We are tired

Police brutality against minorities hasn’t just suddenly increased in America. It’s always been there, modern technology just makes it easier to disprove the lies and refinements of the rotten maggots that populate the halls of power.

It was the police (great grand parents and older) that used to kill and scalp escaped slaves during the 400 years of slavery for profit. It was the police (grandparents of the current generation) that used to allow their families to lynch black people till the 60’s (this barbaric practice only started to be frowned upon in the West during the 50’s.) my dad was born in the 50’s.
It was the police members (parents of the current generation) and chiefs that ran the local kkk chapters, donning the white uniforms at night and the blue ones at day time.
It was these same police chiefs, members of the kkk and active during the civil rights era who retired and whose kids took over and are still there today.
Thesr butchers and white supremacists were never brought to trial, justice was never served. Instead my people have to gaze upon their faces immortalised in sculptures and university mottos, in every walk of life they are reminded that their life is cheap and murderers can get away with it as long as the murdered is black.

This is the result of hundreds of years of state sanctioned ethnic cleansing. But it’s been prettied up and disguised. It’s roots are still showing though, like a bad dye job. ETHNIC CLEANSING.

And you wonder why black people distrut the police. BECAUSE THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN A SYMBOL OF PROTECTION, THEY HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A TOOL OF OPPRESSION.

My solidarity to my brothers and sisters in that country that since its inception has let the collective blood of over a hundred million black and brown bodies. This is why America cannot know peace. It’s hands are bloody and the complicity of whites continues to enable this.

Fuck you and your white privilege that enabled you to sit comfortably behind your computer screen and defend state sanctioned killings.

Fuck you and your white privilege that enabled you to determine that these people’s lives weren’t worth enough to get a fair trial.

Fuck you and your white privilege that enabled you to rationalise the death of a fellow human being even when all the evidence points to them not deserving it time and time again.

Fuck you and your fucking privileged existence that makes you think that we don’t get a right to fair trial because we have rap sheets.

Fuck you and your fucking white privilege that has makes you think that my life is somehow worth less because I have a different level of melanin in my skin.

Infinity fuck you and your white privilege to the point of shuffling off this mortal coil that makes you blind to the fact that these same police captured Dylan roof alive and diffused the Waco shootout without killing a single biker even though they had killed each other.

Eternally fuck you for continuing to enable the despicable actions of the police by removing the humanity of their INNOCENT victims. Being black is not a crime. BEING AN ETHNIC MINORITY IS NOT A FUCKING CRIME and we shouldn’t have to pay with blood.

FUCK YOU

#AltonSterling
#BlackLivesMatter
#TamirRice
#WeDemandJustice
#WeAreNotBloodSacrificesOnTheAltarOfWhiteSupremacy
#EricGarner
#InnocentUntilProvenGuilty
#BlackIsNotACrime
#PhilandoCastile
#ExistingWhileBlack
#EndPoliceBrutality

“This Is What They Did For Fun”: The Story Of A Modern-Day Lynching – BuzzFeed News

I came across this article on a break from writing my essay (funnily enough, my thesis asks: Why is the practice of colour blindness amongst ethnic majorities as a way to deal with racial inequality such a problem in the modern world?). I’m in the mood to rant, I am angry at the injustices. If you’re not ready for this, then click away.

 

Craig Anderson was headed home to celebrate his birthday with his partner. Instead, he became the victim of a brutal and violent form of racism that many in Mississippi had thought long gone.

Source: “This Is What They Did For Fun”: The Story Of A Modern-Day Lynching – BuzzFeed News

 

An excerpt from the article:

 

“Sarah Graves’ mother, Mary Miles Harvey, wrote a letter to the court saying that she didn’t raise her daughter to be a racist. At Graves’ sentencing hearing, Judge Harvey Wingate called Harvey to the witness stand to ask her about the letter. He noted that Graves had told investigators that when her and her brother’s rooms were messy, Harvey would tell them they were “living like niggers.” Harvey denied saying that.
“I would have said Negroes, not niggers,” she said. “I just meant that their rooms were nasty, like a pigsty.”
Wingate asked her what she thought the word “nigger” meant.
“An ignorant, nasty person,” Harvey said. “I was taught in school that a nigger was a nasty person, and a Negro was a black person.”
I thank my lucky stars daily that I’m not African American. WHen they protest institutional racism and violence, people tell them they’re too sensitive.

They tell us as black people that we’re seeing racism in everything. We’re too sensitive, we use the card too much. We’re too quick to call it racism

Imagine this happening 5,000 times over to your grandfathers, rapes on an unimaginable scale to your grandmothers. The perpetrators getting off scot free, and in some cases becoming respected members of society.

We like to think that the plight of black people ended with the end of the slave trade centuries ago, but we conveniently ignore the fact that these people were still to all intents and purposes treated as animals till just over 50 years ago.

And in some “modern countries” institutional racism still exists. We tell ourselves to never forget the Holocaust, never forget the Great War.

In the same vein we tell blacks to get over half a millennium of slavery, jim crow, segregation, exploitation, pillage and barbaric acts committed against them.

The Belgians were cutting off hands of indigenous citizens (including very young children) in the mid 1900’s. The British committed atrocities against the Mau Mau in Kenya in the last half a century. The mere thought of brining up what the white Afrikaners perpetuated against the natives is enough to bring tears to my eyes.

 

When I talk about racism, people tell me to shut up, to not always play the race card, to give it a rest. They talk about how black people have been “free” now for years and we still commit the highest proportion of crimes in developed countries. They lean on these excuses of blacks being violent and uncivilised. It’s their crutch. It’s their way of burying their heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich. They pretend we live in a post-racial world

They forget that intergenerational trauma exists. If we accept intergenerational trauma for non POC (WW1&2 survivors and Holocaust survivors). Why do we ignore it as a factor in the issues affecting blacks now, especially in North America. Why do we ignore the trauma caused by segregation and centuries of White power in the form of the KKK terrorising black people? Why do we ignore the effects of racism that has meant less funding for schools in deprived areas? Less funding for services committed to the mental well being of POC? Why do white people ignore this?

 

WHY do I as a black person have to be “dignified” and “respectable” when protesting the deaths of:

Dontre Hamilton (Milwaukee)

Eric Garner (New York)

John Crawford III (Dayton, Ohio)

Michael Brown Jr. (Ferguson, Missouri)

Ezell Ford (Florence, California)

Dante Parker (Victorville, California)

Tanisha Anderson (Cleveland)

Akai Gurley (Brooklyn, New York)

Tamir Rice (Cleveland)

Rumain Brisbon (Phoenix)

Jerame Reid (Bridgeton, New Jersey)

Tony Robinson (Madison, Wisconsin)

Phillip White (Vineland, New Jersey)

Eric Harris (Tulsa, Oklahoma)

Walter Scott (North Charleston, South Carolina)

Freddie Gray (Baltimore)

But you  can throw a riot when your team loses and its alright?

Why can the detestable womam quoted above feel free to say such things in a court of law as proof her daughter was not raised a racist? YES I KNOW, NOT ALL WHITE PEOPLE.

 

But if the screams I hear on the internet are to be believed, a vocal minority are tarnishing the ‘good name’ of a silent majority of the race. WHy don’t the silent majority rise up and show the world that these racist bigots and hate crimes are not supported by them? Why dont they come out and strongly oppose these crimes? Why don’t they take responsibility? This is ironically a charge the white majority has levelled against the muslim community time and time again after terrorist attacks.

Down the Rabbithole

“You must never behave as if your life belongs to a man. Do you hear me?” Aunty Ifeka said. “Your life belongs to you and you alone.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun

” A woman’s polite devotion is her greatest beauty.” Unknown

About one and a half years ago I read a post on a popular Nigerian facebook group. This post detailed the gruesome murder of some Nigerian female nurses in America at the hands of their husbands. These women left their husbands and tried to forge a new life for themselves away from controlling and jealous husbands. Their reward was death. The debate as to whether this stories were real or manufactured is open to debate. what is not however was the response to the story, especially by the men.

Snapshot of typical comments on the post

Snapshot of typical comments on the post

Enraged at this blatant injustice I had to comment. Now I will be the first to acknowledge that my comment was incendiary, adding fuel to the fire,

My reply and the shitstorm it generated on the page

My reply and the shitstorm it generated on the page

Shortly after commenting on this, I stopped following the page. One of the reasons for unfollowing was the sheer amount of misogyny the men openly displayed. I was told that red lipstick denoted a prostitute (Now I don’t know about you, but red is my signature lipstick. Dior 5th Avenue specifically, I like the good stuff in life), trousers were a sign of loose morals, a woman had no say in politics, amongst other comments. I forgot about this comment and the page itself as a whole until June this year when my brother brought my attention to a video posted on the page of a woman in the commercial capital of Nigeria (Lagos) stripped half naked and in the process of being tortured by a group of men. The video is too horrific to post the link here and I was shaking with rage and frustration after watching it; This woman along with two others were accused of stealing peppers, which they denied. The men proceeded to torture a confession out of them by pouring scotch bonnet powder (very hot chilli powder) into their eyes and then vaginas. The fact that these ‘normal men’, not police officers, not community officers, not law enforcement in any way, thought it was alright to torture a human being is not the disturbing part of this tale. No, the truly disturbing part was them adding scotch bonnet powder into their vaginas, they targeted them as woman, trying to inflict the maximum amount of pain on them, did not care about the fact that this could potentially kill them, they did not care about the psychological trauma these woman would go through and the agonizing physical trauma they must have suffered. One of the poor women later died as a result. This video as gruesome and as heartbreaking as it is, restarted my interest in women’s rights in Nigeria.

I have been pondering the significance of this event for many weeks now and I have spoken with as many nigerian men as I could (mainly dad, grandfather, family friends and brother) about this issue and women’s rights as a whole. Although my family is progressive by Nigerian standards, their views of women are still somewhat archaic, not quite modern enough for my tastes. What I have gleaned from the many talks and arguments is that a lot of Nigerian men are happy for their wives and daughters and women to shatter glass ceilings. However when they come back home, they gotta leave the power woman and the strong woman at the doormat. Once they step into the home, they have to revert back to being subservient. the men’s egos are simply too fragile to tolerate their partners being successful.

Now of course, Nigeria is a “deeply religious” country (the degree of religiousness in a country where corruption comes second nature to breathing is debatable). Some might say, more religious than the vatican judging by the amount of global churches that have roots in the nation. And unfortunately a LOT of the misogyny displayed in the country is down to the interpretations taken from the scriptures about a woman’s role in society.

A woman, in Nigeria has to be a good cook, patient, loving, virtuous, silent, etc. And the most important trait in a woman according to Nigerian society is the desire to get married. A woman in Nigeria cannot aspire to be a CEO or a highflier without first marrying. Similarly, a woman is not considered successful until she is married with a good dozen children in the nursery, regardless of the degrees or fortune she has amassed. A good woman does not intimidate (note the fragile egos of the males) her partner with her success, and a woman who is too successful runs the great risk of not finding a man to marry her.

This idea of marriage being the ultimate goal of a woman is so prevalent in Nigeria that you would often find mothers telling their daughters off for bad behaviour by threatening them that they will never find a man to marry them. Women that are not maternal, not loving in a traditional sense, who are ambitious high-fliers and/or just don’t conform to these societal identity of femininity are discarded on the rubbish heap, most often labelled as unnatural, or my personal favourite; witches.

There are more female “witches” in nigeria than corrupt politicians if these claims of witchcraft are to be believed.

This idea that a woman’s main purpose in life is to be effectively a brood mare and a slave to her husband is like a rot in the fabric of Nigerian society. There is nothing traditional about it and there is nothing religious about it. If indeed it is a sacre held tradition, then traditions are meant to be broken. Not so long ago, the Igbos traditionally sacrificed twins at the altar of the oracles as they perceived them as unnatural.

The hashtags #BeingAWomanInNigeria and #BeingFemaleInNigeria started to trend on twitter earlier this month and it could not have come at a more perfect time for this article. I encourage readers to search for these hashtags on twitter and read the hilarious yet painfully accurate descriptions of the struggles of being a woman in Nigeria.

A selection from channel 4 of the #BeingFemaleInNigeria hashtag

A selection from channel 4 of the #BeingFemaleInNigeria hashtag

Nigerians are big on religion, Nigerian men even more so when it comes to justifying their views. Some quote the bible like they were present when the original scrolls were being written. Favourite verse being;

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything

I do not take issue with households following a religious way of life, what I do take issue is with households using select bible verses to justify oppression towards the womenfolk in their homes. Twisted Interpretations of these verses result in men who associate red lipstick with prostitution, trousers with loose morals and intelligence with confrontation. If I had a penny for every time a Nigerian man tells me he could never marry a woman like me, I’d be richer than the country itself. So many of the men I clash with on a daily basis online use the bible as a resource to back up their points yet have no qualms declaring their use of the occultic against me for not being agreeable. One minute a christian, the next a “devil worshipper”. I’m sure I’m not the only one that finds this funny.

Like I mentioned earlier, a lot of these men’s egos are so fragile, they cannot bear to have a woman more successful than they are, more intelligent than they are and they absolutely hate a woman that has a mind of her own. When confronted with a woman with a mind, the default setting in the minds of these men is to insult, targeting the femininity of the woman first, hence the prevalence of the label witch to describe women.

I’ve had a few experiences of this peculiar male defence mechanism. One promised me that he would behead me and use my head for a money making blood ritual and the other assured the audience that I hate men because I was raped 70 times in my infancy by my father, brothers and uncles. This in his twisted mind explained why I was so vocal in my defence of the murdered victims of domestic violence. Seeing the response of Nigerian men to my post has helped me better understand the mindset of the average Nigerian man, it has also helped me to understand how the barbaric act filmed on camera could have happened. In a culture where women are treated as second class citizens, it seems a woman and her vagina are fair game to these individuals.

Ask most Nigerians if domestic violence is endemic in the country and I can guarantee that most respondents will say no. Nigerians living in the diaspora love to paint this rosy picture where men don’t kill their wives and domestic abuse does not happen when confronted with ugly stories of domestic violence in the British media. And for a while I used to believe this lie too. In fact I used to argue its merits with my colleagues. Now I know for a fact that nothing could be further from the truth. Domestic violence is endemic in Nigeria. it is regarded as dirty linen that no one talks about. the media in Nigeria does not cover stories about women being murdered by their partners. Listening on the grapevine however tends to paint a clearer image. Stories of wives disappearing, visiting the hospital with unexplained bruises or ending up dead in mysterious circumstances are not unheard of.  This hidden epidemic of domestic violence goes on in the society with impunity and the perpetrators almost always get away scot free, marrying another wife in many cases. In situations where the wife is not killed or harmed, she is often left by the husband literally holding the child as he abandons them. In a country where there is no social security net, no child benefit and a weak court system, getting the man to pay child support is impossible. This is another common occurrence in Nigeria with separated women (not quite divorced as divorce is still a societal taboo….a sure fire way to label the wife a witch for life) living away and eking out a living whilst supporting children.

Most Nigerian women are expected to submit to their husbands in everything from marital rape to family planning. The balance of power is so uneven that many men take mistresses and pay for sex with prostitutes, blatantly keeping other women whilst expecting their would be wives to be virtuous and virginal. In churches there is always messages devoted to women about keeping their virginity whilst the men are left to sow their wild oats. If religion was truly the reasoning behind such a demeaning view of women then surely the sermons and the preachings would equally target both sex and premarital sex would be frowned upon in both sexes. As we all know, a sin is a sin is a sin. No sin is bigger than the other under christianity, so why do our men hide behind religion as a reason to expect holiness and other angelic qualities from their partners whilst they themselves are involved in sinful acts, both before marriage AND after. Why do Nigerian men see it as their right to choose to give their partners’ freedom? This was a recurring theme in the facebook argument I had, A great deal of men thought it was their God given right to chose to give their partners their freedom. And I spent a great deal of time explaining to them that the freedom of their wives was not theirs’ to give, their wives already had their freedom and as they are not slaves in the marriage, why should their husband be able to choose whether to grant them their freedom?

As I round up this badly structured ‘essay’ about women’s living conditions which started out as an angry rant and has slowly developed into a slightly legible article, I have one more question. Why do our mothers raise us Nigerian women to always see ourselves as less than men? Nigerian men are complicit in their treatment of their partners. But I cannot absolve blame from the mothers. Why do they not encourage us to see ourselves as individuals in our own rights? Why do they encourage us to tie our worth as human beings to the men in our lives? Mothers have a responsibility to raise daughters that see their own self worth and are not dependent on the approval of a male gaze to get fulfillment in life.

The aim of this article was to try to highlight the issues facing women in Nigeria, however it has devolved into a pseudo-rant about the conditions of women. I apologise for the structure but not for the content. I hope it was legible and readable, because lord knows I vomited my thoughts onto a keyboard. This post won’t win journalistic awards, but I sincerely hope that many men, especially Nigerian men would read this and maybe reconsider their stance on gender equality in the country.

of-course-am-not-worried-about-chimamanda-ngozi-adichie

Natural Hair Care

A lot of people think that properly caring for natural afro hair is a lot of work and too expensive. As a student whose main achievements at university have been to waste money like water on food and procrastinate on all pieces of coursework. I’m living proof that caring for afro hair can be cheap, fun and within everyone’s expertise. Cheap here means costing you less than your next weave or braids. And I’m going to give a few pointers and tips in this article

A good starting point is knowing what works and what doesn’t for your hair. As I’m the proud owner of tightly coiled locks, this piece will be talking mainly about that kind of hair, however those of you fortunate/unfortunate enough to have looser coils can still follow this but maybe reduce the amounts of products used. I don’t follow the hair typing rule in caring for my hair, this was a major source of pain when I first started, was I a 4A or 5C or 3DD?

The dreaded hair type chart where “good hair” is distinguished from “bad hair”

I used to spend hours reading up on all these techniques of specific hair types. To me now, they’re a waste of time seeing as I’m a 3B at the back, 4A in the middle and 3C in the front…Or I think so anyway. The point is that hair typing is not as important as knowing what works for your hair. It could be the expensive Shea moisture products, or simple olive oil/coconut oil. What does not work as a moisturiser or styling product however is Pink Oil and other petrochemical products, you’ll get better moisturising by rinsing your hair in crude oil (which they are refined from)

Raw Shea Butter

Almonds, the superfood, also the source of sweet Almond oil

Don’t fall into the trap of becoming a product junkie. I speak from experience, I have a cupboard full of half used and unused products at great expense to my student loan. This was as a result of watching YouTube videos and believing that to get the same results I’d have to splurge on the expensive products the blogger’s used. Seriously, don’t fall into that trap, these people are paid to promote these products to you. Find what works best for you.

For me, it’s as simple as whipped shea butter as styling cream for my twist outs, braid outs etc. A homemade mixture of water, almond oil, avocado oil, grape seed oil and lavender oil (my four miracle oils) as a daily moisturising spray. A large toothed comb for everyday duties and a rat tail comb for styling. I limit combing to once or twice a week. To avoid breakages and split ends, dampen the hair first, comb in little sections and comb from the top gently

Good picture, terrible combing technique.

Partition hair, dampen if needed, gentle use of wide toothed comb from top to bottom.

Washing the hair is a once every three week occurrence in winter, however I co wash it with a mixture of conditioner (shea moisture coconut and hibiscus conditioner) and the four oils mentioned above weekly, if needed (after the occasional exercise), up to twice in one week. This last point is very important, it took me almost a decade to realise the reason I looked like an extra on Roots was because I washed it daily (whilst texturized). It was so dry and brittle, it never progressed past a dusty looking twa with sharp edges.

Circa 2006-2007. Thank jesus for puberty, good hair care and MAC.

2015, blowdried healthy hair. Don’t be afraid of the heat

2015, bendy rollers and shea butter.

Twist out and Shea butter

My haircare regime is pleasantly simple, it has to be for someone a lazy as me:

Sunday: cowash, twist out/braid out

Monday: enjoy twist/braid out

Tuesday: spritz with water and oil, enjoy twist/braid out

Wednesday: enjoy twist/braid out.

Thursday: enjoy twist/braid out. Re-twist/Re-braid at night especially if going out on Friday

Friday: enjoy twist/braid out

Saturday: spritz with water and oil, enjoy twist/braid out

The twists/braids take about an hour to do, 5 if I’m watching TV.

I don’t have special days where I do deep protein conditioning, banana and egg wash etc. I don’t need them personally but if your hair is in need of more TLC then there is space to schedule that into the regime above. In total my oils and conditioner cost me £25 on Amazon and the oils mixed together are also an effective after shower moisturiser. With daily use of the oils after shower as well as weekly use on hair, they’ve lasted me almost 3 months. It is this regime that has allowed my hair to grow from a twa when I cut it finally in July to shoulder length 12 months later. It truly works, and my skin is baby soft too as an added bonus

Big chop August 2014

April 2015. 8 months growth.

If you need any styling or moisturising advice, feel free to drop me an email or a message below. Also please, check out my #GlowUpChallenge

Ire