By Gimba Kakanda
The lasting solution to anti-black racism is one we aren’t prepared for. We may trend hashtags for a century, but that won’t solve the problem. Unless we build viable black nations and give black people bragging rights, home and abroad, the dignity of the black is going to remain on the floor.
There’s something that being a national of a prosperous country does to your image and esteem abroad. Aside from being treated respectfully at airports and luxury shops, you have no fear of being unfairly second-guessed by your hosts. It’s tough having our passport and skin colour. Nigeria was on the track to becoming a redeemer of the black race, but that dream has long been deferred.
I remember being asked by a high school student in New Orleans, and that instantly made me realize what the prosperity of Africa meant to her, and other African-Americans. After her broadside against racism, she asked, “What does it mean to be black in a place like Nigeria?”
The question seemed easy at first, and I would’ve really loved to tell her the glories of this country, and the quality of life here. But I couldn’t lie. What began as a friendly exchange between two Africans separated by transatlantic slave trade turned into a sober reflection on the possibility of creating a haven for the black race. At least that was the fantasy of her forebears during their civil rights movements and mine during the anti-colonial struggles.
Hashtags won’t kill racism. To kill racism, building viable black countries is inescapable, as done by China, Singapore, UAE, Qatar, among others. The reason Africa is still being patronized by other countries this way is because of its commodity boom, and it’s an expiry date.
Often, Africans are mistreated because of this crude feeling that comes with realisations that the racists’ own race, having built what the others haven’t, must indeed be superior. There’s no shortcut out of this humiliating reality of the black, and it’s not even negotiable.