Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Blue Collar Lawman: the story of Nigeria's "independence"

omelettes cannot be made without breaking eggs. - English saying

Its explosive, its captivating and i spent the better part of today reading through the site.

Blue Collar Lawman is the account of Harold 'Sean' Smith (a former British Government senior civil servant) and recounts the events (1955 - 60) leading up to Nigeria's independence

This is the story of evil committed by kind, nice, decent British politicians. They sought to keep Britain from bankruptcy and found a solution in the mineral-rich Empire on the point of independence. It was necessary to bend the rules and, sadly, in due course the rules were totally forgotten. Those who got in the way were innocent like the colonial peoples, but both had to be dealt with quite harshly.

To leave friends in charge of Nigeria in our absence was surely prudent. The local people chose hothead politicians and it was our duty to outwit them. The loss of one or two lives is all we can truly comprehend. An expedient Whitehall decision is calm and deliberate and the risks if ever considered must be small and, of course, anonymous.

Friday, June 16, 2006

until you can walk in my skin you don't know shit

"I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race." - a white person

stumbled on the article below while reading this blog and it got me thinking about the things we (and i mean blacks) have to deal with all the time.

Its easy for some white person and i'm refering to certain bloggers (ok i'll name one, naijablog) who think because he lives in Nigeria, it automatically gives him the right to dish out advice and all.
As a white person you will never ever understand what it feels like to be one of us, so please until you can walk in my skin you don't know shit...

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

"I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group"

Peggy McIntosh

Through work to bring materials from women's studies into the rest of the curriculum, I have often noticed men's unwillingness to grant that they are overprivileged, even though they may grant that women are disadvantaged. They may say they will work to women's statues, in the society, the university, or the curriculum, but they can't or won't support the idea of lessening men's. Denials that amount to taboos surround the subject of advantages that men gain from women's disadvantages. These denials protect male privilege from being fully acknowledged, lessened, or ended.

Thinking through unacknowledged male privilege as a phenomenon, I realized that, since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there are most likely a phenomenon, I realized that, since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there was most likely a phenomenon of while privilege that was similarly denied and protected. As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.

I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was "meant" to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks.

Describing white privilege makes one newly accountable. As we in women's studies work to reveal male privilege and ask men to give up some of their power, so one who writes about having white privilege must ask, "having described it, what will I do to lessen or end it?"

After I realized the extent to which men work from a base of unacknowledged privilege, I understood that much of their oppressiveness was unconscious. Then I remembered the frequent charges from women of color that white women whom they encounter are oppressive. I began to understand why we are just seen as oppressive, even when we don't see ourselves that way. I began to count the ways in which I enjoy unearned skin privilege and have been conditioned into oblivion about its existence.

My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will. My schooling followed the pattern my colleague Elizabeth Minnich has pointed out: whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work that will allow "them" to be more like "us."

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Daily effects of white privilege

I decided to try to work on myself at least by identifying some of the daily effects of white privilege in my life. I have chosen those conditions that I think in my case attach somewhat more to skin-color privilege than to class, religion, ethnic status, or geographic location, though of course all these other factors are intricately intertwined. As far as I can tell, my African American coworkers, friends, and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact in this particular time, place and time of work cannot count on most of these conditions.

1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.

3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.

4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

7. When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization," I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.

9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.

10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.

11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person's voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.

12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser's shop and find someone who can cut my hair.

13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.

14. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.

15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.

16. I can be pretty sure that my children's teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others' attitudes toward their race.

17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.

18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.

19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.

20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.

21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.

22. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world's majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.

23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.

24. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the "person in charge", I will be facing a person of my race.

25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race.

26. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children's magazines featuring people of my race.

27. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.

28. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.

29. I can be pretty sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me.

30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn't a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.

31. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices.

32. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races.

33. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.

34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.

35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.

36. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones.

37. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.

38. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.

39. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.

40. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.

41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.

42. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.

43. If I have low credibility as a leader I can be sure that my race is not the problem.

44. I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race.

45. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race.

46. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in "flesh" color and have them more or less match my skin.

47. I can travel alone or with my spouse without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us.

48. I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household.

49. My children are given texts and classes which implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choice of domestic partnership.

50. I will feel welcomed and "normal" in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.

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Elusive and fugitive

I repeatedly forgot each of the realizations on this list until I wrote it down. For me white privilege has turned out to be an elusive and fugitive subject. The pressure to avoid it is great, for in facing it I must give up the myth of meritocracy. If these things are true, this is not such a free country; one's life is not what one makes it; many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own.

In unpacking this invisible knapsack of white privilege, I have listed conditions of daily experience that I once took for granted. Nor did I think of any of these perquisites as bad for the holder. I now think that we need a more finely differentiated taxonomy of privilege, for some of these varieties are only what one would want for everyone in a just society, and others give license to be ignorant, oblivious, arrogant, and destructive.

I see a pattern running through the matrix of white privilege, a patter of assumptions that were passed on to me as a white person. There was one main piece of cultural turf; it was my own turn, and I was among those who could control the turf. My skin color was an asset for any move I was educated to want to make. I could think of myself as belonging in major ways and of making social systems work for me. I could freely disparage, fear, neglect, or be oblivious to anything outside of the dominant cultural forms. Being of the main culture, I could also criticize it fairly freely.

In proportion as my racial group was being made confident, comfortable, and oblivious, other groups were likely being made unconfident, uncomfortable, and alienated. Whiteness protected me from many kinds of hostility, distress, and violence, which I was being subtly trained to visit, in turn, upon people of color.

For this reason, the word "privilege" now seems to me misleading. We usually think of privilege as being a favored state, whether earned or conferred by birth or luck. Yet some of the conditions I have described here work systematically to over empower certain groups. Such privilege simply confers dominance because of one's race or sex.

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Earned strength, unearned power

I want, then, to distinguish between earned strength and unearned power conferred privilege can look like strength when it is in fact permission to escape or to dominate. But not all of the privileges on my list are inevitably damaging. Some, like the expectation that neighbors will be decent to you, or that your race will not count against you in court, should be the norm in a just society. Others, like the privilege to ignore less powerful people, distort the humanity of the holders as well as the ignored groups.

We might at least start by distinguishing between positive advantages, which we can work to spread, and negative types of advantage, which unless rejected will always reinforce our present hierarchies. For example, the feeling that one belongs within the human circle, as Native Americans say, should not be seen as privilege for a few. Ideally it is an unearned entitlement. At present, since only a few have it, it is an unearned advantage for them. This paper results from a process of coming to see that some of the power that I originally say as attendant on being a human being in the United States consisted in unearned advantage and conferred dominance.

I have met very few men who truly distressed about systemic, unearned male advantage and conferred dominance. And so one question for me and others like me is whether we will be like them, or whether we will get truly distressed, even outraged, about unearned race advantage and conferred dominance, and, if so, what we will do to lessen them. In any case, we need to do more work in identifying how they actually affect our daily lives. Many, perhaps most, of our white students in the United States think that racism doesn't affect them because they are not people of color; they do not see "whiteness" as a racial identity. In addition, since race and sex are not the only advantaging systems at work, we need similarly to examine the daily experience of having age advantage, or ethnic advantage, or physical ability, or advantage related to nationality, religion, or sexual orientation.

Difficulties and angers surrounding the task of finding parallels are many. Since racism, sexism, and heterosexism are not the same, the advantages associated with them should not be seen as the same. In addition, it is hard to disentangle aspects of unearned advantage that rest more on social class, economic class, race, religion, sex, and ethnic identity that on other factors. Still, all of the oppressions are interlocking, as the members of the Combahee River Collective pointed out in their "Black Feminist Statement" of 1977.

One factor seems clear about all of the interlocking oppressions. They take both active forms, which we can see, and embedded forms, which as a member of the dominant groups one is taught not to see. In my class and place, I did not see myself as a racist because I was taught to recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my group, never in invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on my group from birth.

Disapproving of the system won't be enough to change them. I was taught to think that racism could end if white individuals changed their attitude. But a "white" skin in the United States opens many doors for whites whether or not we approve of the way dominance has been conferred on us. Individual acts can palliate but cannot end, these problems.

To redesign social systems we need first to acknowledge their colossal unseen dimensions. The silences and denials surrounding privilege are the key political surrounding privilege are the key political tool here. They keep the thinking about equality or equity incomplete, protecting unearned advantage and conferred dominance by making these subject taboo. Most talk by whites about equal opportunity seems to me now to be about equal opportunity to try to get into a position of dominance while denying that systems of dominance exist.

It seems to me that obliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness about male advantage, is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all. Keeping most people unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a small number of people props up those in power and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have most of it already.

Although systemic change takes many decades, there are pressing questions for me and, I imagine, for some others like me if we raise our daily consciousness on the perquisites of being light-skinned. What will we do with such knowledge? As we know from watching men, it is an open question whether we will choose to use unearned advantage, and whether we will use any of our arbitrarily awarded power to try to reconstruct power systems on a broader base.

Peggy McIntosh is associate director of the Wellesley Collage Center for Research on Women. This essay is excerpted from Working Paper 189. "White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming To See Correspondences through Work in Women's Studies" (1988), by Peggy McIntosh; available for $4.00 from the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, Wellesley MA 02181 The working paper contains a longer list of privileges.

This excerpted essay is reprinted from the Winter 1990 issue of Independent School.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

he's having a baby

My life is about to change (big time!!!) yep its going to be scary and exciting at the same time and my life is never going to be the same again.
I'm going to be a father sometime in july (or whenever the little sprog decides to show up). As the day gradually approaches the panic is becoming apparent.

Mrs Ijebuman seems to be coping fine despite the fact that she'll be doing most of the work, while yours truly still can't believe that in a couple of weeks i will be a dad.
I've been reading a book called 'he's having a baby' by Jack O'Sullivan and it has gone a long way in allaying my fears about how totally unprepared i am to face fatherhood.

But many questions still linger, will i bond with this baby? will i be a good father or be a typical naija dad who is only interested in the child's education and nothing else..

and then the financial costs oh dear...

Sports and Stereotypes

The world cup has started and everyone seems to be football mad (except me). A colleague at work has been commenting about the performance of the African teams so far, his view is that in a few years time the African teams will dominate the competition.
I had a strong suspicion where he was going with this conversation and wasn't surprised when he concluded that blacks have certain physical attributes that makes them better at sports (namely football and athletics) than other races.
Oh well might as well give up the day job and take up a sport....

Which brings me to the article i stumbled on recently by John Hoberman on the sociological impact of such 'thinking'

"There is no suggestion of racial tension. Why is that possible there but not in the church, or in the schools, or anywhere else? Because whenever the playing field is even, and the rules are public and the goals are clear, we can all move to the next level. We want an even playing field" - Jesse Jackson

Race and Sport: The Social Costs of Black Dominance
By: John Hoberman

The global prominence of African and African-American athletes represents for many people a clear example of racial progress in the modern world. Here, after all, is an international subculture in which black people can assert themselves and enjoy success to a degree that makes the world of sport look like an interracial utopia. Compared to other venues of competition and endeavour, such as business, science or the law, the sports world is, in fact, an extraordinary social phenomenon that seems to contradict some familiar racial stereotypes. The sheer celebrity of the black athletic star seems a refutation of the colonial anonymity of the black masses, his wealth contrasts with traditional images of black poverty, while his honored status appears to dissolve centuries of racial subordination. The utopian potential of sport in this sense has long intrigued the African-American leader Jesse Jackson. Describing the stadium crowd at an American professional football game, he marvels that there is \"no suggestion of racial tension. Why is that possible there but not in the church, or in the schools, or anywhere else? Because whenever the playing field is even, and the rules are public and the goals are clear, we can all move to the next levelWe want an even playing field\". (1)

The past century of integrated sport has demonstrated that interracial athletic competition has both positive and negative effects. The sports world does present a model of racial integration that makes more comprehensive social reforms easier for many people to imagine. It has provided many black people around the world with opportunities for social and economic advancement. It has also provided a platform for a small number of courageous black athletes to demand racial reforms in the larger societies to which they belong.

But it is also important to recognize the limits to progress that apply within this interracial domain. Racial integration in the sports world is relatively easy precisely because, as Jesse Jackson suggests, the more intractable social problems are left outside the stadium. At the administrative level, moreover, the colonial racial hierarchy remains quite intact. The blacks who currently wield influence in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the international sports federations can be counted on the fingers of one hand: Anita de Frantz (IOC), Keba Mbaye (IOC), Lamine Diack (IAAF). Of the ten members who were expelled or resigned from the IOC in 1999, a conspicuous number were black Africans who lacked the political connections that might have saved them. But when the powerful European soccer official Lennart Johannson made a racist remark about black Africans in 1996, he retained his position. (2)

The upward mobility and wealth achieved by the most successful black athletes dominates media coverage and promotes an illusory sense of social advancement for blacks as group. Who would guess, in a world of NBA millionaires, that the net worth of the average African-American home is only one-tenth that of its white counterpart? In a similar vein, omnipresent images of vigorous black athletes help to camouflage the disastrous health problems of both African and African-American populations. One black superstar can put a happy face on an entire system of racial injustice. Even a conscientious and politically progressive figure like Pel - one of the few elite athletes ever to serve as a government minister - has inadvertently distracted public attention from the enormous racial inequities that characterize Brazilian society. In a similar fashion, the sensational feats of Kenyan runners displace coverage of the political tyranny that is destroying their society.

The social costs and failures associated with racially integrated sport have been underestimated precisely because they cannot function as signs and portents of the racial progress globalization requires. The racial integration of European soccer, for example, has been accompanied by many racist mainfestations that raise troubling questions about the social utility of multiracial sport. A spokesman for the German Soccer Federation said in 1995, for example, that his sport stood for \"problem-free integration.\" (3) But what sport symbolizes does not always match the reality inside the stadium. In years past black soccer players in German stadiums would hear calls of \"Hush, hush, hush, nigger in the bush!\" or watch as bananas rained down the field. (4) More recently it has been good form for a German team to have at least one African player, but the effects of such initiatives are not clear. 85) Charles Friedek, a German triple-jumper who is the son of an African-American father and a German mother, commented last year: \"We [blacks] can win medals for them, but they won\'t let us in. When they see us in the stadium in our athletics clothes, they cheer us. If we walk on the street in our athletics clothes, then they think of us as asylum-seekers.\" (6) Generations of African-American athletes (and soldiers) have made the same discovery about their own tenuous civic status, no matter how many medals they won \"for their country\".

The social problems exist across Europe. The Dutch national soccer team includes important black players from Surinam whose relations with their white teammates have at times been contentious. (7) In Italy one black player was hanged in effigy inside the stadium, and another subjected to other forms of racist abuse when he was on the field. \"We are disgusted, not only by the poor idiots who reject Ze Maria on account of his skin colour, but even more by the silent masses around them,\" Gazzette dello Sport commented. (8) In Some European stadiums the spectators screech like chimpanzees at the sight of a black player. \"It\'s a deep problem\", an Italian sports official said in 1997. \"In the lower leagues, you hear the chanting when a player of African descent comes on to the field. But I\'m not even sure that I\'d call that racism. It\'s stupid emulation, a kind of generalized adolescent babble that the fans direct at the player without even knowing intellectually that what they\'re doing is racist\". Nor is this behaviour just a matter of crowd psychology, since the racial slurs come from some of the white players as well as their fans. (9)

The sociological point here is that racial integration inside the stadium remains essentially symbolic - an arrangement one might call \"virtual integration\" - and has not succeeded as the social engineering strategy some have imagined it to be. In a word, athletic stardom is not equivalent to fully human status, let alone equal social status, in the eyes of many Europeans.

This implicit distinction between the black athlete and the fellow citizen has been exploited by the extreme right in France. The racist politician Jean-Marie Le Pen attracted international attention in 1996 when he told his followers that the multiracial French national soccer team could not really represent France because it included too many \"foreigners\". These athletes, he complained, either did not know how to sing the national anthem or did not sing it \"lustily\" like the (all-white) teams of certain other nations. (10)

More ominously, Le Pen has invoked the idea of racial athletic aptidude to justify a racial hierarchy that subordinates blacks. Le Pen has stated that he believes in the \"inequality of the races.\" History has demonstrated, he says, that the races \"do not have the same evolutionary capacity.\" The 1996 Olympic Games, for example, had shown that \"there was an obvious inequality between the black and white races.\" (11) The neo-fascist newspaper Rivarol mocks the idea that soccer in France might become a \"fantastique laboratoire d\'intgration.\" (12)

Le Pen\'s simplistic racial theory of genetically programmed black runners and white swimmers is one example of how multiracial sport has given nineteenth-century racial anthropology a new lease on life. As Franz Fanon pointet out in Black Skin, White Masks (1952), Western racism has always identified black people with their bodies to an extraordinary degree. For this reason, stereotypes of black athletic superiority are now firmly established as the most recent version of a racial folklore that has spread across the face of the earth over the past two centuries. At the same time a corresponding belief in white athletic inferiority pervades popular thinking abourt racial differences. Such ideas probably do more than anything else in our public lives to encourage the idea that blacks and whites are biologically different in meaningful ways. Conservative racial thinkers such as Charles Murray and Dinesh D\'Souza have claimed that black athletic superiority is evidence of more profound racial differences, and there is no telling how many people, black and white, may agree with them. (13)

Behind its cosmopolitan faade, multiracial sport in the Age of Globalization retains a number of colonial features: a predominance of white administrators, the emphasis on black physicality, a white monopoly on leadership positions (coaches and managers) on the field, and white monopoly on leadership positions (coaches and managers) on the field, and white dominance of media and technology. Worst of all, there is what one Italian sports official has called \"a new slave market\" - the importation into Europe of hundreds of black African teenagers as raw material to be tested, trained, and most often discarded by European professional soccer teams. (14) Small Wonder that stereotypes of \"The African personality\" thrive in this milieu. African marathoners, who have enjoyed much success, run \"too anarchistically\", says the Spanish runner Martin Fiz. (15) They must learn to run patiently, says the German coach Dieter Hogen. (16) The Nigerian soccer team, a British sportswriter comments, \"has the force, the ability, the courage that belies African disorganisation.\" (17) Rather than neutralizing such ideas, the multiracial sports world acts as a megaphone that amplifies and broadcasts racial folklore of this kind to an international audience that has already become accustomed to all-black sprint finals and the overwhelming superiority of East African distance runners.

The colonial dynamics of international sport also apply to the relationship between African American Athletes and the predominantly white society that watches, celebrates and sometimes resents them. While African Americans have believed in sport as an engine of racial progress since the 1920s, the limitaitons of this strategy have become evident during the period of \"black dominance\" in major sports that is now about a generation old.
In addition, the African-American athlete has become an international role model whose overwhelming media presence misrepresents African Americans as a group. Based on what their media show them, one black American wrote me form Thailand, South Asians have no reason to believe that African Americans do anything but play sports. The 1996 inaugural issue of Brazil\'s first magazine for blacks included stories on Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman of the NBA - a curious pair of world citizens with whom to celebrate black progress. Such caricatured versions of black identity are constantly being generated by the athleticzing of the black image that has become a staple of global advertising.

Most of the familiar images of black athletes in the United States do not serve the social advancement of African Americans. In recent years black athletes have been involved in a highly publicized series of criminal cases that have begun to worry the white owners of professional teams. The recent banning of a throat-slashing gesture by the national Football League was widely interpreted as an attempt to control the violent impulses of black players. (18) The merging of a showy black athletic style with the crime-ridden \"hip-hop\" culture of the popular music industry has further promoted the identification of black athletes with criminal behavior. This is a significant phenomenon in a society where most whites already believe blacks to be violence-prone by nature.

The social and political activism once practiced by African-American sports heroes like Jackie Robison and Muhammad Ali is defunct. Like the vast majority of elite athletes everywhere, African-American athletes are essentially apolitical. Until his recent and ineffectual endorsement of Bill Bradley\'s presidential candidacy, Michael Jordan hand shown absolutely no interest in political principles or controversy. One black sports columnist has called basketball players \"most politically oblivious group of athletes\" in the United States. (19) When the NBA players union attempted to mount a labour action in December 1998, the league\'s white administrators easily defeated them, and the intellectual competence of the black athlete was dealt yet another blow. (20) While African-American athletes in team sports now have an annual income approaching $2 billion, their financial contributions to higher education have been negligible. (21)

Conflicts between black athletic and academic achievement remain a serious problem. Over-identification with athletes and the world of physical performances limits the development of black children by discouraging academic achievement in favour of physical self-expression. A survey released in 1997 showed that two-thirds of African-American teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 believed they would be able to support themselves as professional athletes. (22) Another factor driving this symdrome is an intense peer pressure that equates academic excellence with effeminacy and racial disloyalty and identifies \"blackness\" with physical prowess. All of these social phenomena demonstrate that it is time to relieve black people everywhere of the athletic identity our colonial legacy has inflicted upon them.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The price of Ignorance

No one truly understands the price we pay for ignorance.
The condition of being uneducated, unaware, or uninformed

The government spends billions on NEPA or whatever its called now and the power situation has still not improved, (in fact its actually worse than it was 10 years ago). What happened to all the money?
Just like the telecommunication sector (where ex NiTel employees now successfully run Private Telcos after destroying NiTel) , the power situation will never improve in Nigeria until private power companies start operating. (i.e Private power companies run by ex NEPA officials...).
The selfish gene is truly alive in naija

The government introduces a discriminatory sex law, the whole debate is hijacked by people who obviously are so scared of their own sexuality but choose to hide behind their so called religious beliefs. The words of Martin Niemöller comes to mind;
'First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up,
because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up,
because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left
to speak up for me.'

It's a slippery slope when government starts regulating morality…

The Lagos state government builds a solar power station (as part of a pilot scheme) for the residents of Bishop Kodji Island.
According to the The Punch Newspaper "Our correspondent who visited the village last Thursday said that the solar panel had been switched off by officials in charge of the project as a result of which the villagers could not enjoy electricity.
It was gathered that the solar panel was switched off because some of the villagers tried to connect electricity from the panel to their homes illegally. This, it was learnt, caused the panel to trip off and the village thrown into darkness.

The Ogun state government repairs a water pumping station that has been out of action for decades, a few weeks later the station is vandalised. The government repairs it and a few weeks later it is vandalised again, this time it can't be repaired.
The people have no water but the owners of water tankers are happy..

Millions of Nigerians are struggling to survive but if you attended an owambe party where people 'spray' dollars or opened a copy of Ovation and saw headlines like 'Chris Uba Hosts The Mother Of All Parties' , You might be forgiven for thinking that everything is well in Nigeria and it is truly the happiest place on earth. (talk about an anomaly - Nigeria tops happiness survey and yet life expectancy is 47, strange indeed...)

Quote: "Power in the hands of an ignorant man, is like a rocket launcher in the custody of a terrorist." - Reuben Abati