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Cisi Eze: Humanism is the New Black



Scowling African womanHumanism is the new black, and as expected of everything in fashion, some people can’t even rock it. No shade, but whenever these people overestimate their abilities by putting it on, they end up looking like a disaster, and they can be likened to people walking around, as if Stevie Wonder were their stylist. Nowadays, some people eagerly call themselves “liberal”, “humanist”, like we were meant to applaud them. Do they know what it means to be liberal or humanist?

J.K. Rowling’s tweets infuse life into my life every time! Recently, she made a thread.

Just unfollowed a man whom I thought was smart and funny, because he called Theresa May a whore. 1/14


“I’m sick of liberal men whose mask slips every time a woman displeases them, who reach immediately for crude and humiliating words 3/14

“associated with femaleness, act like old-school misogynists and then preen themselves as though they have been brave. 4/14)

As I read the thread, I had a flashback to Ake Arts and Book Festival, November 2016. Some men claim to be liberal and well-read, but in real life, they are misogynistic AF!

Umar Turaki’s “Salt” was one of the short films shown at Ake. During the Ebola crisis, some people claimed salt water was a “remedy” to the virus. People who graduated from universities believed this. Turaki’s story was based on this “salt solution”.

The protagonist – Cathy, a pharmacist – refused to partake in this, because she felt there was no way salt could prevent, or cure, Ebola. Her flatmates bathed with salty water. Her fiancé called incessantly to plead that she bathed with salt water. Everyone was salting themselves, but she would not acquiesce. Eventually, when the talk was getting out of hand, Cathy decided to bath with salty water. The end.

“Any questions…?” Turaki asked a captivated audience.

Soon, I saw someone raise a hand. It belonged to a man, probably in his late fifties.

He took the mic and started talking. Oh! I knew he was going to try it the moment he said the first word. He went on and on until he crashed with “… education makes women stubborn.”

What the actual eff?!! Like, how dare he? We were ready to drag him to filth and snatch his head, because snatching his edges alone would not have been enough.

Turaki calmly replied that Cathy’s dilemma was his own experience at the time. When writing the story, he did not have it in mind that education made anyone stubborn.

At Ake, someone was thinking like a Neanderthal. One would think everyone there had read enough books to enhance the process of unlearning and relearning certain beliefs.

How can you be liberal (humanist), yet douse yourself in the disgusting gutters of sexism, homophobia, or racism? (That was how one self-acclaimed humanist was advocating that we rape gay men on Facebook. Oya and Osun should just com’ an’ take me. Haven’t I said I don’t belong to this world? It is not my home.)

On a serious note, why do we treat people differently based on things they did not choose? Sexism is the act of treating someone, not just women, differently on the basis of sex organs. (This treatment could be positive or negative. If you are being nice to a person just because of sex organs, it counts as sexism.)

It’s ridiculous that some of us see “humanist” as a trend; and so, they have to jump on it. In my perspective, “humanist”, like “feminist”, is not a tag. You are human, is it not expected that you support humanity and not discriminate against people based on circumstances they did not influence? Why should you be tagged for doing, or being, what you are meant to do or be? Sexists do not tag themselves, because they have normalised gender inequality. We should start shaming them, honestly.

Being liberal, and tolerant of people, is an act of doing yourself a favour. Intolerant people have so much bile in them. At times, I wonder why the bile has not poisoned them into the next life. The moment you understand humanity has a handful of hues – the moment you understand people are different – life becomes easy. You learn that another perspective, which is not hurting humanity, is okay, even though it is different from yours’.

Humanism, being liberal, is not some fashion you have to key into. You can’t be humanist, while holding on to unfortunate values and beliefs that hurt human rights. Understand that to be humanist, you must be tolerating of things that don’t hurt you. It’s not by force to claim what you are not.

“Humanism” is not a badge of honour, it is something every sane people should be, because every argument against humanism in all forms does not make sense.

P.S. I’m hoping everyone at Ake this year would be liberal. I hope no one would say something unfortunate like, “sex and gender is the same thing”. No shade, but I think it’s ultra lame for anyone to believe sex and gender is the same thing in 2017. Like, what happened to their education? Why did they decide to pour time and money down the drain like that?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Scott Griessel

Cisi Eze is a Lagos-based freelance journalist, writer, comic artist, and graphics designer. She feels strongly about LGBT+ rights, feminism, gender issues, and mental health, and this is expressed through her works on Bella Naija and her blog – Shades of Cisi. Aside these, she has works on Western Post NG, Kalahari Review, Holaafrica, Mounting the Moon, Gender IT, Outcast Magazine, Rustin Times, 14: An Anthology of Queer Art Volume 1 and 2, and Sweet Deluge (Issue 2). Her first book, published by Tamarind Hill Press, UK, is titled “Of Women, Edges, and Parks”. Cisi’s art challenges existing societal norms.


  1. Chels

    July 12, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    Hi Cisi,
    Anytime I read your post I have to literally hold myself back from responding to your line of thoughts as they usually sound absurd to me. Honestly, you do come off as someone with a lot of spite and hurt inside and as a self-proclaimed “social change agent”, that would not yield any form of result. Its okay to be passionate about something but then there is a thin line between being passionate and sounding bitter/ranting and beaten-up. And as per your article, its funny how you liberals don’t understand that the others on the “right” also have a right to their beliefs. It comes off to me as being extremely hypocritical when you constantly bash people for what they believe in. Yes, I am conservative and a Christian and as much as I love everybody I also have a right to uphold my beliefs as a Christian and shun whatever the bible has defined as bad/sin. That doesn’t make me a bad person or whatsoever label you guys decide to come up with (there are a lot of phobias…I can’t even keep up with them again). You liberals have to understand that its our choice as well, as you have your choice to be liberal, queer, atheist or whatever….You have to deal with that and stop these banters. There is a whole lot of trouble in the world for us to deal with a bunch of people who want to decide for us how to think and act or give us another definition of “being progressive”. The rate at which you guys are going, it will soon be okay for people to walk around the street “naked” in the name of being progressive. *smh*

    • Keredim

      July 15, 2017 at 11:27 pm

      Being queer is not a “choice”…..

  2. Mohammad

    July 13, 2017 at 1:36 am


  3. Udegbunam Chukwudi

    July 14, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    To be humanist, you must be tolerating of things that don’t hurt you.

    That’s all

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