Time For A Little Honesty – Would You Rather Be Black Or White?

Opinion

This post was inspired by an article I read yesterday by Keith Haney about the guilt that White people are made to feel about the privileges they enjoyed in the past, and probably still enjoy today. I shared my comment under his post, but I got to thinking… What is worse? Feeling guilty for being…

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This post was inspired by an article I read yesterday by Keith Haney about the guilt that White people are made to feel about the privileges they enjoyed in the past, and probably still enjoy today. I shared my comment under his post, but I got to thinking… What is worse? Feeling guilty for being privileged or being disadvantaged for the colour of your skin?

As much as we think we have progressed and racism is no longer a serious issue, I would like to suggest that it is. Until we no longer identify ourselves as Black or White people, then I reckon racism will still be an issue. Sure, as much as possible, we need to move past blaming people, who live in a time where racism is being addressed, for the crimes committed when racism was rife. The problem is not White people, the problem is RACISM. So please, this post is not about blaming my White brothers and sisters, but addressing the problem that is racism.

Racism has become a sort of truth, an institutional and structural problem that needs to be navigated, until it can be eliminated. However, saying it isn’t there is simply lying. Are some Black people milking the racism card to get a leg up? Hell yeah! As in, the poor use their poverty to get charity, and in America they use it to validate their request for food stamps (I don’t know if that still happens), so why can’t Black people use the recognition of their disadvantaged circumstances to get a little sympathy and support?

However, those who are successful among Black people, those who make it to the top alongside their fellow White humans don’t get there with the attitude of charity or by appealing for favours due to their skin colour. They actually get there by believing that they are just as equal as their White counterparts, that they have what it takes and damn the limitations, they will succeed – without grovelling or having a pity party.

These Black people are to be respected. They are the ones who have realised that the structural framework that is racism can be navigated, and that their success if not dependent on what others offer or provide for them, but what they fight for and make for themselves. However, though many Black people may have such a mind, few get to the top – and that is still evidence of the struggle caused by institutional racism. Because otherwise, it should be almost 50/50 by now, represented in Government, Media, Academia, Business et al!

So, if you are being true to yourself and to the reality on ground about the existence of racism, in favour of White people, would you rather be White or Black? I know it is a tough one to answer, especially for the many who are “Black and Proud”. But seriously guys… What is the truth? Would you rather be Black and work twice as hard to get a break or be White and suffer the occasional guilt that comes with being favoured?

I know it will be hard to answer publicly, so help a Sister out by using my poll to answer privately. There is a poll for those who are White, another for those who are Black and yet another for those who don’t fall into either camp (if you’re mixed raced, being half-Black and half-White, apparently you’re Black). I know that there are other races (another issue with institutional racism that seems to ignore Asians and others in the Black and White feud), but for the sake of the Black and White feud, I would like to clear up what race people in general consider preferable.

Let me speak honestly. I know who I am and I love myself and everything that has made me who I am. Though I know this is a man’s world, I wouldn’t want to be any other sex but female! I am Black and content, not exactly proud, because being Black was not my choosing nor my making! So if I’m being honest, given the reality of racism, I wouldn’t mind some of that guilt please, if that is the cost of being White. And I’ve never liked my African hair! It’s a whole lot of stress to be beautiful with it, and I would much prefer the easily maintained White, Asian or Hispanic hair (which I believe is the case among lots of my Black Sisters who buy human hair to use on their heads).

Now, while we are wishing, I would rather have an American or British passport than the Nigerian one I hold. I wouldn’t mind enjoying the Visa Waiver programme all of you are enjoying, while I have to suffer queues and interviews and rejection and abuses to get a visa to visit a country like America. Sometimes I wonder if Nigeria would be as bad as it is if we were a race of Whites, or if the treatment we receive when we visit other countries would be better if we were a race of Whites. There are many more issues to this race thing than the Black American experience of racism.

Finally, I know there will be those who will say, “I’d rather be what God made me to be”. Please spare us the religious mumbo jumbo here. There are people who are born physically disabled and have to go through life living with a limiting disability, who would much rather have been born able-bodied. There are also many who were born with terminal illnesses or even chronic illnesses that have to suffer all their lives. Given the choice, I am sure they would rather have been born healthy. So please be real, and dig in your hearts and be honest. Is racism still a reality?

Thanks for your honest contribution to this poll. Please help me share it, and let’s get to the truth of the matter!

 

Responses

  1. CeeCee
    This reminds me of a quote I love “I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. . . Even in the helter-skelter skirmish that is my life, I have seen that the world is to the strong regardless of a little pigmentation more or less. No, I do not weep at the world—I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife”.
    “I am not my hair. I am not this skin. I am the soul that lives within.”
    1. Prince Briefoziel Esigie Edaferierhi Egbewuare
      Hello Maiden CeeCee hi., I am most great full for this Inspiration filled Contribution. I am lifted knowing that am the only one who shares like mind about the subject matter. Pls tell me, are you a writer? I admire your sense of words. Cheers!
  2. PRINCE BRIEFOSIEL ESIGIE EDAFERIERHI EGBEWUARE
    Our Nationality , Tribe and color is never our Choices but simply God’s Design Choice. We didn’t earned it via the Exchange of any Currency. Of course non of us could’ve been able to. Therefore I am proud been BLACK and if were WHITE would also be proud and great-full to God been what He has made me, Black / White. I think this question is coming in time such as now to test our gratitude and Contentedness to and in God for that which He has freely given us. Cheers!
  3. The_Word
    I’d rather be white. I am unashamed to admit this. I’d serve God better if I was white, so please don’t bring religion into this conversation.

    Man, I’d accomplish great things as a white man, and I’d do them without the hassle of being, first, a Nigerian, and second, a black man.

    And most of all, I wouldn’t feel guilty about being white. All white people who feel guilty about their white privilege are deceiving themselves. Yeah, your forebears were ravenous monsters who killed a lot of black people, but that was a long time ago. You weren’t there, and you’ve apologised on their behalf. It’s time to move on.

    If God came down now and asked everyone to choose the race they wanted to be, I’d choose white. You too would choose white. Your sanctimonious proclamations of “black and proud” only exist because you can’t be anything but black. In then end, when God has granted our wishes, there’d be a lot more white people than black people in this world, or no black people at all.

    Yes, I am tired of this country, in case you haven’t figured that out.

    But I am black, and I was brought up to appreciate what I am and what I have, so there. I’m black. I’m stuck as a black man. This is my sanctimonious proclamation.

    God help me.

    1. Ufuomaee Post author
      Thanks for your honest contribution. I tend to agree. I think a lot of those claiming black and proud are lying to themselves… The same as those saying they are proud Nigerians! Not when they are embarrassing you at the airport because of a bad legacy…
    2. Prince Briefoziel Esigie Edaferierhi Egbewuare
      Hey hello Somebody.,
      yeah i understand okay., all am saying is yes, the did is already done and as such no need, i think in crying about a spilled milk. Am not trying to say i do not know the great and hung privileges we do not have access to because of our Nationality or Race but my resolve is no one complain about a given gift / privilege he / she did not earn but simply an act of a concerned Benevolent giver. Who only gives the way he dims fit. Remain great-full Bro, Cheers!
  4. Toni
    Honestly? I’d prefer to be mixed race than “White.” And it’s mostly for superficial reasons.

    I don’t think it’s any “better” to be white than black, though a lot of things do come easier to white folk. I feel being White would be too boring, and straightforward. I like a little spice in my life, abeg.

    1. Ufuomaee Post author
      I concur 🙂 Being mixed is more spicey, but apparently, they suffer more from identity and belonging issues. But the question is whether white or black, no mixed option 🙂
      1. Toni
        Personally, I’ve learned to base my identity on my feelings, desires, aspirations. Don’t mean to digress but who I am is who I want to be, irrespective of anyone’s expectations. So I don’t believe mixed race identity issues would be wahala for me.

        As to choosing between white and black… sigh… I’d choose black. Sure, e dey pain me die when I can’t take advantage of certain opportunities because I’m black AND Nigerian. But I won’t trade my race for privilege. Maybe my nationality, but certainly not my melanin poppin swag dripping curly haired goodness!

  5. Michael
    I am a proud Yoruba man.
    I live in England and I can see that life would be. Much easier if I was white (at least that’s the consensus)

    But I love my language. I love my culture.. the subtleties…I love the food the way we dance our music.. I like being the underdog…I think I would have a better life as a black billionaire than a white one..we enjoy life more..we laugh more…we also have less.. we are ridiculously resilient..the suicide rate in England is many times what it is in Naija..despite harsher conditions in Nigeria. Dammit I love being the underdog. I say this with my eyes open..I have. 2 beautifulyoung daughters and I hope they enjoy being black as much as I do..I hope they don’t hate their hair..I hope theythey enjoy being different and unique….. as a race we have gone from castaways to slaves to second class citizens.. I dont want to be white..I choose black again and again

    1. Toni
      Dude I should have just waited for your comment and concurred with you. I ENJOY being the underdog! I LOVE the way we live and approach life as back people. Well said.
      1. PRINCE BRIEFOSIEL ESIGIE EDAFERIERHI EGBEWUARE
        Toni hi. Thanks for your reply.
        Meanwhile as regards the we Blacks (NIGERIANS) live and approach Life i beg to differ. I only agree with you but not totally and generally Man.
        1. There is a hung problem with the way we live and approach life as a Nation. Generally Toni we are too self centered and self seeking People. Rather than Live and LET Live, the average Nigerian would rather live at the expense and the disadvantage of his / her fellow Nigerians why?

        2. Let’s talk about the way we do Government, in terms of of “ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEMS” Aha! we are sick oh, very sick in this regards. Our Systems are not “PRO-ACTIVE” We are always Stranded and Aids seeking. Sometimes from Nations to whom by now we ought to be giving Aids. BOKO HARAM were already bombing us right left and center of recently before our Mobil Police personnel had to be set abroad to be taught how de fused and dis arm bombs, can you imagine that? Administrative wise we are though very Knowledgeable in theory and of course when running our personal Businesses. Looking at the Private Sectors today, you will find Organizations with very good Administrative measure well articulated in different “CHAINS OF COMMAND” and Job Description (JD) of its various Professionals and management Staffs. This kinds of Chains of Command makes it very difficult and perhaps Impossible for frauds or Corruptions to thrive. But this same Individuals gets into Political Seats / appointments and yet nothing seems to work. There are no such good administrative measures well articulated in chains of command in their jurisdictions of affairs. And this is why the issues of “ghost workers” exists both in the State and Federal Parastatals till today. One man Individual approves Contract (s) and the same man sign Cheques, the same man is the Inspectorate of same Contract(s) Ahabaha na think about it man.
        3. Lastly, Toni are you aware that, at the very early stage of this same present administration, Sixty Five (65) newly trained cadet personnel of the State Security Service (SSS) who were awaiting official Commissioning into the service fold shortly after the successful Completion and return from the Institute of Specialized Operations – ISRAEL were all dis missed? Now tell me man, to what excuse can any security friendly management owns such dis missal that is anti security should these individuals at the excuse of no job now decides a career in Crime(s)?
        Cheers!
        Prince Briefosiel Esigie Edafe Egbewuare.
        Ex Level seven(7) Security Clearance Field Marshal
        “National Intelligence Agency (NIA).(Federal Secret Service)

        1. Toni
          Wow! That’s some comment Prince.

          First off, no nation, or people, is perfect. The “best,” most advanced or developed countries still struggle with crime, vice etc. So, to disagree that Nigerians’ approach to life isn’t good because we have a couple of “bad hombres” in the country isn’t a fair argument.

          Second, every country has self-serving/self-centred people so it’s NOT exclusively a Nigerian problem. Humans are selfish, period! But you do raise a point: Nigerians seem to be quite selfish in our quest for money, fame, power etc. We can climb each others heads just to get some favours, or get a position or some financial handout. I have a theory on why we act this way. The group of people called Nigerians are not historically one nation. We used to be several tribes, city states, before colonialism forcefully brought us together. All the tensions that before existed between some of these smaller groups of people haven’t been resolved to this day in Nigeria. So you have people who didn’t really get on well with each other and who were two distinct groups of people, now forced to live and coexist with each other. That’s a recipe for disaster! So the fighting continues, everyone is still looking out for their “tribe,” although these days tribe could mean anything from family, to friends, or ethnic group, political party etc. Perhaps if we willingly had sought alliances between tribes to form the nation Nigeria, we’d find it easier to deal with our differences. Also, we have been fed a “scarcity” mentality such that each person sees every opportunity to progress as a narrow window that could close anytime. So, anything goes when trying to get through that window. How this mentality came about and is still perpetuated today, I don’t know. But I see it daily.

          Another side to the apparent rife corruption in Nigeria is promotion without merit. People get things done in Nigeria not based on merit but on the level of your “connections.” While this is also done in other societies, our seems to be so deep that people no longer see any value in working hard or seeking merit when it’s easier to get your brother to easily give you a foot in the door, whether you’re deserving or not. Most people choose to be corrupt because it’s easier than being upright and decent. Imagine seeing your family starve while you’re doing honest labor, and the people around you are living in plenty through corruption. It takes a very strong man to see his son crying for food and stick to his principles by not stealing to feed that crying child. If you’re a parent, you’d understand.

          I’m not excusing our bad behavior, or our lazy attitude towards becoming better people, I’m merely pointing out that we aren’t especially bad people, we just have a history of experiencing some pretty bad things (slavery, colonization, failed political leadership) that the average guy now seeks survival by any means! It’s pure human instinct kicking in. Our “system” wasn’t designed by us, neither was it designed for our benefit. So, I feel Nigerians, black people, are doing a bit okay based on how bad we’ve had it in the past. Sure, we can and should be doing much better than this, but given that the odds aren’t in our favour, we still surprisingly do so well in negative circumstances. We have a lighthearted attitude despite all the problems we face. We know how to enjoy life, even when we have very little compared to other countries/races. We have a certain flair, a certain style that came from us being the underdog for such a long time. I can’t fully explain it but it’s there if you choose to see it.

          1. Prince Briefoziel Edaferierhi Egbewuare
            Oh yeah Toni hi, thanks I’ve learned some more from this reply piece. But nevertheless man, for us to continue doing stuff the same way and expecting a more different result is counter productive period! I am not arguing friend.,at least from the piece you shared i really see quit a lot i think skipped my memory of how we as a Nation came about. No need crying about a spilled milk. We’ve got to chart a way forward some how, that the next generations after this present iPad / Bluetooth / Copy & Past Generation would not necessarily suffer same Struggle we are suffering today. Cheers and have a nice day. 1love!
    2. Mr X
      Couldn’t agree more. I was trying to articulate it all until i came across your comment. I have no doubt whatsoever I would be too laid back as a human being if i weren’t a black man. It keeps me on my toes especially living in a white man’s continent. There’s a bigger sense of pride in achievements despite the possible odds stacked against me. When all motivation is lost, just a thought along that path gives me the “umph” i need to get on that horse again and give it another go. And when i look around and see my fellow black brothers and sisters with like minds and mentality killing it, making it happen on a daily… i feel even more pride. It doesn’t have to always be me. If one wins…I win. I’m Black & I’m proud.

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