While historical, structural, systemic racism, prejudice and stereotypes against darker skinned people particularly those of African descent cannot be discounted, I hold the opinion that the internalized oppression and racism of African peoples play a very significant role in keeping them at the bottom of society.

Most black people are essentially racist against themselves and their own race. Many blacks see themselves less human, less beautiful and less intelligent than other racial groups. Many blacks do not believe in themselves or their own race and look down on the accomplishments of other blacks. Most blacks disobey the command or rules set by authorities from their own race.

Many backs hate to see someone from their own group go higher or move up. Others would deliberately destroy, hound, drag down or undermine the the achievers within their communities. Blacks do not like to patronize businesses or enterprises from their own communities.

African diasporas often isolate themselves from participating in the mainstream society including decision making. Immigrants in particular mostly associate among themselves with many of them barely interacting with the host societies as most find integration as incompatible with their own cultures. Others see themselves as outsiders only here abroad to make money to return eventually. Some are even hostile towards the host groups and are totally prejudiced against Caucasians (whites) in particular. And there are others who see no chance of accessing any opportunities because they are ” blacks” in a “white” dominated society.

Some are even scared to accept positions of power, mingle with whites or take any chances due to their own prejudice against themselves or perceived image of themselves. Some African people even discourage their children from going to ambitious careers or opportunities while some discourage their children from associating, hanging out with white kids because they perceive them as “spoiled” or having laxed rules or poor cultural values.

Many Africans have low self-esteem, low confidence and are defeatist often settling for low wage jobs. Others play the “race card” all the time blaming every issue (including things they should be taking responsibility for) on racism. African people complain about lack of inclusion although quite reluctant to participate in public or other social or political events.

There is general perception that blacks do not like to give back into society. This includes refusal to volunteer, donate blood or organs or make financial contributions for charitable causes.This was echoed by a friend who is a researcher recently who stated that charity groups are worried about the growing aging population in Canada because they tend to donate more whilst new immigrants do not.

In a recent literature review on European migrants, I found that whilst Europeans recognize a need to admit new immigrants to supplement their labour force due to their aging population, they worry about inability and/or unwillingness non-European immigrants including Africans to integrate.

Many African immigrants do not even want to invest, acquire properties or build businesses here. In fact, some despise those who acquire properties and assets here, instead of do the same back in Africa.Those who build their lives here are at times scorned and accused of being “sellouts” or “lost” souls.

Many blacks have lived abroad for several decades but own no property. It is different for other minority groups like Asians or Arabs. Most get involved in the communities, aim higher and build businesses. Most persevere until they achieved what they wanted.

Blacks appear to engage in back conducts based on media reporting: criminal acts, gangs and public fighting.

But why do we do that to ourselves? Why are we destroying ourselves, our own and chances of rising up? What does being isolated or being behind serve? Does that make us rise? How do we get included without participating? How do we remove any structural barriers when we are outside the decision making process or forums?

How do we change anything when we are in low paying jobs or at the bottom of the ladder? Who will make the change we want? How can we remove discrimination or prejudice? The power holders? God? When will that happen? What makes us think there will be any change when we continue on the same path?

In my mind, discrimination, prejudice, prestige and racial superiority are connected to economic status, social class, concentration of political power, innovation, advancement, and a complex number of factors not necessarily on skin colour per se. Clasping our hands to pray while destroying ourselves and others, looking down on ourselves and isolating ourselves will keep us at the bottom of the racial order. Nothing is going to change when we continue on the same path.

It is about time we changed our mindsets about our own self imposed boundaries and limitations and go for what we really think we deserve. We ought to be at the decisions table not outside. We cannot have our voice represented when we are absent. We cannot be a part of something you isolate ourselves from.

We cannot complain about getting higher when we chose to accept a low paying job or position as the norm. We cannot demand respect for ourselves when we don’t accord ourselves any respect either. We cannot have our children up there when we continue to discourage them from aiming high or taking any chances.

It is about time we stopped complaining to advantage over anti discrimination and equity laws to rise. We need to aim higher and deal with our own racism against ourselves and own people. We ought to get involved in our communities if we want to be recognized as such.

Embrace yourself and focus on your strengths.
Stop playing defeatism.

Akosua G
Ontario, Canada
January 19, 2020