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Inequalityville: "Go back to Africa!" Maybe I should.

A Black family
Back to Africa

Living in the diaspora comes with many challenges. Some days it’s the usual uphill task of earning your keep while starting at a deficit. On other days, you encounter a random person who seems to think that they are superior to you and bold enough to say, “Stay in your place” or “Go back to Africa.” Well, if what I have to offer is not enough for you to realize that I’m more than what I do, maybe I should go back.

It hasn’t been lost on me that some of the mental health challenges I have today are on account of how racist the communities I’ve lived in are out here. If I’m not experiencing it right now, I’m almost certain that my black brother, sister, son or daughter are bound to. But why put ourselves through this when we can get on a plane and go back home? Well, in the words of my fellow country folks, “kusiri kufa ndekupi?” loosely translated, “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” 

Damned if you do...

I was robbed of the joy that was home with family and friends because those that came to Africa to take left their colonial doctrines and abusive tactics, never to return and effect healing and reconciliation. Somehow, at the crossroads of hurt, the abused (my people) chose to become abusers to their very own, and now here we are.  Where governance is concerned, democracy doesn’t exist anymore. By democracy, I mean a system of government in which state power is vested in a state’s people or the general population. I’m starting to learn that democracy is becoming hard to find, if it ever existed, no matter where I am on Earth. While the concept, in theory, looks good, the original intent is starting to fade away for various reasons. Some are trying to wrestle it up to stand as more than an ideal, but this is quickly perverted by the trends of today.  

...damned if I don’t

That’s the sad truth about my life, no matter how I look at it.  Some back home would argue, well, at least you have running water and electricity. Absolutely, and I don’t take it for granted. But I would argue that I don’t have you out here. I don’t have the warm embrace of friends and family who look like me, think like me, and love like me. I don’t have the privilege of being able to enjoy that warm African sun on my body as I walk over to my neighbours house for an authentic experience of African hospitality. I don’t have the freedom to walk around the yard and pick fresh and organic fruits and vegetables to eat. What I have is a deeply inauthentic community that smiles at me but is ready to take advantage of me because I’m looking for a means to survive.  Survival out here is different, and I am catching on fast that your social class determines the possibilities that much more. Chasing after an income to keep the water running or the lights on comes at the cost of the relationships that matter most for mental wellness. Being black doesn’t help either. Race is accompanied by social rank, and somehow, when there are attempts to correct the injustices and inequities, there’s usually a new category that’s attached to tip the scales away from the fact that a black person cannot change their skin.

So what now?

Resilience has always been my portion. No matter how I look at it, I am willing to fight for what’s right, notwithstanding the inequalities I face daily. I look for those who have similar beliefs and rally behind them to serve our common goal. I endure the abuse with the hope of a semblance of change that will help my children and bloodline long after I am gone. It does not serve them if I continue to accept the status quo. Though challenging I’ve come to learn that when I hurt I can be assured that someone like me hurts too but on the other hand when I succeed someone else like me succeeds too. So for those who say “stay in your place” I absolutely will, but best believe my place is not anywhere or anything you can set your boundaries, IT’S MY PLACE. So I retort “You Stay In Your Place.” For those who say “Go Back to Africa,” well  I am Africa because it runs in my veins and my journey will not be limited by your limited way of thinking. So thank you for reminding me that I am Africa and Africa is me. 


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