Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ethnic discrimination and the rest of them…

Have you ever stereotyped anyone from a different tribe just because of that- a different ethnic background? We all may have done it before unconsciously, but for some others, it is a lifestyle, 24/7 uninterruptible ethnocentrism and tribalism in action. Why do people derive joy in demeaning others just because they do not belong to their tribe?

These people believe their culture is superior to others, thus, they tend to judge others by the standard of their culture. Such notion is unacceptable, especially in a world that has become a global village. What we need is a more tolerable generation…people who appreciate other people’s culture! Now, in case you are wondering where this sudden concern over ethnic discrimination is coming from, I’d tell you. One of my classmates just suffered from one! She was sent literarily sent packing from her friend’s house because the latter’s family judged her by her physical features and concluded that she doesn’t deserve their accommodation because she was not from their tribe when in actual fact she is, she just didn’t look it!

Someone somewhere has been denied an opportunity because the person/people in authority do not like the sound of her tribe. It hurts to be faced with such rejection, to be defined and judged by others because of your ethnic background, something you have no power over. There are those who meet you for the first time and ask you for your state of origin as well as village of origin, even though it is of no relevance to the occasion. Such attitude often leads to favouritism, resentment or discrimination! Well, maybe you have heard of worse discrimination, or you have suffered from one yourself?

I flee each time I meet someone who wants to put me in a box of ethnic caucus! I got a casual invitation from a classmate once, “you know we are from the same tribe, we should stick together” she said. It sounded very harmless but isn’t that how it all starts? Before you know it, we would start oppressing others with our group and make life miserable. People who converge to engage in ethnic war do not jump down from the sky; they are formed daily, long before the misunderstanding ensued.

In a complex Nation like Nigeria , ethnicity obviously play dominant role in the allocation of power, status, wealth and other societal goals. Ethnic discrimination and its likes are some of the factors threatening our unity. Although foreigners gasp in awe each time we tell them there are about 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria , only we know where the shoe actually pinches. But must we fold our hands and allow its negative impact fragment us?

I do not believe any tribe is superior or more important than others as far as Nigeria is concern. We are all interwoven, each tribe a part of a whole. Our beauty is diversity, our unity is our strength. The earlier this generation grasp this truth, the better!

No comments: