Looking at you with your close friends the other day
It wasn’t envy that said that that is where I wanted to be
I would want better with you than to be at an edge
Nothing one should hold
Something to see and know
To say I do
There is all the show
Truth be told
For who knows
Truth is who
By rules I have made my self
By the rules I have bound my self
Slave to rules that have made my self
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.
It was night.
The old white lady held her bag more tightly because a black man in a hoody came close. If she were black, and she saw some ‘any-coloured’ dude that fit the description of the stereotypical ‘snatcher,’ she’d do the same.
The white lady might be thinking: dark, black, hoody, therefore….
And the black lady thinking: dark, hoody, therefore….
Is it racist to act in ‘commonsense’ from real collective experience that resulted in some form of negative stereotyping of specific demographic?
It’s not that simple.
No shame in it
I feel fear sometimes
And yet I step up
I have the intention