Posts tagged Racism

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 Rounds: Is the World Imploding?

Songs for the Week: “I believe” by Mali Music and “My World Needs You” by Kirk Franklin, Sarah Reeves and Tasha Cobbs.

 

I’ve had one hell of a week.

 

You know what it feels like to lose someone who was in his prime and so full of life? I experienced that, again this week. It hurts. It leaves you confused and asking questions you know you won’t get any answers too. Everyday I learn more about the sovereignty of God through acts like this. And even though people say you shouldn’t question God, I think that everyone should. It’s how your faith grows. You may not get the answer you require, but your faith will grow. I got this new book Trashing About with God: Finding Faith on the Other Side of Everything by Mandy Steward, it’s a book for times like this. I’ll review it afterwards.

 

Black Lives Matter

 

So yes. I’m one of those people who is more interested in things happening abroad than in Nigeria, except it concerns. I know that I should feel a certain ownership of things happening in Nigeria, but I’ll wait till we have responsible journalism. Everything here is so sensationalized. I wake up on Wednesday Morning and the first thing I see on my Twitter feed is Alton Sterling’s murder. While I was still trying to get a hang of it, the next day I see #FalconHeightsShooting and #PhilandoCastile. The videos are so gory. Then I hear about the Nigerian, Chidi Nnamdi, who was killed in Italy for defending his girlfriend when she was called a monkey in an apparently racist attack. By the end of Thursday, I am exhausted with all this talk about race. Reminded me of “Roots” and “Da Rules” by Marvin Hodges, Em Allison and Seidu Tejan-Thomas, I posted a minute of it on my Instagram. In the aftermath, some snipers shot and killed 5 Dallas policemen. The issue here is that you can’t end violence with more violence. I understand the frustrations, having seen videos of Police encounters with black people, but common, killing innocent cops? I only hope that all of this forces a conversation. And I hope that we get to the point in Nigeria where you can openly record policemen. Amen

 

But what’s it with race that humans cannot seem to get a hang of, centuries after? What is with the feeling of superiority or inferiority that we feel? Why can’t we all just get along? I think I have more questions for God.

 

Three-Day Public Holiday

 

I don’t think we’ve had a 2-day work week in a long time, or perhaps since I started working post-NYSC. The moon decided to play peek-a-boo, is the lightest way I can put it. And while some people argue that it is senseless in a country in recession, I loved it. I slept well, which is something I have been struggling with lately. I also got to write a chapter of my book. I saw my sister and her kids, who are like a ray of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy world.

 

Deregulation Blues

I ran out of gas during the Public Holiday and had to refill my cylinder. Cooking Gas is now N4,000 for a 12.5kg cylinder?

 

Jesus come quickly!