Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Self-esteem and Discrimination

As someone who grew up in war conditions and lived as a refugee for a long time, I'm  sometimes considered by many people in the 'west' to be prone to (or have)  low self-esteem, be poor or illiterate.  Living as refugees or displaced persons, who depended on the good will of others put people in a situation where they don't think much about themselves. But that's not everyone though.

As I stood by our front desk at my place work talking about Race and Identity in relation to my book, Is 'Black' Really Beautiful?, the issue of why many African peoples in North America become so over-sensitive when racial issues come up! For many rational people, this owes its origin to slavery and racial segregation.

But one of my coworkers, a person  of European descent, was surprised to realize that her 'black' friend, a very intelligent woman, easily becomes irritated by simple things she [friend] considers racist. The friend considers any mention of a watermelon racist; and complains a lot about 'white privilege.' This means that discrimination is considered something 'whites' don't face because of 'white privilege.' In any discussion between 'blacks' and 'whites', 'white privilege' issue comes up!

While racial discrimination is not something anyone can deny, it's sad to make everything about race. Racism has been taken to the extreme extent that any expression of racial pride by people of European descent is considered morally suspect. These people are human and should be allowed to express, freely, the pride in what they've done and who they are.

We shouldn't make ourselves emotional prisoners of Europeans utterances. We shouldn't feel emotionally hurt when things like watermelon are mentioned. We can't feel emotionally paralyzed if we're called monkeys. When are we going to have emotional strength! Don't we have things to say that can make Europeans emotionally hurt? And if they can't get emotionally hurt then we need to learn from them to be emotionally strong.

Inter-racial relations work well when we are honest with one another. This sounds utopian but it works!

This mindset has been adopted by some South Sudanese.  Simple things are tribalized. This speaks a lot about how we feel about ourselves. When we misconstrue what other tribes say about us, then the chances of us living together in peace are compromised. Instead of understanding issues in the manner others intended them, we simply rationalized them in the way we want regardless of the plea by the people who first spoke the words to us or about us.

Instead of focusing on important issues like police brutality or discrimination in the justice system, we complain about being called monkeys or calling people racist when some, like my co-worker, mention watermelon or fried chicken. We can't put our emotional health in the hands of others but then blame them when they can't take care of our emotions.

Developing strong self-esteem can help one in distinguishing between actual Racism and misunderstanding. We can't call someone racist when they are being proud of themselves or when they say something that offends us even when  they didn't mean to offend us.

A person who's well grounded, with strong self-esteem, thinks beyond the simplicity of everyday insults; and works towards changing the bigger things that affect the lives of the discriminated groups in a significant manner.


TO BE CONSIDERED...

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.