The Lectern: Black is Good

WAW confam home-boy, Vincent Nzemeke is back again. He’s on The Lectern for the March edition, and spitting controversy as usual, this time on the topic of the black man and racism.

It’s not polite, it’s not prim, nowhere near proper…but well, Veen wrote it anyway.

So enjoy – or not – let us read whatever you think of it in the comments section, and have a fantastic month ahead.

The Lectern01

…that we might be read


Black is Good

black

She’s a pauper – a poor little thing in a skimpy, worn-out and ragged dress. But because she was born on one of those days when the sun shined for just fifty miserable minutes, built a snow-man in winter and her skin pigmentation is brighter than yours, she thinks she is better.

In her head, she is up there and you are down there. Her life is the script you and your generations yet unborn should aspire to follow. She wants you to pronounce her name the right way by rolling your tongue even if it hurts. But she says it is illogical when you tell her the ‘K’ in Akpos is silent and should not be pronounced as ‘Hakkpos’. The society taught her to see herself as superior and you as inferior. So from now until the afterlife, you will always be black in her mind even if you die trying to be white.

You are black and will always be black. That’s why you are always alone on seats that should take four persons when you are on the train. When that boy with the curly hair and his friends board before you, they occupy the seats with their bags and legs sometimes. And when you ask them to take their bags so you can seat, they marvel at the audacity of a black man.

Because you are black and will always be, their stomach aches when you make meaningful contributions in class. They are red with envy and disdain when you tell the professor that the capital of Australia is Canberra and not Sydney. It is more annoying when you discuss the history of Europe with so much accuracy, especially how the allied forces made a mess of Hitler’s tactics.  They say Boko Haram is running your country, you tell them the myriads of problems in their own backyards.

So when you have to work in groups, they assign to you what they think is the easiest task. Just because you are black, they think you lack the intellectual wherewithal to do that which they can do. At the meeting,  they are stunned when you tell them 15 subtracted from 103 is 88 without using a calculator.

You know why that lady with flabby breasts at the store made you wait longer than you should when you paid with cash for all those items you bought?  It is because a black man should never have that much. She says it is a normal procedure but it is normal only because you are different.

That cocky dude still can’t believe you beat him in a scrabble game. You compound his woes when you play soccer and you also dazzle him and his brothers when you have the ball. They play like machines; you are sleek, cunning and always scoring beautiful goals. That must be some African magic at work.  That’s what they say in their minds.

You exceed their expectations in different ways.  How can you be black and not be a beggar at their mercy? How can you be black and not kowtow to their whims and caprices?  How can you be black and offer to pay for their meals when you eat out? How can you be black and not fit into the box their society has taught them to put you?  How can you be black and not be ashamed?

It hurts their ego to say you are better than them. So they will remind you at every opportunity that you are black and will always be. Don’t try to argue because it is an argument you will never win. Just keep performing and prove to them that white is not always good and that black is not always bad.

By Vincent Nzemeke

Veen

Vincent ‘Veen’ Nzemeke is a Nigerian currently studying in Germany

If you have written something which you would like read at ‘The Lectern’, send it in a mail titled ‘The Lectern’ to ojukwumartin@gmail.com. If you are unsure about a subject matter but want to be read still, send me an email too and we can work up something appropriate for you. It doesn’t have to be right, left, right or wrong…just your opinion.

Chisom

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14 thoughts on “The Lectern: Black is Good

  1. The author is currently studying in Germany? So I suppose all this wells from personal experience? Because, in my opinion, racism these days is a lot more fostered by the overly sensitive black race, who picture slight in everything the whites do pertaining to him, than by the actual discrimination from the Whites.
    But what do I know? I’m just sitting pretty here in Nigeria, amongst my fellow coloured people.

    • I share your sentiments, Walter, only that I think it is the case in addition to racist abuse meted out by whites on black, and also by blacks on whites. There really are no white and black areas in these matters – pun absolutely intended; it’s all gray.

  2. Nicely written. For me, I don’t think I can be affected by racism.. I tell myself am the best and can’t allow a very version of same specie put me down.

    Btw, Vincent, you are light skinned… thought it’s going to help a bit

    • Agadaga nwanyi! I dey feel you…lol.
      However, methinks that perhaps the most potent force of vices like racial abuse is that one direct hit on one individual indirectly victimizes a whole continent of people. Very sad.

  3. I get the feeling that Vincent wrote this from experience. We might not understand the gravity of racism in the west cos we are amongst our own and we only know what the western media tell us about racism but when a brother in their midst writes like this, there’s an element of truth within.
    I remember his piece about the football match they played and came in third. Read that again and you’ll know he’s talking from experience.

    • You are right, dear…I don’t doubt that Veen wrote this from experience. Though I doubt all the illustrations were his own personal experiences, perhaps there were a few he adapted from black brothers around him.
      All these our ‘feelings’ and ‘assumptions’ shaa…Veen should come and talk fact jare.lol.

  4. I live in Germany and have to say that I strongly agree with Walt Shakes.

    But for me that’s by the way. I am more interested in the writing style. Generally, very captivating and held my interest to the end.

    Some things leave me curious though. First he started with an intimate “introduction” to the blond – with two paragraphs – so I thought she would play a main part of the narrative. But after the second paragraph, she completely disappeared…

    Second, I always cringe at second person POVs, especially when I don’t concur with the experiences the writer is saying that “I” have. Maybe it’s a psychological; I’d rather not be told “In her head, she is up there and – I am – down there”.

    That’s why I avoid second person POV like the plague – taking into consideration the reader’s experience. I couldn’t read the rest of “Roses and Angels” because of that, too.

    • I can see why you might have expected the female character to play a more central role. But the way the writer wrote this one – and the way I read it too – she was just a taste of the ‘meal’ meant to entice. The fact that it’s a move you didn’t expect, I think, makes it a twist in an otherwise pretty straight forward piece. That is a plus for the rider – we don’t have to like twists to appreciate the rarity of a well-executed one.
      Lol @ your dislike of 2nd POV…your sentiments make sense too. I know, firsthand, that they’re more difficult to write than the usual third person narratives so I always appreciate writers who attempt and pull it off. Mehnnn it’s a shame you didn’t finish Roses and Angels, it was one sweeeet ending. 🙂
      Thanks for this feedback, bro…really.

      • From Roses and Angels part I: “You wish the lights were switched on. Anxiety slowly spreads its tentacles on you and tightens its wicked grip when chief mounts on you. His breathing is labourious. His movements are deliberate. His thrusts are quick and forceful, belying the shriveled features of his elderly frame.”
        Lol, that’s why I ran away. Maybe if I suspended disbelief for long enough I would have enjoyed part V when Uche would finally show me that being a prostitute in part I was okay 😀

        For this one sha, paragraphs 1 & 2 separated and used as an intro is an interesting writing style, left me curious. It’s an interesting perspective to view it as a twist.

  5. Racism is bad news, and a terrible plague by all accounts! Had I not sat through an interview granted Nneka, the award-winning soulful artiste, I’d dismiss Veens’ write up with the back of my hands! Nneka’s born to a German mum and an Igbo father and at some point, she sojourned in Germany where she was subjected to a lotta prejudices being a mixed blood, not getting proper jobs you’d describe as ‘white collar’, rather working several menial jobs, cleaning loos and those sorta ‘debasing’ jobs, deemed ‘black abi colored worthy’! Even with her being partly German, that didn’t amount to jack and when she’d ’bout had enough, she returned back to her Fatherland and became an overnight singing sensation! I’ve heard so many stories from Nigerians in the diaspora, family members and loved ones sojourning overseas, and the stories are always the same! So this may not entirely be far-fetched and racism will never plain go away, its here to stay!

    Thanks for sharing Chisom, kudos to the author! Cheers! LOL

    • Only Yemie can deliver bitter judgments like “racism will never plain go away, its here to stay”, and end by saying “Cheers! LOL”.
      God help us as we help ourselves, dear. And it’s always a pleasure.

  6. Hey Fellas, I am sure you are all familiar with that famous line from my Niger-Delta brothers – “who no go no know”. I have lived in Germany for a while and now have a clear perspective of how this racism thing works. For a truth, I have never really been a victim because I try as hard as I can not to put myself in that position. I agree with Walter’s point that some black folks act as though they are looking for people to abuse them by being too sensitive. But all said and done, racism is real my people! Be it in America, Canada, Germany or anywhere else, it is there and I am afraid it will still be there for many more years…. If you have read Americana, you will see how Chimamanda Adichie talked about it even though no one ever threw a banana at her or asked her to get off a moving train. It happens in very subtle ways sometimes. Even Obama, as in Barak Obama knows this.

    It could be like the fictional girl in the first paragraph who despite being miserably poor talks and act with the swagger of an elephant slayer just because she’s white. I mean all those kind of babes who are so condescending they will make you cry if you don’t know some shitty stuffs about their own countries too. (I have met them) Or maybe the professor who says he’s impressed because you speak and write well – better than all the Africans he has met. You think he’s paying you a compliment? No my dear, he is reminding you that you have done exceptionally well for a black man.

    This article sounds satirical but everything I said did happen (may be not to me in particular).

    Don’t get me wrong guys, I have met some wonderful people here. But as it is back home in Nigeria, there will always be some idiots in the mix. They are the ones who inspire this kind of writing.

    Ok, make I give una one gist. (For your ears only). One anu-ofia babe in my class (the one who inspired the first paragraph) dropped out of a course because she’s couldn’t stand my guts. she just couldn’t deal with the fact that everyone agreed that i should be the group leader and handle the presentations . sounds like an everyday gist the way I said it abi? But that na bobo, it was a real war. A dirty one.

    That’s a one-off, some of you will say but everyone including the professor knew what was happening. I have also seen and heard about some other crazy stuffs since happening here.

    Make we leave this matter for another day.

    As for the writing style, every writer knows that it depends on how it comes. sometimes, two bottles of German beer still won’t help you find your bearing. so make una manage am… I keep trying to improve.

    I wrote this with the free WiFi on a train… One white dude is wondering why I am laughing out loud. Should I tell him I am reading your comments?

    Chisom over to you.

    Veen

    • Racism is real, my brother.
      Infact, I think that sometimes sef, we blacks can know how to turn around and be racist with white folks. Like how a pile of negatives mathematically equal a positive, we could, sometimes inadvertently, turn our own resistance to racism into an attack of itself. Especially in the cases where the abuse doesn’t even exist in the first place…and I think that’s where Walter was coming from.

      There are good people and there are bad people in the world, mate…else it’d be one boring place. Shit happens everyday, I’m glad you have chosen to live above it.

      Lol @ the two bottles of German beer. Maybe you and Ikenna can hook up there in Germany there and slug it out man to man, beer to beer…yeah?
      As for the oga wey dey watch you for train, tell am say na e-village meeting you dey, and offer him a bottle of Orijin 🙂

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