By Frank Opara
I was a victim of racism a couple of times abroad. Sometimes I felt bad and hurt, other times, cool.
I felt hurt whenever I was deprived of my right, simply because of the color of my skin. I felt cool with those who unnecessarily made jest of me because of their erroneous belief that they are superior beings to me as a result of the color of my skin.
For me, it is a forgivable indulgence of ignorance and misconception. But in all, I took them in good faith. The experience has made me a better student of this school called life.
I understand the feelings of a few uninformed prejudiced whites. They are a minority group whose world begins and ends with them and their immediate environment.
However, I took solace in the fact that the majority are not caught up in this psychosomatic disease. I came across fantastic personalities who refused to live with this contemptuous perception of fellow beings. Beautiful friends who preferred to see life from the Buddhist concept of the unity of all life. I remain proud of you the Gettings, the Hindles, the Boyds, etc., of this world.
But the worst is black on black racism. More so on your soil, and by who else but your so-called black brother or sister.
When you address derogatorily that gateman in your compound as ‘aboki’ and always treat him with unconcealed disdain; when in the same manner, you address certain people with the pejorative prefix ‘Nyamiri’, ‘ofe mmanu’ etc., in an attempt to claim a position of superiority; when your perception of our collective existence is formed through the prism of ‘we’ against ‘them’, you are a handcuffed victim of apparition. Unfortunately, many of us are in this hapless situation.
It has become our culture to classify by word or action certain people as inferior. Today in our country, almost every tribe, no matter their size, is identified with a negative stereotype. The essence is formed by a superiority complex that tends to undermine the tribe in question. This is a mischievous creation, not by any natural circumstances, but by Nigerians as a result of their intolerable and loathsome nature of themselves.
We’re all guilty; from the major tribes of Ibo to Hausa/Fulani to Yoruba, and not forgetting, thousands of smaller tribes which we have teasingly branded ‘minorities’. We shamefully accuse each of other the sins we are guilty of. Let’s not pretend or play holier-than-thou.
Every one of us has a superiority complex; a glamorized estimate of ourselves both individually and collectively as a tribe, much as we try to suppress it. In fact, to call us humble is to make rudeness normal.
I repeat, that one thing is constant and will remain even as we pretentiously chant ‘Change’; and that is our attitude and mindset. Are we ready for the real change of behaviorism and mental state?
May our swag give way to Godly leaps!
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