Normally I continue scrolling, but this time around I decided to read through the comments. Most of them were disgusting and heartbreaking. First of all, someone went to his page just to get a video to share on Twitter, then bashed and wished ill upon him. This was not the first time I was seeing something like this, but this was the first time I put in conscious effort to read through the comments, just to try to understand why.
It’s completely okay to disapprove of someone. It’s okay to disagree with their views and opinions, okay to have beliefs that you hold dear. What is not okay is you wishing someone death and misery just because they are different from what you would call the “norm.”
One comment that struck me was made by a guy (whose name I can’t remember). He said if one of those guys was his brother he would have killed him. This made me realize that most Nigerians are used to having a one particular way of thinking, and anything different from that is met with hostility and, in most cases, hate.
Now some people may say, “But my religion doesn’t accept this,” but why are we forgetting the parts of our religion that encourage us to love one another and leave judgement to God. A lot of people wished that these boys got washed away by the ocean, and it broke my heart to pieces. If you completely disapprove of who they are, you can block them. And guess what, you won’t see them on your timeline anymore. I promise you, that’s a better and healthier option than throwing vile words around.
Then the argument around religion came up again on Sunday, and I saw another angle that proved to me how intolerant Nigerians can be toward one another.
Let’s move away from this scenario that might seem extreme, and move on to things that are more relatable in our everyday lives: A woman who decides not to get married or who decides not to have children is usually looked down upon and viewed as a lesser woman, or a woman who has a child outside of marriage is made to feel like she doesn’t deserve love. When a couple is unable to have children and opt for adoption, the woman is still looked down upon. I have seen scenarios where a lady turns down a man due to his rude advances and everyone starts cracking the Shiloh 2020 jokes. I have taken the time to ask my friends why Nigerians don’t see gray areas when it comes to beliefs and values, and the loudest answer I got was that it wasn’t a Nigerian thing, it was a human thing.
Yes, I agree; it’s a human thing to disagree and maybe even judge. But I don’t think we should be comfortable viewing others through our lenses of bias. We need to learn to respect people for who they are and what they believe. I have seen a lot of people who talk about wanting to be better than the generation before us, and I am here to say that those hopes and aspirations will never happen if we continue to think and act like the generation before us. In order to change and advance, we also need to change our thought process and replace the hate that is being doled out with tolerance and acceptance, because it definitely isn’t worth it.