03 November 2011 ~ 23 Comments

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.


cc Learning to love white men photo credit: maureen lunn



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