My entree into the world showed me that primarily we were all humans. And though we had different thoughts, aspirations and tendencies, the true assessment of your fellow human was on their actions.
My immediate world was full of promise. Being loved was my right and not a privilege. There was no horizon too obscure that I would fear to subdue. I was human extraordinaire. Being smart was normal and my upbringing helped me to believe in the oneness of humanity.
I had breakfast ruminating on Shakespeare like one would on a close friend. I went into lunch empathizing with Emily Bronte on what Wuthering Heights meant to the commonality of humans. The Greek mythologies were to me a rendition of my past lives in extinct cultures. I was to my own thoughts the favored of Zeus and I was Achilles devoid of the weakness.
Many times, in childhood games I played roles that I believed I was repeating, only this time as acting of heroes past. I believed in extraterrestrial life and saw the difference possible in us as the limitation of our intellectual ability. I loved fiercely because that was the only way I knew to love, and in my less serious moments I believed I was of a Casanova.
Wonders are many on earth and the greatest of these is man who rides the ocean and makes his way through the deep, the windswept mountains of perilous seas that surge and sway. He is the master of ageless earth and to his own will bending the immortal murder of the gods. To every ill he has found its cure, save death. That was my anthem and I believed death not to be an ill since it was also a common denominator of humanity, like birth, hurt and love.
My faith in humanity made me color blind. I sailed through life unshaken in this believe and in the due course of the fairy tale of my existence it was only a matter of course that I would travel like Gulliver to behold other comrades and partakers in the nonstop party that was living. The irony of it was I never thought that in his travels Gulliver met not only giants but also Lilliputians. I sojourned to the Philippines — the land of more fun especially during summer. I met fellow humans that though of different skin and language, I believed were only a beautiful addition to the variety that life in its aesthetic sense of beauty had gifted humanity with. I was overjoyed and bursting with eagerness to advance my fellowship to more in the one big family that humanity was.
The feeling of euphoria lasted. Wherever I went I stood out as has always been my lot. I was pointed out and people approached to say hi or to feel my skin. I strutted with the pride of an ambassador showing a new land the beauty of another option.
The euphoria lasted and life was a cocoon of bliss and new experiences until I went to the bus terminal to take a further journey in knowing what my host country had to offer. I boarded the bus and noticed only an empty seat from a haggard looking woman whose odoriferous stench was succeeding in giving the nice scenting atmosphere a deadly odor. I was unhappy with the rest of her country men. I railed silently at them wondering how they could not see the humanity in her past her physical apparels and her unpleasant scent.
I was taught to be gracious to the less privileged. I was taught by none other than Chinua Achebe that those who had their kernel broken for them by the gods should not look with scorn on the less privileged. Many a passenger before me had climbed that bus and seeing the only available seat to be one shared with her had disembarked from the bus. I was determined to teach them acceptance. I was determined to make her know even if her country men discriminate against her, I was the Daniel come to judgement. I was the good looking rich expensively smelling dude who would sit by her and remove her stench with the scent of my perfume and so I majestically walked up to her with a pleasant smile on my face and sat only to see her close her nose. Like I brought with me a smell that only could have come from the worst of putrefaction.
I was taken aback. I looked at her to be sure I was seeing correctly but alas my eyes were not mistaken the first time. She compressed herself to the boundaries of the wall of the bus. Nose firmly covered. I had a moment of awakening right there and then and realised that though downtrodden by her fellow country men she still saw her self as my superior because of her skin. I realised that while her odour came from her body and its unhygienic care, mine was worse because it was a product of my race. I realised that racism was more than a word but a way of life. I have never felt so black and subsequent experiences never touched me as that.
In a moment of absolute clarity I realised that discrimination was even more among the under privileged, than it was with the privileged and enlightened. And I also realized that no matter how well dressed and no matter the perfume I use my black skin gave me an odour to some people who I can only see as my own Lilliput in my own version of Gulliver’s travel . and I resolved not to withdraw to my roots but to create the awareness that my skin do not define me. That I can be more British than Britons .that I could teach queens culture to her subjects. That my blackness do not come with a standard odour. That was the one moment that I knew that save for being human, I was a human and I was black.
Chukwuemeka Obani is the most intelligent evil person alive. He is a deceptive Enigma. An award winning Essayist who ridicule words and force them into unholy unions. When he is not writing, he disguises as a Marine Engineer.
The conversation on race is never ending. Everyday, a new script is written which makes race a reality TV show, but unfortunately, it is not on TV.
Over the past few weeks we have shared different unique stories from people in different countries across the world. We hope that these stories have questioned our answers on race and challenged the status quo.
The conversation never ends, so share these articles online, discuss them with real life friends and virtual friends on social media, and above all, I will encourage us all to be civil.
The goal is not to foster hate as stated earlier, but to help us understand the unique interactions of different races in different countries.
How we became racial conscious/aware.
What led to racial stereotypes and prejudice?
Dealing with people of other races and how we can improve on our humanity.
Thank you for joining me on this journey On Race.
Follow the links below for other contributions on this series