Thursday 1 February 2007

Do Africans still live on trees?

After dinner mouth not mint

I stepped out of the restaurant with a good friend after a beautiful Japanese meal last night, though I must say the Chinese have found better ways of packaging their cuisine for international tastes except for sushi and sashimi which is more about being trendy than having tasty food - my opinion.

However, before I could be distracted from the cool restaurant atmosphere I was overwhelmed with a barrage of abuse, bitter in content and caustic in utter disdain for Africans, supposedly, this almost haggard looking man thought I was African, which in fact I am.

He railed with contempt and almost choked on his hatred, but I ignored him as what came to my hearing was overt, nasty and unspeakable racial abuse; that was from a fellow black man.

Covert or overt

Indeed, I must confess that in Europe, I have had more overt racial abuse or show of racial disdain from people of my colour than I have had from other races; it is instructively eye-opening.

One must also say, that the kind of racial disapproval I have received from the “so-called”, indigenes of Europe has been covert, usually made in jest to the extent that one is supposed to grin and bear it no matter how hurtful they have been.

I have learnt that the best way to deal with this sort of stuff is to have a quick wit, it is educational and effective, I give real life examples of conversations I have had when some smart chap has tried to be too funny for my liking.

Cannibals cannot be shot

[In the midst of a disagreement coming to a point of parting]

Stranger: 100 years ago, I would have shot you.

Moi: 200 years ago, I would have eaten you.

{Conversation ends as stranger realises he has been trumped}

Taking him to the cleaners

[Cocky Englishman tries to be politely rude]

Englishman: Hey Akin, the guy you borrowed your suit from is asking for it.

{I see he has envelopes on him, so pointing to the envelopes, I say}

Moi: I see you’ve got a delivery service, would you take it back?

{Never again heard that kind of silliness from him after that encounter}

I pay your welfare

[Someone down on his luck tries to take it out on me]

Stranger: You black people come to our country for welfare.

Moi: I will tell you this much, I probably pay more taxes than you earn in a year (Compared to the national average where I live, I do); and that goes into your government to have idiots like you talk to me like that.

{Stranger is quite scolded beyond belief, walks away without mouthing another word}

An arboreal feeling of monarchies

[Smart Swedish man trying to make conversation]

Swede: Do Africans still live on trees?

Moi: Yes indeed we still do, in fact, when King Carl XVI Gustaf visited Nigeria; we put him on the highest tree and fed him bananas.

{Smart Swede does not look so smart anymore as his face drops in astonishment, he apologises for being so nasty.}

Postscript: Basically, he had insulted Africans and in the process made me call his revered king a monkey – cuts both ways. More so, he did not know that King Carl had really never visited Nigeria.

Mouse and snake chase

Like one of our legendary Nigerian musicians would say, if someone chases a mouse after you and you in turn chase a snake after them; fair cop.

In my own way, education in such terms is direct, effective and frank, those people would always think twice before they go shooting off such unforgivable hatreds masquerading as making decent and polite conversation.

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