THE HIGH PRICE OF A RACIST MINDSET

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
— GEORGE SANTAYANA (1863–1952)

It used to be unthinkable that anyone or anything would make the Ndigbo of Nigeria close shop or business for a day, especially against their will. Long before the IPOB metamorphorsed to what it is now, I held, in conversations in Port Hacourt almost a decade ago that the tone of IPOB’s leader’s homilies was anti-Igbo and that the fruits at maturity would be unpleasant. I would be shut up & down. Look at where we are today.

Racism, or the feeling of ethnic/nationalistic superiority of any kind is often a blindspot that leads to self-destruction. Right before I pulled into Chapter 84 of Bill Fawcett’s 100 Mistakes That Changed The World, a chapter which sufficiently corroborates my thoughts, I have been having this thought & conversation with some friends in light of the murder of Deborah, a student of Sokoto College of Education by Islamic radicals in Sokoto State, Nigeria for allegedly blaspheming Prophet Muhammad.

There is a popular belief that the strain of Islam in Yoruba land, Nigeris is peaceful, or that Yoruba muslims are tolerant. I have no doubt that this belief originates from a place of ethnic superiority, the kind Ndigbos had pre-IPOB. Considering how much history has shown us that Islam when allowed to rule a place without civil checks & balances often never births a religious or morally tolerant society, I wonder on what strength Yorubas think they are an or the exception.

Going back in time, Hitler saw the Aryans as a superior race, and it led him into a blind self-destructive alley as he took on Europe in WW II, and made one too many wrong calls off of that superiority complex

The U.S thought the Japanese inferior, hence more than one General, after three warnings from their war department about an impending Japanese hostility never got into ‘war-mode’ until Pearl Habour.

In the Bible, many times, the Jews saw themselves as God’s own people, and would often ignore warnings from God about an impending invasion from an enemy nation. I mean, God wouldn’t let that happen to them — till it happened!

In more recent time, Europe, after WW II never thought it would see an invasion styled similarly to how Germany invaded Poland. This, is a whole continent, who thought, “we’ve come so far from this, this could never happen here again.” How did that delusion end? Russia, invaded Ukraine!

As I conclude, a law I learnt in secondary school chemistry class comes to mind. I don’t know why it does, or how it relates to this piece, however I will share it with you. Avogadro’s law.

Avogadro’s law states that, “equal volumes of all substances, at the same temperature & pressure, contains the same number of molecules.” At least, that’s my best recollection of it.

I guess, that law popped up to remind us that humans are not really different, even over time; that if the ‘right’ conditions are in place, a lot of events that we thought we’d never witness again will play out, once and again.

We, as a society must therefore become vigilant, so as to guard against the pitfalls of a haughty racial belief. History more than shows us that this belief leaves in its wake errors, too costly to repair, yet very much avoidable.

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Purple Parche

Purple Parche

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A citizen's personal journal of his thoughts and everything in between...