Watching runner runner a few months ago on one of those satellite channels fond of showing ‘old’ movies…. These words stood out: Dean Monroe telling the protagonist, “what you touch, touches us.” And this is why muslims from Arab countries may get extra attention at Western airports because of some potential association with terrorism.
Stereotypes are powerful. They tell us what to see, how to see, how to behave….
Foreigners who commit crimes stand out. If it happens often enough and the crimes are usually of a particular kind, it gives grounds for locals and law enforcement to stereotype them. Additionally, news of major busts of foreigners could be like plane crash events. With the consequent fixation by the media, this news helps fix the idea in the minds of locals that the average Nigerian in their country is very likely a scammer.
In an international social gathering, a Nigerian attempted to initiate a conversation with a Briton. The Brit asked him pointedly, ‘do you want to dupe me?’ That would’ve been okay if he asked only once. But he soon started sounding like a broken record. And the conversation that was not, ended. The Nigerian understood where the Brit was coming from: from direct experience and from hearsay.
A happy as usual Nigerian once passed through two airports in a connecting flight, happy as usual. He passed through the scans in Dubai without any alarms going off. In the UK, however, their body scanner was triggered by who knows what. He was asked to go to the side to get patted down. There was amusement clearly on his face but they weren’t smiling. He was left thinking about why he was given special treatment. Because he smiled too much, he hoped. He still had on the exact same clothes in London as he had in dubai—with nothing remotely metallic on. Perhaps their scanners were more sensitive to ‘je ne sais quoi’. Could they be manually triggered? Nigerians are now getting suspicious of ‘them’.
Do you currently associate some stereotypical behaviours (good, interesting, bad, or ugly) with Nigerians. Have you ever met ‘not the stereotypical Nigerian.’ Replace ‘Nigerian’ with some other country of interest.