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Chinagorom Martin: Blackness on America’s Streets

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I am Igbo, Nigerian and male. Until recently, I have lived all my life in that most populous black nation where, fortunately, the need almost never arose for self-awareness of my blackness and maleness. I miss that mental and sociological unboundedness because now I live in the US where blackness is a thing. And if being male makes it to that equation, it is even a bigger thing. Here, racial concerns do not escape anyone; in the US race is something you wear, like clothes. And like clothes, there is no time you are aware of the different colours and styles of it as at now when the case of Michael Brown, a young black teenager who was shot and killed by a white police officer, is raging.

When the news first broke, with major pieces of the puzzle missing, my rage knew no bounds. I knew he was eighteen, soon to be off to college, unarmed and dead, all due to the trigger-happiness of some irrational racist police officer. All I knew about the unfair racial divide, which the black man so happen to be at the receiving end of, played in my head. The books I have read and the movies I have seen, the horrendous images of racial asphyxiation tucked away somewhere in my consciousness, all rose in my head. I could only think, this could have been me, only it would be worse because who would really care about some Nigerian who is yet to have a social security number? I was angry, very angry.

Not long after, the many missing pieces of the puzzle that was Michael Brown’s case began surfacing. Michael Brown, just before he was shot and killed, had stolen from a store and attacked someone there who tried to stop him. That was a video fact, like him lying dead on the street. Speculatively it was claimed that he might have had a confrontation with the policeman. At this point I was torn, between the adequacy of justice that resulted in the death of a teenager whom I now knew had stolen just before his death, and between the lines of race that bifurcates criminal and unfair punisher. My initial vociferous anger, turned into muted indecision. In the light of these new revelations, my sense of pity for the fate of Michael Brown began to evaporate and I was forced to remember my own biases against the black American, my biases as a black Nigerian man. These are biases I came to, having seen the blackness on America’s streets.

An adage in my culture says that the worst thing to happen to a man is to go ahead and be like the curse made at him. Someone calls you stupid, and you go ahead and be stupid. Something in that likelihood is what I have seen in the blackness on American streets. From observation I had got a sense of some entrenchment of the black American mindset in some murky waters in which most blacks are comfortable to live in, like there is no escape even if they tried. Everywhere, there are black stereotypes constantly perpetuated by blacks, and they are cool with it until something of the nature of the Michael Brown case happens and that is when you hear, ‘They are stereotyping us.’ On Facebook I have seen a hundred videos of ratchet fights, ninety-eight percent of which are black people fighting and black people urging them on. There are videos of small black girls, none of whom I guess is more than twelve, fist fighting and screaming ‘bitch!’ at themselves and none of the adults whom I assume are recorded these fights did anything to stop it.

Another sensational video showed a black kid in diapers (his trousers were sagged and his chest was bare) who was yelling at an adult saying “I’m the daddy here,” and thumping his chest as he spoke in that black gangster fashion. In this depravity, the adults (obviously black) in the video found the presence of mind to laugh. Laugh!? A prankster made a video that, to me, is deep with meaning. He would approach black males who had no idea they were being pranked and recorded and he would say things like ‘Can I punch you in the face?’ or ‘Do you want to buy a gun?’ Though these are a tad inciteful but nowhere in these statements would the expected reaction be violence. 99.9% of the guys he approached reacted with shocking violence, speedily throwing out punches and keeping at it even after he had screamed it was a prank. In one case a very young teenager pulled a knife and in another extreme case some guy pulled a real gun. Black men!

Let’s not even talk about twerking. A black lady came on America’s Got Talent to say she is a professional ‘twerker’. Yes, because among black females it is a thing. I am not of the opinion that white people don’t get into some deplorable acts themselves, they do, but with black people it is on a whole new level, and on all the things that give negative black stereotype a meaning.

It is almost as if there were an intrinsic problem, one in need of urgent attention. A re-orientation, maybe. It is easy to get lost in a befuddled emotional/racial outcry, the sort of which we are presented in occasions like the Michael Brown case. Those two elements of emotions and race are strong enough to blur the lines of reason and displace what the genesis of the problem really is. Whiteness is not the bane of blackness, and vice versa. Not in this age and time. I vehemently refuse to subscribe to that ideology. But that is more than I can say for blackness being the bane of black Americans. I had a discussion some time ago where I expressed my disapproval of black people addressing each other as nigga and it is okay, but it becomes a racist statement when a white person thus addresses a black man. One of the discussants was of the opinion that from a white person the word nigga would assume a double entendre. I still haven’t understood that reasoning. It is so bad that when as a black male you strive to live above those stereotype for which everything black and male is wrong, you are dissed by black guys. Thankfully that has not deterred the numerous black men getting it right in work, school and various life endeavours. It is that tiny spot in an otherwise immaculate white handkerchief, that spot which everyone sees that needs to be rid of.

Maybe my rant is premature, and maybe as a black Nigerian it is not my place to have an opinion about black Americans. But I live here now and in judgment I would be placed on the pedestal on which blackness has only one shade, and in this society that shade is black American. My blackness is Nigerian and in that there are training, values and upbringing and by God I prefer it to American blackness.

Photo Credit
: Dreamstime | Alexandr Stepanov

Emeka Chinagorom is an analyst in Washington DC. Born in Onitsha, he studied philosophy in Rome before moving to the United States. When he is not obsessing over food, he is trying to read and write. His short story, NOW THAT YOU ARE BLACK IN AMERICA, won the 2017 Ian McMillan award. Emeka is working on his first novel and some short stories. You can find him on Instagram @emmyemc.

78 Comments

  1. Iyke

    August 26, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    I love you Buddy! My father taught me that being a father was the most important engagement of his life and by hell or high water, he made the commitment to be the best father he could actualize for me and my sisters.
    African American parents have to find a way to make a world where their sons and daughters can be safe, grow be educated and exercise the best of life’s options. What I have seen in the African – America communities is shocking beyond belief.
    I enjoy America from afar – don’t wish to raise my kids there.

  2. Me

    August 26, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Honestly most African-American’s/Black American or what have you are usually gangsters, they like the thug thing and approach even trivial issues with violence, hence the white folks capitalise on it (not like they are so different). Its just a sad situation really anyway.

  3. nene

    August 26, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    your article is on pint. black people and people of african descent need reorientation. we need to show the world that we are better than slaves and we can make it on our own, but i don’t think that will happen in my lifetime,e or ever at all. we are associated with every depressing and negative thing in the world. poverty, drugs,robbery, dishonesty, fraud, etc.

  4. That African chic

    August 26, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Ghen Ghen Ghen………sipping tea and awaiting comments

  5. wisest duchess

    August 26, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    You couldn’t have put more intrinsically.

    • Ms Geeky 30

      August 27, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      Intrinsic = ‘belonging to’ or ‘lying within a given part’.
      Your sentence needs re-writing.

  6. Mmeme

    August 26, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Wow!!!!! A beautiful piece. Well written and articulated my exact thoughts and sentiments about this ‘situation’ of being ‘black’. My favourite part about this article is that it not only highlighted a problem but also spoke of a possible solution. Bravo!!

    • EDU

      August 27, 2014 at 12:33 am

      Oh pls….. Judgmental type and grandiosity….He expressed his thoughts holistically so you could relate, but not to articulate his methodsor eloquental style ….plsss

  7. makeupbyebi

    August 26, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    @ChinagoromMartin i applaud your bravery to say it as it is and live true to the truth that you know. God help us all !

  8. Dr O

    August 26, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Sorry Mr man, but you hit a nerve, and I will have to serve it right back to you. This article is sadly one written by someone who feels that because they are Nigerian, they are now superior. Get off your high horse! You have now spent a few weeks/ months in the US gives you no right to come across as condescending. (Yes I googled you, and in January when you wrote for BN, you were living in Onitsha, and 8 mths later, it appears someone has crowned you as the king maker of blackness…wonderful!) Instead I would encourage you to expand your horizon and student black history in the US in depth, and get to have actual black people as friends, not everyone will fit your stereotype.

    So the armed robbers and kidnappers in our Nigeria also have the same type of blackness that you prefer? You see my point??? You pick one side and run with it, which makes you no different from the average racist person in America. I have black American friends who went to schls on straight scholarships, and are doctors, lawyers, dentists, the list goes on. The problem may be just like the average ignorant person, you are choosing to base your facts on what you see on TV.

    It appears that your problem is that you take what is given to you, rather than actually go out and try to find out more. That is what separates the average follower of the crowd from the true great ones. Before you try to divulge into issues of blackness in America please do make sure that you have enough experience on that. The color of your skin alone does not give you authority to comment on this issue, least you come off being judgmental about something you know nothing about.

    Just know that we (Nigerians) also help encourage stereotypes, and if everyone judged you by the 419 spam emails they receive on a daily basis, you will have a hard time building credibility. If they judged Nigeria as being a scary and dangerous place because of Boko Haram, you would be offended. Yet you and I both know, that it only makes up a tiny part of the Nigerian population. It is what the media serves up, and what someone who hasnt taken the initiative to do better.

    Clap for yourself, you have a university degree. I will leave the many questions I have regarding why you came to the US and ask the main one. Have you volunteered in the US? There are many places like the Big brother/big sister programs, boys and girls clubs, and places of that nature that would benefit daily from mentors. Try it, you may learn a thing or two, that is if you choose to open up yourself and really open up your eyes. Have you seen a child you tutored in middle schl, a black inner city kid, in an impoverished public schl district, make it on to college, graduate, and move on to get a doctorate? I have! You see maybe you dont know, but the public schl system in the US is based off home taxes, so those who live in affluent areas, obviously have better schls. I could live in a 1 bed room in a rich schl district, while someone else stays in a 4 bedroom in an average schl district, guess whose child gets the better education?? You see socio-economic status is part of the racial problem in the US.

    You know what is highly annoying is that black people fought hard to get the right to vote, to over turn Jim Crow segregation laws, so that people like you and I can be able to enter in most places and not get turned down because of the color of our skin. What do you know about black history?? Dont give me that Martin Luther King or Malcolm X answer either, dig deep, tell me about Frederick Douglass, tell me about Claudette Colvin, tell me about Martin Delany and others. It will serve you well to google them, you might actually enhance your knowledge and get off your glorified pedestal.

    Please don’t even talk about Ferguson (If you wanted to impress me, there are thousands of other cases, and you could have added some less notable ones not Mike Brown or Trayvon). I live in the area. First of all, the police admitted that the cop in question was not aware of any robbery, so that had NOTHING to do with anything. Second of all, you do NOT know the facts. Third point, do you think it is ok for anyone to be shot with 6 bullets piercing through their body, execution style, including 2 cracking into their skull? You must think that is alright, in which case, I hope NO ONE you know whether in the US or Nigeria will ever have to face such wrath for any reason. I also question whether you have any value for human life, and I would hope you would, since you seem to care about how the Nigerian society treat your same gender loving relative (which you discussed in the previous BN article).

    I am not sure what is even more appalling, your mentality or that BN (which I have been following since blogspot in 2006) allows such quality of writing?

    I will end my epistle for now. Feel free to issue your rebuttal. If anything, that will require some actual research on your part, and actual improve your knowledge and claim to “blackness in America”.

    I am Igbo, Nigerian and female…I am also black, American and a doctor among other things.

    • your favorite civil servant

      August 26, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      you deserve 10 bottles of your favorite drink for this comment..

    • Engr D

      August 26, 2014 at 2:58 pm

      OMG ! 1000 HIGH FIVES!
      I believe most Africans hit the JFK Airport and start deducing conclusions without assimilating the Black culture to understand better. For 4 years in Washington DC, I’ve taught, tutored and mentored these black kids and believe me it’s not easy on them. I’ve lived with some, they are very polished and rich ones and there are less privileged ones who are trying had too. These streets are not easy on them !

    • Love

      August 26, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      Great points (Dr O)!

    • Tumzzy

      August 26, 2014 at 3:08 pm

      Can I just say I love you? Ok. I love you.

    • mrs chidukane

      August 26, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      Nice comment. Incidentally I just read up on cases of black men being murdered by police after a tweet I read urging Africans to stop feeling apathy towards such killings cos they’re also black, citing Amadou Diallo and Abner Louima. Please read it up, they weren’t stealing yet Diallo was shot 41 times on his front porch and Louima beaten and tortured and sodomized with a broom handle. Also check Sean Bell who was shot dead on his wedding day ,Patrick Dorismund and even Anthony Baez who was strangled for playing a ball that landed on a cops car. Even if he stole cigarettes, last I heard the punishment for stealing isn’t death. Blacks behave badly but so do white people. The guy in Norway that attacked the youth political group and killed people was captured alive. Even white serial killers and all in the US are caught alive. Don’t think your good character makes you immune, as long as you’re a black male you’re an endangered species which is why I will never immigrate to the US. It scares me silly.I’m afraid for my brothers,my sons,my husband. Its scary

    • NaijaPikin

      August 26, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      Very much on point. Nothing to add, nothing to subtract……..

    • LIKE SERIOUSLY

      August 26, 2014 at 5:19 pm

      .”I am Igbo, Nigerian and female…I am also black, American and a doctor” . Nne, that is where you spoilt everything. Now that we know you are an igbo black african american. You can now get off your own high horse as well

    • Jhennique

      August 27, 2014 at 8:09 am

      mbok just stopeet. what is so “high horse” about that statement. does it sound like shes bragging? shez only stressing a point so stop with the hating

    • Yes!!!

      August 26, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      I don’t know you but I just gave you a standing ovation for this rebuttal. Your response was logical, passionate and oh sooooo true. God bless you!

    • Eva

      August 26, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank You! We Africans think we can sit back and judge without knowing the history behind black America.

    • Person

      August 26, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      Can I tell you how much I love you? Re-orienting myself to be BLACK in America has been the best thing I have ever done for myself!!! A thousand applause for you!!

    • Adrian

      August 26, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      Thank goodness for a balanced reply. I see the prematurity in this article and the fact that the writer is biased and needs to get more knowledge not what the media is feeding him. No one is perfect but the writer needs to understand he is black in America too and no one cares if he is Nigerian. If they have managed to turn you against yourself, my dear you have lost. And to bring up those disgusting videos! Aren’t you then a consumer of such things further warping your mindset. Why did you watch it. Ugh I. Any even begin to dissect this article for it’s many erroneous points. But I thank God you are at least thinking and will learn from your arrant display of poor research and you yourself are in need of re-orientation. Thanks

    • Martin

      August 26, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      So what if you’re a doctor. That makes you any more an authority on black history. And as a doctor your opinion and lack of comprehension of the issue at hand leaves a lot to be imagined about your practice. And trust me, you might have lived all your years in the US, but when the issue of black history, this Onitsha boy will school you. And it is his recommendation that you start with Harriet Beecher Stowe and W.E.B. Du Bois.

    • Conf

      August 26, 2014 at 9:51 pm

      Your first paragraph was a waste. What’s the point in your ‘ad hominems’? People have opinions and you are free to agree or disagree. In my opinion, you are the one who shows a condescending attitude because you think you have spent more time in the States. There is however the ‘newness’ advantage when you go to a new place and that probably helps the author in this article. His article might be one side of the story but is it false? I don’t think so.

    • Martin

      August 26, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      While you’re at Harriet and Du Bois you should read americanprogress.org/issues/race/news/2012/03/13/11351/the-top-10-most-startling-facts-about-people-of-color-and-criminal-justice-in-the-united-states/
      Also read from this page. bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=922. As a doctor I assume is not a problem for you, say you are really one

    • vivian

      August 26, 2014 at 11:16 pm

      O.M.G… Where do u stay in the US? I need to associate with people like you. I live in the US but am new here. I usually don’t read lengthy comments but i had no choice in your case. Excellent write-up.

    • EDU

      August 27, 2014 at 12:40 am

      Well written. I despise nigerians who are quick on judgments without adequate background due to ignorance and lack of information. I do have black american friends that i went to school with, who are doctors and dentist…..well mannered and disciplined. Quick to generalized certain group so fast is cowardliness and ignorant. smh…

    • baby

      August 27, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      it is only small minded people like you who would think he meant all black people are like that……how many of them actually get out of that cycle of blaming everything on their blackness or racism?

    • BA

      August 27, 2014 at 1:20 am

      Dr. O!
      Thank you for this comment.
      Detailed and well thought out.
      The author missed Miley Cyrus’s part in making twerking a thing for instance.
      and twerking is a weak point for this racism talk.

    • Authentic Sunshine

      August 27, 2014 at 3:53 am

      I disrespectfully disagree with you Dr O.
      -You lost the argument when you charged at Chinagorom’s article with such an emotion packed, inconsiderate long epistle. Ending it very nicely and condescendingly that you are a medical doctor residing in the US for probably some donkey years and so????
      -That Chinagorom is new to the US places him at a good position to see things with “fresh pairs of eyes”. Ever heard that saying? He has the advantage of viewing from a different perspective coming from a different value system and orientation which you, my not so humble doctor, may not have at your disposal. As you may have inadvertently conformed to who you are as a result of education, interactions, background, experience, e.t.c
      -My understanding of this article is that we as blacks should refute, very vehemently, the stereotype we have been pegged with. This does not mean we should dissociate ourselves from our origin or the cause or the fight but to present ourselves in a different image.
      -The article does not claim authority, it consistently asserts his newness to his society and the thought process guiding his viewpoints. It is flexible and not finite or definitive. See this: “It is almost as if there were an intrinsic problem, one in need of urgent attention. A re-orientation, maybe. It is easy to get lost in a befuddled emotional/racial outcry, the sort of which we are presented in occasions like the Michael Brown case”. I applaud the writer that he already has the skill which coming from a Nigerian background is rare. We seem to be overly certain of our “opinions” with no room for healthy criticism.
      -You have covered the intricate aspects of our cause and history as blacks but maybe, just maybe, we are getting overwhelmed by it all and are losing sight of the fundamental goal, which our own perception of us and what we can do individually to change.

    • Zedzed

      August 27, 2014 at 9:37 am

      I was outraged reading his article. He came across as judgemental and superior, nothing I could actually say to him will be better than your reply, kudos to you.
      Actually, a huge majority of Nigerians feel superior to black Americans and think the way this young man does, going by all the comments and it is really sad. I was sooo glad to have read your comment.

    • baby

      August 27, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      Dr o you need help……u come across as one who has deep seated issues u need to address before u go mental…..some of us have lived in the US longer than he has and i totally agree with some issue he raised……smh… u are one truly angry character….

  9. tunmi

    August 26, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    I would highly recommend taking an African American history course preferably from a Black American. Without understanding the history of Black Americans it is very unfair to make these judgments. Slavery followed by legalized Jim Crow formed the USA and this went on for over 300 years. It wasn’t that long ago that segregation and legalized inequality was a reality for Black Americans.

    Summary: Black Americans have their own culture, their own way of doing things. It is different from what we Nigerians are used to and it is not the same as Whites who we are even more used to. To understand them, you truly have to be open to learning and listening and reading about them not coming at them with your own preconceived notions of what they are and are not.

    1. That Michael Brown was stealing is false. There is video that showed he PAID for the cigarettes, with his own money. Paid for it not stole it.

    2. “From observation I had got a sense of some entrenchment of the black American mindset in some murky waters in which most blacks are comfortable to live in, like there is no escape even if they tried.”
    Observation… Unbiased observations with prior knowledge of the socio economic and racial factors at play. Did you talk to them, engage in meaninfuk conversations with them or did you just look at the surface and made a conclusion. There is an entrenchment but they are certainly not comfortable with it. And the truth is, from listening to several of them of Facebook groups and twitter hashtags ..there is no escape even if they tried.

    3. “Who was yelling at an adult saying “I’m the daddy here,” and thumping his chest as he spoke in that black gangster fashion.”
    What is “that black gangster fashion.” So because you don’t find it funny, it’s automatically bad. There was a video of a a little kid talking to his mom, (Lynda, Lynda, listen to me). People found that video funny and maybe some didn’t. But it was not described as that “White entitled fashion” or that “Latino lazy parenting fashion”. Even videos of Nigerian kids dancing to Kukure and Dorovucci (with the same hip movements as adults which I find a bit disturbing) has adults cheering them on…but that isn’t characterized as that ” African promiscuous fashion”

    Here is the thing. Black Americans have their culture as do White Americans and other racial group-Americans. Even if the kid was being “gangster” the adults found it amusing.

    3. About the prankster targeting Black men and asking if he could assault them or purchase a weapon…you did not tell us if he was Black or White or Asian or Latino.

    ” 99.9% of the guys he approached reacted with shocking violence, speedily throwing out punches and keeping at it even after he had screamed it was a prank. In one case a very young teenager pulled a knife and in another extreme case some guy pulled a real gun. Black men!”

    The reaction seems apt. Try asking a Nigerian if you could slap them or by a gun or juju and sew how fast he insults and/or slaps would come. Did the prankster also ask White, Latino and Asian men the sane questions?

    4. Twerking. Here is the thing, this dance style originated in West Africa (I forgot where). We just don’t call it twerking. It is a dance that requires skill and control of your legs and hips. No one is criticizing ballet or interpretative dance (that one took a whole for me to see it not as an epileptic attack). There is nothing wrong with Twerking. What is wrong is the appropriation of it.

    5. ” with black people it is on a whole new level, and on all the things that give negative black stereotype a meaning.”
    I respectfully disagree. They do not go shooting up schools: elementary, middle and high. They do not go on a rampage shooting movie theaters. Look, in every racial group, there will be people who give the entire group a bad name. The Virginia Tech shootings was by a South Korean guy, how about the White guy who went on killing folks in California because he felt entitled to women’s (White women’s) bodies. Then there was the Beltway sniper attacks. Then there are countless videos of White police officers killing unarmed Black folks. And there are Nigerians in Nigeria who get away with SO MUCH…those things happen but you don’t paint an entire nation of people with the negative of a few. And just because the negative is reported on the news a lot does not mean the negative outweigh the positive. Just look at President Obama’s two terms in office and the way Congress treats him. If one did not truly research for themselves (or listen to satire news report) you may actually believe what they say.

    6. ” One of the discussants was of the opinion that from a white person the word nigga would assume a double entendre. I still haven’t understood that reasoning. ”
    You asked and they gave you an answer and that is the correct answer. Honestly other minorities can probably get away with it depending on the recipient’s use of the word but White person just can’t because of white privilege. No matter how poor or homeless a White person is, he/she is still more privileged than his or her Black counterpart. The commentary is that if a White person does it, he or she was mentally disturbed or the news pundits ask how could this nice person have done this. If a Black person does it, he was violent or a thug. If a Muslim does it, he or she is a terrorist. Perfect example: the Boston bombings. First, they (CNN did this) pointed to two Black guys in the vicinity calking them everything they could: hooligans, violent, thugs, etc. Then when the culprits are found, one of them got a Rolling Stone cover. With the Mike Brown case, twitter has called out CNN and other news stations for their biased reporting, for focusing on the violence not the protesting. Brown has already been demonized but we have yet to hear a word about this cop. Also, remember the Sandusky trial for child abuse and the removal of Joe Paterno and a host of others who covered the abuse…White people protested, looted and went on a rampage despite this being being charged with 52 counts of sexual abuse of young boys from 1994 to 2009. Penn state students especially burned things down to the ground as a sign of protesting but the military was not called in and this was not labeled as “making things bad for all white people”

    I liked your first paragraph. It is true that in the US you wear your race like clothes. Your writing is your opinion (except for the theft you mentioned). I simply respectfully disagree. Thanks for waking me up this morning.

    • bob

      August 26, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      White people protested, looted and went on a rampage despite this being being charged with 52 counts of sexual abuse of young boys from 1994 to 2009. Penn state students especially burned things down to the ground as a sign of protesting but the military was not called in and this was not labeled as “making things bad for all white people””

      Uh, there was no looting, nothing was burned to the ground, and they weren’t protesting Sandusky being charged. Do a little research.

    • BA

      August 27, 2014 at 1:27 am

      Thank you, for this and all the points you mentioned.
      “3. “Who was yelling at an adult saying “I’m the daddy here,” and thumping his chest as he spoke in that black gangster fashion.”
      What is “that black gangster fashion.” So because you don’t find it funny, it’s automatically bad. There was a video of a a little kid talking to his mom, (Lynda, Lynda, listen to me). People found that video funny and maybe some didn’t. But it was not described as that “White entitled fashion” or that “Latino lazy parenting fashion”. Even videos of Nigerian kids dancing to Kukure and Dorovucci (with the same hip movements as adults which I find a bit disturbing) has adults cheering them on…but that isn’t characterized as that ” African promiscuous fashion””

  10. ADEBOLA

    August 26, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    hmmmm, speechless

  11. neff

    August 26, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Dr O, allow me the liberty of ending your write up with “nuff said”!

  12. Oddy

    August 26, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    ok………………………….

  13. Reply to Dr O

    August 26, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Dr O!!! I wish i can give you a million hugs for educating this Chinagorom ignoramus!!!

  14. Lestat

    August 26, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    *withtearsinmyeyes* THANK YOU. You said it ALL.

  15. Oxygen

    August 26, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    But the video involve stealing doesn’t justify the brutal killing. An unarmed fellow. The cop should face the justice. He shot the guy with the intention he was black. Period!

  16. NIBU

    August 26, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    May God bless Dr O and Tunmi. Honestly when I saw this write-up I was disappointed but your replies have basically said everything there is to say. Thank you for your insight.

  17. dups

    August 26, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Passing by

  18. Tumzzy

    August 26, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Ok Tunmi, I love you too.

  19. Dizzy

    August 26, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Hmm, okay oh.

    But Chinagorom, I just have to say your writing and style of expression is absolutely captivating and impressive.
    Pls keep it up, I can’t wait to read more of your work

  20. monAREsa

    August 26, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    This is definitely a piece of literature I can relate with as i studied African American literature in my 3rd year at the university , how black have become schizophrenic and believe in delusions. indeed it is true that blacks have subconsciously lived up to the stereotyped definitions laid down by the whites. ..lovely and very true piece of literature.

  21. sadidy

    August 26, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    thank you
    these are my exact sentiments on the black American issues in the US
    they keep perpetuating the stereotypes
    they say you’re a gangster, a criminal, a no gooder, a drug addict
    and then you go right ahead and be all those things
    its ridiculous and foolish
    Michael Brown was a thief’
    the policeman a murderer.
    but Michael Brown’s actions led to the murder
    simples

  22. Kele

    August 26, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    While I agree with what you have said about black people living up to these stereotypes; you must also remember that there’s a phenomenon called Learned Helplessness in Psychology…and it is clear this is at play in the Black American situation. As the commenters before me have already said; you cannot understand black Americans without factoring in their historical context…..Its complicated my brother!! Although you are allowed to have your opinion I must say…

  23. Emerald-Fashion Blog (plus-size fashion)

    August 26, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    lol… constructive ‘blackness writings and comments…’ None of you all wrote the truth per se, you re all stressing your points… And thats the good part… All man to their opinion…

  24. Ade

    August 26, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    The author was almost a bit myopic, yet with valid points.. The black American culture has been tagged as a bit barbaric which continually blur the line and still gives racism it’s place in the America society… You will be strident to make judgements on that without understanding the Black american history… No race has a smooth culture to be treated fairly than the other. If you pointed out the black american girls who were twerking as a negative black stereotype, then why is there not a negative white stereotype as well that draws the line.

  25. Martin

    August 26, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    May I just say that the writer knows all about black America’s history, from account as old as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin to the newness of Chimamanda’s Americanah. He is avid observer of this culture and this writing is to represent that cancerous aspect of the present reality of black folks which we so conveniently blame time past for.

    • larrydavy

      August 27, 2014 at 12:06 am

      Bro. (not an attack , just a discussion)., you have valid points, but if you’ve been living in the States for years or you’ve been exposed to American culture, you should know the issue is complicated; blaming Black culture is insensitive and dishonest. Reading books is not exactly the same as experience. When I was in college, I volunteered for after school programs, and I was exposed to the challenges disadvantaged and at risks youths face (mostly Blacks and Hispanics).

      Negative stereotypes of the black man (doesn’t matter if you’re Nigerian) permeates American society. I’ve been stopped by police without reason and asked if I was on probation. On another occasion, I bought paint from Home Depot and needed something. I went back with the paint, on my way out the store, they chased me and insinuated that I stole the paint. I don’t want to be long winded, but reconsider you piece.

  26. Halia

    August 26, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    @sadidy, it’s not as “Simple” as your ignorantly making it out to be. Reread the refutes by Dr O & Tunmi, your own research, live in the environment your passing judgement on, maybe also do some soul searching and learn empathy.

  27. tobi

    August 26, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    word!

  28. looters

    August 26, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Understanding racism against the black man in a nutshell; youtube.com/watch?v=uQAmdZvKf6M&feature=youtu.be

  29. Girl

    August 26, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    I had A LOT to say but i am way too frustrated after reading this. All i will say is Dr. O and Tunmi are very right and Nigerians need to just take a step back and learn about people before you speak on them. There are highly educated black people who still get racially profiled so it is never about acting different it’s about fighting for your existence and trusting God to protect you everyday you leave your house as that might be your only safe place. BEING BLACK IN AMERICA IS ROUGH. The racism faced here can’t be measured because even he who is racist is not aware of the extent of his racism. You think the old white lady on the bus cares that the black man who just sat by her is Harvard educated and holds a six figured Job when she holds her purse closer to her or you think the convenient store owner who follows a black man around his store cares that he is a family man who just came in to get candy for his children? Oh but these are refined men too why are they being racially Profiled??? That’s right because they are black. Nigerians wake up!!!!! its time for us to help them as opposed to criticizing them. You come here and you treat them just as poorly as the white folks do which is sad. Learn to walk a mile in the shoes of others before judging them and remember until 1964 when immigration laws and civil rights acts were put in place (which African Americans had a great deal to do with) we were not able to come to this part of the world to create a ‘better life.’ Until your very own country can fix all the situations in it and create equality for everyone don’t come and criticize African Americans. those of us coming on all these blogs only acct for 20-25% of our country who have gotten educated whether home or abroad. But go deep into the REAL Nigeria, 75-80% of your people don’t know where their first meal is coming from but we suffer and smile. Be careful with this we are better attitude like I said walk a mile in their shoes before you judge it might help fix your ignorance.

  30. Gtouch

    August 26, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Chinagorom, am starting to feel for you but ignorance is not an excuse. i do hope you survive this. word get around long enough. you may have to run duck hide mehn. BN you need to help this young man out, his got a situation at hand. How did this get out here. You grew up in Nigeria i guess? Have you asked yourself after 50 years of independence we still battle with issues created by colonial masters talk less of our brothers and sisters sold into slavery, lost of identity and psychologically drained of self esteem. Like Dr. O suggested, get off you high horse and volunteer. make positive contribution than some stupid prank. those guys were nice. someone flashed a gun. I grew up around people that actually squeeze that trigger until the clip is empty. I apologize to African Americans that read this article. this came from an inexperience Nigerian male.

  31. Ikenna

    August 26, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    This article is well articulated, perfectly written, and calls for self-examination especially among the African-Americans. However, we must remind ourselves that nobody speaks from nowhere. My dear brother, you are privileged based on your background and culture where everything is given to you with little or no struggle, a background were you are not treated as a suspect by mere sight. You cannot compare that with the situation here in America. You nearly hit this point when you said, “it is almost as if there were an intrinsic problem, one in need of urgent attention. A re-orientation may be.” Dear gentleman, it is not “it is almost as if there were an intrinsic problem”; yes! There is an intrinsic problem. The problem of the sheep and the goat, a problem that marks some part of American history. You mentioned the problem via negativa, and could not escape acknowledging it by adding “Not in this age and time.” Therefore, there is a problem my dear, that is why I will subscribe with your suggestion of re-orientation. Nevertheless, the re-orientation should be on both sides, thus, the sheep and the goat need to have a change of heart for the good of America, because what is happening is the consequence of the antecedence in American history.

    In the Michael Brown development which you used as one of your case study, I will simple say that in any judgment, focus should be first placed on the substance of the matter involved, shadows should be come in only when the object has been properly addressed, thus accident should not be completely discarded, but first things must come first.

    Be that as it may, the veracity of Michael Brown’s theft in the store has not been ascertain. Remember, just few days ago, CNN lost signal in an interview were the Lawyer of the store owner was telling the world what his client said about the video. Just ask a question, why is it that at the moment when the Lawyer was to release a statement that would have changed the mind of many about the insinuated theft story, the signal was lost by such a big network? Am not in any camp but there is more to see than what meets your eyeball my dear brother and friend.

    The Ferguson problem would not have raised a big dust if the New York chock hold case did not came up. It is our same forefathers and elders who say, “There is no smoke without fire”, and “wherever I child is pointing while crying, if his mother is not there, his father must be there.”
    Finally, your message is well passed. African-Americans need to sit up, we need to raise above what we are seeing and experiencing. Martin Luther King Jnr and his theme did their part, it is now our turn to stand up and confront the situations that pose as threats to our meaningful existence in American soil.

  32. Ikenna

    August 26, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    This article is well articulated, perfectly written, and calls for self-examination especially among the African-Americans. However, we must remind ourselves that nobody speaks from nowhere. My dear brother, you are privileged based on your background and culture where everything is given to you with little or no struggle, a background were you are not treated as a suspect by mere sight. You cannot compare that with the situation here in America. You nearly hit this point when you said, “it is almost as if there were an intrinsic problem, one in need of urgent attention. A re-orientation may be.” Dear gentleman, it is not “it is almost as if there were an intrinsic problem”; yes! There is an intrinsic problem. The problem of the sheep and the goat, a problem that marks some part of American history. You mentioned the problem via negativa, and could not escape acknowledging it by adding “Not in this age and time.” Therefore, there is a problem my dear, that is why I will subscribe with your suggestion of re-orientation. Nevertheless, the re-orientation should be on both sides, thus, the sheep and the goat need to have a change of heart for the good of America, because what is happening is the consequence of the antecedence in American history.

    In the Michael Brown development which you used as one of your case study, I will simple say that in any judgment, focus should be first placed on the substance of the matter involved, shadows should be come in only when the object has been properly addressed, thus accident should not be completely discarded, but first things must come first.

    Be that as it may, the veracity of Michael Brown’s theft in the store has not been ascertain. Remember, just few days ago, CNN lost signal in an interview were the Lawyer of the store owner was telling the world what his client said about the video. Just ask a question, why is it that at the moment when the Lawyer was to release a statement that would have changed the mind of many about the insinuated theft story, the signal was lost by such a big network? Am not in any camp but there is more to see than what meets your eyeball my dear brother and friend.

    The Ferguson problem would not have raised a big dust if the New York chock hold case did not came up. It is our same forefathers and elders who say, “There is no smoke without fire”, and “wherever I child is pointing while crying, if his mother is not there, his father must be there.”
    Finally, your message is well passed. African-Americans need to sit up, we need to raise above what we are seeing and experiencing. Martin Luther King Jnr. and his theme did their part, it is now our turn to stand up and confront the situations that pose as threats to our meaningful existence in American soil.

  33. A Word

    August 26, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    Before we think about reading up on African American history, lets read up on our own history. The same issues that are happening in “Black America” , are the same issues happening in Nigeria. So PLEASE, let us try and reduce our ignorance. We are all black!

  34. Edunna

    August 26, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    Thumbs up Chinagorom….10 gbosa for you.

  35. brainchild

    August 26, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    Chinagorom an ignorant idiot. Somebody steals chips and soda, or twerks as a profession doesn’t mean they deserve to be shot. I have no words for people like you. You sound like you live with colonial slave mentality and unaware of your own rights. emancipate yourself before you can begin to judge others.

    • baby

      August 27, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      you are the idiot here cos u come across as someone without any home training…..ur mama obviously didn’t teach u better than to throw insults…..someone says something different from what u believe and they automatically become an idiot…..u are a manner less idiot…..

  36. Jackie Onassis

    August 27, 2014 at 12:23 am

    Chinagorom Martin you are big fool and you think you are all that? Do you know about Nigerian reputation in the states? And yet in the town I live, they are respected nigerian doctors, lawyers AMD univerity professors. You are a Moron with a big capital M! Why would you classify all black people like that? My husband came here in the sixties and he always told me.. All this thanks to the fight african Americans have done, they have open doors for all lacks. So why are you kicked them to the low down? You are not intelligent and think you are trying to make a name for yourself,. We all understand your game? If your blackness is a problem then return back where you come from. Couple weeks ago, I went to Westpoint to attend my son’s acceptance parade.. Yes you heard me right WESTPOINT… that kid a prestigious school.. And to attend it one has to be on top.. But, guess what, there were many Other kids like my sons and many MICHAEL BROWN THERE some came from middle class families and some from poor upbringing but somehow they made it to Westpoint.. Many blacks are smart and have goals…they work hard and compete with everybody. I am not a racist like you and don’t have any complex towards the white man.. Because he is not better than me and I am not better than him. In my neighborhood , we are the only black family there.. We lived here for more than 20 years, we bought 4 acres of land and built our house… The CEO, LAWYERS AND DOCTORS WHO LIVE IN OUR 6 house communities are all graduated from ivy leagues just like my husband.. They used cocaine in order to face the harsh american life and many cheat on their wives with mistresses … So MR. Man TAKE A WALK! AND DONT YOU COME BACK NO MORE NO MORE, PEOPLE LIKE YOU WILL CRITICIZE BLACK MAN IN FRONT OF THE WHITE MAN.. JUST TO,BE ACCEPTED. I ALWYS TELL MY KIDS THAT IN EVERY RACE THERE GOOD AND BAD PEOPLE. SO ZIP IT DUMMY.. AND STOP STEREOTYPING….. Blacks in this country have suffered a lot.. And still suffer. I am a Ph.d woman with a grant job at the U.N but when I go to upscale stores I know I am being starred … I have so much to talk about how difficult it is for blacks but nevertheless many strive hard and work hard.. Westpoint, the White House, Harvard, have many MICHAEL,BROWN YOUNG TEENAGERS FROM GOOD FAMILIES WHO CAN BE FUNNED DOWN FOR NO REASON.

    • lol

      August 27, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      so you think calling him a big fool would make your points more valid? im sorry for you.

    • Laface

      August 31, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      ‘You are a PhD woman’ and you have ranted in such an unintelligent manner? Pls remind us, what was your thesis on?
      How is it possible with your assumed academic level you could not objectively present your view without resorting to such callousness?

  37. BA

    August 27, 2014 at 1:38 am

    it’s good that people write stuff like this so we can collectively address and rid people of ignorance such as this article communicates. One hopes the author is reading and taking good advice on “getting off his high horse” so to speak.

  38. Ibukun

    August 27, 2014 at 1:48 am

    hmmmmmm. I can’t blame the writer of this article for having this perspective, He has simply put it down as he sees it; only a person deeply rooted in history or in sentiments will objectively observe black America and not end up with the writer’s perspective. Dr O and every other person taking it personal are angry for reasons I can’t even be bothered enough to understand.

  39. Proudtobeblack

    August 27, 2014 at 2:32 am

    Hmmm ….you can tell those who have drunk from the wells of liberal professors in college and no longer visit the basic school of common sense. Chinagorom well written. Don’t allow the likes of the so called dr O to distract you. Thankfully we have great examples in people like Dr Benjamin Carson – he grew up in the projects but refused to fall into the statistics. And then of course we have the likes of Al Sharpton who earn their living from racial controversies. There are blacks killing blacks EVERYDAY in Chicago yet you will not see Al SHarpton address those issues. Black people need to step up and start taking themselves seriously. Charity begins from home. Asian Americans are the most successful Americans today. Why? Good family values and placing a premium on education. It’s time to get rid of the sagging pants and nasty music lyrics from the so called stars!

  40. NNENNE

    August 27, 2014 at 4:12 am

    Sometimes we actually forget that African Americans are us. History turned some of them to what they became.

  41. CHY

    August 27, 2014 at 8:35 am

    first word that came out of my mouth is, “am in love”. that sums it up for me.

  42. bukkiedazzle

    August 28, 2014 at 4:02 am

    WHOA….I the individual analysis and points of view. You see, its scary thinking about RACISM but it does not all necessarily bores down to that. You need to have related with the american locals be it white or black and of different class as well. I studied and live in the US and to tell you the truth, i’m so afraid about raising a son of color here. But with that color, has to come with a responsible appearance and relations with friends that would keep him safe on the AMERICAN STREETS. With african-americans, there’s so much hatred in them. I’ve had to confront a lady who always have so much attitude while trying to service her telling her one early morning when i opened the store “why is there so much hatred in you”. According to the African-ame history, they have suffered but most of them forget that they can forgive and re-birth themselves to be a responsible race if they want to earn the Respect of white pple in the community.
    I observed that the way an African-ame person who’s a stranger would relate wit me is very different from the way their counterpart who’s my classmate would. African-ame have no regard and respect for we african immigrants because we are more successful, focused and cultured and more so, they think that our forefathers sold them out as slaves. THIS, i think is so SAD. I’VE had to educate and defend AFRICA because they think that we still live in rural areas, are living with crazy diseases and deserve nothing but the worst of all things. African-AME need to STAND UP for themselves and not taking too much advantage of the american system. They are the ones with government issued houses, WIC, food stamps and college grants YET they drop classes and spend the money on gadgets, expensive shoes and clothing. All the money they get is from our own hard work, our tax money. THEY JUST NEED TO WAKE UP AND PUSH HARDER FOR THEMSELVES.
    FOR THE caucasians, RACISM doesn’t come naturally, IS IT TAUGHT TO THEM. GOTTA TELL YOU THIS, IT IS A CHALLENGING COMMUNITY FOR AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS HERE, BUT WE STILL DEY ROUGH AM. E SHA BETTER PASS NAIJA. 0 SAFETY, 0 HEALTHCARE, LESS EMPLOYMENT, BAD BELLE = CORRUPT GOVT.
    My point of view comes to a FULL STOP HERE. PEACE O…!

  43. BlueEyed

    August 28, 2014 at 6:32 am

    First few paragraphs into this article and I became clearly concerned for the writer. Few “valid” points from someone with no knowledge of the real struggle of the black American race. Please be educated, do community work, engage in proper first hand channels that will enlighten you more mr chinagorom.
    Secondly, one of the commenters brought my attention again to some Africans who go about soiling the African race, just to gain acceptance from the white man. There’s a whole lot of this bunch in Europe and it is truly sad. I long for the day I can voice out my distaste on such issue.

  44. Godwin abuchi

    August 28, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Dr. O, you make it seem like you have something against Chinagorom, isn’t he entitled to his opinion? Well I have lived in the U.S for 8 years now and a citizen. I work in health care. And I come across all kinds on a daily; majority of the black American youth are just unruly, you only find a handful that act right. If you volunteer in tutoring, that’s your own way of trying to solve an existing problem but to put someone else on blast because of his opinion?… instead write your own article to educate and encourage others to volunteer as well to help reduce the problem. Thanks.
    PS You don’t have to include you are a doctor nobody cares.

  45. Dr O

    August 29, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    Ignorance is real, racism is real. No one is an authority, I never claimed to be, but if you agree with this article, then you equally will agree with a black American who has spent weeks or months in Nigeria writing on essence.com about the issues regarding Boko Haram. 99.99% of you all disputing this will cry “bloody murder”,
    Talk about what you know about…leave issues to others who know it, and have experienced it. I never claimed to be…”NUFF SAID”

    Igbo, Nigerian, and someone whose family members have been murdered by armed robbers/kidnappers in Nigeria (who was it that mentioned being angry, even that should have me enraged but no I still embrace Nigeria) AND female, American, and who laughs at those who think being an “uncle Tom”, especially with an accent, makes them immune from the racial issues in America.

    @Godwin Aburo and whoever else, I included that in the same manner that he included his qualifications in his bio. Additionally I worked hard and earned it all in this country, so if you have a problem with that, do the same. Again, just in the same manner you put you have been in the US “8 years”, one will ask its not even up to a decade or 2, who cares? I actually do.

    The Igbos have a saying, “Ị mara asu suo n-odo, I maghi asu suo n-ala”, cause really no one is immune from wise counsel.

    God bless us all, Nigeria and the USA

  46. cynthia

    October 12, 2014 at 5:22 am

    @Brainchild, you are the idiot here for expressing yourself in such a way. You really lack home training and u have no manners. Chinagorom that’s a very good one, keep it up.

  47. Amaka

    October 12, 2014 at 5:37 am

    @jackie onassis, you are the one that is a very big fool wit capital letter F, so u can’t make ur comments without showing pple u dnt come from a home. I pity that so called husband of urs cos he’s in dip shit. am sorry for u. Chinagorom your too much, keep it up!!!

  48. jake ro

    November 1, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    I guess those who are writing these rebuttal does not really understan this article well.i think the eriter recognises both what you are sayi g and also sharing his own mind.the fact is—-black -americans has to understand that it cannot be business as usual.it is time to make a change and re-orient themselves..you do not have to be what the world think you are.be yourselves.as bad as your history maybe, please, is time to stop using it as excuse.you can rise beyond it to be able to shame yourenemy.right now, your strategy is not workingby ending up in jail..thank you mr chinagorom for this piece

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