Connect with us


Niyi Ademoroti: Nigerians & Our Constant Worship of Whiteness!



There’s a scene in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s book, Americanah that consistently amuses me whenever I read it. It’s that scene where Chief about to change Obinze’s life, where he is telling him exactly what to do. After he tells Obinze, “Your first job will be to help me make money, but your second job will be to make your own money,” he drops a few sentences that encapsulates what whiteness means to a majority of Nigerians.

And after you register your own company, you must find a white man. You had friends in England before you were deported? Find one white man. Tell everybody he is your general manager. It gives you immediate legitimacy with many idiots in this country. This is how Nigeria works, I’m telling you.

Perhaps because it is fiction, we may be compelled to dismiss the truthfulness in those sentences. Thankfully, social media exists, and what else do we do with it but to record the drudgery of our daily lives as Nigerians? Here are a few encounters Nigerians have had with the influence of whiteness on our own motherland.

In my own experience working as a real estate agent in Kano, a city home to many Lebanese and Indian folks, I have witnessed several grown, old men call these people, because of their closeness to whiteness, “Master.”

Nigerians are subservient to whiteness. But, why?

Maybe the easiest reason to point to would be colonialism. We were conquered by these people, ruled by them, our motherland made a colony of theirs. It’s not completely unreasonable, then, that we accord whiteness some power. That we respect it. Colonialism, after all, was a domination of not just our bodies but our minds, a subjugation of our perspectives. And it is still happening, today mostly in the form of Christian missionaries, imposing their perspectives on Africans. It’s why we demonise traditional African religions. Why we continue to exoticise—a type of othering—African culture, even though it’s ours.

But all of it can’t be due to colonialism, though. We also have to consider just how often we consume white culture. When we switch on our TVs and radios, what is it that plays? Our standards of beauty, normalcy, of how the world should be are gotten directly from their own world as depicted on TV.

Sure, we have Nollywood now, but that name, even, is a direct derivative of Hollywood, an American creation. And our music genres, too, still have the “afro-” qualifier. It’s like the elements of our culture, our way of life, are taken directly from them. Not totally ridiculous, then, that we find ourselves differing to them.

We also have to consider the existence of $$$. We are a people with a profound respect and love for money, and white people are seen as a repository/representative of foreign exchange. And what Nigeria doesn’t want to be seen in proximity to wealth?

It’d be unrealistic and even dumb to prescribe a complete rejection of the consumption of white entertainment. What we can do, instead, is begin to understand and internalize that white people are human, too. Reminds me of the story of how black men only discovered white people could die, too, when they arrived at the frontlines of the world war. White men are flesh and blood, too, just like you and me. Let’s stop bending our backs and neglecting our own, just to appeal to their sensibilities.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime


  1. The Real Oma

    December 1, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    Very well captured Niyi. The thing is a constant source of irritation to me. But I’m beginning to see it’s more to do with??than anything else

    • FLeur

      December 2, 2018 at 5:56 am

      well said!! someone once asked me to validate a professor they were bringing to the country to present for so much money on how to run government grant program. The man was a professor emeritus in some university in the northeast and in literature or something similar. I don forget specifics. Grantmaking is not an area of specialization in academia – there is no degree to be awarded in the field to my knowledge. I told this guy that I could organize Nigerians who were grant makers in government and the foundation sector in the US to come and give the real talk that they needed. the person said no. They need a white man. His boss needed a white man. this particular white man. So a shriveled professor emeritus without the qualifications is what they spent all their money on. I am certain no one was wiser on the subject of grant making after his lecture.

  2. Soki

    December 1, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    SERIOUS palava on the streets of Paris o. Precisely the most affluent street of Paris – The champs Elysee.

    The yellow jacket people ( vastly low income earners and those concerned about their purchasing power) are protesting against their YOUNG president EMmanuel Macron for gently killing them. Increase in fuel prices, taxes and the fact that their salaries don’t end up serving them at the end of the month.

    Fire on the mountain

    • Mrs chidukane

      December 2, 2018 at 5:16 pm

      Why are you putting emphasis on young?

  3. anon2

    December 1, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    A couple of years ago, someone I know shut down a prospective business deal with the government of a northern state specifically because of this behaviour. After spending time and money setting up the meeting, they arrived at the governor’s office only for him to be treated in a shabby and disrespectful behaviour. The “exparttriates” were treated as if they were his bosses. Furthermore, the expatriates made matters worse by disrespecting him, treating him in a dismissive manner and played along with the stupid governor. He was livid but kept his cool and got them back to Lagos. He then arranged with some security personnel to set them up and got them arrested. After I heard what they went through, they’ll run a mile when they here the word Nigeria next.

    • Aare farmland

      December 1, 2018 at 9:40 pm

      Part of it is ignorance, but what I notice is the complaint but not the effort to educate the ignorant,

  4. lolarae

    December 1, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    its like this all around the world so its not unique to nigeria its even worse with asians

    • Ajala & Foodie

      December 1, 2018 at 10:36 pm

      @lolarae, I was just going to say this. We had a discussion over Thanksgiving dinner about this. Whether you are Hispanic or a person of color if you want to be accepted in the business/corporate world better higher a caucasian. We were discussing how many Caucasians may never understand the idea of racism. While there are black people that are racist, it is never in business or in the corporate world. What do I mean, a person of color may not want their kids bringing home a caucasian as a to be spouse but take that same person and bring him/her as a prospective job candidate and the discrimination is no more. A Caucasian on the other hand can discriminate both in the business/corporate world as well as on the home front. It is everywhere!!! That’s why we keep fighting

  5. Kkay

    December 1, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    Sad… but ask yourself how blacks have initiated or contributed to positive development. Look at Nigeria and the rest of Black Africa. After Independence, then what? Every infrastructure the colonial masters built are in ruins.
    The black man does not think of what he can do or develop for common good and posterity. The change has to begin from there – that mindset is the bane of Black Africa.

  6. Anonymous

    December 2, 2018 at 1:10 am

    It’s not true that it’s like this in every part of the world. Black People in Africa are guilty of this. African Americans have seen through them and don’t worship white People

  7. Essay

    December 2, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    The problem must first be solved by changing your mindset. After spending several years in the US, I don’t take crap from anyone black, white, hispanic etc. I am currently a senior leader at my place of work and all the white people that have tried me, have gotten it. Whenever they come with the attitude of I am smarter, better etc. My attitude is that may be true but it has to be proven. When you don’t present yourself as a pushover or inferior, eventually they will arrange. However, for this to work you have to be twice as good in everything, no room for slip ups. The problem with Africa is that we don’t know what time it is. We are not on our game and we needlessly bow down to people that may not even be as qualified. We just need to get woke on a national level.

  8. Uzoamaka Okafor

    December 3, 2018 at 1:45 am

    Very true! I think it’s a case of gross inferiority complex. We have become racists even to ourselves. With this attitude, we’ll eventually self destruct.

  9. onyinye

    December 3, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Same way, my friend was being considered for a job, when it got to salary negotiation, what they offered shocked him because, he knew what they had been paying the expatriate performing the same role before him was 10 times over what they were now offering.

  10. Elle

    December 3, 2018 at 11:10 am

    The question is what can we do to change this? We can whine from now till tomorrow, that wouldn’t change things.

  11. Ijs

    December 3, 2018 at 11:14 pm

    But white people not deserve to be worshiped? Haven’t they earned that position by their level of thinking and development? It’s black people you see dying on the Mediterranean Sea desperately trying to cross over to them, Queuing in Embassies, Filing for Assylum etc. The only way to remove racism is to improve the lives of Africans inside Africa. Until then, they will be worshiped. You can’t go to someones house and Lord it over him. You should be happy he let you in, in the first place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Star Features