When the President of United State visited Canada briefly on his first one day work visit outside the Country, he was met at the Airport by another African who happens to be the Governor General of Canada, Madam Michaelle Jean originally from Haiti. Beyond the official business of the two, one is the most powerful man in the world, the other is the ceremonial representative of the Queen in Canada. It is a powerful message to young Africans as the two leaders are known for encouraging youth empowerment.
You have to be at the right place at the right time and that can only happen if you are well prepared to take the opportunity when it comes. In Africa, many people can legitimately claim that we do not love ourselves and Africans fare better outside our Continent. The irony is the amount of work Africans put in to be able to succeed in not so friendly places around the world. Africans succeed not because of, but despite uncongenial situations.
The historic moment was not lost on either of the Commander-In-Chief “You would never have imagined that you and I could both be here like today, coming from African descent,” the Governor General told the President. Instead of the stiff and official hand shake, these two shook hands spiritedly and she slapped the President’s back excitedly.
Shorter than the President, she could have hit his butt. Oh, Michelle Obama must have understood the animated occasion. In Australia, France and the US when the Queen visited, helping her with one hand on her back or shoulder had caused Royal Gaffe. British Press would yell – Hands off our Queen!
For those Africans who have been in United States or Canada longer than the new wave of immigrants, there has to be a natural form of envy that must be understood for us to bind and celebrate together. Africans no matter where they are in the world, get the brunt of the stick most of the time. Sometimes they get lucky like everyone else. But it is said that whosever head is used to break a coconut may not recover enough to eat it. By the same token, Africans before Columbus were not slaves but respected noble sojourners.
Those who died on the streets fighting for the day a black man and a black woman will shake hands at the airport representing the biggest trading partners are long gone. Their children wonder if these are the children their parents were hoping would reap the benefit of their struggle for justice. No doubt, those Africans after Columbus in high heavens, must have watched the legacy of their hard work. However, those on expedition before Columbus would not have imagined slavery of their people in the later centuries.
We had black rulers in Europe as warriors, politicians and as Pope. But the centuries between these enthronements are far apart. The question is: are others more apprehensive about black rulers that they may retaliate, than the fear that they may become bad rulers? History of the New World shows that those who are mixed maybe seen as safer bet than those without a “drop” in their blood.
It does not mean that Africans treated as slaves would be more or less graceful than those who are so wicked to their own people in Africa. Ultimately, they see Africans, not African Americans/Canadians, ethnic or tribe.
So, some maybe tempted to ask if Madam Michaelle Jean would have become Governor General of Canada if she has not married a white man or if we could have had a black President in the US without his white mother. In the West Indies and South Africa, there were classes of people depending on the shade of their skins even under black rulers.
The closer they are to the “clear” color the better their chances of getting a job and all the benefits that accrue in life. That type of thoughts must die for us to encourage our youth.
Experience confirmed that most black managers in Diaspora are skilful administrators who rule by consensus and wisdom because of what it takes to get there. If anything, they are not partial but can be firmer with their own than others. The reverse is also true: some of their black subordinates respect others more than black managers.
It is usually said that on your way up, be nice as you may meet the same people on your way down. It applies not only to managers and politicians; it also goes for personal relationships. The same principle is true for black presidents and governors of any country to gain world respect.
It will be unfair not to quickly add that some people went the opposite way. For a long time in the United States, many successful black men were married to white women or the closest color to white to compliment their status. Some even argue that they did it to open some doors to show that they are not racists.
So those successful black men who had not married a white woman were not complete? Of course women have been known to marry up the ladder, and black women were not an exception.
Today, it may sound like a passé to our young men and women but that is how far we have come. Discrimination is being overshadowed by enlightenment, education and challenges of the future. In our euphoria of being better human, proclaiming equality and egalitarian societies, we find ourselves in situations where we are called upon to back our rhetoric with action.
It may still be difficult for black men to break through unless you live in a black country; Michaelle Jean and Barack Obama have got through this century.
Race relation has improved in Europe and America and the new generation is not so hung up on prejudice as their parents. Indeed, we see how young Americans started discussions from their kitchens, town halls, schools and retirement homes dragging their parents to the voting booths.
As they get older though, their views may harden to preserve a legacy that is dwindling like a pie. It has been a long way but there is much more to do.
We can never be nice to everybody and if we try, cannot please everyone. That must not stop us. As we continue to pray for black people to do away with hate, reconcile and start looking inward for self accomplishment so that we can bring the countries we rule higher, we must also help our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora by giving them reasons to be proud of us at home.
Their pride in us exudes confidence in their rule abroad. Africans still punish one another more than anyone else in the world.
When we are not sharing money and we settle down to frank discussions, we sometimes end up dividing ourselves into ethnic groups and tribes as if we have never ruled any great Empire before, made up of the same groups. Did the British force us together then? Charity to one another begins with us in Africa, for outside descendants to emulate as presidents and governors.
NGEX welcomes and encourages reader comments. Permission to post reader comments is assumed, and we reserve the right to excerpt or edit for clarity any comments that are posted. We won't be able to publish all comments. And we can't vouch for the accuracy of posts from readers. Nickname or Name will be used to identify your post.
peter larry, vienna, Austria March 02, 2009
Blacks will soon take control of the world......Austrian now have two black policemen...UNBELIVEABLE!
john istanbul, Nigeria March 02, 2009
what austria? forget it, Austria own is just lie. their own recism is like hell. they use them to said, you see ,we re not recist.
Results » 1-2 of 2 Result Page » < 1 >
"The views and opinions expressed in these comment(s) or article(s) do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of NGEX, its partners or its affiliates."