Posted in Culture

It’s okay for ME to say it..

A couple of weeks ago, my sister came home upset from school because of a conversation that she had at school with some of her classmates. One of the girls had jokingly called her a nigger. She tried to explain that she did not like the idea of the word ‘nigger’ being used in reference to her, regardless of whether it was a joke or not. In trying to explain her point to her friends, she inferred that only black people could use the word ‘nigger’ jokingly. She then gave an example of when my brother put up a picture of him on Instagram and captioned it ‘Niggaz in Paris’. As the eldest, wisest and also the prettiest in the family (I joke, not really), it was my job to make her feel better, but also, to re-educate her.

I questioned where she got the idea that only black people should be allowed use the word ‘nigger’. The word ‘nigger’ is a derogatory word, regardless of the skin colour of the person uttering the word. According to oxford dictionaries, the word ‘nigger’ is a “contemptuous term for a black person.” The meaning of the word does not change depending on the person that utters it. If you do not want a person to use the word ‘nigger’ when they refer to you, you shouldn’t use the word nigger when referring to yourself either. I feel using a word when referring to yourself, is giving other people the permission to use it towards you. You cannot have one rule for yourself, and one rule for the rest of the world. It does not work like that, at least it shouldn’t. You shape others behaviour towards you, by teaching them what they can and cannot get away with. If you refer to yourself as a nigger, whether jokingly or not, I do not see why a reason why other people are not allowed to call you a nigger. You have indirectly given them the permission to call you a nigger.

Little kids are uttering words while being unaware of the meaning of the words that they utter. When we start to joke about terms that hold serious meaning, these terms are taken for granted and are flung around carelessly. This is absolutely fine, but the problem is that the meaning of these words do not change. The contempt behind the words are still there. They do not vanish, because you made into a joke, and they certainly do not vanish depending on the race of the person that says it. Yes, it is understandable that it will most likely hurt more, if a white person called a black person a nigger, than if a black person called a black person a nigger, but the fact is, one is still being called a nigger.

I feel like this applies to every aspect of our lives, even for things like respect. I feel the way you carry yourself is very important. Personally, I have noticed that people will treat you the way, you treat yourself. If you carry yourself like a boss, people will treat you like a boss. If you put yourself down, people will put you down either jokingly or not. How you are treated, depends on the way you let them treat you. Remember, it’s your life and you are in control.

Till next time

-A

Posted in Culture

THE PRESSURE IS REAL.

LIFE SUCKS.

Okay, maybe sucks isn’t the word. I guess I’m just feeling a bit lost at the moment. I am currently in my final year in college, which is great… I think! At least, that’s what everyone tells me. I’m almost at the finish line, and I feel like crap. I’m coming to the end of the road and I basically do not know where to turn.

One major problem is the fact that I haven’t graduated yet, but I have people planning my graduation party. I haven’t even sat my exams yet! The idea of a party for an achievement that I have yet to achieve is quite terrifying. Don’t get me wrong, I love parties! And I’m sure it will be great fun to have a party to celebrate the release from hell, I mean… College. The problem is, planning a graduation party in which my relatives are planning on attending all the way everywhere (Nigeria, America, and England) is assuming that I am going to graduate with a good grade, because who wants to pay €800 for a ticket to Ireland to celebrate a shitty grade? Not my family. I love my family and I know this is their way of showing that they care, but I cannot help but feel so pressured to do well. I want to do well, and I hope I do well. However, the pressure I am feeling at the moment is quite overwhelming, and I do not seem to be able to get past it and focus on the work ahead.

Problem II: THE NEXT STEP… DUN DUN DUN!!!

I am sure everyone has this problem. “So, you’re finishing college soon, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO NEXT?”… Eh, can you chill please? I don’t even know if I am going to get through this. There’s this pressure to constantly keep moving, at a fast pace too! There is absolutely nothing wrong with moving at a fast pace, if that is what YOU want to do. There is also nothing wrong with moving at a different pace to everyone else. The issue is that they ask you what YOU are going to do next, but they are really only expecting one of two answers; “Oh, I am planning on doing my masters.” or “I am going to apply for a job.” Anything outside of these answers means trouble. It is hard to explain to parents that you want to take a break and go travelling for the year, or you want to stay on the dole for the “craic.” Personally, I would like to work part-time, and do my masters part-time or take a year out to work and then go back to do my masters. Doing a masters programme part-time rather than full-time means it will take a little bit longer. And that is absolutely fine with me. I am tired and drained from college and I really do not want to go into full-time education straight away. I feel the need for a break, even if it does mean that I am “wasting” time. However, the pressure from parents to get on with things and “do what you have to do quick” (in a Yoruba accent) makes it difficult to make the best decision for me. The idea of not being successful until I’ve made it to my PhD by the age of 24 is frustrating (to say the least!). When someone says “Don’t worry, when you graduate you will see all your mates doing their masters and their PhD.” I want to say “Yeah, I also have mates that are doing nothing.”

I guess what I am trying to say is the pressure is real, even without taking college work into account. PERSONALLY, I think the best thing to do is to put yourself first and know your abilities and have faith that the best will happen. As much as I would like to have a PhD by the age of 24, I feel like I need a bit of a break. Don’t get me wrong, I am not limiting myself. I am just being realistic with myself. I do not want to spend the next 2 years being a broke student again (I ain’t about tha life). Like I said, I am tired and life is too short to spend another two years unhappy because I want to please people. I need to put myself first, and do what I know will make me feel happy and fulfilled. I will get my PhD someday. When I am good and ready.

Till next time

– A