Does Racism Exist in Nigeria?

In one of my Facebook groups, someone recently asked why more POC didn’t consider living in countries that were predominantly POC. To this, someone responded “Racism is everywhere so go where you feel called.” I thought about this and thought about my observations and my experience here in Nigeria and I asked myself two questions: 1. Do I feel racism here in Nigeria? 2. And if so, is it the same as it is in the United States?

Heavy stuff, right? And truth be told, I hadn’t thought about it until that FB conversation. But then I started to think deeply about the statements being made. For the purpose of this conversation assume that when I say POC, I mean black people. First, this shouldn’t be a surprise, but yes Nigeria is comprised predominantly of POC. So my experience interacting with Nigerians has been a little different than that of a non-POC. First, I’ve never been followed around a store here. Next, when I enter an establishment people seem genuinely happy to have me there. And lastly, there’s never been a delay in service due to servers not wanting to serve my party because of some stereotype belief that people who look like me are chronically bad tippers (I ALWAYS tip at least 20%). I could go on and on, but you get the gist of what I’m saying. I haven’t faced any DISCRIMINATION due to being a POC here in Nigeria. That doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced it due to being a foreigner, more specifically an American. But that’s a blog post for another day.

Now, notice I said “my experience interacting with Nigerians”. Like many African countries, Nigeria has a growing population of expats. There is a large population of people from Lebanon, various countries in Europe and the U.S. due to the embassies, various NGOs and of course, the liquid gold of Nigeria, oil. And of course, these people start businesses or set up offices for their companies or start/run schools. So yes, there is potential to be discriminated against. Have I personally experienced it? Hmmm. Well, I’d say yes, but again, that’s another story for another day. Has it impacted my livelihood? Nope. Does it impact me on a daily basis like in the U.S.? Absolutely not.

And that is enough of a reason or motivation, as far as I’m concerned, for more POC who are willing to move abroad to seek to live in predominantly POC countries. Of course, there are other issues, but are there systems in place that will impact your livelihood, unfairly prosecute and sentence you, or simply harass you on a daily basis due to your skin color? No. See that is racism. It is systemic. And the truth is, if white people haven’t created the systems then there can be no racism. Can there be prejudice or discrimination? Absolutely. However, do you have to wear a mask or look over your shoulder? Do you have to worry about how you’re perceived for fear of not receiving adequate service or far worse, being unjustly treated by law enforcement, employers or people who don’t look like you? No. Yeah, there are going to be people who will discriminate against you anywhere you go due to their own warped sense of entitlement, their toxic prejudices and them just being assholes in general. But nothing, and I mean nothing, will ever compare to the way we are treated in the U.S.

Mic is sufficiently and indubitably dropped.

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