Why Brown People Can’t Be Influencers

You can’t be a travel influencer if you can’t travel

FFucking influencers, right? They can travel the world, take photos of their butts in front of various sights, make GoPro videos hanging out of trains, then move onto the next exotic locale. Or digital nomads. Setting up in places with cheap rent, riding mopeds around, earning money into foreign bank accounts.

They’re like kids visiting the zoo. And we’re the fucking animals.

Darker obviously being worse

Behold this map of how fucked a dark passport holder is. It is really a map of colonialism. Were you a colonial country, or did you successfully genocide the natives? If so, congratulations, you can visit your former colonies as you please. The world is your #oyster. In the map these places are lighter colored, because white people.

If you were dumb and black enough to be colonized, however, please stay in your cage. You can serve food and drive people around, but please don’t try to leave, you’ll scare people. Unless you have money. The wealthy elites can travel, as long as they keep the other animals locked inside.

We don’t talk about it, but this whole thing is fucking nonsense. Why can’t a brown kid from Kurunegala or Kampala be a fucking influencer? Are our butts not good enough? Why is the world open to white people and not to us?

I’m tired of living in a colonial zoo and calling it tourism. I want the fuck out, for all of us.

Just Get A Visa (lol it sucks)

But you can just get a visa, you say. Perhaps you’ve never had to apply for one, not like we do. I’m a dual citizen because fuck you I deserve it, everyone deserves it, but my son is temporarily just Sri Lankan. This is what it was like applying for him, for a UK visa.

First we needed a sheaf of documents — passport copy, birth certificate, our marriage certificate, bank statements. The whole process has been outsourced to a for-profit company because the British government can’t be assed dealing with us directly, and we are course paying $75 for the privilege of being judged.

He’s having a great time but he’s a fucking baby and doesn’t know how oppressed he is yet.

We have to go to this company in person, so we must sacrifice time as well as money. God forbid you live out of the city. Or live on daily wages. Or are otherwise a human being whose time might have value.

Once you get into the new East India Company, it’s a waiting room before another waiting room before another waiting room. My wife goes with the baby and of course they are missing some document so she has to come back. So that’s one day gone.

The next day I come with her because the baby is definitely going to shit himself at some time during this process. Predictably, he does. I go to change him on some wet bathroom counter and we go back and wait. He’s having a great time but he’s a fucking baby and doesn’t know how oppressed he is yet.

Then we go to another room where he is propped up and photographed but not thumbprinted because I suppose he’s too young to have a criminal record yet. We’re not going to America.

Then we go home and wait and finally have to go back again to collect a hilariously worded letter addressed to this one year old, stating that it’s not clear that he has ‘visible means of support’ for his two week trip to England. Because my wife didn’t include enough bank statements (ie, more than they asked for).

We build our own fucking cages. We keep each other inside.

The fucked up thing is that he’s entitled to a British passport, through his mother. We were going there to get it. We just need to get him out of the cage once and he’s free. Most people never get out. And they never question it.

The world is default closed to brown people. The burden is on us to beg, supplicate, and prove that we’re human enough to visit the colonial world. That we are deserving, that we are rich, that we promise to leave without polluting your land longer than absolutely necessary. And we do it. We stand in line and wait. We do not resist. We don’t even consider this abnormal. We build our own fucking cages. We keep each other inside.

Just like colonialism. We administered the colonies, we filed the paperwork, we carried arms, and we helped our oppressors pack up our wealth and take it away. The elites got privileges and for that we sold each other out. Just like today we man the borders that keep us locked in.

We’re still divided and conquered, the rich against the poor.

We don’t get to be influencers. We don’t get to have gap years. We don’t get to find ourselves abroad. We also don’t get to move for a better life, to be ‘expats’. We’re migrants, we’re illegal, we’re shit. We have to document and prove that we’ll come back to even get a short furlough from colonial jail.

They say colonialism is over, but we’re still colonized. We still have less rights than white people, and it’s set that way from birth. We’re still divided and conquered, the rich against the poor.

When You Visit The Zoo

So when you visit the tourist zoo, give some thought to the animals. The people selling you fruit or taking multiple photos of your dumb asses. The people that house and feed you and drive you around. We try to be hospitable to you, but are you hospitable to us? You come to our home. Can we visit yours?

Is this fair? Are we not human too?

And to all the animals in the tourist zoo, wake the fuck up. Get you and yours out yes, I have a foreign passport and we’re getting them for our kids. But don’t forget that we all deserve freedom, and above all, don’t hold each other down. Especially not the poor. In God’s name, stop normalizing the idea that it’s somehow acceptable to discriminate against poor people.

Freedom means freedom for everyone. Freedom means freedom to move, to travel, to photograph your butt wherever you want, and to settle down there and earn a living if you feel like it. These colonial borders are shit and we need to tear them down. Brown idiots deserve to be influencers too. We deserve the world.

Written by

A writer living in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He/him. indi@indi.ca. Videos: tiny.cc/indication and podcast: anchor.fm/indication. patreon.com/indication

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