There are two types of people on Earth;
- Those that are conscious of race.
- And those that are not.
By race, I do not mean the Olympics where Usain Bolt is the King of the tracks, this involves the various sub division of humans.
Human beings we all know from experience —except you are a robot or allien— are social creatures and we usually gravitate towards those similar to us. We are drawn to others who enjoy the same kind of music, books, movies, food and even clothes. We connect easily with those who speak the same language as us, subscribe to the same religion and those whose skin color look like ours.
On finding answers to why we do this, I got charmed by the beautiful triad of race, history and slavery. I can’t really remember exactly when/what triggered this love affair, but like most things with the heart, you do not always have neon signs to warn you.
It’s often said that when your mind is concentrated on a thing, the universe pulls it to you. The universe surely has been a magnet in that respect as during the past few months, I have stumbled on lots of materials —books, short films, articles, documentaries etc. — about race, history and slavery.
Some of these books— Homecoming, To Kill a Mocking Bird, Between the World and Me — dealt squarely with race and slavery. While others like Things Fall Apart, Disgrace, Their Eyes were watching God and Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind, were more concerned about the human condition.
So I am running a miniseries —ON RACE— as part of my “ON” series.
The focus is on;
- Racial consciousness/awareness,
- Dealing with people of different races and
- Racial prejudice/stereotypes.
Most times, the conversation on race is limited to the US, reduced to just Black vs White and recently, Black Lives Matter. But there are over 190 countries in the world and each have its own unique experience relating to race.
To understand these experiences better, I will be featuring different writers from all over the world. Each with his/her own personal story. I initially intended to limit the contributors to just Nigerians in diaspora and returnees like myself, but I decided to spread my net and make the conversation more encompassing. The world is sandwiched with an amazing taste of people, why settle for less?
I will kick of the series with ON RACE: The Smell of Blackness, which is a memoir on how I became racial conscious, and will share contributions on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays weekly.
I see this as a collaboration and will be delighted to receive participants willing to contribute not just on the comment section, but people who are willing to share their individual stories. The goal here is not to foster hate — I have gotten angry when exposed to history I never knew before— but to help us break down the wall of our prejudice and make us develop empathy towards each other. With empathy, we can learn to treat people better because we see things from their perspective and not just ours.
We can learn to recognize red flags that are racially offensive. Learn when/how to avoid them and how to adjust our behavior so we do not intentionally/unintentionally treat others badly because they are different.
It will also enable us understand the effects of race on our world, as ironically we are more connected than anytime in human history thanks to the internet yet we are more disconnected. There are lots of things we do not know about race as most of us exist in our private echo chamber and are oblivious to what happens to others. Some have become color blind, while others still see racial differences as us against them.
I look forward to reading enlightening personal experiences and I encourage you to join me on this journey. 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 understand how the system works.
Why some things are what they are?
What led to racism and prejudice? And how we can improve on our humanity.
Thank you and join me on this journey as we learn more On Race.
Please do contact me via email X43writes@gmail.com if you are willing to contribute.