Alright guys. I am just going to come right out and say it. It may horrify some. To many it may be like I am questioning the very essence of my being, but I just feel it is something that needs to be addressed…..I think that “Black People Time” is utter folly.

To be honest, I came to know “BPT” quite late into my life. Ironic, I know. My family (well, my mother) are quite stringent about time. Sunday mornings involved military precision. Wake up-7:30. Shower-7:35-7:45. Getting dressed, 7:45-8:05 etc, and we would get to Church in ample time (usually 15 minuites early) for a 9:30 service. This was standard routine, and we never deviated from it…unless my mum was away and my dad was put in charge. Then we would arrive just in the nick of time…and to me, that was late. This was what I was used to. It was ingrained into me, inherently part of me. The thought of being tardy to school made tears build up in my eyes…it was that serious. I was also kind of a nerd.

However, as I grew older, and observed my black friends and their families, I was shocked about their own relaxed approach to time. We were meant to be going somewhere for 8, and at 7:50 we were just getting dressed?? It boggled my mind. I was horrified. In University, my eyes were opened further-mostly with shock- when I realised that perhaps..I was the anomaly. Yes, I was a freak, because whilst my friends were just getting their books ready to amble down to a lecture we had in 2 minuites, ignoring my protestations and wondering out loud why I had decided to wait for them, my hands were sweaty. My heart was thumping. I was having a melt-down essentially. You may laugh-and seriously, you can, my friends do it all the time- but the thought of being late to somewhere makes me have the mother of all freak out sessions. I honestly would rather the ground beneath me gave way to Wonderland than walk in somewhere sheepish and late. Call me OCD, I just call it..being overly diligent about time.

However, my (probable) neurosis doesn’t affect me negatively..BPT however..now that is another story. I must quickly note that this is not a rash blast against all stereotypes. I mean I like fried chicken. Liking fried chicken isn’t bad for you..(Wait. Well. Okay. Liking fried chicken in moderation isn’t bad for you.) I also can morph from pleasant to ABW (Angry Black Woman) in approximately 0.2 seconds-this is usually useful if I need to scare people into giving me my way. Underhanded-perhaps- but handy nonetheless. However BPT? This stereotype can only hinder.

First of all “BPT” is exclusive. People seem to forget this.White people do not operate according to this time. Asian people do not operate to this time. Hispanic people do not have their watches set to BPT neither. So already, we are setting ourselves apart . It isn’t in a positive way either. Do you think if an Asian boss, grants an interview for 9:00, and you arrive at 9:30, he’ll laugh, shrug, and be like, “He’s black. What can we we expect? Let’s give him another half hour.” No. Your chances are severely limited. Even if he does think that..do we really want to be thought of that way? Inherently unreliable, so people have to take that into consideration? When I say “we” mind, I am talking about an entire race. Which, let’s face it- is what it will boil down to.

In the big bad world, being late, is being late. It’s rude and inconsiderate. “But..” I hear you cry indignantly, “I obviously wouldn’t be late for something as important as an interview!!” I hear you. I also raise my brow high with incredulity. Being late is a habit that is cultivated in a life time. Just like being on time is something that has been part of me since I was toddling, being late is a trait that becomes part of someone. So despite your best efforts, despite your earnest wishes to be somewhere on time, unwittingly, your habit in other areas, lets you down in others. Being late to meet a friend can lead to being late for an interview. Being used to being late may also even lead to you being late to your wedding (which actually did happen to someone I know who arrived 1 hour late for his wedding…because he missed his plane..which he was also late for incidentally …) The constant brushing off of “I’m black! What can I do?” of the years will come back to bite you on your stereotypically well shaped behind.

And trust me, this trait is well noticed but politely avoided by the other races. I was alerted to this, when a few years back, a caucasian friend from University said to me, “Why do your black friends always come in late?”. I endured the cringe spasms, of all cringe spasms, as I let out an uncomfortable smile, and shrugged. Guys….cringe spasms are not fun. Let’s avoid anyone of our brothas and sistas, having them on our behalf and cultivate the art of being on time. It’s really not that difficult. Wake up a half hour earlier. Plan your journey. Don’t assume that things will always start ten minutes later than stipulated.

Wait? What’s that? “But if my friends operate on BPT, I’m always going to end up hanging around waiting for them!” . Not so, my friend. Like I said, it’s all about the cultivaton of a habit. Time is time. Whether you operate with GMT or otherwise, we have official time for a reason-for everyone to abide by. If I say meet me at 1:00, and at 1:15, you text me saying you’re just leaving your house, please believe you will be met with air. Harsh, but true. My friends know this, and so adjust themselves accordingly. Before they know it, they’re beginning to cultivate a habit too! It is all part of my master plan to annihilate the concept of “Black People Time.”

Besides, if one of us arrives early for an interview with someone who already has a preconception of Black people being late, we’re already shattering a negative stereotype in someone’s mind. To me, that’s pretty powerful. Now imagine if all of us did that? Mind-blowing, am I right? Our skin colour should not be an excuse for being late.

As well as being FAB we want to be known as reliable and courteous too…why don’t we do this by making BPT a myth?

Oh..and if you still need some explaining as to what exactly IS BPT (or Coloured People Time) this video might clarify it for you…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMv46I1p33A&w=853&h=480]

@Beebabs

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