In terms of identity, I think of myself as a person of faith first, and then I think of myself as a black woman. Being black and being a woman are two separate things but I manage to bring them together every day. After this I consider myself a Nigerian and then an African.
I remember being told in psychology class about the violent music made by African American men referred to as gangsta rap. NWA as a group arguably pioneered the rap genre but I digress. In that class, I was the only person to speak up and say rap music is not that bad because I am a listener and a fan.
Not to condone violence but even from a sociological point of view, one must view actions to understand why, rather than to label it good or bad. That can be done afterwards ;). I regret to say that I was not informed about the racism that black people went through and the police brutality they endured which birthed the kind of music that was one of their few legal ways of retaliation in America.
I have not been following the Ferguson case that climaxed in early hours of a Nigerian morning but I woke up to news about it with some background knowledge. It is only too similar to the Trayvon Martin case. Black people, as we can see and even according to statistics, are more likely to be harassed, arrested or even killed by white policemen.
I was hurt by the decision made not to try the policeman who shot and killed Mike Brown and I am still hurt even as I type this. As an admirer of Martin Luther King Jr who believed in peaceful protest as an avenue for the voice of black people to be heard, I do not approve of the violent acts in Ferguson but I can understand the frustration of the people.
I noticed that the court ruling devastated every single Nigerian/African person discussing the issue in my online circle. For another rare reason, we have all come together being that we are ALL black people. Is racism dead? I’ll let you ponder.
In Nigeria, we are a people of about 160million- we are all black (with minimal exceptions). We still choose to segregate ourselves and fester hate with ridiculous reasons such as tribe, religion or more recently, team light skin versus team dark skin and even more pathetically, team natural vs team relaxed (it blows my mind and baffles me!). While black men and women are discriminated against and killed, we are killing our own people in The North East (for reasons I refuse to believe have anything to do with religion). How does life continue for everyone while three states are being turned upside down?
I am proudly from Adamawa and Borno state but should that be the only reason one is devastated? I recently met some people from other parts of the country who praised the current government for keeping peace and stability and I wondered if we were living in the same country or even the same realm or dimension. Could they be living in another spiritual/alternate universe? I still wonder every time I remember.
Can we, the black people of Nigeria, recognize that we have something in common? Our black skin! Can we put aside the other ridiculous lines that separate us?
Negritude, womanism, nationalism (for Nigerians), the civil rights movement in a contemporary context… Pick one, Google it, run with it and advocate. This is my advice to even white people. Run with it peacefully and within bounds of the law.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that”
In memory of the legendary Martin Luther King Jr.