What should we talk about today? Hmm, let’s talk about racism. 😊
If you don’t know me, I am from the continent of Africa. I was born and raised in Nigeria.
Being African is like being on the absolute bottom of the racism food chain. Yeah, you read that right… absolute! Tell me of another race who is more discriminated against ( I bet you can’t though). I guess this is a good time to tell you that not all black people are African. Its 2018, and even though we like to think of ourselves as having come a long way, sometimes I can’t quite tell if we indeed have.
Anyways, today, I want to tell you a story after which I’ll ask you to tell me what you think.
My friend and I were waiting for the bus after church today and we met this woman at the bus-stop. She goes “Where are you girls from? The United States?”, to which we replied “no”. She then went further to inquire our actual places of origin, and my friend told the woman that she is South African. This woman replied, “Kenya?” and my friend patiently responded “No, South Africa, there’s a country called South Africa.” The lady went on to say she knew that (of course you did! 🙄 ) and that people from here don’t typically know about Africa, “you understand?”, she said. You may wonder where I was this entire time. I just walked away to the other end of the bus-stop. You see, I am not as patient as my dear friend and I had been in that type of conversation way too many times. “Not today!” was my motto of the hour.
That is a highly summarized version of what went down, but if you are African, especially living in the diaspora, the scenario I have just described is probably not new to you. I have been in conversations and listened to people from both sides of the story tell me either why they feel justified to ask those questions, or in my case, why I am justified to react to those questions in the manner that I choose (today that meant walking away).
I don’t really want to write too much on this topic, but depending on responses, I might write a sequel to this post. There are three things I just want to let anyone reading this to know today, whoever you may be.
- There is a right and a wrong way to ask a question.
- There is a right and a wrong way to respond to a question.
- There is time for everything.
I would like to hear my readers’ thoughts on this story from today. How do you think I should have reacted? What should or could the woman have done differently? My friend, what do you think about her response and what would you have done differently? Finally, what are your thoughts on the significance of the three things I highlighted above?
I will leave you with this; we are all responsible for making our world a better place, and I think that when one person fails at their responsibility, it affects all of us, more than we even recognize.
Have a lovely week ahead folks! I look forward to reading your comments.