One problem that seems to have existed since humanity’s early days is that of minority peoples and the quest for recognition, acceptance and equality. The world has remained in crises all through history and almost all crises can be traced to resistance of alienation and the quest for cultural, economic and political integration. Different minorities, either defined by race, colour, tribe, economy or sex, form the lens through which we analyze most of the world’s crises.
Issues of minority struggles are usually front burner conversations in most of the world’s politics and elections. Economic decisions and financial stability of countries like Nigeria are determined by the existence or non-existence of peace in certain minority regions of the country. Even Brexit, the global media and business community’s latest obsession was catalyzed by conversations around the fear of economic dominance by minorities, an event that can best be described as a “White Working Class Revolt” veiled under the cloak of nationalism and directed at outsiders and minorities.
MASKED IDENTITIES AND FEIGNED INTEGRATION
The discrimination of most minorities in major cities and countries has forced these minorities to try alternative strategies to blend into the society in the hopes that the obstacles created by their skin color, race etc when accessing employment, housing or vying for political positions, for example will be removed. Such forced attempts at feigning invisibility always results in shedding visible signs of religious identity, skin bleaching, name change or distorted spellings to hide one’s ethnic or religious affiliation.
What most of the world’s minorities hate and fight against is the thought that living and existing anywhere is luxury. The black community in America is the most obvious example. Even having the opportunity of a black man as the president of the United States of America hasn’t offered much protection; rather it seemed to have increased the number of hate killings, birthing such movements as the #blacklivesmatter which has become a world renowned hashtag because the black minority is fighting against the thought that living in the country described as the land of the free is luxury.
Victor Asemota, a Nigerian technology entrepreneur and commentator earlier today made a post on his Facebook wall that captures and aptly describes the struggles and reality of minorities across the world.
When you come from a small country with a lot of disadvantages, patriotism is not a luxury. It is a necessity. It prevents your country from being rolled over, it prevents your identity from being lost. Ghanaians, Cameroonians, citizens of small African countries and even the UK are fiercely patriotic.
When you come from a big complex country, where you remain a permanent downtrodden minority, patriotism is a luxury. Your identity will forever be subsumed in that of “the nation” even if you do not agree or subscribe to the outward qualities or characteristics, that nation exhibits.
I learned something today from a video about the black minority in America. All Presidents are puppets. Even when you get a President from a minority and that minority fails to pull the strings to get what they want achieved in the President’s tenure, they should blame themselves and not the President.
Being American is a luxury to the Black Man. Being Nigerian is a luxury to the South South Minority.
It will take a while before America ever gets a Black President again. Nigeria may never get a minority President anymore. The Majority is now consolidating to make sure it never happens. They have a good excuse now. They will just point and say – “look at what happened the last time?”.
They will fail to mention that the puppet was being controlled by a few puppeteers from the majority.
Democracy is truly an illusion in a Republic.
RETHINKING DEMOCRACY’S ROLE IN OUR LIVES
As stated in the State of theWorld’ s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples Report of 2015 “The complex issues and challenges of urban indigenous and minority groups, which are often rooted in social and institutional prejudice, cannot be addressed solely through conventional approach”. Perhaps, one would be free in this context, juxtaposed against Asemota’s post to opine that democracy is both a luxury and a conventional approach that hasn’t solved most of the problem of the world’s minorities. If the blacks, through democracy have gotten hold of power in the world’s biggest nation and still feel subjected to a minority status, what else other than democracy could be a solution?
Perhaps, we should revisit statements once made by America’s 2nd, 4th and 6th presidents on democracy;
“Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
~ John Adams, 2nd President of the United States
“Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death.
~ James Madison, 4th President of the United States, Father of the Constitution
“The experience of all former ages had shown that of all human governments, democracy was the most unstable, fluctuating and short-lived.”
~ John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the United States
How can we better understand the challenges and causes of discrimination as well as propose solutions and strategies of prevention that can truly work in practice?