White over the rest

Okay, this video has been circulating Facebook and some blogs. It shows a white man speaking Nigerian pidgin and some Hausa (In the video he’s basically saying that he’s at a club in Anambra and things are good etc). I mean he speaks it better than me and that’s not saying much to be honest. I cannot speak pidgin so let it not be news. When I first saw the video I thought, ‘This guy can speak pidgin better than me, in fact, he’s even more Nigerian than me’.

Usually I don’t read Youtube comments because they can be really ignorant, stupid, mindless, you name it. But this time one comment stood out above the rest. artgirl2002 said;

“I don’t know why Nigerians find this so delightful. This is not outta love for your culture. So quick to love and fawn over a white person. Nauseating.”

You can read more of artgirl2002’s comments here though I’m not sure I advise it. I’m not brave enough to go back (I only read the last 4 comments and this is Youtube, things are bound to get ugly)…

The above comment made me look at this differently though I do not agree with everything artgirl2002 said (she seems a little bit bitter). I had this conversation with my friend D yesterday today where I mentioned that I felt that even in Nigeria, white people are placed on a pedestal and are treated better than the locals. It’s ridiculous and saddening. Case in point, when I was in Nigeria last year I met up with a friend from primary school (side note: I remember she bullied me and made me cry but that’s in the past. Forgiven but sadly not forgotten). Anyway she mentioned that once she went into Transcorp Hilton which is a hotel in Abuja where everything is overly-priced and was in the bakery* however the Nigerian waiter/waitress chose to serve all the white customers before her. I was shocked and asked her when it happened and she’s like ‘Oh just last year!’ and I’m sure my jaw was on the floor. Can you imagine this madness?**

Why on earth would this kind of thing happen in an African country? I wonder if such abnormal activities have happened in other African countries. I had another Nigerian friend (I’ve got a lot of friends I know, I’m apparently a social butterfly) who has told me 1,000 times about her mother’s experience in Kenya where she supposedly went to an abattoir that served only Indians. I don’t want to put words in her mouth but she seemed to imply that this sort of thing didn’t happen in Nigeria. Well it turns out that I have living proof.

I should mention that I’m pretty lucky in that I’ve never experienced such things and I’ve also never experienced racism. Yes I’m sure I’ve encountered racist people, for example, I’m confident that the Taiwanese guy in a few of my classes is a big-headed bigot but no one has ever outwardly shown me racist tendencies.

I’m not lying when I say that I don’t understand this tendency that some Nigerians (and maybe Africans but I’m speaking from a Nigerian perspective) have to place white people above everyone else including themselves. It is stupid and can only be described as colonial mentality. Why on earth will you engage in your own oppression? Maybe I’m reading too much into the video, but right now, this thing has passed the video***. It is the comment that raised the uncomfortable questions and alternate explanations for the popularity of this video around my Nigerian friends on Facebook and the blogosphere at large.

Honestly when I first saw the video I expected other people to mock him for speaking pidgin. Kind of like saying ‘who does this white guy think he is?’ but I’m yet to see such comments. And if such comments exist then I will like to see them now please, thank you. All the comments I’ve seen so far were more along the lines of amazement at seeing a white guy speaking pidgin but could there possibly be more behind this thought?

I mentioned in the comment section of my previous post that I went to Nando’s with my friend D. D is from the Caribbean and I had a very revealing conversation with her in which I talked a lot about Nigeria and how I felt about this ‘white is right’ mentality. She thought it was just foreigners altogether that were treated better than the people themselves because we were on the topic of Chinese in the Caribbean and I told her there were also Chinese in Nigeria but in my experience, they tend to be looked down upon. In my experience Chinese are made fun of and ridiculed. To the people I talk to all Chinese are short with funny eyes and they are all slave drivers who do not pay people who work for them.

But with me being me, I look at it differently. Honestly I do not see China as a threat, well I’m currently researching that so maybe I’ll change my mind after I’ve discovered more. But from what I’ve read and seen with my two naked eyes, the Chinese are more respectful of us than the whites ever were****. When I go out to Chinese restaurants, I see Nigerians cooking and serving the food and I see usually a Chinese man or woman sitting in the restaurant interacting with the Nigerian customers or employers.

Why does this matter to me? It’s because I’ve not seen this behaviour with other foreigners in Nigeria. Of course apart from the Lebanese but I still sense superiority when it comes to them even though I’m their customer (not to mention I tend to get leered at a lot but that happens to me a lot). I’ll also mention that I went to Kano once and my other good friend M.W took me to buy sharwama (a kind of wrap stuffed with meat, vegetables and spices) and she mentioned that the woman who was married to the man who owned the store was racist. I wanted to give the Lebanese woman the benefit of doubt but I could tell just from the way she looked at us that she wasn’t really happy with us even though she’s in Nigeria.

There’s a reason why I brought up different foreigners in Nigeria. The reason I was so amazed by the Chinese I saw interacting with Nigerians was just simply that they were interacting in the first place. In my experience, whites in Nigeria tend to seclude themselves, the Lebanese and Chinese interact with locals far more often. So my question is why is there not a video of a Lebanese or Chinese man speaking Nigerian pidgin and why are we not excited over that? I know such people exist but where are they? Lebanese have been in Nigeria for a very long time and most of them speak Hausa fluently. Again where are the videos and oh-ahs?

Really what gives racists the right to come to Nigeria (and/or Africa) in the first place? I know the answer; it is us (okay not really ‘us’ but you get the picture?). I think Africans in general are very welcoming and friendly but they usually don’t realise that this is not the way it is in other countries till they travel and get told to ‘Go back home’. Africans have been welcoming and friendly at their own risk and one only has to look at our history to see this. Don’t they say ‘once bitten, twice shy’? When will we learn? (And by we I mean the general populace not those who have attained enlightenment.)

Personally, I’ve definitely noticed a sort of stratification or hierarchy regarding the average Nigerian’s view of foreigners. And white is definitely on the top of that pyramid. Obviously people have told me that I’m overreacting and that they as Nigerians, are in support of multiculturalism and diversity. Can I call BS on that? If they really were in support of diversity then in my humble opinion, they would treat all cultures equally and not play any sort of favouritism.

The worst thing to me is putting white people or other foreigners over fellow Nigerians. Why would someone do something like that? Generally, Nigerian men treat me differently than my non-black friends. I would understand if the reason were different because as human beings we have different faces that we show to others depending on how comfortable we feel around them. What irks me is that they treat them with more respect. I’m called ‘baby’ a term which I seriously dislike, while my friends are called by their full names. I am constantly ridiculed while my friends get the most polite behaviour. I do not have to mention that I don’t socialize with these people any longer. D has told me that the same thing has happened to her though she is not Nigerian and her experience was much worse that I’m not sure I’m comfortable revealing it.

Another trend I’ve noticed is these Nigerian hip-hop musicians featuring white girls in their videos (and that’s another story though I’m fine with interracial relationships). If this is multiculturalism then why haven’t I seen Asian (or any other nationality) girls in their videos? Honestly I pity the children who have to grow up around this, they are probably going to have even worse identity crises than me! Not to worry I have a plan for Nigeria and all I need is to become the Minister of Education and some serious changes will take place. I’m a believer of the saying ‘knowledge is power’ and I have hope for not only Nigeria but Africa as a whole.

In conclusion, it is funny what this video of an Oyinbo man speaking pidgin has caused, this was a totally-unplanned-for post.

*Just so you know something else about me, I love cakes and sweet things and hate any form of animal flesh! I always go to Transcorp Hilton to buy their cakes, danishes, doughnuts and muffins though they are too expensive.

**My Nigerian self is showing clearly! What happened to her was pure nonsense!

***(something) has passed implies that things have become more important and serious. In this context I mean that the issue at hand is more important that the video.

****This is in ancient history, the first Chinese to sail to Africa was Zheng He in the 15th century. When Zheng He reached the coast of East Africa he traded with the people there. And he may have come back 5 times. This is not the case for other foreigners who came in contact with Africa. I’m yet to hear of a African slaves in China. I have heard of the Black Samurais though but that is Japan. And apparently the first Africans to reach China were taken there by Arab merchants as presents for royalty of some sort. I can only imagine what those African slaves went through.


  1. Your blog is great! I love your well thought out ideas. I have to disagree with your interpretation because I am impressed by any foreigner who absorbs a culture. Naturally this man from Colorado spent more than 5 minutes in the company of Nigerians. In Kenya we have White Kenyans and Indian Kenyans who have lived there since the 1900’s and do not speak a word of Swahili. They simply do not regard it as an important enough language to learn. Even in my school, which was a British School, the Indian Kenyans chose to learn German instead of Swahili. This to me are people who need criticizing, not the man in the video. I have to say too I find Omid Djalili hilarious because his ‘Nigerian’ accent complete with Abi and Oo means that he has spent more than 5 minutes with Nigerians. How many English people go to school with Nigerians and just how many of those realise and celebrate the different cultures?I have to disagree with your friend about Kenya. Kenyan Asians have recently had a difficult time in Kenya as many feel their wealth comes from colonial favoratism when Black Kenyans were regarded as less important than Asians. I seriously doubt than any single place could possibly refuse to serve a Black Kenyan. This would probably end up in the papers and lead to serious problems for the business. Kenyans are too proud to take such rubbish. Finally regarding the Chinese infiltration in Africa. I think that yes, the Chinese will treat any nation that they want to do business with favourably. They have their business hats on. They ship weapons to Zimbabwe and then refuse to impose sanctions…….I wonder why? They don’t criticize because they are guilty too. The reason why I don’t like the Chinese infiltration is that China has abused its own people and animals. I will never ever forget the man stopping the tanks at Tiananmen Square. I will not forget because those villages and villagers were subsequently attacked by their own government. I will not forget the skinning of live foxes and dogs. I will not forget the people working for hardly any money in the factories. I will not forget these things because China is a rich nation. They could afford to have better rules for workers and follow set standards but they choose not to. Until there is a fairer leader in China who treats ALL Chinese people well, I will regard all their ventures with suspicion

  2. Oh dear, you know you must really do one topic at a time lol. I keep coming back because I speed read and then forget something then need to come back to read it again. There are so many issues you have raised in here. I went on to the comment page on youtube and actually there are some people denouncing the Nigerian interviewer because of his ‘American Accent.’ What do you think about that?

  3. thanks a lot Jc! i know i should do one topic at a time but my mind is so scattered. and i’m really glad you’re enjoying this. i saw those comments denouncing the interviewer’s ‘American accent’ and that was interesting. he didn’t sound American to me, i just figured he talked that way. obviously there are a lot of Nigerians who fake accents to appear cool or whatever and that is really stupid to me. i purposely make sure i sound Nigerian around other Nigerians so i don’t get trouble for my ‘British accent’.yes i agree with you this man definitely spent time with Nigerians. regarding the foreigners in Kenya i’ve heard both bad and good. i heard that it is usually the missionaries that learn Swahili. it seems to be a 50/50 thing were some learn and some don’t and that’s the impression i got.yeah i don’t think i stressed enough in the post how amazed i was that the Oyinbo was speaking pidgin. i’m cool with that, he said he grew up in Jos and has obviously interacted with Nigerians. i do however feel he is an exception to the rule. this man has obviously hung out with his Nigerian peers while usually the only time i’ve noticed other whites with Nigerians is when the latter are their maids, gardeners, guardmen etc. my problem is the reaction to it. looking at this from another perspective it is like Oyinbo speaking pidgin is sooo rare while Lebanese or Chinese speaking pidgin is common. however because of my many stories, i see a racial hierarchy. and re:my friend’s comments about Kenya i’m sure this was in the 70s. because she was talking about her mother’s trip and her mother is in her late 60s. however she tells it like it happened yesterday and uses it as an excuse to say she’ll never go to Kenya. as for me, i’m planning on relocating to Kenya some time in the future :)and on the subject of the Chinese in Africa, that is why i’m studying this. so that hopefully i can tell the people what i discover. you see the Chinese use Zheng He to tell Africans that they are our friends and that they will never humiliate us. China is fastly growing and i just hope that Africa can somehow benefit from this. but then again they say ‘the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know’. i have just come to see the West as benefitting from Africa being in an underdog position and China is the new friendly face. wow and i never heard of the skinning of animals! eww. Tiananmen square is a big issue and we cannot forget Tibet and Xinjiang. all countries seem to have blood on their hands though.

  4. Oh yes in the 70’s this was definitely the case. I would even extend this to upto around 1980. The real change came with the Idi Amin time when Asian people saw what was happening in Uganda and decided to act right lol. I do also think many countries have blood on their hands, sad really.

  5. thanks for clearing that up Jc! Idi Amin was a scary guy but i wonder if he sent the whites in Uganda away too? i’ve met a few Asians whose parents are from East Africa and some of them cannot even pronounce the countries their parents came from (one couldn’t say ‘Tanzania’)regarding the countries, the world is really a scary place. i have some course mates who are unhappy with what we’ve learnt because politics is bloody. and i just say at least we’re studying East Asia and not the Middle East. East Asia has been reasonably peaceful.

  6. So I saw this video ages ago, and I thought it was cool, and was amazed too. Why? Because it showed a white person who didn’t think he was too big to speak the language (so to speak) of the place where he’s from. Too many expatriates don’t bother to integrate into the society and culture of the place they live in because they feel too big for that. They’re too busy being “expatriates” (read: better than the natives). I went to primary school with a lot of people from different countries. I met up with one of my old classmates last summer, who’s Scottish, and it was great to catch up with her and talk with a white person who liked Nigeria for what it was. There are so many foreigners in Nigeria that actually HATE the place, and hate black people. My sister had a run in with one such person some months ago, and it wasn’t pretty. The woman insulted her terribly, and made out like my sister was an idiot. How dare she? She’s a minority in Nigeria, and she still felt like she was superior. *sigh. what can you do? there are still racists in south africa too.A friend of mine once said that South Africa should banish all the racist white South Africans and revoke their citizenship. but where will you send them? Despite their race they are still African. They have nowhere to call home but South Africa. You can’t just send them away. Not only would that destroy the economy (case in point: Zimbabwe) but the world is in a “post civil rights” era. That is, this is not the way we should be dealing with racism right now. The end of apartheid meant the end of all racial disrimination, towards blacks, whites, asians, indians, latinos, everyone. We shouldn’t be using those kind of tactics to solve the problem of racism. The question is how do you solve it?I think the real problem in Africa is that colonialism, racism and slavery have all brainwashed us into thinking that anything closer to white is better. This is why relaxers and hot combs were created in the first place; this is why white people still get treated better than black people in Africa. I think Africans need to wake up and remember that being African is desirable, and something to be proud of, instead of worshipping the West and all its works like it’s God. smh Nigeria is the worst offender. Try and connect to your culture, and you’re labeled backwards and savage. “bush”. Yet everyone wants to look like they just stepped out of “obodo Oyinbo”. *scheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew (or hiss, however you want to type it. LOL.)Sorry this rant was a little fragmented – you touched on a lot of stuff here, and i had to comment on all of it!

  7. mellowyel, you are very welcome to rant here. i find what you’ve said very interesting. yeah the guy in the video is really an exception to the rule. i honestly do not have a problem with him, he seems like a great guy. it’s the reactions and the intent behind them that i’m more worried about.you see i don’t understand what people are doing in a country that they hate. they should honestly just leave. yeah i think the thing with racists in Africa is that they still feel superior even though they are a minority. and i feel that we have played a role in their superiority complexes. you’re right about colonialism, racism and slavery. but these things happened long ago and i wonder if they can really still be blamed. you’re right Africans need to wake up.lol @ bush! soo true. yeah i know now there are alot of Nigerians waving the ‘Proud to be Nigerian’ flag but i seriously wonder what they are so proud of. misplaced loyalties are serious too. lmao *scheeew*

  8. I mean, colonialism and slavery happened a long time ago, but their effects still exist today. Racism is still alive and kicking – I don’t buy all of this “post-racial” nonsense. People are simply trying to stop people from calling out racists now that Obama is president. *scheeeeeeew again.I agree though that you can’t blame colonialism and slavery for everything. You can’t blame them for the underdevelopment of Africa today – that’s the fault of us Africans. However, you can blame them for the pervasiveness of the desire to be more white or Western or “oyinbo” in African society today. Some of our self-pride has been stripped away, and it’s not like we can just ask for it back and get it.

  9. mellowyel i agree, the ‘post-racial’ stuff is really nonsense. i think it’s an effective way of silencing victims of racism by claiming that they only encounter bogeymen not ‘racism’ because we’re all past that. what do you think about the role of the media in this desire to be more Western in Africa? yes it’s up to us to regain our self-pride.

  10. Let me first introduce myself. A Zambian woman living in South Africa. Talk about a country that is struggling severely to remove racial prejudice from the fabric of its society. Apartheid was still a constitutional policy less than 20 years ago and it shows. Black people are almost fearful and excessively polite when it comes to addressing whites whereas with each other there is a lack thereof. Even worse is the fact that South African blacks are very xenophobic (hateful of foreigners) and I can testify to being treated in a less diplomatic way than even other black people on the basis of the fact that I look foreign and not South African because my skin is very drak brown. So, yes, Africans who are still battling to reverse the psychological effects of colonialism (unlike you and I and plenty other enlightened educated African women and men).

  11. By the way, I also hate being called “baby”. Thought I was the only one. You know it may seem an affectionate term on the surface but there are connotations. It depends on context and tone too but often times it can end up sounding quite demeaning and then becomes annoying. Unless there is a mutual understanding and exchange of the word it can be ridiculous and when a person begins calling you that without adequate permission or allowance on your part it is just plain silly. Plus hate the way African boys in music fail to celebrate real forms of African beauty (dark skin, elegant frames, large lips, wide nose) and embrace the Western view instead. Traitors!

  12. welcome to the planet Miss Sheba! it is such a pity that you had to experience xenophobia in S.A, i’m glad that more Africans are taking the initiative and thinking for themselves. what worries me is that we seem to be few, i’m very pessimistic to be honest. lol i detest being called ‘baby’ and when i object they always say ‘so what does your boyfriend call you’ and i say ‘first of all you’re not my boyfriend and he calls me by my name’. it’s completely ridiculous when some guy you’ve just met insists on calling you ‘baby’. and thank you for mentioning the music videos. they annoy me so much because i think they are dangerous to self-esteem. and most girls already have low self-esteem. lol, traitors indeed. i’ve got a wide nose so it is rare to see people who look like me in those videos. smh.

  13. woooooooooooooooooooooo boy!!! You probably haven’t been to my blog yet because if you have you’ll know I’ve discussed just this very topic and I was almost eaten alive for it. You see, there are so many people that experience white superiority on a daily basis, and what makes it sad is that they experience white superiority in their OWN country.I’m not overly surprised if I go to France and experience French superiority. I’m not saying it’s right, but at least I’m not surprised.I shouldn’t go to Nigeria and experience white superiority. Again I’m not saying that making yourself out to be superior to anyone is right, but if there’s going to be any kind of superiority going on in Nigeria, then it should be Nigerian superiority and nothing else. Period.But interestingly, Nigerians are self-sacrificing and grovel when it comes to anybody lighter than a pawpaw. Sometimes I just want to break out a bulala and flog the shit out of people… o_oI was the friend that Mellowyel was talking about.Yes, I know it isn’t right, but it’s honestly a pity Africans never got the chance to be truly evil to people of other races. Maybe if we were as ruthless as the Chinese everyone wouldn’t be so quick to look down on us and treat us like shit.Maybe if we were as ruthless as the Chinese we would have more pride in ourselves.Yes, it’s a huge shame. This is sarcasm but there’s truth in jest. Everyone got their chance to be an evil son-of-a-bitch, why not us? At least we could have been able to look back and call it a character building exercise.I call bullshit. The next time a Nigerian guy picks an Indian girl over me I’m going to push him into the nearest water body.

  14. lmao Sugabelly! i read your blog occassionally and i haven’t seen this yet. i’m going to check it out now. i agree, at the very least in Nigeria we should hold ourselves up. either that or we treat each other equally that’s even better but this multiculturalism lie that is used as a mask to hold white people on top is ridiculous. lol @ lighter than pawpaw and bulala. it’s ridiculous honestly i cannot stand it. you know what…i don’t think Africans could ever be evil to other people. or maybe they can and because they were not ruthless when the occasion called for it they were able to be colonized. the way this world has been constructed, countries have to be ruthless when necessary. yes you know the Chinese did fight against the British there was the Boxer Rebellion. and when i learnt that i realised that we Africans don’t even know much about the people who fought against colonisers (of course except Jaja of Opobo and that man should be a hero in my opinion). they existed but it seems as though we paint ourselves as victims all the time.lol abeg o don’t kill the Nigerian guy o. just ignore that guy jare he’s already a lost cause.

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