A letter to Race

Dear Race,
How are you doing? I know you do not know who is talking to you because I am one of your new citizens. Before I start telling you why I am writing to you, let me first apologize because I did not place any gender formalities on your name. This was because I couldn't reach Gender on time to inquire about your gender. I did not know if I should address you as a Mr. or a Ms. so please I hope that you treat me with care and tamper justice with mercy.  I have heard and seen that you are the head of state and the decision-maker here in this country, in the United States of America and most countries around the world.  I would not say that I do not know who you are, I know about you but maybe I cared less about what you can do and the amount of power you wield. This is because I came from a place where race does not matter, no one cares about it. It practically does not exist. You might be wondering where I am from, I am from Nigeria in West Africa. Like I said earlier, race does not matter in Nigeria, it is practically irrelevant but instead what matters is ethnicity, religion, and class. So I am still trying to get used to your government.

It is really funny, how a four letter word like you can wield so much power. It is being rumored that you have three to four children  whose names are; Blacks or Negro,White Or Caucasian, Mongoloid (Asians), and Australoid.  Because I am African with a dark skin complexion, I am categorized as black which is practically what I am. I have to fill in African-American when asked to say my race. I was told that if I make a choice to come to America, that from that moment onward I have made and created an Identity for myself, identity of being referred to as 'blacks". There is no need arguing that I am Nigerian, or Ghanaian, Trinidadians, or Jamaican because America does not care which explains why I do not get to see a column for Nigerian or African when filling a form that includes my race. Well, come to think of it, what will be the possible reasons for one to deny the fact that they are black? Maybe, you didn't approve equal treatment for the four of your children, did you possibly reject some or have a special preference among your children. Why are some of your children treated so badly compared to others? Why is there a rival between your children especially these two children; the Blacks and the Whites? My mum always made a joke that two immediate siblings who do not have much differences in year gap end up arguing more often. Are these two kids immediate siblings? I am just curious of course, no hurt feelings, or maybe I deserve to know since I am a descendants of one of them. I see some Africans deny the fact that they are blacks, "Why?" That is pretty much what you are. Oh I think that they have a reason, what if we have been made to believe that being black is a crime while being white is the best thing you can do for yourself. Because I am black, I am suspected for a crime that happened around me, I am more likely to be harassed by an officer of the law and questioned more than the white kid next door. My cousin has barely turned thirteen years old but last year he was stopped by a police man to search his back pack (school bag) because he was black and looked like someone who will commit a crime and had scars all over his face. I was in awe as he told me the story, I curiously checked his face for scars, couldn't find other than the little acne on his face. So crime is now written on people's faces because they are from a particular family tree.  Because my fore-father was black I am more likely to be gunned down by a police man for nothing, more likely to be arrested, more likely to be incarcerated, more likely to be suspected of being in possession of illegal drugs than any other of your grandchildren especially the descendants from your child white. They are given special privileges because their father was white. This is when people especially blacks from other countries especially Africans, they do not want to be known as blacks. They want to deny the fact that they are black people. Some feel like it is a little bit too overwhelming to be in the same category with criminals according to the stereotypes associated with African Americans. They think that the African-Americans are a disgrace to Africans, and so should not be allowed anywhere close to them.



          I noticed your power in the way you control things.  You are the one to decide if I am eligible for a particular job, you determined if I was going to get the job in most cases. You were in charge of what type of neighborhood I will get to live in. You get to define me and what I am, how likely I was going to behave because I belong to one of your children always neglected. We get to be discriminated and sometimes start self-fulfilling the societal prophecy and stereotypes. We sometimes start living according to the stereotypes. A crime committed by descendants of your other children gets blamed on a particular child. I do not need to say it does not seem fair because obviously you watched these four children grow up, you saw and knew it was not fair. Well, I might not have the right to tell you about things but because I am classified as black gives me all right. Are you not the reason why a white kid commits a crime with a fellow kid who happens to be black, the white kid gets lesser punishment compared to the black kid. The fact that I am black makes it more likely for me to live in poverty and I am going to be labelled as lazy, and then generalized as Blacks are all lazy. What if we are treated the same with the other children of your children. What will happen if People will judge my I.Q based on my abilities and not based on my skin color, or my hair texture.  What if we, the children of black can be as smart as the children of Mongoloid or White if we are just given the same opportunity? I doubt if it will be possible because for us as children of blacks to get to where the children of whites are at present day economically, it will take us up to a hundred years and we will still not meet up to them. What if you told those little kids that they are all equal with one another or to treat one another with respect?



We have learnt how to live in pretense. We have learnt how to live like you do not exist but within us we know we encounter you in everyday of our lives. We pretend to ignore that you no longer exist or that you have been incarcerated, pretend that there is no need to discuss about you because things are better now. The children of your child white do not like your name being mentioned, they are the ones who wants to pretend more and wish you will never be discussed near their ears, some of my family the children of the black also pretend it is all over, they pretend that your regime is over because maybe they are better than most members of their family. They turn a blind eye towards you. Most of my family believes that you still exist, they want their voices to be heard when shouting; "our lives matter, stop killing us on purpose" Some of our family members pretend that we are making noise and seeking for attention. They hate us so much irrespective that we are from the same parent black who happens to be the less privileged of your children. They want to be so much like the children of your beloved child white. I know that you are still living, and that your regime is not over. What if it is time that you call your children and teach them "Love".

My regards to your siblings: Gender, Religion, Ethnicity, and Class. I hope to hear from you and them soon.

Yours humble citizen,
Sandra.






Comments

  1. I think that this article was very interesting and I think you should keep up.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you so much Rita. I love you girl.

    ReplyDelete

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