The ‘Racist’ in Us; By Safiya I. Dantiye

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IN order to be politically correct, all forms of racism are quickly dismissed, condemned or dissociated from in the Western world where Blacks in particular are discriminated against due to the colour of their skin.

However, in spite of everything, those that were born and raised in the West come across racism because no matter the pretence of being the same, they are different from the Whites, even though they are all human beings.

While some take it in their strides, some take it seriously. They challenge it and want to be treated without regard to their skin colour. Even if they are treated equally with the Whites, they should be proud of their own colour and not insist on being what they are not. Because they would never be.

“In this country many people that were born in places outside their states of origin, raised and live there, some have even their parents or grandparents born there, are regarded as ‘non-indigenes’, ‘settlers’ or even regarded as ‘foreigners’ and ‘invaders’ or other such uncivil and sinister nomenclatures.”

Therefore, it is not all that surprising that a Black British charity boss, Ngozi Fulani, was questioned about her background at an event at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday by Prince William’s godmother, Lady Susan Hussey, 83.

She told the BBC that the encounter was an “abuse” for being asked where she “really” was from.

Apparently, she told Lady Susan Hussey she was from the UK, but she wanted to know where she really was from, because to her, Ngozi Fulani could not be from the UK. Perhaps her country of origin (state of origin in Nigeria.)

Reacting to the exchange, Ms Fulani said: “I think it is essential to acknowledge that trauma has occurred and being invited and then insulted has caused much damage.

“It was such a struggle to stay in a space that you were violated in. Yesterday made me realise an ugly truth which I am still trying to process.”

Lady Susan, who was also the late Queen Elizabeth’s lady-in-waiting, has resigned.

Reacting, Buckingham Palace in a statement said: “We take this incident extremely seriously and have investigated immediately to establish the full details.”

“All members of the Household are being reminded of the diversity and inclusivity policies which they are required to uphold at all times,” it also said.

Many Nigerians who are ‘racists’ in Nigeria would quickly condemn the behaviour of Lady Susan, overlooking their own cancer of divide, the irony lost on them.

In this country many people that were born in places outside their states of origin, raised and live there, some have even their parents or grandparents born there, are regarded as ‘non-indigenes’, ‘settlers’ or even regarded as ‘foreigners’ and ‘invaders’ or other such uncivil and sinister nomenclatures.

Several days ago, while travelling to Kano, I met a woman who says she loves Kano very much and don’t want to stay long without going to Kano.

“We were born and raised there. I can spend seven years without going to Edo, but I can’t stay long without going to Kano. I put pressure on my husband and I even cry for him to allow me to go,” she said.

“Of course, it is your place, being born and raised there,” I said.

But it got me thinking and I felt for her, because if you call her non-indigene she would definitely be offended since it is the only state she feels comfortable with, and calls her own. Yet the reality is that she is a non-indigene, whether we like it or not.

It is however less pronounced with people that share the same language, religion and culture. But with those of different languages and religion, with their host communities, the difference is as glaring as day and light.

Over the years though, some states have mooted the idea of abolishing indigene status to only the indigenes and throw it open to all residents of the states, people complained and the reality of this may take a long time.

The resistance is the fear of domination, where people that are not indigenes take up job vacancy slots and other benefits meant for the state, and at the end, they rise above the indigenes in their own state.

Though even in a state of people that have the same language and religion, some parts are regarded as better than others. They are better to govern.

In this regard, before we condemn others, we should devise a way to address our own form of ‘racism’ that is not based on colour, but based on ethnicity, religion and region.

We have definitely not seen the last of what has happened to Ms Ngozi Fulani in the UK in the West and our own type as well.

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