America Makes Me Sick

I don’t get it. I honestly don’t. I was scrolling down Twitter when I learnt about another shooting. I went about the day trying to avoid watching the video. I hate violence and guns blazing make me sick. I’m at work in South Africa, I’m having a good time, I don’t need to feel sick. I go to bed, happy. I woke up this morning, and when I went through Twitter again, hoping to catch more hot takes about Kevin Durant’s move to the Warriors and why he’s a coward. Then I saw another tweet about another shooting. Again, I really did not want to watch it. But I couldn’t stay away. It was another one. IT HADN’T BEEN 24 HOURS. I watched the Philando Castille shooting video. Then I watched the Alton Sterling video. And I was sick. I was mad. I was furious. I picked up my laptop and went to wordpress because the only thing I can ever do when I’m angry is write. I don’t even know if I’ll publish this but I’m just so angry.

A lot of America likes to believe there is no systematic racism and the laws are equal. These are the ones that will brand me a race-baiting liberal. Right now, I couldn’t give a single shit what you think. America made me really sick when the majority tried to convince me that somehow, a 12 year old boy playing with a toy gun deserved to die. Or that his death was justified. If they can demonize a 12 year old, then they’ll have no problems demonizing Alton Sterling and Philando Castille. No matter what, resisting arrest should never be a death sentence. I mean I saw Dylann Roof commit a hate crime, kill 9 people, and walk out alive as he was arrested. AND GET BURGER KING. But obviously him not resisting is less of a crime than him killing 9 black people so he’s still alive today.

Let’s talk about resisting arrest. Black people have been subject to police brutality and an unfair justice system for decades and you want us (here read black people in America) to trust the police? I trust the police only because I’m not a citizen, I haven’t been conditioned to fear the people that have carted away my brothers, fathers, uncles, nephews, friends. Why do you want black people to trust the police? Because they protect them? And the NRA, yooooo. something something 2nd Amendment right? So where you at fam? Where are your tweets? Where are the senators you wine and dine while their pockets swell with your money? Don’t they have something to say?  I don’t see you protecting black people’s right to the 2nd Amendment. But it’s cool though. You have better things to do. Like saying nothing can be done about toddlers shooting their mothers, fathers or siblings. Carry on.

All you guys that are about to comment that he’s a felon, or a criminal, or a unicorn, or whatever reason you’ve decided is enough for a black life to be snuffed out, just save it. The same people that’ll tell me that the death penalty is archaic and should be abolished have no problems with the police doing the executing. And yo, why can it NEVER be the police’s fault. Like they can do no wrong. You have no problems saying the political system is rigged as you chant, “Make America Great Again”, you have no problems crying about the state of your educational system and you rue the decay of your infrastructure but yes the police is the one American system without a single flaw. I think the police (and justice system) is in bad need of reform. And those people that say “It happens to white people too.” I don’t doubt that, but you must admit, some of these boys in blue are a bit too trigger happy when it comes to my brown and black brothers.

And you, white moderate, have you ever thought of why is it that you wait and wait and then when you find out that (insert black victim of the day) was a felon, then it’s okay? Why is it that you must always look for a reason to make it “right” in your own perfect little world? Like why, really? Reflect. Ask yourself. Write a thinkpiece. To be honest, I don’t think I care. Martin Luther said the white moderate is the biggest opponent of the black people, not the KKK, and I finally understand why.

Like I’m so mad. One man was selling CDs in front of a store! And the manager of the store was his friend! And he said Alton got the gun to protect himself. That has to be a plus for you pro-gun people right? The gun was in his pocket. He was restrained and on the ground and then shot. Philando was reaching for his driver’s license. He had a gun that he was licensed for. I don’t want to hear anything about the 2nd Amendment being for the people. We know what type of people. And for those white senators that’ll use this to tweet about how somehow Obama has caused this, thank you, because it amazes me each time how you manage to hold a black man responsible for racism. It’s almost as funny as Britain, the mighty British empire, wanting independence. And for you colorblind people, enjoy seeing the world in grey.

I just want to stand in the middle of a field and cuss loud and hard. In the same breath I want to get down to my knees and pray and weep. Because let’s imagine that America is right in its claim that it is the greatest country. If the greatest country has these sort of problems, what chance do the rest of us have? Those Americans that say, “If you don’t like it, leave our country”, one, I wish you would tell your tourists and leaders the same thing as they interfere and have interfered with domestic issues of countries thousands of miles away from them for as long as I can remember. Two, if Nigeria had one university as good as Bryant University I would be there right now. Three, please be patient, I will be out of your country as soon as I get my diploma.

There’s a line in Vic Mensa’s song about Laquan McDonald that I’m going to quote here about the plights of black people regarding two issues. The first is about the war on drugs which is another blog post in itself.

“There’s a war on drugs, but the drugs keep winning
There’s a war on guns, but the guns keep ringing”

I heard the ringing alright, and I am sick.

 

Life updates

I am currently in South Africa going through another winter season wondering which of my sins made me deserve suffering two winters.

Let’s talk about slavery real quick

“Real Quick” as in this post will not be long. By not long I mean shorter than my usual posts. Maybe this is the way I get to post more, by posting shorter pieces so it’s easier to write. (Nah, if you’ve been here awhile you know that I know that we both know that length isn’t the reason why I post so infrequently). So yes, this short post is about slavery. See, in this age, its becoming very common for people to go, “why do we need to talk about slavery? It happened so long ago…” even though they have no problems discussing Christopher “Kill Natives, Get Gold” Columbus and George “Wooden Teeth” Washington (Were his teeth actually wooden, I remember seeing it on Fairly Odd Parents but I don’t really know) who BOTH died before slavery was outlawed in America. I’m also tired of hearing people say, “Well Africans sold Africans so it wasn’t our fault.” So I’m going to talk about it (in a short post remember) because it irks me. Africans did sell Africans but that doesn’t tell the full story. Many slaves were captives of wars by African tribes on other tribes. These African tribes had no allegiance to one another. It wasn’t like people were selling their brothers. They were selling their enemies. In that day and age, that was okay. And so was slavery. Slavery was okay. Slavery had existed in many forms for centuries in Europe and Africa. So the big problem isn’t the fact that there was slavery, it was how those slaves were treated. If you research on how Africans treated the slaves they kept and then compare it to how Europeans and Arabs treated their African slaves, then you’ll understand the uproar. Many African slaves worked just like free men and women, they had easier paths to freedom and were just generally treated like they were, you know, people. On the other hand, slaves in the Americas were hugely mistreated. Mostly because of racist ideology. White people didn’t think black people were their equals and didn’t deserve to be treated as such. The thing about the past is it leads to the present. Those events had a huge impact on black communities in the Americas and in Africa. That’s why slavery shouldn’t be forgotten. That’s why slavery shouldn’t be treated as just something that happened. White ancestors enriched themselves using free labor and built great companies and amassed incredible wealth because of slavery. Now I’m not citing anything I’ve said because this is my online blog and I’m not a teacher. You’re not paying me. WordPress isn’t paying me. Go Google (or Bing if that’s your vibe). I’m also not citing because it is 3am. I can promise you that I’m not making stuff up and I did read about these stuff in books by people who did extensive research. So fellow users of the Internet, I don’t want to see anymore “Dude, slavery wasn’t even that bad..” “It’s the 21st century, let it go bro…” “Well Africans sold Africans so it wasn’t our fault…” I don’t need any of that. Not in 2016. Bye.

 

Life updates

The New York City subway is disgusting. The New York City subway is intriguing. It is both at the same time and you realise this because two American rats (and you know they are American because they have a GDP per capita ten times as much as Nigerian rats and more and more American rats are looking obese, and definitely wear size L or XL shirts) are feasting on the tracks. It is intriguing because you wonder if what happens to them when the train arrives, do they make it in time to the sides? Or do they hide under the tracks? It is disgusting because, well, they are rats.

The Pain of Being Mediocre at Something You Love

This is not a happy post. It’s not a post born out of misled passion. This post is the result of painful reflection that I have done. See sometimes, (not often I must admit) I ask God why I ever started writing. Why I ever fell in love with just letting my mind flow unto a page. From the title of this post, you can probably guess what I’m talking about. If you can’t, it doesn’t matter because I’m going to talk about it anyways. There’s nothing worse than realizing you’re mediocre at something you love. Now, I don’t want people messaging me, commenting about how spectacular my writing is. I don’t need to hear all that. This is not a plea for attention or appreciation. This is a somber reflection. My dream of writing one incredible book hasn’t died, but I will admit that it is on its last embers. I’m just really frustrated with where I am as a writer. I’ve been in a rut anytime I’ve tried to write anything for months. I’m even struggling to complete this piece about my struggle to complete pieces! Now, people that know me, know my stance on intimate relationships. I wonder if how I’m feeling about writing right now is how people feel when they’re in a bad place in a relationship. You hate the significant other so much yet you love them so much. You can’t stand to be in their presence but you don’t want to stop. Am I right? Because sometimes I feel like throwing my laptop at the wall because I want to be as far away from WordPress as I can. But I’m scared of giving up. I’m scared of my mind letting go and saying, “that’s it Soala, no more for you,” ( I feel like this is one of those statements EVERY child has heard at some point). Is that how it feels to be hooked in an abusive relationship? I used to play the guitar, I gave up on that. I used to sing in the choir (contrary to what you might think from hearing me sing now, this is true. this is factual. I am not joking) and when puberty stole my angelic voice at the tender age of 13 and left this gruff, husky, sometimes-sounding-like-it-needs-baba-blue one, I gave up on singing. Writing has always been my way of expressing myself. Realizing that I’m mediocre at it has been tough because what do you do when you’re mediocre at something you love?

Now, before anyone says otherwise, I’ll give evidence for why I have come to conclude that I’m a mediocre writer. I won’t say anything about page views (which are nothing great and will actually help my case if I put them here). I’ll just talk about response and perception. I’ve been writing publicly for a while now. I believe I started this blog early in 2014. A lot of the people that know me, know that I write. But I’m never referred to as a writer, I’m never thought of as a writer and this holds true for many of the circles I’m in. I know who my peers think of as good writers, and I’m not part of that elite group of people. It’s a harsh truth, but it is what it is. And this is not jealous or spiteful, the logical reason behind me not being regarded as one of those writers is simply because my writing isn’t as good as their writing is. But still, realizing that your writing is mediocre hurts.

A writer I admire a lot once told me (if you somehow read this, hey!) that I have a voice that stands out. That meant (and still does) a lot to me. I don’t think I will ever be bold enough to stop writing. And hey, mediocre writers write famous books every once in a while. It’s all gucci.

P.S I’m using the word ‘mediocre’ to describe my writing in relation to other writing I read.

On Racism, Missouri, and why America Disappoints Me – From a Nigerian Student in America

First of all, I am grateful to that very misguided comment on that one article that pushed me to writing again. You don’t know how glad I am that I have a topic to express my views on. For that, accept my thanks.

If you adamantly refuse to believe that systematic racism is a problem and you refuse to have an honest discussion about it, stop reading now. Close the link. It is okay. On behalf of WordPress, I thank you for your web traffic. Bye Felicia. However, if you want to learn or you’re just willing to listen to an opinion on the matter, read on.

You might be wondering what got me riled up. What inspired the largely inconsistent Soala Ekine to actually type up a post? I came across a comment on the a certain article that made me wish I could email someone a slap. The Internet is lucky I didn’t have any time to write this post immediately after I read the article. There was no time. It was 7 a.m and I had a class at 8 and so I paused my thoughts. If I wrote what was on my mind at 7 a.m, the venom in my words might have burnt down my laptop, and then the Internet. That was how infuriated I was, but I’ve calmed down. The Internet gets to survive another day.

Let me get started. The user commented on the “irony” that the article was complaining about a group of people holding a party where they only let in white girls (I might have disclosed the identity of the event with that) yet they were talking about the African-American Cultural Center. This user bemoaned that if there was a White Cultural Center, the members would be labelled racists. Let that sink in….

Are you kidding me? How on earth are you relating someone hosting a college party and only letting girls in if they were white and the existence of an African-American Cultural Center? I don’t even know where to start with you. The reason why there are African-American Cultural Centers and Black Entertainment awards and magazines solely for people of color is because people of color are not represented enough in a lot of mainstream industries. It’s very simple to understand. It is important for people of color to be able to feel comfortable in places where they are the minority (e.g college). It is important for people of color to be able switch on the TV and see people like them. It is 2015. I should not have to be explaining this. So don’t you dare equate such beacons of hope for people of color to a stupid frat being clearly prejudiced/racist.

Yes, it was your ancestors who made slavery happen and it’s not your fault and why must you apologize for things your ancestors did and all that yadi yada. No one is saying that you are at fault for what your ancestors did. But you need to understand that your ancestors’ actions still have an impact on the way America works today. That is why systematic racism exists. Don’t compare systematic racism to students insisting on “black spaces” (although I don’t know how I feel about “black spaces”). There is almost nothing a black person can say or do that will influence or represent how your race is treated by society. Systematic racism involves power. So when you are accusing a black person of being racist, realize that it is not the same thing (this by no means suggests that I am in support of black people being bigoted and prejudiced, black people can be nasty things, as can all of humankind).

White privilege is a real thing. Don’t tell me how your family lives just above the poverty line. Don’t tell me how you’ve worked three jobs every summer for three years. It doesn’t change the fact that white privilege exists and if you’re white, you benefit from it. There are certain things that you can get away with, certain things you can access, because you’re white. Sure you didn’t do anything to cause that, but it is what it is. There are all sorts of privilege, check yours. It is white privilege that allows to presume that people just LOVE to play the race card. After all, black people are just looking for something to blame so they don’t have to take responsibility themselves (Do you see how racist stereotypes have slipped into the mix). Why do people think people of color want to be oppressed? NOBODY WANTS TO BE OPPRESSED.

And those of you that are like, “the best way to stop racism is to stop bringing up race”, nah bruh. You tried. But nah. Race has been involved in everything that has created this system in America and you think you’ll just say, “We’re all equal, let’s move on” and it’ll be fine? REALITY CHECK. Life doesn’t work that way. There is a problem with the system. Silence doesn’t bring change, confrontation does. Protests ensure that discussions are held. Think about why when the news covers police officers assaulting people of color, your initial response is to put the victim on trial and judge their life. I saw an article on why killing Tamir Rice, a twelve year old who committed no crime, was justified. A TWELVE YEAR OLD. HAS THIS COUNTRY RUN MAD?

But the worst people aren’t the blatantly racist people. It’s you, you “I don’t see color” people. I’ve heard people say, “What is a black person? What is a white person? We are all humans”. I’ll give you one dirty slap. If I put my hand in the front of your face, will you tell me I’m transparent? That there is no color there? I am a black person. It is a socially constructed identity. It does not need to be erased. The world just needs to be taught that there is nothing wrong with it. We all need to be aware that the colors of our skin are just that, the color of our skins. Saying you are color blind is another way of ending the conversation. Clap for yourself. You don’t see color. REALITY CHECK. We see color in this world. Society treats some people differently because of their color and your color blindness isn’t letting you see the harsh realities they face.

To the anonymous Missouri students on Yikyak. I do not know one student who goes to your university but I’ve been drawn to your issue because of the news. Now I doubt that any of you will ever read this post but I have to air my grievances. While I am not endorsing the protest [edit: I now am], one thing I know about protests is that protests create confrontation which create discussions which lead to solutions. What you might see it as two cherry-picked incidents might just be the tip of the iceberg for what people are going through. Don’t be so quick to dismiss their struggle. How can you say that football players should have their scholarships taken from them? To you, all they do is play football for your school. How does the fact that they don’t pay for college mean they can’t be oppressed? I don’t know how else to explain to you but to refer to privilege. It is from a place of privilege that you can not imagine that people can be oppressed because of their race, and so, you must deny its existence and view things from your lens only. Can you imagine that I saw a yak about someone saying they don’t understand why the found swastika was treated as a hate crime against people of color and not anti-Semitic. The replies were full of people “claiming” the offence. I won’t tell people what to be offended by, but seriously, are you that desperate to make the conversation center around you? The audacity. And do you not understand why groups of oppressed people have their own places/organizations? You don’t see anyone establishing heterosexual organizations in a response to LGBTQ organizations so why are you so keen to insist that “if we had a white space we would be called racist”. It is 2015, I should not have to explain the importance of representation and the presence of safe spaces.

You would think that in 2015, fellow college students would want to see their group members, teammates, roommates, comfortable in their college, but no, you want to feel attacked. You want to make their struggle about you.

There’s so much in my mind about this issue but my anger from 7 a.m has subsided and I am struggling to be coherent. So I’ll just mention a few key words that formulate the ideas I can’t really express right now. Media. College. White People. Police. The Past Still Matters. Oppressive Systems Exist. The Race Card Gets Played Often Because Race Issues Happen All The Time. Don’t Be So Defensive.

Nigeria is not perfect, far from it. But we Nigerians don’t pretend it is. But you, America, you think you’re the greatest thing that has happened to the international state system since the discovery of sovereignty, (I’ll discuss this later) but you have issues. And worse, you don’t even know it. I don’t know if it’s because you just don’t want to be responsible for the problems but don’t deny they exist. That’s why you disappoint me America. You declare yourself the most free of all sovereign states. If there is any place where this shouldn’t be happening, theoretically, it’s in America.

Racism’s still alive they just be concealing it

Sha, I’ve said my own. I’ve written way more than I planned to, so I shall end.

P.S Twitter trolls, I’m just waiting till the day I learn how to hack so I can find out who you are behind that egg. Just wait.

P.P.S Also if after all this you still hashtag ‘AllLivesMatter’ block me on every single social media platform. Just get out.

P.P.P.S I think calling yourselves ConcernedStudents1950 is a bit distasteful. I’m wondering if equating your struggle to theirs undermines their horrors.

while we celebrate…

It is October 1st. You know what that means. If you don’t, I will explain what today is and then you can pretend like you’ve always known why today is special. Basically, today is Nigeria’s Independence Day. Now that you know, you can belong. Anyways, yay! First of all, I would like to thank our colonial masters, the British, for freeing us on such a cool date. October 1. It’s the first day of the month as well as the Independence day. So with the new month you can celebrate the ‘new’ year as well. That’s brilliant! Imagine if we had some random day like July 4th. Tufiakwa. Anyways, it’s Independence Day. Let’s all celebrate with an endless amount of jollof rice (fried rice for some of you that are ‘special’), assorted meat pepper soup (the type that burns your tongue in a nice way) and cold sweet chapman that the host is way too proud of because that’s the only part of the menu she actually made. Celebration is good. Everyone prefers to be merry. But some of us (I belong in this unfortunate group) can’t really be merry right now. There are reasons why. One, I type this while at my desk in a college dorm room in a country that is far away from my warm home in Nigeria. The painted flag on my cheek has invited strange looks and I had to explain the meaning of Shoki as I tried to jam just before class. My trad is too thin to win this battle with the wind. So I’m not in the celebratory mood. Another reason I am not in some jolly mood is because I think a lot about the realities of Nigeria’s situation. My people, it’s not pretty. It’s not ugly either, but boy, it’s not pretty.

Today should be a day of reflection as well as celebration. After 55 years, where are we as a nation-state? Everyone can spout all the problems we have in Nigeria. Even the kids in nursery school will sing it as if it’s a nursery rhyme. But how many people have plans for Nigeria? How many have ideas for what we can actually change? For my favorite group of people, the “Africa Is Rising”-ers, through what is Nigeria going to rise? Oil? Agriculture? Does anyone know? These are things that people should be thinking about. Right now, as youth, just think about these things. No one is expecting you to know for sure. However. these are things that the people in charge of our country should have answers to because what else is supposed to inform their policies? I was told this summer (by a working adult no less) that if Nigeria could recuperate the stolen funds, we would be an immediate world power. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. So many people do not know the realities of the world we live in. My dream for Nigeria is for the standard of living to increase. Let things work in my country. I’m not asking for much. Recently, I learnt a fascinating concept in my politics class called ‘zero-sum relationships’. It basically means if one person wins, everyone else loses. Now I’m thinking about Nigeria. For us to reach where we want to be, some other states have to lose. And which of them is going to let us? We are economically and politically dependent on many other states and bodies. Look at how OPEC has us in a choke-hold regarding oil production. Are we benefiting in any way? Our trade with China has risen to $23.5 billion. How is that affecting the average Nigerian? On this Independence day, it is important to know we are victims of neo-colonialism. Not to sound like a Marxist, but I don’t know if we can ever be free in this capitalist world. I promise I’m not a pessimist, it’s just that this side of the coin isn’t flipped to too many times. We need to hear the truth. Or maybe I just need some jollof rice in my system. Regardless, let’s be aware. As they like to say on black American Twitter, let’s stay woke.

Happy Independence Day everyone.

Works Cited

(I have to start putting all these kind of sturvs before somebody comes to sue me. And my Mummy always said that if you want to do something, do it right. So it must be MLA [Shout out to Writing and Rhetoric, Ms. Wilson and Ms. D])

Okafor, Chineme. “Articles.” Nigeria-China Trade Volume Rises to $23.5bn,. ThisDay, 02 June 2015. Web. 01 Oct. 2015.

i want my u’s arghhh

I thought about naming the post, “The Perils of Writing in American English”, but I think the above title, “i want my u’s arghhh” is very appropriate in showing the frustration that rises up in the situation I’m talking about. Let us just jump right in (like how Nigerian kids learn how to swim).

Because of years of mental torture and blackmail that Microsoft is the greatest thing ever, my default program to use when typing is Microsoft Word. And I’m not slamming Microsoft Word or Microsoft itself, it is quite useful. I still use it for homework and things that are on that level of seriousness. I don’t know why, but when I open a Microsoft Word document, I just assume that whatever the document is about, is important. So for less important things, I open those little text documents/notepads and they satisfy most of my typing needs.

My default language on Microsoft Word is English Language (United States). I really have no idea why. When I started on Microsoft Word I was just fascinated that there were so many different English languages. The only language I can speak is English. People always say it’s good to know multiple languages. There are 16 different English Languages on Microsoft Word. So to me, I can speak 16 different languages. But of all sixteen, I liked English Language (United States), because I liked United States. To me back then, there were only two options. Why would I pick English Language (Zimbabwe) or English Language (South Africa) when I could be English Language (United Kingdom) or English Language (United States). Now I wish I was English Language (Zimbabwe), just for the fun of it. But I’ve been with the US for many words of my typing life. And generally I have no problems with it. Except one.

This. labour

I went to a secondary school school that taught the British curriculum. So my English was styled after my colonial masters. I got used to it and I kind of liked it, much like the mirrors my ancestors liked back in the day. Now skip a few years, because of my Writing and Rhetoric classes, my adult self is at peace with English Language (United States). I’m going to college in the US, I should get used to writing in the format that will be expected of me. And I have accepted most of it. Except for taking my u’s away. What did ‘u’ ever do to anyone? Without the u, colors just don’t seem as colourful. Labor doesn’t come across as cumbersome. And I don’t feel the love/affection in favorite.

I’m imagining a meeting with all the badass American leaders back in the day. The discussion is centered (you see I’m even willing to compromise here) around how the Americans can distinguish their language from the British. Boos fill the room when someone says ‘the British’. So the mood is pretty hostile. Obviously the English language, which is completely full of contradictions, will be fixed. Surely. Someone brings up the issue of ‘teachers who taught’. “Shouldn’t preachers praught?” he declared. People began to mutter around the room, but soon it dies out. Not a big enough issue. Someone else brought up that fought is the past tense of fight, but lit is the past tense of light. More muttering. But once again, it dies out. Then someone says, “Why don’t we scrap the u’s from some words?” “Yeah!”, the people chorused. “We don’t need u’s in colour, or favourite, or labour.” “We’ll show those pretentious British people what a language really is.” And just like that, meeting adjourned.

In all seriousness, can someone help me out? Which oga at the top do I need to talk to? Please explain why the ‘u’s were cut out. I beg of you, America, reinstate the ‘u’, ‘u’ won’t regret it.

Why I want to become president and write a book.

The first time I had the idea of writing a book, I was very small. Maybe about 8 years old. Or was it 10? I am really not sure at this moment in time but during that time period the books I was into were the autobiographies and biographies. And so reading all these biographies, I thought, I too would like a biography when I am rich and famous in the future. All the biographies I read were funny and quirky, so mine too would be funny and quirky. I had started putting away memories that would be very useful when it was time for writing. It was a very selective process. The memories had to reveal enough about me, without making the people that knew me personally judge me. Since I do not recall of the memories I selected, I assume nothing made the cut. My bubble was burst when I found out that not all these biographies were written by the people they were about. It made more sense, there was no way ALL these people were funny. But I still wanted to write my own autobiography, for the personal flavor that only I could give. But first I had to be rich and famous.

Now, I want to write an unorthodox, young adult book. Problem is, I don’t think I know how to write. Over the past week, I have read two exceptional pieces of writing [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/priscilla-takondwa-semphere/broken-english-mother-tongues_b_7698634.html and https://medium.com/matter/everything-is-yours-everything-is-not-yours-d6f66bd9c6f9 ]. Those are writers. I am a somebody the internet allowed to have a blog. There’s a difference. Also, I have crippling commitment issues. (To the friends I have told I do not have commitment issues, that’s in terms of relationships. I’m talking about writing here.) I have been unfaithful to the world of blogs. Before this blog, there was another. I didn’t even have the decency to call it off with the first before cheating with this one. Even this one I have neglected for months at a time over the past 1 and a half years it has been operational. Because of these commitment issues, and my inability to write, I am scared of writing a book. Which is sad because I really want to write one. Not a novella either, a hefty volume of pages that I can slam down on a table and say, yes, eja nla [big fish] has landed. The idea of taking a couple of Creative Writing classes at college has crossed my mind a few times. But those classes are usually for writers, and I’m not sure I qualify, because to pass those classes, usually some type of structure in writing is needed and I’m not a fan of leashes on literature. Besides, all the authors I’m beginning to really like don’t seem to follow any type of structure. I told a friend recently that these authors go to college to learn all the writing rules and then completely ignore them in whatever bestseller they decide to publish. So anyway, I want to write a book. An unorthodox, compelling story. Probably about a boy. Yes, that’s one detail I have. And I want this first book to be a success. Just one book, and I’ll just blow (blow means to become famous). [I also want to act in one major film and just blow so I can go for all the award shows for the rest of my life]. So wish me luck for whenever I decide to write this Nobel Literature Prize winning (or at least Caine Prize winning) book.

I also want to be president [or an technocrat]. Yes, I’m declaring for the elections a couple of decades early. When I was much younger, my older brother said he wanted to be president. I don’t know if he still wants to but it’ll be pretty awkward if we both declare for the 2039 elections. I have been playing with the idea of running for president over the last couple of months and I think it’s important I say it because now I have the internet to help keep me accountable in pursuing my dream. If I don’t become president, I don’t think I would go wrong in being an autocrat. The most important thing is creating change on a macro level. Which is pretty ironic because I don’t believe that the relying on the government is the best way for a country to develop. However, I do believe that there needs to be institutions in place for the private sector to truly make the nation grow, and those institutions aren’t set in Nigeria. Being an autocrat wouldn’t be bad either because I could help make decisions that would lead to the change I want to see.

Now that I know I want to run for presidency, I wish I have never watched Scandal. Now I know that there are so many intricacies involved. I can only speak English. What kind of Nigerian president can only speak the colonial language? Between you and me, I’m planning to learn my father’s language. Kalabari is spoken by a couple of thousands of people, so even if I am not fluent, I can say rubbish, no one will know. It’s like I have to re-identify myself as a South South boy. Even though my mother is Yoruba, I can’t choose that one, there are too many of them. Even the Twitter presidents are Yoruba, how will I distinguish myself? So I’m happy with my South South identity, already there’s a kind of mystery about the man from the small tribe. Besides, if I’m from a small tribe, those big big tribes, they can’t hate me. But the other thing that bothers me is the issue of marriage. It’s common knowledge that the spouse is almost as important as the candidate. Even though that may not be true right now in NIgeria (*cough* Patience), but in 2039? It’ll be important. Because I’m from a small tribe, I can’t go for the ‘tribal’ vote, what am I doing with 10,000 votes? When I’m not in KOWA or HOPE. I have to hook myself up with a wife from one of the big brother tribes. My vice president too has to be from one of those tribes. It’s too much. As someone that still doesn’t believe in relationships (of the romantic kind), thinking about marriage has got my head spinning. But it shall be well. Remember to vote for me in 2039.

Usually, I always apologize and promise to write more. This time will be different. I’m tired of pretending that there are actually enough of you [the reader] that care that I write. I will write when I write.

Hollywood, how could you?

Hello imaginary readers,

I apologise for waiting so long to post, it’s just, I don’t really get inspired that often (lies, I do. I just get overwhelmed by a wave of laziness anytime it comes across my mind to blog. Besides, you’re imaginary, I didn’t think you would mind so much).

This term, my school is kicking off the year with seminal readings. This means the whole school community meets in small groups to discuss different readings around a central themes (more or less). For my year group, the theme for this term is “The Good Society” (or something like that). The first reading we were assigned was ‘The Giver’. ‘The Giver’ is an incredible book, I would definitely recommend it to everyone. I enjoyed the book so much that I finished it ahead of schedule. So with a lot of free time, I thought to myself, why not watch the movie. Big mistake. Oh my.

Hollywood, it is time for us to have a discussion. Now, as a fellow capitalist (don’t judge me), I understand the need to amass wealth by (in your case) pouring out tons of movies. Sometimes they’re good, sometimes they’re…… ehn. However, when one of your cronies thinks, “Hmmm, (insert very good book here) would make for a good movie and in turn, make us a lot of money”, YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO COMPLETELY WRECK IT.

I mean, the job is much easier for you. You don’t even have to make up the plot, just assign lines in a script. Then do all your directing things and voila, you have a movie. But noooooooo, obviously, you believe the original just isn’t good enough and you have to put your greedy little capitalist hands all over the story and mess it up. (spoiler alert, if you think you might want to watch The Giver, skip to the next paragraph). HOW COULD YOU TURN THE GIVER INTO A LOVE STORY? HOW COULD YOU? You made Asher serious. You turned him into a drone pilot, TO FIT YOUR TWISTED PLOT. You changed Jonas’ number, FOR ABSOLUTELY NO REASON. You changed Fiona’s assignment, TO FIT YOUR TWISTED PLOT. You made Lily a year older, FOR ABSOLUTELY NO REASON. You changed how the Chief Elder worked. You…. I’m not going to get myself into a frenzy. But if you changed so much, why even call it ‘The Giver’. You could steal the main idea and just rework to make a new movie. We all know that’s what you do most of the time anyways. That’s why I don’t understand why you’ll have an original story and still mess it up. Do you not value the essence of stories?

I hope you have children. I hope they grow up to read ‘The Giver’. I hope they watch your ‘rendition’ of it. I hope they come up to you, teary-eyed, disappointment written all over their faces and ask, “Why did you do it? Why did you kill ‘The Giver’? Because you did kill it. YOU ARE A MURDERER. What good is the justice system for situations such as this. Who is going to hold you accountable?

Between the last paragraph and this one, no one stepped up for the job, so as the self appointed judge, I declare you guilty. I sentence you to your millions billions, your fame, your…… So yeah, I can’t really do much to hurt you, which is not fair because you’ve caused me so much pain. But please, I beg of you with my hearts of hearts, let it stop. Please.

‘African Respect’

A couple days ago, I was walking to the school gate to pick up my pizza and I passed an elderly South African lady. Awaiting the Pizza Perfect delivery man, I was shocked to hear an unfamiliar voice say,

“How are you?”

I turned around slowly, in the split second I saw the lady, I realised she was addressing me. Confusion written on my face, I replied,

“I’m fine thank you, how are-”

“I’m fine too,” she interrupted. “It’s just, in my days, we were brought up to respect our elders.”

In her head, she must have been elated. She had just put a wayward teen in his place. Her face told me that she was disappointed in me, the youth of today and ultimately, mankind. She was disappointed, I was angry.

Let me provide some context. It was about 10 minutes to one on a Saturday afternoon. I had ordered the pizza almost 45 minutes before. On a regular day I wouldn’t mind waiting around for my food, but it wasn’t a regular day. I had a full SAT practice test that begun exactly at one. I didn’t have a phone so I had spewed some rubbish when the pizza guy asked for my number. Therefore I had no way to know if the pizza was on its way. Apprehensive and nervous about my food and the four hour test I was about to dive in, I didn’t even notice the elderly woman who was on the wide right of my vision.

When the lady walked away, I was fuming. I went into a mini-rant in my mind about respect. That is what I will try to articulate in this blog. Beware, it will still seem ‘rant-y’.


The elderly lady had no idea what was going through my mind, didn’t know me from my village, wasn’t even sure I saw her. But because she saw me, she thought she deserved ‘respect’. First of all, greeting someone doesn’t equate respect. Also, no one ‘deserves’ a greeting. You don’t know the person’s story, you don’t know if they just lost their job or a home or a relative, you can’t expect anything from them. Respect is reciprocal. Because of my home training, I approach everyone with respect, but I should get the same back on the other side. (Another issue that bothers me greatly is, why do older Africans [sorry for the generalization, but you know what I mean] feel the need to correct everyone younger than them according to their personal values. It is embarassing. Stop that.)

Apart from greeting, the idea of respect from both sides extends to many aspects of life. Many times in Nigeria, when in an argument, the older one will say, “Am I your mate?” That is ridiculous. If I’m arguing with you, I will not be dismissed just because you were born before me. I will not accept your thoughts/theory/philosophy just because you are older than me. You are not better because you are older than me. And “because I have been there” isn’t a worthy explanation for why I must agree with you. It doesn’t work that way. You know why? NO TWO SCENARIOS ARE EVER THE SAME. Similar? Maybe, but not the same. So give concrete arguments.

If you do not respect yourself, I will not respect you. If you are at fault, accept it. Don’t believe that because the other person is younger than you, you can not concede. And to the older people, we know you used to ‘do things’ a certain way. We know you think it is the best way. You need to consider the possibility that maybe that’s not so. And adapt. That’s what we all need to do. Adapt. Adapt to the society we live in today. Accept that not everyone will greet you. Be willing to change and accomondate. Don’t be stuck in the thick mud of times past.

P.S I had to eat the pizza in the test room while listening to instructions from the instructor. Bacon, pepperoni, chili and extra cheese. Beautiful

Meeting new people is the best thing ever (inspired by YYGS [Google it])

I’m not one for favourites (Yes Americans, it’s a ‘u’. I’m not writing the SATs for a few months, I’m not bound to your rules) and so I’m not one to say a particular experience has been the “best of my life”, but the past two weeks have been wonderful. I should provide useful context for the people I don’t constantly text with the details of my life. I spent the last two weeks at Jonathan Edwards College at the Yale University participating in the Yale Young Global Scholars Program (YYGS, yes, I know you didn’t Google it). I would never forget these past two weeks and the people I met here.

This brings me to my topic of the day 

“Meeting new people is the best thing ever”

Meeting new people excites me, especially when it’s people from across the world. You find like-minded people and you are satisfied because with a sigh of relief, you think to yourself, “Finally, someone who understands it the way I do.” And it could be on so many topics. Someone from Argentina could agree with your stance on gun control rights but disagree with you on abortion, but the Mexican kid gets it.

And the arguments. Oh my goodness, the arguments. This is a very biased statement. As someone who loooooooves to argue, I am very much pro-arguing. Unless the person isn’t making sense. Then they need to stop. You can’t make up facts, or not acknowledge truth (*cough* Abishek *cough*). Arguing with new people is a great way to start friendships. Unless the argument gets too heated. Then you’re probably not going to be friends with the person.

Here’s a list of argument topics I’ll suggest for occasions where you are meeting someone for the first time:

  • How bad was the old Spiderman movie series?
  • Does Tobey Maguire suck badly, or really badly?
  • The role of the Internet in society today

or anything in that vein.

Here are things you never argue with someone after meeting them for the first time:

  • LGBT rights
  • Abortion
  • Religion
  • Gun rights
  • Israel and Palestine

No matter what your stance is on those topics, NEVER discuss these things with people you just met for the first time (and sometimes people you’ve known for a while too).

So that’s arguments. Also, meeting new people is incredible because of the bonds formed. After just two weeks, the bonds and relationships I made at Yale are incredibly strong. People you didn’t know a few weeks ago start making you wonder how you’ll cope without them. It’s tough to deal with. You have to start relying on social media to keep in touch. But when you know those friendships you made are for real, it’s all worth it.

(To my YYGS people) I’ll miss you all, and I’ll keep all the memories. (Seriously, I’m laughing at some of them as I write this. Who remembers the day James decided we dress up all formal and try to get Insomnia cookies?)

Till we meet again (because I’m not done with you lot. Not even close. You thought you got rid of me? When you get up on stage to do anything, I’ll be there standing up clapping.)