I grew up in Nigeria and we were educated on the inhumanity of whites towards blacks. Whites objectifying blacks in ways that were beyond comprehension, blacks also selling their fellow blacks to the whites and all the inhumanities of slavery. We were taught in our schools, homes and society.
I remember my parents taking us to Badagry – a town in Nigeria. We went to the museums and learnt about the history of slavery in Nigeria and how the whites dehumanized blacks. I remember a certain depiction of how padlocks were drilled into the lips of blacks as a means of punishment and sometimes just for the sake of it. When I was told of the stories of my ancestors in slavery, I was always disturbed by such callousness of man- the white man to be precise.
I couldn’t and still can’t stand people who decide that they are ‘threatened’ by my skin colour. I think such people are ignorant and I am quite happy with the level of ‘wokeness’ in recent years.
There were times my dad would travel to certain European countries and on coming back, he’ll tell us of some racist acts he witnessed. There was an instance where he was on a train and a dark-skinned man was standing while himself was sited near a white lady and her son. The son kept staring in awe at the dark-skinned man, finally, at some point the man said something and the child said to the mom, ‘mom it speaks’.
In ‘minority’ countries as they call it, the racism and ridicule towards people from these regions, even from fellow blacks is worse and upsetting. The word ‘minority countries’ infuriates me.
There are lots of ways people try to go about racism; trying to be ‘smart’ about it yet, there is a ‘wokeness’ and blacks just won’t have it no more.
With the up rise in recent years on the awareness of racism there are some outburst on certain issues, that makes me question if us blacks are starting to victimize ourselves. When a question, statement or opinion is aired, often due to the sensitivity of racism there is an uproar or outrage especially if that person’s opinions doesn’t align with a lot of us, blacks. I can’t count the number of times I’ve gone real mad due to some ‘innocent’ or ‘ignorant’ question, statement or opinion. However, shouldn’t we really ask hard questions and discuss these hard topics? There seems to be an ‘over carefulness’ when it comes to the words both blacks and non-blacks should say. Conversations are not being made except if it is “politically correct”.
I saw some time ago how Lily Reinhart, the Riverdale TV Show actor, posted a picture of a girl covered in black paint, seemingly as a demon for Halloween and the next thing was an uproar of how that was a racist act. There was a lot of divided opinions among blacks as to whether it was racist or not. I began to wonder – where do we really draw the line? Is there a line to be drawn? Is there an over sensitivity on some issues? When will racism truly be eradicated? How can we as blacks heal completely from the damage that racism has caused and is causing?
I believe that the whole essence of racial awareness is for equality of all people. Not caging, fighting each other or restrictions of what race can say a certain word and what race can’t; what race can do certain things and what race can’t.
The Nigga word is a whole different ball game. Nigga is a word that has a lot of racist connotations to it and people who use these words racially; shame on them. However, there are instances where a rapper in a song uses the nigga word and though it is in the song, if a white is rapping along, then the white shouldn’t mention it. Why is the word included in the first place? As this word is a condiment of racism and brings back lots of hurt from our history, why is it being used at all. Should it be that neither blacks nor white should use it due to its connotation? Or should it be that we just need to move on? I use the N word with my fellow black peeps anyway. Still, sometimes I muse over these questions.
I am a black woman and I am working hard on my purpose. When I get an award or commendation for my work, I want it to be because I earned it rather than to tokenize me with the award because I am black. I think that some blacks need to change the tokenizing mentality that has slowly crept in, in light of our wokeness.
We have come a long way from the time of our ancestors; it doesn’t mean things can’t be better. There is no doubt that racism still exists in the society. Just the other day my sister was telling me about how in a certain non-English speaking European country, when some white will call blacks monkeys in their language thinking that the black people living in that country don’t understand the language.
This is the reality of a lot of us. It is very hurting and a brave act to show love in spite of such ludicrous acts. However, how can we rise and keep rising above such myopic, barbaric and idiotic attitudes? If they are not creating awards or companies that promote blacks, we make ours. We are beginning to do this now and a lot of us are rising up to the occasion and creating a community that empower blacks to heal, grow and thrive in everyday life and this is wonderful.
There is a lot of healing that is needed for the black community especially with the things we see. Our narrative is beginning to change; though our history is tainted with a lot of the barbaric acts of racism, we are focused on rising above the self-defeating mentality or cruelty of people and forge our path.
I watched the ‘I’m not racist video by Joyner Lucas were there was a brutal conversation between a white guy and a black man on racism. Terrific!! The two sides need to start having conversations a lot. I detest the way everyone wants to tiptoe around certain matters so not to seem like they are not aware of what’s happening. Let’s ask questions, let’s talk and let’s heal!!
I believe we can empower, support and build one another with our different races, religion etc. It’s ignorant of anyone to think they are better than someone else because of their race, religion, opinion, culture or belief.