The proximity of our relatives in diaspora to Europeans (white people) forces them to realize that they’re basically blacks in white masks, yet unaccepted by Europeans. This is like discovering that your dad is not your real father. This emptiness & disappointment can be dealt with in 2 ways; Denial or Acceptance (denial in childhood, gradual acceptance in adulthood).
Those who eventually accept this reality begin to enthusiastically search for their true identity.
They embrace the most visible representations of African (in our case Igbo) identity; our language & our culture (rooted in our Odinani ancestral heritage). Those at home react to this enthusiasm with curiosity & utter confusion!
- They wonder why their relatives in diaspora are suddenly embracing the same Igbo culture that they’ve been taught to view as repugnant?
- How can people they consider civilized (Ndi Obodo Oyibo) get excited about things that are supposedly backwards & uncivilized?
- Why is @Jidenna taking pictures with African masks & performing with an Igbo masquerade at @OneAfrica_MusicFest in New York? Is that not ‘demonic’?
- Why is our Award winning sister @UzoAduba on Stephen Colbert’s show speaking Igbo instead of ‘civilized’ language?
This confusion occur because unlike those in diaspora, those at home do not experience the racist implications of having no knowledge of self. Through frequent Interactions with the ‘white other’, the #African in diaspora quickly realizes that he is in no position to question the world’s perception of him; because by rejecting his own heritage, he reinforces the narrative that his heritage is unworthy and therefore inferior. The result is a feeling of inferiority or inferiority complex which sustains slavery, racism, colonisation & neo-colonisation.
In closing, for the avoidance of doubt, this is about reclaiming our past in order to have the confidence to deal with the present and face the future. It is not an attack on any race or religion.
Ukpana okpoko gburu nti chiri ya!
Words and Image by – @Igboaamaka