Unprogressive: Nigerian Christian Movies

family-television-nick-banks

Family Watching TV – Nick Banks

 

I, just like several other Nigerians my age, grew up watching Christian movies. Critical-thinking and inquiries that may come off as a rebellion towards traditions are not necessarily welcomed in African societies, and more specifically, Nigerian ones, especially the ones that are religious, so I kept many things to myself. I was a very repressed person until a few years ago when I engaged more actively in analyzing several things that have barely been questioned, although they reek of myopia. The rest they say is history. I am now more willing to address issues without a fear of rejection or rebuke, more free-thinking too, and I am grateful to God for that.

Yes, Christian movies are unprogressive. Before I express why I have stated so, let me say this: please note that this is not an attempt to bash any religion or rubbish anybody’s work in any way. I was a drama minister for a short time and I respect the good morals that Nigerian Christian movies teach. Respect for parents, reverence for God, kindness to others (especially when it is to result in “winning” their souls for Christ, humility, and the importance of obedience are taught, but these movies are not perfect, especially the ones that are evangelism and soul-winning driven. The narratives are often narrow-minded, inconsistent with the times, and unfair to people of a certain gender [there should be very little or no confusion as to which is which if you are familiar with these movies], but that is okay because many religions are laced, if not thoroughly soaked, with misogyny, all under the guise of doing “God’s will” and following His or Her or Their plan, as the case may be.

Religion is the opium of the masses after all. Religions give people reasons to live and guide them through how to, and in most cases, even offer the promise of a better world if one does well in this one, and that’s awesome. The not-very-awesome part of a religion is that it can make multitudes close-minded, stupid, unkind to certain people, discriminatory, and point-blank ignorant. 

First of all, think of the way rape is portrayed in the scene that I’m about to narrate. I will not name any movies throughout this piece except I really have to. Then you can be thoroughly certain that I will list several. A young lady in secondary [or high] school, I’ll call her Lady X, sneaks out to a house party. Her mother is not in the city at the time and she does not know about the party. Lady X meets a few guys and she is drugged. She is carried into one of the rooms and is raped, terribly raped even, as we got to know later. It’s a Christian movie; of course, that part was left to the imagination. A few people visit Lady X and tell her that God can forgive her and restore her back to who she was, put pieces of her “shattered life” back together and heal her. That is very nice. Indeed.

“So, what happened to the rapists?”, you might ask, if you have not been too desensitized against this form of sexual violence. In a very brief scene, police officers arrive at the school to take some students who knew about the party as well as the rapists away. “At least they are going to get some punishment,” you would think. What is the problem here?

When are Christian filmmakers (or those who practice any religion at all, or those who are concerned about morality whatsoever) going to start addressing the fact that rape in and of itself is bad, since the mainstream ones are not doing it? Let’s take it that rape is not too much of a consequence for a person who has snuck out of their home, who has disobeyed their parent, for the purpose of the movie, since realistically, it could happen. Females are being raped by people in their own homes, by their own relatives [heck, by their own uncles and fathers] in Nigeria. These include less-than-ten-year-old girls, children, even babies, who grown-up men should not be attracted to at all, let alone heartless enough to rape or sexually assault in the slightest. Christian movies are not portraying that dressing is not the major factor, as far as rape is concerned- dressing, disobedience or anything else. It’s quite unfortunate that I even need another paragraph to explain this further.

“Dressing well” as a means of avoiding/escaping being raped is quite unfair. In Saudi Arabia, for example, where most of the women are so modest in their dressing, as much as it is pushed under the rug and inaccurately reported on, rape is very prevalent. Rape is entirely the fault of the rapist, entirely. Anything else is just a justification for the wicked act. The marital and statutory rape of females are not being addressed yet in these movies, let alone the sexual abuse of young boys and men, which are happening, as ugly as they are. These things are happening on a daily basis and a blind eye is being turned to them. For how long are we going to wait before Nigerian filmmakers at large properly address it?

So, when I say narrow-minded narratives are being published, and the same matters are being excessively re-addressed and recycled, so much so that most of these movies are flat-out boring, in all sincerity, don’t look at my article funny.

The one that is more or less the ‘cancer’ of things is the distrust that is created among people. Many times, when a woman befriends another woman, and the other one is not married, you can be sure that the non-married [single, previously-married, divorced or widowed] one would try to seduce her friend’s husband. It must be in the Christian-movie constitution. She starts by helping her friend with house-chores and whatnot, especially when the married friend is at her lowest or just very busy, and soon enough, as expected, she bewitches her friend’s husband. It’s a very frequent narrative that is not very healthy.

In addition, hardly do you see men in the kitchen in these movies, except they have done something wrong and they are doing housework as a means of apologizing or fostering reconciliation. “Let me help you with the dishes” as a line from the husband is not a very good line. If the housework have been assigned, and although it is the woman’s turn to sweep the floor, he decides to help, that is fine. If that is not the case, how is it “help”? These narratives are not very good, but they are convenient for a few, very convenient, and so there is little or no change. In most of the movies in which women are given strong roles/presence, they usually end up crying and asking God for forgiveness because they have deserted their families or done something wrong. Hardly do you see a Christian movie in which a female character is presented and maintained till the end. If her daughter does not die as a result of neglect, her husband will run mad. How unfair.

Then this one; a man beats his wife till she’s black and blue after coming home drunk. She reports to the pastor of her church or whatever. He tells her to continue to pray for him or change the way she dresses. Then she starts to cook more (or do something else very lame). One thing leads to the other and the man “gives his life to Christ” or something at the end. God “takes control”. He becomes “a new man”. Ha. The lingo is laughable. Is anyone going to address the fact that domestic violence is not right, in detail? If the mainstream ones will not do it, is anyone going to Biblically or “whatever-on-earth-cally” talk about that mess? No? It’s very pathetic. Wife-battery, rape and other assaults are just casually glossed over. The Christian movies are not standing out in any distinct way, as far as all of these are concerned.

I’m not going to make this an “everything that is wrong with Christian movies” article, although there are a lot of things that I will repress for now. There is one last thing that I want to mention, something that I greatly detest, something that hurts me to the very core, something that makes me wonder if a good number of people who are involved are sociopaths.

Little research is done about people and cultures, and a lot of disrespect becomes the result. False “Nollywood facts” are used in the depictions. A man lives in America and sends money to his mother in Nigeria for the Egungun festival. As the Egungun costume is being flogged by the followers in Nigeria, the son who sent the money feels all the pain in America. Ha! E beru Olorun, eyin filmmakers yii, now! I mean, how desperate can you be for soul-winning? Who has that ever happened to? How dirty are you willing to get to rubbish other people’s beliefs and paths? The Egungun festival may not be Christian, quite alright, but it is not evil in and of itself. False narratives have been pushed since the days of old, “old” being “colonization”, and certain sects have suffered a lot of direct and indirect misrepresentation for refusing to accept that Jesus is the lord of their lives. Se won bi sori meja ni? It is interesting how not being a Christian can make one appear like a lesser being in the eyes of one. I will leave it at that.

In another scene, a challenge-like scenario is created between a priest and a Christian, and you can be sure that the Christian “wins”. Such love! A Babalorisa is depicted as being smitten by God, and in that scene, you see that he is sick to the point of death until he receives Jesus as his lord and saviour. As soon as he does, he becomes whole. He is then made to emphasize the powerlessness of deities and the supremacy of Jesus. I’ve never really understood it, to be honest. I’ve never really understood such wickedness, such violence, such sick ego.

The media is a dangerous tool. The narratives that can be created with it can heal, stabilize or very completely destroy. When you give this tool to unreasonable crusaders who rise by wrongly depicting others, as if to make their propositions better, you give them the power to create death itself. All of it is just as laughable as it is sad.

One thing that I appreciate is the fact that child battery is not often depicted or encouraged, because if it was, it would have been quite unfortunate. If there is anything that I have observed, and I greatly love, it is the fact that children are not beaten black and blue the way they usually are, in reality, especially in working-class settings where there is a lot of survival-based tension and frustration. It would, however, be nice to see movies correcting that, encouraging individuals to teach their children in love, instead of fostering fear in them and growing a new generation of parents who do not know how to engage in a decent two-way communication with their children.

What am I saying in a nutshell is this: there is a lot going on asides the “evil” that non-Christians do. Christian filmmakers, pay attention and keep up with the things that are going on around you.

This is it, for now. I will make a video about this in the future, and I will go into more detail. 

Our Master Who Art in Heaven

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Painted by Babajide Olatunji

You believe that black is beautiful, and that there is nothing substandard about a dark-skinned person in comparison to anyone else, but when you close your eyes to pray to your Father in Heaven [especially in Jesus name] or your Mother in Heaven [what kind of Heaven is it if there is no Mother in it?], you don’t see a man who looks like this, or a woman who has similar-looking skin. 

You either see nothing, everything is just so vague and abstract to you, or you see an old, Arab man, or you see a white man, although the Bible specifically describes Jesus as someone who now looks like this. You picture the man who played the role of Jesus in “Passion of the Christ” too, that’s the Jesus you have stuck up there, your lord and saviour. Basically, you never see anyone, not even angels, that look like you, in your mind’s eye. 

However, when you picture the devil, or a demon, you picture someone dressed in black, who has a darker shade of skin, with ugly features, including horns and a tail. The devil, if you were asked to describe them, would be a being who likes to stay in the dark and is dark-skinned [subconsciously, you don’t see a light-skinned person except when you think of them as Lucifer, not Satan].

Do I need to go on? No. In summary, you are very stupid person, and I don’t mean it as an insult. It’s not a bad thing to be stupid. Remaining to be stupid, however, is the problem. It is very bad.

Words II

Words are fragile,
and the consequences of dropping them
are very heavy,
especially on hardly-skeptical
“I believe everything” minds.

On the list of things that
should never be misused,
they come first.

Words open as many eyes as they shut.
They’ve permanently restored sights,
and at the same time,
caused too many to go blind.

Be careful of what you say and hear.

Is Sex Work Work?

Sex and Sex Work

Sex Work: Rethinking the Job, Respecting the Workers by Colette Parent et. al. and Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work by Melissa Gira Grant are a few of my favourite books right now. Why? Well, you’re about to know.

To begin with, they make you question everything you think you know about prostitution. Is it the sex itself that is disgusting, ’cause whether you are sucking dick (I beg your pardon) for money or not, you are still sucking dick? Perhaps, it is the fact that money is often involved, but if you have sex with your boyfriend or girlfriend and they offer you money afterwards or buy you items that you request or do not request for, have you suddenly become a prostitute? Perhaps, it is the sleeping with many men/women aspect that is absolutely distasteful, but many people have sex with many men and/or women for free. As a matter of fact, they have more sex than sex workers themselves. So, what exactly about the job is out of the ordinary? Why then is sex work/prostitution criminalized in many places?

Lady

Playing the Whore briefly mentions how marriage boosts the sex trade, funnily enough. Many men and women get married and feel like they’re missing out on certain things, they feel terribly constrained by societal norms and standards, so they patronize sex workers. Many of them don’t get mistresses because they often anticipate some sort of commitment, and they (the engaged or married men and women) already have partners that they are committed to. A sex worker, on the other hand, would most likely not need any form of structured commitment, or expect their client to leave their wife or husband for them. You get the idea.

It is important to note that sex workers are not just prostitutes- pornography actors/models, strippers, escorts, massage-parlour girls, cam girls, and so on, are all sex workers, providing different kinds of sexual services. So, if you, as a married person, have ever watched a pornographic CD or visited any of the free/premium pornographic websites, perhaps, with your spouse, the aforementioned would include you. Haha!

The fact that people do not pay for their pornography contributes to the precariousness of the actor/model’s work. They get paid once for a scene and never again, they do not own the license to the video that is made, and for many years (or forever), the sex worker continues to please everyone for free, while getting terribly shamed/attacked for it.

Why would a person want to do sex work? Well, why would anyone want to work at all? People choose to work for money, for fame, for connections, for a sense of freedom and independence, and for pleasure. The same reasons apply to sex workers. A person does not need to be a sex worker to be involved in the sex trade- directors, light men, location managers, script writers, make-up artists, and so on, can be involved in the sex trade without performing sexual services.

Sex work is highly precarious, just like many other jobs. In pornography, for instance, if a worker is not constantly trying other sex-trade spheres, and doing new things, they could very quickly be forgotten. In stripping, there would always be someone with a bigger butt, or someone who can dance better. There’s competition and promotion all of the stuff you find in other work spheres in the sex industry.

The authors of the two books expose you to how the police dehumanize women, some men, members of the LGBTQ community, who are involved in sex work. They are abused more by the police than their clients in many parts of the world, even in the United States, and there are oral and written surveys and whatnot in the books to prove it. The police doesn’t come to the sex workers’ aid at all or quickly when they need help because they blame them for choosing to have sex for money in the first place. It is worse for transgender men and women; many members of the police force intentionally pick on them or try to break them for fun. It’s even worse in theoretically non-democratic countries. As the saying goes, “power destroys, absolute power destroys absolutely”.

Although straight men are involved in sex work too, young/old men who work as escorts for sugar mummies and such, or work as pornography actors/models, they are almost never viewed in the same light as women. 

The authors don’t necessarily praise sex work itself or deem it a hundred percent wonderful because of the many risks that are involved- being abused by pimps and clients, the fact that a condom can slip off and the worker could get a disease and all that, exploitation, especially with non-independent sex workers, and so on- but they implore you to call off your old, tired ethics. Religion often forces people to see many things and many people condescendingly, especially the major world religions, but call it off, as far as consensual sex work is concerned.

hardwork

By Michael Escoffery

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, “trafficking in persons is defined as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.” A person can be trafficked in their home country or across borders- farmers, live-in caregivers, and labourers are trafficked on a daily basis, not just prostitutes, which is terrible.

The face of the trafficked sex worker is often the face of the people who have willingly chosen to provide sexual services to other people for a living, especially in popular discourse and in the media, and it is quite unfair. If you must feel bad for anyone, feel bad for the factory workers who kill sentient animals inhumanly for a living, or for the McDonald’s worker who stands all day, working from 9 am-5 pm everyday for survival, basically, or for the person who moves stuff around all night (food, flowers, whatever needs to be moved in the respective company) in a cold room, shivering and struggling not to fall asleep. If you must save anyone from their work, save those workers. Nobody wants to do those jobs, and they are not necessarily more “respectable” than sex work in essence, but they do them for survival.

No? Are you convinced that there are people who really want to stand and act (like they really, ever so really care about the customers) at McDonald’s or Tim Hortons or one of the call-centers all day for survival? If you are, that a person has chosen to do sex work should not surprise or upset you either, should it? 

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By Michael Escoffery

The authors discuss the fact that sex work is not all about intercourse. It may involve acting and fulfilling fantasies. Many of the married men and women who patronize the industry can get all the intercourse they want from their spouses or boy/girlfriends if they have them; it’s not all about that.

They compare sex work to any other kind of job that requires the provision of a service; they mention that sex work is the world’s oldest profession. Sex workers may not always be victims, and they make us realize that. 

Apparently, sex work is saving marriages; I didn’t even know that before I read the books. Basically, you don’t need to divorce your wife/husband, or be with someone else physically to be with someone else, whether through porn and cam sites or whatnot. You masturbate to another woman or man, for free sometimes, like I mentioned earlier, many times, through the mainstream sites, and you’re good. You love your wife/husband again, and you’re satisfied. You don’t think you’ve cheated on her/him, and you don’t feel as bad. Or, if your wife would not do anal or try something you read about or saw with you, whether or not it involves intercourse, you call upon your favourite strumpet to do them with you, and you go home, kiss your wife/husband, and enjoy your marriage again. Haha! 

Sex Worker

By Michael Escoffery

We love sex work when it’s on our screens. We love Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and all the stereotypes, especially when the prostitute (or any other sex worker) is portrayed as a strong, independent person in Hollywood movies. As soon as someone proudly describes herself as a prostitute or sex worker or stripper, we go “woah”. The woman of our dreams and fantasies now suddenly becomes a terrible, demonic or disgusting woman. At that moment, we suddenly detest prostitution and sex work.

The word “prostitute” itself is still considered very terrible, and many would sometimes use it as an insult to women who are not involved in sex work. Ashewo, which means prostitute, is used as an insult to women very often by misogynistic men in Nigeria, for instance.   

If we don’t go “woah” with disgust, we begin to feel sorry for them- it wasn’t their choice, they were probably forced to join the trade, maybe they had a bad childhood, maybe they were abused. We really don’t care if they had a bad childhood whenever it’s time to jerk off. For some reason, we care so much about it when it’s time to discuss prostitution in public spaces; some people who have sex begin to look down on other people who have sex. Haha! It makes no sense.

Again, the authors don’t praise or glamourize sex work, it has its own challenges, just like any job- customers/clients may insult you, bosses may look down on you, you could slip and fall to death, or have your fingers sliced off by a machine at the flower factory where you work, someone might report you or leave you a bad review, to mention a few.

However, they did not fail to mention that making sex work illegal has contributed to the harm that sex workers suffer around the world. Sex work, mainly prostitution, is criminalized in many places, and just like any illegal job, the security of a person who is involved is often badly affected.

BlckM

Sex workers are often harassed by the police for having condoms, and for that reason, many do not move around with condoms while soliciting for clients, so they won’t be charged for an offence. The clients may not have condoms, and so the sex worker is left with no choice but to have raw sex with them, many times, to their own detriment, and that of their clients, as far as the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases is concerned. The client may infect the sex worker. If the client or worker then becomes ill, the state spends money on them- money that would have been diverted to other things, if that situation was prevented, if the police had treated the sex worker with enough dignity and respect to let them have all the items they need for their work.

Those who have condoms hide them in their wigs and private parts to avoid being arrested; that’s inhumane.

New

There are grey areas in morality and societal standards, and it’s quite interesting. It’s okay to be in a pant and bra in a Victoria Secret’s collection [for money] but it’s not okay to wear just those on your Facebook profile. The society is highly hypocritical when it comes to the body and what is to be done with it.

I can’t possibly cover everything that was discussed in the books, so I’ll stop here. Some of the points that I have addressed are additions to the ones mentioned in the book. I barely covered the books; I could go on and on. A must-read for every feminist (especially second-wave feminists who tend to condemn sex work more than the third-wave feminists) or person who is interested in the facts regarding sex work, is what those books are. I read both books simultaneously.

THIS IS NOT A PAID REVIEW.

Godisnowhere

“A psychological word puzzle, which changes meaning depending on where you choose to put the spaces. People think your first understanding of it shows your true view or belief about God”, which is obviously, not necessarily true.



1. God is nowhere
2. God is now here

Why is Religion Dangerous?

Religion makes the inability to think/stupidity worse. It’s one thing to want to be saved (from something) by God; It’s another thing to want to save God (from something). A person who (constantly) feels the need to do the latter is stupid. 

How dare you call my God by His first name or wonder if He has big feet? I would slap/kill you right now and He’d be happy because it’d be for His honour.”

The moment a person begins to think like that- the aforementioned- regardless of their God’s instructions against slapping/killing someone or something else, that person becomes a full-blown fool. That person becomes a God over God, God’s God, knowing what is best for Him and what is not, and what should offend Him/what should not, instead of the other way round, as intended. That person has stopped needing God; perhaps, they still do, but they need God much less than they feel God needs them.

“God needs me more than I need Him. I need to defend God; He’s so vulnerable and I need to defend Him and protect Him from being hurt. He doesn’t know how to ‘God’. Maybe He does, but He can’t God on His own. He wants me to help him ‘God’; His words say it.”

The person becomes a fanatic, a crazy being who is now even crazier and happier becomes he feels that He is immune to any judgement of his acts or punishment for his wrongs because He has God [the One who owns anything and everything], and rewards are being/should be prepared for Him instead [in Heaven/the final resting place].

He ‘God’s well, and God is proud. At least, He should be. He should be very proud because he [man] has done the great things that He commanded. Yes. He is not a holy sociopath; he is God’s knight in shining armour.

Religion and Politics

WazoBia

Pastors, imams, and other religious leaders, in Nigeria to be exact, must learn the importance of being non-partisan, to begin with. No pastor/imam should be telling you what their favourite political party is, and the side of the spectrum they tend to lean on, asking you to vote for them or anyone they recommend because God has chosen them, or telling you to use your democratic rights in a certain way.

It’d be interesting to see a thesis on politics in Nigeria and how much power and influence the religious leaders have on politics, although it’s very far from being a theocracy. Nigerians generally don’t take things that they are told in the name of religion with a grain of salt; we tend to not be skeptical when words that begin or end with “the Lord said” are said. 

No pastor should tell you what to invest in, what to do with your time, money and body, who to buy foodstuff from, what kind of perfume to use because it’s the kind that they use, whenever they are on or off the pulpit. People shouldn’t state a piece of the Bible or Quran to manipulate you. What they should advise you to do is pray, or pray on your behalf, asking God to lead you to the right answer, and advising you to tap into your own inner intuition and clairvoyance abilities. You are a person of God too, whether or not you were ordained to lead in the affairs of the church, and God can ‘speak’ to you directly. When they however report that God told them certain things, you must be willing to separate the wheat from the tares and engage in critical thinking.

The mediums of any spirit are not a hundred percent infallible. Don’t be fooled or coaxed or scared into doing anything who wouldn’t very willingly do, left to you, in the name of whatever deity you trust your life with.

Nigeria’s Only Problem

Old-Oshodi-in-lagos-painting-by-ayeola-ayodeji-awizzy-600x600

“Old Oshodi in Lagos” (600×600)  by Ayeola Ayodeji 

What is Nigeria’s Problem?

When you invite a Nigerian to describe what the country’s problem is, get ready to die of boredom, because they’ll go on for too long, in an attempt to describe things that aren’t close to being problems. “Bad roads, bad classrooms, corrupt governments and greedy officials, bad power supply, bad this and bad that, ba—” It’s okay, my brother. Let’s breathe.

Most of us Nigerians don’t even know what Nigeria’s problem is, and that itself is a problem.

Bad roads, bad classrooms, corrupt governments and officials, bad power supply, and whatnot, are not problems. There are bad roads in Northern Canada, and poorly-built houses and classrooms in Flint, Michigan, and bad power supply in Cameroon, and corrupt governments and officials in Russia, Israel and North Korea. Well, they are everywhere, even in the United States- the “most democratic” of them all. The secret handshake deals that take place between and among public and private interests would take more than a fortnight to analyze.

Procession-Tunde-Famous

“Procession” (20 x 16 x 2 inches) by Tunde Afolayan Famous

Bad facilities and all that are mere consequences of Nigeria’s only problem, or second problem, the first being the one aforementioned- Nigeria doesn’t know what its problem is, and that’s a problem.

Nigeria’s only problem is that we Nigerians have a wrong sense of entitlement, and we can be quite aggressive and close-minded, even to change and development. It is not that we sometimes do not set our priorities right, or something else that you probably anticipated, if you did.

By a “wrong sense of entitlement”, what do I mean?

From the mechanic that is willing to beat you up or yell “ashewooooo!” [prostitute!] at you if you refuse to give him your number, to the policemen and soldiers who expect you to treat them like demigods when your paths cross, and offer your sacrifices in naira notes when applicable, to the local and state government officials who find it okay to steal from the people (after all they’re in charge) instead of getting things done with the resources available, to the pastor who deems huge offerings his right, regardless of the means of survival of the donors, because he is God’s mouthpiece, to Alhaji, who doesn’t really care if his car is packed in your driveway or the sound from his speakers is giving you a migraine- you must be Beelzebub’s girlfriend for not liking noise pollution- to Mummy ‘Dekola who deems your business her business and will die of high blood pressure if you don’t kneel before her properly, to our street men and roadside NURTW tax collectors who do not mind breaking windows and removing doors if they do not get a chance to extort drivers, even when the union dues have already been paid, to the drivers who think it’s okay not to pay their union dues, to Yahoo boys and men who think its okay, and even necessary, to make someone else wallow in depression, for their own survival and well-being- the interesting thing is, the rich almost never fall into their traps; it’s people like their own mothers or other members of the working class who do, to everything and anything else you can think of.

Whew! Yes, it really is that stressful- all of it.

Fulani-ladies-painting-by-ayeola-ayodeji-awizzy

“Fulani Ladies” by Ayeola Ayodeji 

Inadequate infrastructure and corruption and whatnot all stem from the root- the devil itself- having a wrong sense of entitlement. The bloody Nigerian Assembly is a mess for the same reason. Climbing fences. Throwing chairs. A mess.

The interesting this is, a wrong sense of entitlement might develop in someone because someone else has it: “You think it’s your right to block my driveway with your car, and I will show you that I have a right to break your glass.” What does it all result in? A mess.

Unfortunately, a wrong sense of entitlement and the “me first” approach to things is not just a Nigerian problem. It’s the problem of the world. However, in places where it is less dominant in the culture of the society, there have been lots of infrastructural, economic and social success. They are the “better” societies.

Let everyone, that would include me, and you, stop thinking they own or deserve to own the things, or the extra things, that they haven’t worked for and/or simply don’t deserve, and watch the nation, and the world, heal and grow.

It’s okay if my wife doesn’t want to cook today. As the “head of the house”, if the title matters so much to my ego and self-esteem, I should be able to fix something for myself and my family. I am not automatically superior to anyone because I belong to a certain ethnic group. When I use words like “aboki” and “mola” [mallam] or “omo nna” in derogatory ways, I must know that I am wrong. It’s okay if I don’t win someone’s soul to Christ or to Allah; why am I so obsessed with winning it, like a trophy? It’s okay if I don’t get your number; you don’t need to be insulted or disgraced for it. The money in the public purse is not mine, and I don’t deserve more than what my allocated salaries and benefits are.

A reorientation is needed, and I am fully aware that a reorientation is easier said that done, but we can try, at least. We can start from the elementary schools. There should be subjects/courses like Ethics, for instance. I don’t know how algebra has contributed to my existence, in the way that I interact with the world. The schools barely prepare us for the real world; I’ll discuss this some other time.

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These are some of the things that should be considered:

The spirit of volunteerism has to be encouraged among Nigerians, and in the world, to begin with. Also, I don’t know what has happened us-  sympathy and mutual respect melt in online communities and spaces. The wrong sense of entitlement gets worse when you give people Internet privileges.

1. Throw your thrash away properly. It’s not your street, you only live there.

2. Driving is a privilege, not a right. A little patience could save your own life.

3. I don’t deserve every woman and everything because I have a penis. My masculinity is not an egg; it shouldn’t be so fragile.

I’ll leave 4 and 5 and 200 to you to come up with.

Let me know what you think. 

Religion and Class

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We were talking about intersectionality in my class today, and we looked at social locations (like as race/ethnicity, indigeneity, gender, class, sexuality, geography, age, disability/ability, level of education, occupation, migration status and religion) and how they shape the way a person interacts with the world and the way the world interacts with that person.

The reason why many white people go “what the hell are you talking about?” when you tell them that they have white privilege is that they may be disadvantaged in many other ways at the same time. If an able-bodied, straight dark-skinned African woman with a PhD tells a white, differently-abled, lesbian who only has a high school diploma and is working in a factory that she has “privilege”, she might take offence, like “what privilege?” There’s a good chance that the white woman would not be followed around a store or racially profiled by the police, PhD or not. There’s also a good chance that the black woman would be able to attend certain meetings and functions at the University of Toronto that the white woman may never get invitation letters for. 

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The fact remains that a person could be privileged and oppressed at the same time- privileged in some areas and disadvantaged in some- based on the several different social locations that they fall into. I didn’t choose to be black and you didn’t choose to be white. It would be very wrong to guilt trip you based on your race, and if I say that H&M is terrible when it comes to hiring, I’d expect you to understand where I’m coming from.

What stood out to me, however, was religion. My mind drifted off and I had to try to bring myself back to the setting because I focused on it intensely- religion.

If you do not practise Christianity or Islam in Nigeria, you could very well be looked down upon in different social settings, and that is a fact. If it is not Christianity or Islam, it is demonic, and it must be cast and bound. One could wear a hijab or wear a necklace with a cross pendant in most parts of Nigeria without any problem, but as soon as they come out with an opele ifa or wear their ide to main settings, there would be a problem.

With the “you and your generation will go to hell” threats and all sorts of harassment and fuckery, you almost have to hide in a way. I see it now, that religion is very related, not just to culture, but to class, hierarchies and discrimination.

What’s Best?

God will make a weigh,
and sometimes,
as a result of the result,
She may not make a way.