Saturday, April 2, 2016

Racism and Conformity

Racism isn't something Africans really understand until they leave Africa. It's always that strange way of treating others (non-Europeans) they see in the news and frown. However, many Africans don't actually relate tribalism to racism. They see no link between these two discriminatory forms even when they know they are all based on assumed sense of superiority, and exclusion.

However, it's crucial to understand why Africans don't see similarities or even 'sameness' between the two. In a sense, there are many reasons. One is the fact that discriminatory parameters or practices that come from 'us' are usually things we assume from birth; so that they are bad isn't something Africans think deeply about. We turn to overplay others' bad deeds but justify our own. The second reason is the manner in which racism is rationalized and critiqued by the media and in the academia, especially in America. That it's a nonscientific, social construct like no any other.  The third reason is that Africans leave Africa only to realize that their internal continental or tribal differences pale in the face of discrimination based on race. 

A magical, voluntary brotherhood/sisterhood unifies Africans as Racism displaces Tribalism. A Nigerian, an Angolan or a Ugandan, are 'inferiorized', placed in the same compartment, and then colored like chicken and goats.

So Race has been placed and critiqued as this unique, monstrous discriminatory exclusiveness with a universal ideology behind it. G. M. Fredrickson's, Racism: A Short History, underscores this idea. 

Even when Africans know that they discriminate against one another using tribe as a discriminatory parameter, they still see racism as not only unrelated to tribalism, they also see tribalism as a lesser evil than racism. These new realities make Africans forget about some African realities and embrace the new realities. They now have one fight against the 'white man.' Luo vs. Kikuyu; Jieeng vs. Nuer, Yoruba vs. Igbo...all become irrelevant as they [Africans] become 'black!' and in the same boat.

One of these realities, which worries me the most, is the manner in which Africans fall into an ironic conformity. And this conformity is the transition from being a cultured human being to a colored phenomenon (entity  - BLACK) whose virtuous realities are either nonexistent, inconveniencing or irrelevant. What makes this conformity very sad is the fact that it's followed by complaints that "we've been forced to conform." However, one gets to wonder: If everyone finds it expedient to conform to socially constructed realities in Europe and the Americas, then who's supposed to help change things?

A Nigerian, Ghanaian, Sudanese, Togolese, for example, simply become 'black' in North America. Instead of resisting this coloring of people's identities, Africans find it expedient to conform to this 'blackening' of their cultural identities. However, the most exacerbated thing is that they still complain that they've been forced to become black. Why would you conform and complain about conformity? Why do Africans always  consider themselves powerless,  victims, even when they have a capacity? 

There are those who say "Forget about being African, you're 'black' here baby!" But can society force us to be what we aren't and don't want to be if we resist? We are given identities that are denigrating and we accept them. But then we complain that we've been given constructed identities when we accept them and even defend them. 

When people say "well, they control everything what can we do?" I ask myself if there's ANY ONE PERSON who controls mental production. Socially constructed ideas, while they need monetary and political power to disseminate, it's true to say that no one can force things into your mind. It's easy to be discriminated against if you can easily be controlled. And conformity is an effective tool in racial discrimination as it helps the discriminators effect their programs.  

Let's remember that conformity is part and parcel of racialization machinery!

ON CULTURAL IDENTITY & BELONGING

Dear Melbournians, the South Sudanese people to be precise. Do you think we have seen it all? Do you think we have seen that: I mean in the aftermath of yesteryears, in regard to our culture and the notions around identity and belonging? Do you think we have seen the true reaping of what we sowed years ago? Do you really think so? After all, did we really sow anything like seeds and that there’s something to be reaped? Did we really live it out well to be seen today?

I am sorry to have bothered you, my potential readers, with questions regarding our social, economic, and political location in our host society: Australia. I think we have not seen it all and as a whole: The idea that people are bound by certain values and beliefs of significance to them. This requires cooperation and role-specific obligations on the roles of every man and woman across a given people and their society.

TOLERANCE & INCLUSION


While it is possible for us to racially discriminate or judge people we know, the chances of judging people we know diminish significantly the more we know them. An easy example of the importance of understanding others is the attitude people develop when they want to harm others or when they want to deny them something valuable. Essentially, before you fight someone, you insult them. Insults are attempts at diminishing the value of people, an attempt at estranging them, as Toni Morrison argued in The Origin of Others. It is easy to discriminate against strangers or make others strangers or dehumanized in order to discriminate against them.

Transformational Leadership, Inclusive Institutions and Service Provision

Leadership, given what is happening now in South Sudan, and generally in Africa, fascinates me. And it fascinates me not in a good way but because of the sociopolitical and socioeconomic ills facing the African continent and most of the so-called 'Third World.' To me, South Sudan, now, is a classic case.

Rebellion by disaffected politico-military leaders and repression by the government of South Sudan in Juba have stunted institutional development and leadership growth. This has made service provision almost irrelevant as political survival has taken primacy and supremacy. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

‘Black’ as an Identity Oversimplification and Mockery

Black as a universalized cultural identity of the African Person (AP)* is a residual effect of slave and colonial mentality; a racial/race paradigm. It is a malady I call, conservatively speaking, stuck-in-the-past syndrome of color constraints. Black could be an on-the-street ‘social identifier’ of race figures not a meaningful phenomenon of deep cultural identification on a universal scale.