-Because I care series #3
Usually I avoid reading articles by black people complaining about white people. Not because I hate pity parties or find it personally repulsive. But because I am too busy working on my presidential campaign. Otherwise I love it all. I love the moaning over white people - the cause of all our problems. How white journalists in our country like only our bad news. How white people (I think mostly Jews- ah, those guys!) force our governments to take loans we don’t need and are the cause of our underdevelopment (we should count ourselves lucky- in other black countries they cause war!). How white movie financiers are always sneaking white saviors into movies that should be about black people. Because no great solution to a problem ever came about without a bunch of people crying, covering themselves in ashes and sackcloth and gnashing their teeth. The rest usually takes care of itself.
The white journalists in our country especially need to be lashed on the butt with brooms. This is what some of my anti-white savior friends say. And I agree with them. Because these bombings and open government brigandage and kidnappings and massacres they report happen only in their foreign minds. We are after all a peaceful, stable, progressive nation. And jealous white people want to break us up. That is why when I become president I will first ask top oyibo journalists like Jon Gambrell to leave Nigeria. Nicely. Or report only good news like the flowers in Lagos, the sale of plots of water in Eko Atlantic City and the proposed world class, billion-naira city gate in Abuja. NTA needs more help reporting our progress. It will be their choice to leave or to stay. In all of this what is the role of Nigerian journalists? I say to all who ask that silly unpatriotic question: shut up and keep walking.
Look at all the white people living large in our country, bringing in mosquito nets and conditional development money. They are the reason we still die of malaria. They are the reason our hospitals are in a mess. They have to be. The fact that money for hospitals and drugs end up financing politics, foreign personal trips, mistresses and thanksgiving services is beside the point. The real issue is those white guys who want glory, who want to keep earning tax-free expatriate salaries- they are the reason our money disappears into the pockets of our leaders. And it is unfair to expect a man who finds money in his pocket to return this free gift- that kind of temptation is simply beyond what a Nigerian mortal can bear and in Africa it is rude to turn down free gifts. As president, the only white workers in Nigeria will be visiting singers and celebrities, and wives that have been imported by sharp grateful Nigerians from European countries in recession.
This week I read a blog article by Phenderson Djèlí Clark where he bemoaned the way audiences are force-fed images of white saviors in Hollywood, from Django (the D is silent) Unchained where the rough black hero needed to be trained by his white German savior, to Blood Diamond where even “unscrupulous white guys can transform themselves into white saviors in Africa”. This writer correctly identifies the problem: white people. And the answer he gave to this travesty is simple. I will quote him:
“The answer is –you. And by you, I mean white people. Yes. You random white person who has stumbled upon this blog. You are to blame for this never ending onslaught of white saviors.”
The solution he proffers is even more interesting. He says:
“Do you like what you see? Then YOU white people, YOU should do something about it. Stop supporting these movies… save us from these damn movies!”
I like this guy. I will start religiously reading his blog. I will recommend it to everyone, to my partner, my white friends and everyone on my street. He is so correct about the problem of white savior movies financed by white people and paid for in the cinemas by more white people than black. (Africans don’t count. We wait for the bootleg DVDs). He is correct that we need white people to save us from white movies. We do not need to start telling our own stories, no. Why waste money when white investors are already spending millions of dollars on movies. All we need to do is convince them that it is hurtful to keep taking our own stories and telling it as if it is theirs. Great solution. There is no need for us to invest our own money in providing alternative narratives to the white savior story. There is no need to get on Tyler Perry’s case for hurting the image of black people by selling the worst stereotypes of black experience. Leave Tyler alone. He is an honest hustling black man making a living in a hostile white country. I know that enemies of our collective black progress will say cringe-worthy things like, well, do we not daily live the white savior experience, do our leaders not always go cap in hand to white governments and people to help save us, do our oppressed citizens not escape to white countries to save them from other black people, are white people not everywhere in our black countries doing work that our governments should be doing? I have no answer for those ones. Because like we used to say in primary school, silence is the best answer for a fool.
So this is the summary of our problems. White people. They create bad stories so they can sell papers, make sure our governments don’t work so they can live in big houses here as consultants, refuse to listen to our moaning, refuse to tell black stories the way they should be told. We must get rid of them. If we try, together, I am sure we can.