Learning to love white men

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6303652770 b3fc8e3412 Learning to love white menI’d hate for my experience on earth to be lived with a heart containing animosity towards fellow human beings.
We may act like different races are different species due to the irrational inventions of some power hungry ancestors of the human race, but I don’t want that confusion to make me equally disillusioned about our shared humanity.

We live in funny times; whilst there is a growing agitation and at times mockery of white male privilege in liberal circles, there’s simultaneously only been a cosmetic change in power hierarchy. White men rule the world as it were and they often do so arrogantly and with false morality, as if the big bang exploded last night. You know? Take as an example how David Cameron is threatening African countries that ban homosexuality with aid sanctions. Would his government sanction the religious institution that was economically imposed on Africa during colonialism and that largely created homophobia in the first place? It would certainly be equally morally corrupt.

Since the age of 12 when I was forced persuaded to move from Nigeria to Sweden, I’ve encountered challenges dealing with white men as a group. For example, within months in my new school in Sweden, my close friend, an Egyptian girl who also edits a blog, and I were chased by a group of white supremacist extremist boys down the corridors threatening to kill us. I was terrified.
I’d also developed quick physically, so at that age, although not interested in guys yet and very shy, my adult stature attracted unwelcome attention especially from older white men. To summarize, over the years there’s been racism/sexism – subtle and overt – often sexually/racially laden from white male colleagues, schoolmates, bosses, professors and strangers.
So to be terribly honest, generally speaking there is a place inside me where I’m watching my back around white men.

It’s easier for me to have great relationships with white women. This has to do with the woman who means the most to me on this planet, my mum, being white but also with our shared gender and with my perception of white women as less power hungry. In fact, out of all the wrongdoings of the white man the worst is perhaps what he has done to his counterpart woman. This is why many 1st and 2nd wave feminists were so angry, they had millennia of extreme oppression bottled up. And as a side note, why I think if we don’t keep challenging sexism in Africa, there will come  a point when African women will get equally mobilized and turn society upside down by doing things like they did, hunger strikes, mass protests, burning of bras (although no bras were actually burnt).

White men have contributed in many noteworthy ways to the world that I so love, through western architecture, modern infrastructure, avant garde cuisine, philosophical thought, computer technology… just a few examples.

It’s not gonna happen in one day, but I’m gonna learn to love white men in a way that means I can co exist without a wall in my heart, wholeheartedly and genuinely.

Thoughts?

cc Learning to love white men photo credit: maureen lunn

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  • http://54interviews.wordpress.com 54interviews

    David Cameron and his cronies can kiss our ass! Why should we continue to allow Western powers to coerce our policy making decisions? Since when did Africa become a baby that can be told what to do, how to do it or face consequences. I applaud the Ghanian’s President stance on this issue!

    NB:I’m all for the legalization of homosexual rights in the motherland, not because the powers be tell us to do so but because they are human beings!

    As for learning to love the white man, meeh love should come from a place of peace not, internal conflict.

    • MsAfropolitan

      “I’m all for the legalization of homosexual rights in the motherland, not because the powers be tell us to do so but because they are human beings!”

      well-said

  • Kunbi

    Deep stuff! On the contrary, the black race also aid the superiority complex by their own inferiority complex and the tendency to always defer to the white man.

    • MsAfropolitan

      So nice to see you here, was just talking about similar topics with your brother yesterday

      • H

        Your comment reminds me of a book I once read – Nervous Conditions. The title is also the state of mind that the colonized (which, in the book, are Africans and women) often live in: they are forced, circumstantially, to act just as the colonizing powers want them to (by deferring to the white man, for example). However, when they do act inferior, it only solidifies in the colonizers’ mind that the people which they are oppressing and controlling (the blacks and women) are truly beneath them and therefore contempt for the inferior race/gender increases.

        • MsAfropolitan

          I’ll never forget the first line of “Nervous Conditions ”

          What an interesting point you bring and comparison you raise. That is precisely it and I get so frustrated with it. Thanks for stopping by here

  • nordic

    As a white/blond curvaceous scandinavian living in multi-etnicnal society – the exactly unwanted attention from men is experienced on every day basis. I don’t think that you can blame game it and framed it to be a colour issue.. I think it has more to do with the opposite attracts – in a exoctic way.. but also pure basis mechanism as survival of the fittest DNA – to mate and become stronger..

    I do agree with unwanted attention due to looks and the way that some men think it is completely okay to express it – is a completely different matter – I believe, it is down to lack of manners and control of their immediately lust and cravings..

    • MsAfropolitan

      But I am recounting an experience I had at twelve, opposites attracting between adults is a different thing don’t you think?

  • http://nachalooman.wordpress.com Anna Renee

    A very provocative title, sister! How to love a white man. White men themselves dont make it easy to love them, since they hold so tightly to their false position of superiority. But I love that you put the thought out there.

    As for white women, many will defend the white man because although she’s been a victim, she’s still higher on the totem pole than the rest.

    African women ARE doing some of those things that the western women’s movement have done regarding protest. Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee led women who waged “sex strikes” in protest of the Liberian war. Very similar!

    • MsAfropolitan

      Thanks sis for your thoughts and pointing out the work of Gbowee who of course is even only one of many. But feminism or women’s rights groups have not yet begun to uproot old patriarchal systems in most African countries with the kind of impact they did in the west at those times. That’s what I was meaning.

  • http://liveunchained.com/blog Kathryn

    I really appreciate your thoughtfulness and honesty about wanting to keep your heart open. Now, I’m not equating white men with the devil, but it reminded me of a writing by Osho in which, he shares a story from the Koran about a woman who said she didn’t hate the devil. She explained she didn’t want to hate the devil because that would first mean she had to carry hate in her heart. Here is a quote from that article and the link: “The real love is to love those who hate you. Right now even to love those who love you is not possible, because you don’t know what joy is. But when you know joy, the miracle happens, the magic. Then you are capable of loving those who hate you. In fact, it is no longer a question of loving somebody or not loving somebody, because you become love; you don’t have anything else left.” http://www.osho.com/library/online-library-loving-devil-hate-376f1bfd-3f5.aspx

    And, you’ve given me a lot to think about because, in general, my attitude is, given actions by white men in positions of authority, I don’t think white men are making much of an effort to love, learn and appreciate us. And, certainly that doesn’t feel like enlightened thinking, but at some level it feels right. At the same time, I wonder to what extent does concerning myself with the interests of white men re-enforces the power structure. Especially, since there’s so much for me to learn and love about my community. Thanks for sharing.

    • MsAfropolitan

      Thanks ever so much for the warming comment Kathryn. This quote reflects what I was feeling. And you’re right about white men in authority, there are of course those that resist that type of supremacy all too many don’t seem willing to give up any privilege to make a real effort. I’d say too community is the immediate priority but empowering community i feel should be carried out within the scope of a larger vision of shared humanity to create that ‘real’ joy as told by Osho

  • lookadeez

    I think you’re letting white women off pretty easy because of your bias. Oh well. You simply can’t group all of anybody together- it’s immature.

    • MsAfropolitan

      I think you’re right you know, hence why I explained my bias. But if to live in peace, is to see all humans equally, which I believe, then at least that bias helps me a little that end ;)

  • Ches

    I feel often ashamed of the casual racism within a large proportion of the white population. It is however borne out of deep-rooted culturally inherited prejudice that has remained unchallenged. Unfortunately black people have to work harder for the same recognition, and should they trip will be judged more fiercely than their white counterpart, as the white colleagues look to satisfy these prejudices. The process of change will, I believe, be slow. It also holds true that negative perceptions of the white man would need to be cast aside as part of this process, but can see that the onus is on us to move first! Slightly off the point, but as everyone knows with a basic geography qualification, agricultural policies in the west artificially lower crop prices in Africa, disabling any meaningful growth, and that Aid is fundamentally flawed, breeding corruption and lazy unaccountable governance. Human rights law is now all pervasive, so at what point will some clever lawyer be able to level a case of some kind of mass genocide at western governments for holding vast tracts of the earth in destitute poverty?? Sounds very naive but would love to be enlightened by someone with a little legal knowledge..

    • MsAfropolitan

      Thanks so much Ches! For not taking it the wrong way, seeing it as it is and sharing so honestly.

      I hope someone who has legal knowledge sees your comment because damn, that makes perfect sense to me…

      Folks?

    • http://54interviews.wordpress.com 54interviews

      @ Ches,

      Dr. Dambisa Moyo’s book Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way For Africa

      may shed light on the aid crisis in Africa. Hope it helps!

  • http://teachermrw.com teachermrw

    I appreciate the honesty in your post. For me, as an African-American woman who have lived and worked amongst White men and women my entire life, it is a love-hate relationship for me. Perhaps the love-hate dichotomy may appear strong, but, there are days when I want to snatch most White men bald-headed. They. just. don’t. get. it. But, they need to get it. While I strive to see the humanity in all people, it can often be difficult with respect to White people in general, and White men in particular. My thoughts and feelings have evolved significantly with each decade of my life. Additionally, I know more via lived experience, and via reading.

  • James

    As a white dude with a love of African culture I must say I admire your desire to remain open hearted toward a minority group of humans whose misguided sense of superiority allows them to act with so little awareness of the reality of their ordinaryness.

    In the context of the implosion of the economies of the “west” and the ongoing transformation of the Asian and African economies your contention that white men rule the world is, if was ever true, a rapidly changing situation.

    It is true that Western economies and culture have in recent centuries had a dramatic impact on the global cultural/political landscape. However from a historical perspective this is a relatively recent and transitory occurance with other cultures having had a deep impact of global culture. Just look at the historically recent impact of Afro-American culture which has been exported all around the world not to mention Bollywood and the World Music phenomenon.

    My point is that it is easy to overrate the “white guy” as their current position is eroding rapidly. The rise of China, India and the developing nations of Africa is rapidly changing the global cultural/economic balance and makes that “white guy” false sense of superiority look increasingly ridiculous.

    Thanks again for your open heart.

    • http://www.msafropolitan.com MsAfropolitan

      James, thanks for your comment, it truly means a lot to me to read your words. Please visit again!

  • Ruler Ra

    Interesting topic, even more interesting comments!!

  • Noble Male

    If the woman is the 1st teacher of the child then u have let white women off way too easily. They teach what you call patriachy by willfully following traditional roles. She is just as much on board with white supremacy as the white male by quiet deceptive default.
    I would also like to see the day African women burn bras being that most dont have any.=)

  • EJD

    Oh, all the conflicted emotions here… well, thanks, at any rate. It’s pretty rare in the world of feminist and anti-racist blogs to hear someone declare that they’re going to learn to love white men.

    It kind of sucks, you know (not saying it sucks any worse or even close to what other people have to deal with), to have to carry around this unwanted privilege and the baggage of what other dudes with the same color skin as myself did and still do. I don’t want to have a position of superiority over anyone else, and I actively fight against racism and sexism. So often, though, the message to me seems to be that by existing as a white dude at all, I’m constantly oppressing others in a thousand ways no matter what I do not to, that I’m being blamed and feared for things I either wasn’t alive for or actively opposed, and no act of contrition ever makes up for it (and of course, this anxiety and guilt is exactly how white supremacists recruit frustrated white guys). It’s a very frustrating process- it wears allies down, to constantly face the same criticism that drove them to be allies in the first place, without recognition that we’re trying to change things. It ends up in a place where you get to feel like there’s nothing you can do that will make you not a monster.

    Again, I’m not by any means putting this concern above the concerns of fighting racism and sexism- those come first by a long shot. I’m just saying, usually the only people who don’t treat white guys with some degree of anger and fear are the people upholding or ignoring racism, and it’s nice to hear someone who opposes racism say that, you know, maybe these white dudes aren’t such devils. A lot of us are certainly trying not to be.