Attempted Prophecies: Before we proceed, a reconciliation

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‘Aliens Are Crazy’

I remember years back, earnestly waiting for my cousin outside her lecture hall because… well, you know, we had to attend to the urgent matter of eating. She did come out eventually, in what seemed like forever. Right behind her I see an unassuming, young White lady. Head bowed, she hops right behind the throng of pissed off students, perhaps all as hungry as I was.

“I am sorry…” My cousin apologises for her delay. This is obviously not her fault, yet she apologises and explains, “Madam right there in her nightie wouldn’t let us go… She’s always wearing nighties to class!” She said, pointing to her lecturer, this young White lady with her head still lowered, hopping away in what looked in fact like a nightie. But it wasn’t a nightie, you see.

How do I know that? Because this young lady lecturer wasn’t crazy. Being a foreigner on a certain land, being alien to a certain culture, doesn’t instantaneously deprive a person of their brain. So no, what she was wearing—even though made of a fabric which in our tropic part of the world is never conducive for the day, hence reserved for the nights (silk)—wasn’t actually a nightwear. It was a day wear.

It is interesting, isn’t it? Because for all we know, this was a designer wear—a designer dress this unassuming White lecturer chose on that particular day because she was feeling particularly fancy. Eh? Don’t we all go through that period in life when we just want to show off, either to make ourselves feel better, or others worse about themselves—or both? Which reminds me of this colleague I had some years back who came to work in his finest—finest of finest. Shockingly fine that it elicited a number of co-colleagues to ask him, “Why?!”

“You see eh, I am going to the bank today. There is this banker who was rude to me yesterday…” So of course, a battle of the apparels was the right course of action. So maybe, this lecturer of ours was facing a similar plight with my cousin and her classmates. Students who take to fidgeting, caucusing, gossiping, giggling here and there, some even sleeping, all while you commit the noble act of teaching. Those students had to be taught a lesson, no? So yes, that Gucci dress, or Versace (Versace! Versace!), or maybe the Coco Chanel couture, yes I am going to wear that. That should teach these disrespectful students a lesson!

It’s a shame—to strategise this well for a war, yet lose so disastrously with this snide comment, “She’s always wearing nighties to class.”

Schrödinger’s Cat: Simultaneously a Monarch and a Servant

It is funny, isn’t it? That on one end of the global spectrum we are all that, yet on another end of this same spectrum, we are close to nothing. All things being equal, this is exactly the type of by-products this whole personhood/nationhood dynamic should spawn. One people’s meat is another’s poison—this is a human dynamic as indispensably present in our sociological ecosystem as the very air of the natural ecosystem we breathe.

And such stark differences, in a world of dim-headed people would undoubtedly be a point—an endless point of contention, of belittling, and of hate. But in a world of a levelheaded race of people, an enlightened world furthered by globalisation, these differences become, rather, a very good point of mutual respect and mutual appreciation. But we can only dream…

Winning Childishly

It is ridiculous, isn’t it? Even right here in this article, my using of the word ‘hop’ to describe the mundane act of walking—when done by this Caucasian female lecturer of ours. But it dawned on me sometime back, that in committing the mundane act of walking—the Caucasian walking around on this Ghanaian soil of ours, not being their natural abodes—me, right here in my own home, watching on, has always instead seen ‘hopping’ not precisely ‘walking’.

It is human nature for us to set up camps, and treat all those outside these confinement of ours as ‘others’. Acts committed by them, even the most mundane of acts, come with some weird twist—at least in our minds, in our perceptions of them. It is really silly.

That is why last week in ‘Time, Thou Art God!’ when writing these words: “Using their White features as baseline, all other human features, specifically the Black features, were categorised as tangents—deformities of nature, going outside the prescribed mode and state of being…” I had to take a short contemplative pause. Because this childish ascensions we do to ourselves above all around us, it is an act committed by all humans spread worldwide.

Perhaps what has historically set the Caucasian apart from all other races in this childishness has been that they went the extra mile of actually leaving their borders, going in search of all different races spread worldwide, just to childishly inform them, “I am better than you!” All of us different races, spread worldwide, have, in large parts, kept our sense of superiorities to ourselves—superiorities of personhood, of cultures, of ideologies, etc.

But here is the thing though, if our realisation of these differences ended just there—the ‘realisation’, the occasional staring, that would have been forgivable, and dismissed and accepted as human, harmlessly human. But it is the jeering…that’s where the problem is. The belittling—belittling that in our case spawned centuries of bondages right here in Africa, our own homes, in the Caribbean, the Americas, Europe, Asia.

Bondages that, though purportedly discontinued, still persists in our minds, causing me, for the umpteenth time, to hear a fellow interlocutor say, “I believe strongly that the Black person cannot manage their own affairs. We should call back the White people to do the ruling for us…” He taps on his chest while he passionately declares. I do my best to convince him out of this neocolonialist craving. Thankfully he is repentant. I am happy.

But only for a brief moment, as he declares, “I believe strongly that we are better off selling Ghana to a country like Malaysia or Singapore. We started off with them. And even with little to no resources, look at where they are now, and look at where we are!” At this point, I am cornered. Because I, for one, have used the Singapore argument when discussing the issue of our sluggish developmental journey—specifically in the housing articles tackled last year. Although, arguably not in the same damning way this acquaintance of mine just did.

Self-Deprecation v. Self-Depreciation

It need not be this damning—in committing the very essential, human act of self-critiquing, we need not be that damning. Attacking the very root of our existences, reinforcing stereotypes imposed upon us by people coming from a different culture, clothed in different skins—people airheaded enough to mistake these differences existing between us and them as indicative of our inherent lowliness. (And one by one, we will attack these incorrect interpretations given to these differences in articles to come). In committing the art of self-assessment, self-critiquing, and even self-deprecation, the Ghanaian, the African, the Black person need not go so far as to ‘self-depreciate’—to borrow from the White man’s childish chest of Black-targeted insults.

And this caveat drawing a line between ‘self-deprecation’ and ‘self-depreciation’ was made in our very first article, ‘Genesis: The Basis of All to Come’.

But it is strange, is it not? That as we talk of this ‘us against them’ attitude adopted by the varied races, one that makes us feel as though we are entitled to the first spot of a concocted world ranking of personhoods, one that makes us feel we have a right to place our very persons and cultures above all the rest, we find then again another tangent ensuing—at least in our Black case. Because for the Black person the situation has rather been: ‘a prophet is not respected in their own home.’ As the Caucasian undertakes the childish crusade of ‘we are better than you!’, we, on the other hand, seem to sheepishly accept (with no option in the past, yet willingly presently), ‘Yes, true you are better than us.’

For the Black person, the earth, it seems, is not our home. There is no land upon this earth on which we can stand—or choose to stand—to childishly assert our superiority (of personhood and of culture), over others. There is only room for us to childishly accept another’s superiority over us. These are two evils—we need not choose from either. What we need do is to rise to positions in our thoughts and actions, that our persons, our cultures, ideologies, our general way of life, are as important and as optimum as any other. Not better than, not inferior to, just as good.

And in instances that we find ourselves ill-performing, particularly on the matter of nationhood, our critiquing must be so done, that it tackles and uproots the defect, not resort to fatalism. Fatalism that says, ‘Well, I told you, the Black person is incapable of managing their own affairs.’ Because this fatalism, is always (always!) uninformed. We will delve deeper into this argument in subsequent articles.

Before we proceed, an explanation

Before we proceed, it was essential that we write this caveat. The two articles prior: ‘This is Not About Football’ and ‘Time, Thou Art God!’ have both attempted to get us to this position of self-worth—starting first, quite literally, with the very bodies we walk around in. But what is it that they say—nsem foo ehi! So, in discussing such a blatantly nonsensical world imbalance, words like ‘stupid’ have, to my own dismay, been used a lot. So much so that these pieces might almost feel retaliatory.

Yet these articles have not been intended a retaliation—to belittle Whiteness just as done Blackness. Rather, they have sought to help achieve an equilibrium. They have been a ‘get off your high horse’ and ‘get off your low horse’ kind of pieces. To the White folk who have historically (and presently still) suffered a momentarily (though lasting centuries) dimness in the brain and inferiority complex, hence have set about on the journey of demeaning people of all races, Black, Asian, Mixed etc., we say, ‘Get off your high horse!—your ridiculous pretentious high horses, high horses moulded of sand, only as strong as your oppressor is weak! And to victims of this demeaning, us Black folks, for one, we say, “Get off your low horses! Pick yourself up by your bootstraps, unleash and offload those centuries-worth of belittling you have accepted upon yourselves!

Detour: In Search of A Great Man

So basically, in this series, we are shouting at everyone. But before we proceed with this scolding, you know what I will like us to look at? How well we are faring with the law. How well we have manage to couch for ourselves, a robust nationhood and personhood, specifically in our law. I will like us to do so specifically using the recent, the famous Supreme Court ruling on the matter of the voting rights of the Deputy Speaker when acting as Speaker. So naturally, I am on a humble search for Prof. Kofi Kumado. Once your lecturer, always your lecturer, no? So please, if you have means of reaching the great Prof. Kumado, kindly let him know that his prodigal child is in a very public search of him.

Outro

Back to the matter at hand: we, the people spread worldwide, we pray of God, discernment. So that the next time I see a White folk doing that thing where they consecutively put one foot ahead of the other, I should know that that also qualifies as what we term ‘walking’. ‘Walking’, for heaven’s sake, not ‘hopping!’

 

 

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