Derek Luke, plays Silla Ba Dibba, in History's New Orleans-shot remake of the slavery epic 'Roots.' (A E Networks)
Too many African Americans, adults and children alike have been shot by police in the back, unarmed, after stops for minor violations totaling in more than 500 deaths in just 2016 alone. Thanks to social media, the world is bearing witness to the face of systemic racism.
In 2010 a swell of violence against African-Italian farm workers in southern Italy left 70 people injured which lead to the evacuation of 300 farmers from the region.
In 2009 and 2010, there were increasing racist attacks against Indians in Melbourne. Fearing racist attacks and lynching, the Indian government issued an advisory warning on the dangers of travelling to Melbourne.
Racism goes beyond what makes up the thoughts of an individual person at the moment of a particular act. Racism is the swelling history of all those thoughts and acts. They add up to a system in which people of color are consistently treated differently from white people. Unfair racial stereotypes have taken root in the hearts of people. They cause us to react to people differently—in stores, on the streets, in encounters between police and citizens no matter what country. They even affect the way we see ourselves. Nigeria has its fair share of problems but as a Nigerian, when I see yet another black person gunned down on the news in a distant country, I see myself because they are in fact our brothers, the descendants of our ancestors stolen from our home. The treatment they endure is a reflection of the perception white people have on the citizens of African countries.
Racism splits people into groups, based on physical characteristics. Groups create cultures that they live by and groups with thriving cultures are difficult to repress. A Racist society suppresses the cultures of a particular race by appropriating, smudging, profiting and distorting facets of that culture in order to spread myths about the races, their abilities, and their roles, which provide the bases for racist belief and action in the other social institutions.
There is a western invention called “whiteness” pushing black people to marginalise themselves. Culturally and aesthetically, all good and pure things are white and all bad and impure things are black. Jesus is white, the angels are white, history is white, religion is white, philosophy is white, white is right and the colour black denotes everything ordinary. But that is a lie, a lie that will always be perpetuated because of racism, because it still festers in the world. Who created those constructs that we all seem to adhere too? It wasn’t people of African descent I will say for sure.
Ironically Africa is the cradle of civilization, the originator of mathematics, medicine, architecture, dance, music, art and science but again comes “white washing” the erasure of our original authorship, a cultural smudging of what is ours becoming to become theirs. Culture is important because your culture is way of life and if it is taking away from you what do you have to live for.
Racist attitudes are now woven into our systems and institutions like poisonous threads, hurting us all.
The world is a global community with resources flowing through all channels. History has proven racist logic led to slavery and the raping of our land and resources. History has proven that racist stereotypes linger and have an alarming effect on the way white business employ black people, immigrants and do business with African countries. Presently Nigeria still deals with the effects of pollution caused by western oil exploration companies and Libya still burns from the interference of the United States in their political atmosphere.
The media encourages this racist stereotype just for more clicks and hits. Hollywood distorts our history with casting white actors to erase our origin, identify countries in film as just “Africa”, ignoring our identity, restructuring our stories to brand us as helpless by-standers while white people are the heroes who set us free of our ignorance. Our music and dance founded in rhythm, beats and blues are exported out of our land, given a new name and replanted into the ears of the west as “edgy and innovative”.
Nothing real can be threatened and African culture is the real thing. It was the first concept ever made and will always exist no matter how many bullets go through its back. The bigots, racists and extremists all have an agenda against people of darker skins, which transcends countries, borders and blood. If they come for our brothers, one day they will come for us. I pray that the bank of truth, equality and justice shall never be bankrupt.
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