Thursday, February 23, 2006

Did you just do that?

Responding to Nkem’s blog on racism, I wanted to detail some of my experiences. I have been to a few countries and most times I didn't notice if I was being treated unfairly or not, I just went on with things knowing I was an alien and it would only be there temporarily till I got my degree and left as I was reminded in bold sentences on the application form each time I applied to extend my student Visa.

The first ever racist experience I had was in Bristol. I was on my way to the physiotherapist and the bus stop being almost a mile away from the hospital, I was taking a leisurely stroll. The next thing, two young jobless men walk past me and the wind carries a quiet Nigggaaaaa...Now I heard this but convinced myself I had dreamed it up. They wouldn't dare!! A few minutes later the cowards are quite a long way off and I about to enter the gates of the hospital and as clear as ever I hear a LOUD Nigga!!! No bloody way, the blood rushed to my head and my eyes stung but seeing as it was too late to do anything about it, which my end up with my getting stabbed anyway, I walk on with my head high.

Another incident occurred at my halls of residence. It was a six bedroom flat, with one shower and one bathroom. The oldest guy there, we will call him P, a right minger, dirty as could be, creepy as could be and tres irritating was the warden of the flat. The other four were all British, 3 girls and 1 guy. The other guy S was a geordie and had never spoken to a black person but we got along just fine. The girls were alright. My first year was hell as I didn't know any other Nigerians or black person for that matter and had to cope with Techno music..I'm blue dabble di dabbble die dabble di dabble die, which I eventually grew on me!!... drinking, accents, and generally dealing with the unfamiliar. I would just break down sometimes. I digress…Anyway one blessed day an argument broke out in the kitchen and at that point I wasn't interested so I didn't bother to check. Later that day, one of the girls came into my room and complained that the bath was always dirty. Only a few of us used the actual bath, I used it because I didn’t like getting my hair wet and P used it to soak his large body in. After soaking he would leave a massive ring of dirt where the water settled and which I would have to wash before I got in cos I couldn’t stand the sight of it. She then told me that P complained that I was the one leaving the brown dirt. At that point I was so mad because I had been silent about his dirty habits so long, then he had the audacity to make such a stupid and ignorant comment. I let loose on him, he really didn't know what hit him. He sure didn’t like being called racist. Needless to say, the bathroom was never dirty again.

My final story… After eight months in France, it was time to move unto the next leg of my course. We had a great time but it was time to say goodbye so I packed up my stuff which turned out to be too heavy to carry across borders, so I unpacked all my books and left them for my French landlady to do whatever she liked with them (when I first moved in she asked if Africans took showers). A few months later, I received an email from our course coordinator in France. Something along the lines of

Dear TMinx*,

Madame Pepe* has notified us that she has a few hangers missing. She says that hese hangers are wooden and very expensive. They have been in the family for a long time. Please quietly post the hangers and we will not have to take this further.


Monsieur Prat*.

I couldn't believe what I was reading. My suitcases were over the allowed weight limit and she thought I would steal her heavy wooden do exactly what with them? He sent two or more emails in the same light even though I confirmed that I didn't take any damn hangers. I responded saying

Dear Monsiuer PRATTTTT,

Please consider what you write before you send an email. Contrary to what you or M. Pepe may think, not all black people are kleptomaniacs. I am black does not equate to I am untrustworthy. Please inform her that I did not take her hangers, she was there watching when I was packing and there was no space for wooden heirlooms. Please do not send any further emails on this subject.



I have never heard from either of them again. Looking back she was watching me pack to check if I took anything.

*Not real names.


LondonBuki said...

I think I have been fortunate enough not to be a victim of racism. I know ppl who have been and I don't know how I would react to such a thing.

I just read Nkem's blog and it's quite amazing that adults would tell their little kids that black ppl are slaves! God help anyone who treats my 6 year old kid that way!!!

BTW Nkem's blog is

so-obscure said...

Whao! I have never been openly discriminated against...
But, I do know that most 'blacks' have a tale to tell when it comes to racism...

I have often wondered what i will do if someone or a group of miscreants call me a 'nigga' seriously to my face... what will i do...?
I don't want to imagine it.