Am I the only one who feels caged sometimes? There are some days when everything I read a watch just makes me feel lost. This is about being an Sierra Leonean/African/black woman living in the West.
Today is one of them, I have had a lot of time to read through all sorts of items on the internet due to not feeling well. Everything just seems futile when I start to think about how the world is shaped – Let’s take them one at a time –
Education – The main bulk of education is a Western way. All of our qualifications, the way we are perceived in employment and the ways we perceive each other are mostly set by the West. It is so commonplace that we do not even recgnise that our MBAs, PHDs, Masters, models we use to solve our problems are all Western. On a personal note I suddenly thought we as a family fought hard to get my daughter into her school,consistently one of the top schools in the country in leagues tables (which is another whole conversation) only tohave her not experience one black person as a teacher. She comes home all the time full of conversations she has had with the dinner lady,the cleaner and the security guard (whom our family know by name as he is so proud of seeing her there) I do not need to tell you what colour they are. There are 5/6 black girls out of 110in a year. There are not many British white girls either. Mainly girls of Asian (all of Asia) and Jewish desent. The mix of girls not the issue nor am I condemning any hiring patterns of the school. I just felt sad today and wondered what it was like to never be taught by someone who is similar to you in colour. She did not have that in primary school either. Yet I have never met a now 15 year old(last week) who is so confident about her colour than her!
The most ‘ ‘in the world – The best of those are Western. The most of beutiful, the fastest, the most known etc in the world is a Western idea as well. I am not saying we do not have blacks in these categories just the judging is around Western ideals.
Investment – I am sure other groups find it easier gain investment from each other than Africans from each other. I had a thought last night that if all African adults in UK put £1 in a fund every month and at the end of each year a panel decided businesses in the UK run by Africans to support I may be laughed at! It would be £12 per individual but it would help us as Africans build a base to be able to invest back into Africa eventually. Two weeks ago, a person very dear to me said during a US visit – ‘Bill Gates would not be a philanthropist if he lived in the projects’. Too right.
Entertainment, – Yes we are represented by skin colour but I am sure we are not paid the same. I know there are a few examples of huge success but I always say if you can name the examples it is not happening enough!
Media- Run by the West. No more can be said.
World Prizes -like Nobel peace prize,TED prize
Lastly, the way Africa is perceived and who is listened to (like Bono) is all within Western rules. We cannot ignore the fact that likes of Bono and Bob Geldof have raised a lot of money. This was because the Westerner was open to listen to them as they spoke same languauge. Just the same sort of language in business etc. We need our own! We talk a lot but we are not developing meaningful language to make us a force to be reckoned with. Two men sang some lyrices years back, they sold a few million and then they became key voices for Africa. We complain about them but we cannot escape the fact that a acheive moreair time than most of us can. Come on we can do better than that, can we not?
The list is endless. The only positive thing to my day today is that I do not have many of them and I anticipate another one in about a year, or else I would not do anything but worry.
Someone please make my day by giving one thing in everyday use or measure of success that we Africans have that is not led by Western ideals. Again, I am not saying they are wrong I am just saying it depresses me once in a while.