On subconscious stereotypes

There are loads of stereotypes in this world that ought to change. Change they say begins with one. I have no doubt in that assertion.

So there I was sitting at the waiting area of a friend’s office. An Hausa man in his 60s sat next to me, there to conduct his transaction too.

The television in the waiting room was tuned to CNN news channel, and Obama was talking giving a speech on a subject I do not remember to be honest.

This man sitting next to me (let’s call him Salisu), asked me who was speaking eloquently on CNN. I said it was the former president of the USA.

He then asked, if I met a young guy that spoke eloquently and knowledgeable like that, but was poor. Would I marry him?

He further asked, would I marry Obama if I had to?

I answered; well, Obama is already married to a beautiful woman. He further asked, what if she passes away? To which I responded saying; no she will not pass away before him.

He stressed his point with a NO, why do you want him to pass away first, the wife should go first. I insisted he was going first. We both laughed.

He then proceeded to tell me where Obama’s father and mother are from. And how young people like us can make a difference in the world if we wanted. Especially in our country, Nigeria.

Hold that thought one minute. Salisu knew exactly who was speaking on CNN. I wonder why he asked πŸ€”? Why do you think he did?

He asked what I do for a living and I told him I build websites for now, and I teach ICT. He laughed once again saying oh my, you people are the one destroying the world.

I asked him why. He said didn’t you hear what happened recently in Rwanda. At that moment, a friend of Salisu walked in and interrupted us for a moment while they exchanged pleasantries. I scrambled to Google what tech incident happened recently in Rwanda πŸ˜‚

He saw me doing that and smiled. I asked him again, he didn’t say. He proceeded to tell me about his children. He said one of them was also a Computer Engineer like me. He brought out his phone and called the Computer Engineer, spoke to him a little and gave me the phone to say hello to his Son.

The Son mentioned that his dad has said a lot about me and computing, and we should become friends. He also thanked me for the conversation I had with his dad.

Back to stereotypes!

It’s common to hear people from other ethnic groups in Nigeria say Hausas are the cause of the problems of Nigeria because they just won’t get an education. Such opinions do not hold water until someone can factually tell me why they think they won’t. Remember, cause and effect should be considered when carrying out that research.

It’s also common to hear of and see twitter threads from Africans these days that ooze a lot of foolishness. Apologies to anyone offended, but i see it as a very foolish act. Engaging in my country is better than yours, my tribe is better than yours, my school is better than yours rant. It is foolish.

Don’t get me wrong, i can say Olabisi Onabanjo University has the best law faculty in the country, with evidences to back it up and perhaps a suggestion or two about how other schools could improve. But engaging in senseless and valueless conversations is just beyond me.

I could have assumed Salisu was not educated and that would have been bad. Remember, assumption kills.

However, judging from my conversation with Salisu which lasted for approximately two hours, you know damn sure that Salisu is clearly educated, well-travelled and knowledgeable about FX which is his field of operations.

If I was not open-minded and had a conversation with Salisu, I would not have made a new friend. I would have assumed he wasn’t educated. I am always conscious to never assume by the way. I can wait forever for an explanation or just ask for it.

Salisu picked up his backpack and bade me farewell.

I believe it’s high time we do two things in Nigeria.

1. Eliminate ethnic groups just like they did in Rwanda. For Pete’s sake, and I don’t even know who Pete is. We are all first, NIGERIANS!

2. Start teaching wards in our primary schools with the local language of the community a school is located.

To be continued…


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