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Isio Knows Better: Too White For Your Own Good

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Isio Wanogho - March 2014 - BellaNaijaI sincerely lay no claims to being more knowledgeable than anyone, but I do confess that I know better than I did yesterday, last year and a decade ago. Isio Knows Better is an attempt to capture the shocking and highly entertaining conversation within myself. The conversations between my mind (the sharp witty one), my soul (the lover and the spiritual one) and my body (the playful one concerned with the more mundane things of life). She is the eternal referee between the caustic mind and the sensitive soul. This is Isio. So, here’s to making private conversations public.

Enjoy!
***

It was the Fall of 2012, and a beautiful Florentine Fall it was. Italy was so beautiful that time of the year. And so it was, that on that spring morning, in our design school, we, the students from many nations- had all gathered in class, to listen to our teacher teach us something about emotional design.

We were supposed to be listening, and we tried. Only that it was difficult. The other Nigerians and I had sat at the back of the class and had a clear view of our Sudanese sister’s long, luscious, waist-length black hair that blew with the wind, glistened underneath the class’ fluorescent lights and swayed with every innocent neck-flick. On the other hand, our version of natural black hair was strong, wooly, spongy and highly resistant to gravity and strong winds. I mean, it just stood there. Hair so stoic it made my head look like a pineapple top; knotted and unruly (even though I was actually going for an elegant poof).

Nice one Jesus. I am still team natural hair sha, wind resistant or not.

After classes, we all went our separate ways. My friends and I went for a nice lunch at our favorite pizzeria where we discussed many important things. The discussion progressed naturally from black hair maintenance to ancestral heritage to racism to what it meant to be black, and of course black people who were too white for their own good.

They laughed, poked, and jabbed me playfully. It was a joke they all shared. I didn’t particularly find it funny, nor was I vexed. You could say I was… perplexed. And most importantly, they were entitled to their opinions, however perplexing they might have been to me. Apparently, I didn’t look or act Nigerian-whatever that meant. Even though I was one of the darker skinned ones, even though I identify as an Urhobo woman and speak Waffi like my ancestors, even though at that moment, I was the only one amongst us who had her hair in its natural, unaltered state. I slowly ate my pizza while they spoke on. Time and experience had taught me that reacting violently to anything you didn’t like to hear would only make you predictable and make the doer do it more often, just to annoy you and well, because they could. So, I chewed slowly, smiled softly, and proposed we all went out that night.

And out we went.

That night, I had ‘ruby woo’ my lips a vibrant shade of scarlet, wore a dark lace dress and let my hair out of its pineapple choke-hold. It framed my face in a soft curly afro. I slipped into my stilettoes and grabbed my coat on my way out. When my friend saw me, she immediately started to tease me again. She had an opinion on my coat, my shoes, and my walk. I teased her right back. I knew where this was going.

I didn’t realize wearing lace and walking like a lady made one less black. Na wa o!

Over drinks, we were having a great time. We had chosen a bar/lounge as opposed to the more rowdy discotecas. Florence is not famous for its high black populace, so we were not surprised to be the only ‘people of color’ in that lounge. That is, until a guy who looked East African walked in with his friend. He had on his hair this large bouncy and curly afro. I guess he must have been as intrigued by us, as we were of him, so he came over. He asked us where we were from and he was mightily pleased to hear we were from Africa. Apparently, he too was from the motherland, and asked us what country. We told him Nigeria, and he told us of the Nigerians he had met in the past. He was Eritrean.

My darlings, I was sipping my drink jejely o, before The Eritrean turned to me and said in his broken English.

‘‘Scusi, Signoria. Mi dispiace, but my English, eee not so gud. Errr, you? You from where?’’

I told him I was Nigerian too.

He seemed surprised. ‘‘You, Nigeriana? No, not true.’’ Then he starts to laugh like a hyena.

I didn’t get the joke.

‘‘No, no, no, sei Nigeriana? Non possibile. You not African, say the truth. Do you know what Africa is, eh? You black, but you not black like us…

(He sweeps his hands to include himself and my friends. MY own friends o! Odiegwu)

Then he goes on and on about Africa. That it was important I know that Africa was a continent, not a country. He said I must be anything but African. Perhaps black British, or African-American, or a second or third generation Italian migrant. I asked him how long he left his country; he said eight years ago because of the war in Eritrea. Then, I told him that instead of him mouthing off and trying to convince himself that I was something I was not, perhaps he should be quiet, and let me educate him on what our continent currently looked like, because a lot had changed in eight years, seeing as I only just left our continent a few months ago. At this point my friend tells him that I am truly African, and authentically Nigerian and Lagos born. Then he said that perhaps I am, but that I am black only in color, but white on the inside, that I was a coconut. He sneered at my choice of drink and spat ‘‘Africans, we not go to bar and drink wine like you!’’

I shrugged and laughed him off. Coconut o, pineapple o, mango o, call me agbalumo sef, na you sabi.

Over the years, I have spoken to people who have shared the same sentiments with the Eritrean, and to black women and men who are considered too white for their own good. I observe with fascination that those who throw these labels at others are in no position to define what it means to be black, but chose to do so anyway, from their limited libraries of personal experience.

The aunt who opens your fridge and shrieks at the tortilla and gravy you have in there when she wants Agege bread and ewa agonyin; the friend who retches their disgust at the platter of sushi you just ordered; the boss who sneers at you as he drives past while you do your daily jog across the Ikoyi-Lekki bridge; to the colleague who is convinced that going to Brazil for summer to dance samba and learn a new language is such a white thing to do.

Let’s not forget the patronizing Caucasian who tells his friends that Africans don’t have washing machines, because they are so poor (but you are different, because you are privileged); the Austrian make-up artist who is amazed you got those jeans from Africa; the classmate who asks you how come you speak English so well – “…Aren’t you like…tribal?” or the Italian shop attendant who is surprised you have cash to pay for all those things you just picked – “Can we see your ID or passport please?”

I am sure many of you can relate to some of these instances.

You might wonder why being called a coconut does not upset me. Why should it? I am simply just enjoying the experience of life. One of my favorite sayings is that when I am gray and ancient and about to meet my maker, I want to be ready to go with a happy smile on my face, and say, ‘‘Yes, I did. I lived a great life, for a human being’’.

Not, ‘‘Oh well, I suppose I lived a good black life…’’

______________________________________________________________________________________________Isio Wanogho is a top-model, TV Personality and entrepreneur. She is conversant in five languages and has 12 years of experience in the Nigerian entertainment industry. Isio, popularly known by her brand name Isio De-laVega, captivates audiences with her signature wide smile and relatable, quirky personality which endears her to many. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @isiodelavega

Isio De-laVega Wanogho is a Nigerian supermodel, a multi-award winning media personality and an interior architect who is a creative-expressionist at her core. She uses words, wit and her paintings to tell stories that entertain, yet convey a deeper meaning. Follow her on Instagram @isiodelavega and visit her website: http://www.idds.pro to see her professional body of work.

62 Comments

  1. adesewa

    April 8, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    I’ve got to be the first to comment, isio….your writing is Superb! You should do a compilation of all of them, and let’s sell an isio – journo or should I say a Novel? And ofcocurse make money!!! Amazing….

  2. Grown Woman

    April 8, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Lovely article….people should quit this skin color business and learn to appreciate people more.In God’s eyes we are all one.The most annoying of them all is ”How come your english is so good?? huh really?very ignorant remarks .Life is too short people better enjoy it while you can.

    • AW

      April 8, 2014 at 1:15 pm

      I feel you on the ‘how come you speak good English’ phrase. You get that a lot as a foreign student studying abroad. A fellow naija student was quick to remind a lecturer who made the same statement that we were colonised by Britain, therefore we do speak English and it was insulting to say ‘you speak good English for a Nigerian’ .

    • slice

      April 8, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      not always but i’ve realized some people think Nigeria is a french speaking country. usually i just say nigeria is english speaking and they say O we thought you guys speak french……
      i’m sure I don’t know all the african countries that speak french so sometimes I meet an African that bursts into french and i’ve to be reminded that he grew up speaking the language

    • Miss_Flygerian

      April 8, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      @slice, very true. Especially as we are surrounded by French speaking countries, many people assume that we speak French as well. That’s why they are surprised when we good speak English.

    • Miss_Flygerian

      April 8, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      *speak good English.

    • idoublecrossedmyheart

      April 8, 2014 at 5:19 pm

      I do not understand that phrase considering WE WERE COLONIZED BY THE ENGLISH……

    • slice

      April 8, 2014 at 8:34 pm

      WEst African countries colonized by France speak french, those by Brit speak english and the portuguese…well you get the gist

  3. winnie

    April 8, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    i like!

  4. nic

    April 8, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    she is so so beautiful

    • Tosan

      April 8, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      I just googled her… She really is…

    • nene

      April 8, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      yes she is. isio you have said it all!

  5. www.thelmathinks.blogspot.com

    April 8, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    “Time and experience had taught me that reacting violently to anything you didn’t like to hear would only make you predictable and make the doer do it more often”. Too true.

    I couldn’t really relate to the rest of the piece but as usual Isio you deliver the message beautifully and make it easy for one to picture.

    thelmathinks.blogspot.com

  6. funmilola Adebari

    April 8, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    very well then!

  7. Esquiress

    April 8, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    I can relate on so many different levels
    I get told more often than not that I’m white stuck in a black body. It truly baffles me, when did certain activities become restricted to white people to the extent that my choice to go to Morocco on holiday is “such a white thing to do” or me taking swimming classes etc… Just like Isio, I’m all about a rich and experience-full life. If it means my black friends say I’m a “bounty” then good on then.
    *raises glass to* a good black life…

    • ThatAwkagirl!

      April 8, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      I can relate too! I have people tell me especially when I had just moved here, oh you speak good English & I’m always like English is the only language I can speak & understand fluently because I don’t flow as well with my mother tongue.

      Or the Nigerian guy that will see me in yoga/Pilates, step or Zumba class & will be like that is such an oyibo thing to do. Personally I like sitting in a pub, not a club & having a beer or two. Yes! BEER o! Lmao. I prefer pop rock & country music to most rap songs. I love watching Hockey & football (the “American” one). That’s the one that gets all the Nigerian guys I have met (lol). So this is all ME! Not a testament to my skin colour or where I’m from. It’s just me & what I like

      So classifying someone based on what you think they should be or do based on where they are from or look like is totally uncool @ all.

      P.s. I’m an Ofe onugbu, abacha & ugba loving girl from Awka!

  8. Jo!

    April 8, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Isio!

  9. May

    April 8, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    I remember when I went on an interview to get my ni number in London. The Indian lady was actually surprised that I spoke good English and was more surprised when I said I was born and schooled in nigeria. She said “you speak even better than me”… and I was speaking the everyday English. I thought it was funny at the time but then again people that don’t know Africans or don’t relate with us are actually really surprised when they do.

  10. eesha

    April 8, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    You have a way with words girl.

  11. Berry Dakara

    April 8, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Gurl, I FEEL YOU!!! Yes, I like different things. No, I don’t want to be in any limited box. I’ve been called “Americanah” a lot of times, and guess who doesn’t care anymore?!

    • whocares

      April 8, 2014 at 3:36 pm

      loool. “Bounty”. That’s the one that gets applied to me a lot. lool. I don’t let it bother me any more. It used to, but my “bountiness” is a sign that I don’t relegate myself to one aspect of life and “I dos what I pleases”..

  12. me

    April 8, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    “… perhaps he should be quiet, and let me educate him on what our continent currently looked like, because a lot had changed in eight years.” I guess you’re upset at this Eritrean for generalizing when you have just made a similar one yourself of what Africa (with its maddeningly diverse 56 countries) currently looks like? #icant

  13. Emirates

    April 8, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    I love it Isio. Most Africans seem to be forgetting that we have become more cosmopolitan and what defines a human being is beyond race, colour or what is perceived as “African”

  14. Asa

    April 8, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    ‘Time and experience had taught me that reacting violently to anything you didn’t like to hear would only make you predictable and make the doer do it more often, just to annoy you and well, because they could”……….. Is it weird that this is what i picked out of this post? Resonated so loudly!
    Sidebar: I love your writing/story telling skills. Very easy read and i get no airs from you. lovely.

  15. shannaro

    April 8, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    “Aren’t you like… tribal?” DID YOU REALLY GO THERE KID
    Best read version of this question to date thanks for the laugh.

  16. Neo

    April 8, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Gbam! Ive been told it is unNigerian to work out with my size 6/8 frame. Apparently you must be morbidly obese not to get sneered at in the gym. I need to flesh up cos African men like a lot of meat on the bone. There is no concern as to whether or not im working out for my heart and general well being oh (as well as getting them Kelly Rowland abs sha) I must be feeling very “oyinbo” with myself to wake up at 7am on Staurdays to hit the gym.

    • Abiola

      April 8, 2014 at 2:45 pm

      Loool, same situation for me. In fact my aerobics instructor constantly picks on me, on top of my money o! It’s so annoying when everyone keeps asking what weight I want to lose, like you are supposed to exercise only to lose weight.

  17. iyke

    April 8, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Bellissimo!!
    Your quote sums it … ‘when I am gray and ancient and about to meet my maker, I want to be ready to go with a happy smile on my face, and say, ‘‘Yes, I did. I lived a great life, for a human being’’.
    Well done!

  18. Shade

    April 8, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Love it! I can relate on too many levels. The problem is that alot of people (including us Africans) associate white with “right” as though white people are God’ chosen ones. So if you speak “good” English, live in a nice neighborhood, are well traveled, God forbid speak a language other than English and a native Nigerian dialect, are educated and dress well you must be trying to act or be white. Shouldn’t we all aspire to have those things??? As a Nigerian-American I get this all the time from my own. So because I speak English without an accent and speak very rough Yoruba does that make me any less African? I’ve even had African friends say because I prefer Amy Winehouse, Rebecca Ferguson and D’Angelo to P Square Tuface and D’banj most days, I am truly not African. Please where is the manual that tells us how each race should act? Free your minds people!!!

  19. Anon

    April 8, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Good stuff. ( slightly confused about the seasons though)

  20. jennie

    April 8, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    I had sum1 once tell me dat e was sure I got my well spoken english 4rm d television….I can relate story…lovely article

  21. yaa

    April 8, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    nice write up i enjoyed it

  22. Naomi

    April 8, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Nice write-up…I can so relate to this! One really can’t change people’s stereotyped mindset, truly, the most important thing is to live your life for you and nobody else…

  23. Que.....glad to have my avatar back!

    April 8, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    [email protected] closing statement…say that again…. I am fagged out from a day of negotiations… will be back to drop my piece… Isioo u got power….as tired as I am, here I am to check on what u got to say…..d tot makes me smile. Cheers babe!

  24. Joan85

    April 8, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    I love your style of writing, Isio.
    I was filling out a form recently and the Caucasian official said “oh, I left out the citizenship part because I wasn’t sure of your citizenship status”.
    Me: I am Nigerian.
    Him: But how is English your first language?
    Me: It simply is, I learned English first. Everything from elementary school to under grad was in English.
    Him: (with the biggest look of shock on his face) you went to college THERE?!
    Me:
    I always wonder what I’m supposed to sound like since I’m African. Am I supposed to be uneducated or unpolished or begging someone to teach me English? I truly believe that it is ignorance that makes people ask certain questions or make certain comments about the kind of person they think you should be since you represent Africa. The Internet is almost free these days, Google is your friend, learn about other places in the world, it is that simple. 🙂

  25. Ty

    April 8, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    I’ve been asked that “how come you speak english so good” that I’ve stopped explaining why..
    “whiteys” as we call them in Holland are just so naive and and display the highest level of illiteracy about Africa – be it with the different countries in it, the people, or the culture. One time we were meant to do a project documentary about illegal child labour on cotton fields in Eastern Europe at business school oh and guess what some idiots did..they made videos of children selling and walking barefoot somewhere in east/southern Africa…the way I logically and intellectually tore apart their presentation case in class not only got them a fail and repeat for the presentation but had classmates wondering what my exact beef was. I didn’t care simply because they misrepresented the issue. The western impression of everything “African” is poor, mediocre, inept and substandard, so when the see people like Isio, and the many other Nigerians, Ghanians, Ugandans, Cameroonians, Kenyans, and many more African Nationalities doing things white people do so easily and faultlessly, they immediately raise an issue. Lots of times I ignore those sneezy comments, jokes or teasers. Fact is I made a 1st class beating all the white smart asses who think they’re better, and in half the required number of years.. I made a gmat score many of them dream of, and I’m the second black (coloured) person in a company of 15,000 employees and still I get the stigma, the coloration statements, the sneers and the surprises over anything from hanging out or eating out choices, drink choices, vacation spots and activities…simply because I love those things, can afford them and want to experience them.
    And oh, by the way, did I mention that “black/coloured/african” however way you put it are the first to discriminate, and express distaste against black, African guys here in europe, that is until they know the size of his wallet, sadly. That sadly, is why my girlfriend is white, is currently on vacation in Mexico on her own money, and I just left Nigeria back to work on my own money as well.

    • Ty

      April 8, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      “And oh, by the way, did I mention that “black/coloured/african” women/ladies”

    • tatafo!

      April 8, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      Oga Ty, you need to chill because it sounds like the chip on your shoulder is growing massive. Yes people can be ignorant but not everyone is, I’m referring to the white men and african women you seem to have put into a stereotypical box which ironically you are complaining they do to you.

    • na we we

      April 8, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Hey, I am not one to generalize but you have to know that some Nigerians who live abroad are “Nigerian rejects”. As in those people who have given up hope of ever making it in Nigeria and then go abroad to find any type of work to do. I am saying this without apologies because most of them had to borrow, scrap and even steal to go there. When they get there with this low mentality, they think every African/Nigerian in the diaspora is like them. The irony is that, they are the most visible ones everywhere who give us bad names. Mixing with those kind of people will only inflict damage on your person.

      I remember when I just got to Germany for my masters on scholarship, one of the Phd candidates took me to a Nigerian club and I was too happy to go. I was tired of seeing only white faces in my small town. When we got there, the level of people there first of all, I can’t begin to say. They were so loud and were shouting everywhere. Then one of the guys approached me and asked which country, I said Nigeria. He asked where I was coming directly from, I said Nigeria. He said no, was I in spain, Greece, Portugal or somewhere else before coming here, meaning hardship and hustle drove me from there, I said no. Direct from Nigeria and studying. After that day, I said no way am I going to that club again. I will get used to seeing white faces. Lol.

      If you mix with those rejects who gave up making in Nigeria/Africa and came to Europe, my dear, they are so negative and you should avoid them at all cost. As for me, I made it in Nigeria before stepping my feet abroad so my own Nigeria is different though I know people are suffering that is why I would not give a single story. Nigeria gave me my first car, my first millions working in a bank and everything I own right now that make some of my friends wonder if I lived in Africa. My parents lived and still live in the village and I know no one. So when people talk about suffering and how bad Nigeria is, for me, I would say Nigeria was good to me.

    • Shade

      April 8, 2014 at 5:30 pm

      Funny how your jealousy (yep I said it, your text just SCREAMS it) of the white man gets turned into hatred of African women. The problem is not money my friend its racism and lack of education. Your colleagues may be very educated when it comes to their industry but they are illiterate when it comes to education on other cultures. And excuse me but most African women I know my age (mid to late 20s) are making it for their own. I myself am a grad student with my own car and place (all financed by ME) and a full time job. Also so its only black women that are gold diggers? Have you not seen the legions of non-black women married to (soccer) football, NFL, NBA, and MLB players and then are gone when money na dried up bwahahahaha. Please have a stadium of seats because self hatred is an ugly thing.

    • Shade

      April 8, 2014 at 5:37 pm

      Please ooo Na We We I am an Nigerian living aboard (well I was born in the US but my parents are immigrants) and I don’t see myself (or my parents) as rejects. Most I know left very successful careers to move to the west only out of fear of Nigeria’s collapsing political and social systems. Safety we like. In fact, most of the second generation Nigerians I know, like myself, are trying to move BACK to Nigeria.

    • idoublecrossedmyheart

      April 8, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      I understand your position, but at the same time I disagree with your tone. Your tone is not different from the white people or men who sneer at you. You used the same brush of condemnation against black or non-white women. So are you any different?

      I keep saying “that in which you condemn in others, you condemn in yourself.” Not saying racism and ignorance does not exist, but from your tone you have assembled the same behavior and used it to condemn women who look like your mother.

    • Ty

      April 8, 2014 at 10:52 pm

      Aight, I agree I may have been really off with the tone, and I didn’t really mean to. Apologise to everyone it offends. @na we we actually is saying the truth as well cos I’ve seen it happen firsthand…experienced that also. And no pls, I’m not implying nothing against hardworking self-made black women…my mother raised four of us singlehandedly with a primary school teaching profession so I respect hardworking women who stand out. It’s just so upsetting when young women (our generation, and younger) of our own race treat with disdain men of their own race in a foreign country and pass the same stereotypes as the caucasians..you need to see how disgust on their faces turns to admiration when somehow the revelation of success/wealth is out. True, no one likes failures. In essence, whether anyone thinks we’re un-African in the positive things we love, do, wear, or how we act whether is customary to us or not, Africans (irrespective of originating country) within or outside the continent are becoming dynamic in their lifestyle and that cannot be reversed. That we can afford to do things, buy or live in places they think are above us does not make us any un-African, and I’d solidly defend this continent no matter what.
      @Dami…I over-publiced our actress who went to Dubai lately just to champion the independent rich African woman. I don’t have any links or interests to her #justsaying

    • slice

      April 9, 2014 at 11:44 am

      @Ty, I’m really glad u came back and explained what u meant. I read ur initial comment and u seemed to have accomplished quite a bit but I cldnt reconcile the tone. Sigh of relief here at ur explanation and apology. Somehow the fact that u’ve shown character in addition to ur “wealth” makes me happy. I hope life continues to treat u well

  26. Hope

    April 8, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    I have been called a coconut too and i find it funny when even Black people do not agree I am african even when i speak Pidgin but then again they can believe what they believe, you write really well Isio, Keep it up please 🙂

  27. Duke

    April 8, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    I have learnt to accept whatever anyone says like that. Was having an argument with my flatmate about how derogatory it was to refer to African countries as Third world countries when we were all on the same planet. I suggested ‘Developing countries’ was good enough.
    Dude ranted and ranted and ended up saying I was ‘A third world citizen with a first world mentality’. The argument faded after that, i just gave up.
    I felt very vindicated when Nigeria announced her rebased GDP. It was larger than his country’s and I told him ‘A third world country can’t command a $500b economy’.
    Sorry about the digression/rant, but i can relate with her story very well *sigh*

  28. ao

    April 8, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Excellent piece. No one person can define the “African” experience or what it means to be an “African”. Thanks to globalization, Africans can present in a variety of ways. There is not one way to be an “African” or Nigerian, Kenyan, South African, etc.

    • Que.....glad to have my avatar back!

      April 8, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      And this is d KOKO of the matter! Thanks.

  29. Zii

    April 8, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    i love your writing! Superb

  30. Me

    April 8, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    I live in Cape Town and I attended a workshop and one of the women told me that they were just talking among themselves that I speak very good English for a black person- I said – “Thank You!”

  31. Deedee

    April 8, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Nice write-up

  32. Chee

    April 8, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I sometimes hear people say someone is being whiter than the whites but people should recognize that in the pursuit of happiness you’ll ultimately embrace that which makes you feel whole/complete…so whenever we see people behave and live a certain way ,lets not term it “forming” cos sometimes that’s the way they are and it keeps them happy.

  33. Mrs Nwosu

    April 8, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Yeah I can relate Isio, its really funny when black people too ask you if you are black like cant you see my kinky hair, and yes the wind is not able to penetrate it to blow and give the feeling of a softer hair. I was told I was too English or white that they cudnt understand when I read. my friends cannot understand what soy sauce and fruit vinegar is doing in my kitchen pantry. infact I had to learn pidgin English to blend in to their ways. I decided that when I meet people who understand what diction is I will speak thus, but while I am with my more black than me African people I will speak pidgin.

  34. dami

    April 8, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Dear Mr Ty , are you implying that a black girl wouldn’t go to Mexico with her money?, because you’re actually very wrong on that. Back to Isio. I’m tired of this you don’t sound Nigerian or how come you speak very good English? It’s just annoying. I have learnt to deal with it, cuz at the end of the day I’m Nigerian, that’s all I need

  35. Jane Public

    April 8, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    You know the best response to “you speak good english”? I ALWAYS respond with So Do You. ALWAYS and the expression on the person’s faces is priceless. You can tell the quick thoughts going through their head. In that very brief awkward silence while they are thinking of what to say, I give them a knowing smile that basically says, I know exactly what is going through your head. Waiting to come up with a smart retort eh, I am ready for you. Do you guys think one language is the sole domain of you people. Try it the next time you get asked that question. Works every time

    • Que.....glad to have my avatar back!

      April 8, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      THANK YOU for this lesson!

    • chichi

      April 9, 2014 at 12:58 am

      LOL..dont i just love you..will definitely try it

  36. nwanyi na aga aga

    April 8, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Ndi Ocha! Anyway my few cents, please if you grew up in Nigeria and can speak very good English but no syllable of ur native language can come out of your mouth, or you speak ur native language with an American accent( I dont know how that gets to happen but my igbo bros and sis takes the cake on that crime). Nwanne i bu aku oyibo a k a coconut. Loooooooooool! Take it or leave it.

  37. Oluwabusola Adedire

    April 8, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Isio, you write very well!

  38. moitelkel

    April 8, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    i can relate so much with you, i remember when i just arrived in london and i had this roomate of who told i was very much like them(white) bcoz i used to cry when i was sad. to her it was so strange to see a black cry because i was missing my family.

  39. Nana

    April 9, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    @“Time and experience had taught me that reacting violently to anything you didn’t like to hear would only make you predictable and make the doer do it more often”…i remember in high school an African-American girl was called an “Oreo” she always laughs it off or ignores it, so when i came to the same school i used to follow and call her the same until i was told i was an “Oreo” too cus of the way i speak and act sometimes. na then i knew how it hurts, i told double dared the next guy to call me that again and see what will happen to him. mehn the thing intensified/quadrupled over sha even other african kids, my choir teach and track coach follow join them, e small make the VP follow call me the thing….na then i know why the girl laughs or ignores them.

  40. naomi

    May 16, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Loved this!reminded me of the time i asked for eggs sunny side up and someone thought i was too African to know what is what.

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