benefit from the problem when you don’t speak up,” Kaddi tells us.

“A lot of people, when they see people of color, they don’t know how to interact. So the first thing they want to talk about is the first thing they see. And that’s your color,” she continues. “Even though they say, “I’m colorblind”, it’s a privilege to say that you are colorblind. I don’t have the privilege to say that because I keep being reminded of the way I look because of my skin color. So no, people can’t be colorblind.”

We’re so grateful to Kaddi for letting us learn from her experiences. For more from this series, check out part one with journalist Anne Niluka, and part two with social entrepreneur (and Girls Are Awesome partnerships queen) Thandi Allin Dyani.

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