Posts tagged Race

Prejudice: A Personal Experience

Disclaimer: By typing this, I am not making generalizations about any race or ethnicity. I am simply sharing my story as it happened to me. If you do not agree with my story, welp…

I live in Nigeria, the most populous black nation in the world so it’s a no-brainer that almost everyone in Lagos, my country’s commercial capital, is Black. And while Lagos has a thriving expatriate community, I would believe that their population pales in comparison to the population of Nigerians.
I live in a block of flats in Ikeja. It’s not spick and span but it’s fair enough. It’s close to work, actually a walking distance, so I get to dodge the crazy Lagos traffic. It’s also very quiet and is the perfect hide-out for a hermit like me. My neighbors are from Nigeria, India, Philippines and Vietnam, so it’s quite the mix. I rarely have people come over, enough to make anyone uncomfortable but even when I have guests, I make sure we’re not invading anyone’s privacy.

 
Last weekend, my friend, who stays with me on and off, was trying to shoot a short home-made film. It’s really a project on the scale of say, a make-up tutorial. Only difference was the fact that we wanted something with a professional touch, so we got a videographer, while my friend’s brother and another friend of mine were assistants. In all, I had about eight people over, most of whom were inside my apartment. We had a scene to shoot outside, which involved a male friend driving my car, into the premises and parking right outside my apartment. I made sure we didn’t go beyond my apartment as I didn’t want to invade anyone’s privacy.

 
About an hour into the shoot, I get a call from the estate management to ask why I have people over. The facilities’ manager goes on and on about how my expat neighbors are uncomfortable because I have guests. I explain that all we’ve done outside is drive my car into the gate and park it at my allotted spot but he’s too unrealistic to listen. Finally I tell him, in my loudest voice which my expat neighbor on the third floor can hear that all I have done is drive the car that I bought into the compound where I pay rent and service charge and park in my allotted spot. I also tell him that I believe that I am loud enough so anybody who has a problem with my friends coming and going out of my house should come downstairs and meet me. Sadly, no one came downstairs.

 
I had heard stories in the past about expats trying to make sure no locals live in the same apartment complex as I did. I always thought they were really far-fetched. However, paying attention to race relations and last Saturday’s events really made me understand something. There is a FEAR of black people that I cannot understand. If you live in Nigeria, a country of black people, why should you be scared if you see black people? You shouldn’t be here at all if you are afraid. It is probably one of those things I will never understand, but I also will never condone it. I am my mother’s daughter.

 
I did get an apology from my estate management on Monday evening, and a plea for this not to be on the internet. But I own my experiences and what I choose to do with my what has happened to me is totally up to me. To paraphrase Anne Lamott, if people want you to write kindly about them, they should treat you better.

 
How’s everyone else doing?

The Essential Jesus

“I ain’t here to argue about his facial features/ Or here to convert atheists into believers/ I’m just trying to say the way school need teachers/ The way Kathie Lee needed Regis that’s the way I need Jesus… But if I talk about God my record won’t get played” – Kanye West, Jesus Walks

 

Not His facial features or even skin colour. And I say skin colour because lately someone has been trying unsuccessfully convince me that when Jesus was on earth, He came in form of the Negroid race. And this is not me doubting that He was. It’s just the whole idea of obsessing over His skin colour or race that I find irritating. I am black, African, and I know my Black is Legendary. I am here in Nigeria, but I’ve followed the movement since Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin when he went to buy Skittles, up until a few weeks ago when I saw Lacquan MacDonald’s murder video. I love Bree Newsome, and I think Rachel Dolezal is blacker at heart than Ben Carson will ever be. But I digress.

So I’ve been reading in Revelations 1:14-16, and Daniel 10:6 that Jesus hair was like wool and skin was like Bronze or Topaz, meaning Jesus was black, technically. Also means, he was probably looking like Wole Soyinka or Al Sharpton with white hair. Hmmm. This should make me feel good, you know that my savior and I share the same race. It should also make me feel superior to Asians, Persians, Hispanics and Caucasians, I mean we’re talking about Jesus here. But even the whole place where this argument comes from is skewed.

And you know why this whole argument is pointless? It is because while we’re here trying to argue about which race or form He came in, we’re missing the whole essence and person behind the skin. We’re missing the Jesus who was at Jacob’s well and started a conversation with a Samaritan woman, even though He knew that Jews and Samaritans didn’t quite get along. I’m saying that we miss out on Jesus as our Friend because we want to make sure He’s the right colour to be our friend.  We’ll miss out on the Jesus that didn’t discriminate, because we want to prove a point.

We argue too much, about the time of the year He was truly born, when it should be enough for us why He was born. We argue about His skin colour, even though He would have still died if it was one dead beat black man or a trailer park white “trash”.

I think that those who really know Jesus and have experienced Him do not worry about those things. Jesus is a the King, Deliverer, Counsellor, Savior, First Responder, Shoulder to lean on and all round Cool Guy. But then again, maybe why you only see the race is because you don’t really know Him. I hope that you see Him in everyone around you too.

 

Kanye’s song got played. I hope my blog will get read…