This statement is self-explanatory.
In a world, where racism is not even hidden, one must understand the true meaning of racism. We have various kinds, institutional, work-related, and systemic, but at the end of the day, Racism is RACISM.
If you don’t understand this up until today, you have a problem.
Prime example, I want to use my family as a perfect example. Here is a picture taken of my family with my extended family irregardless of race: my aunt Donna and uncle Harry Light.
In this picture to your far right, you see White people. These are my dad’s parents in the United States. When he finally made the decision to leave his family in Umuabali to pursue education in the states at West Virginia University in Morgantown, these people were his host family. My dad called uncle Harry dad. He partied maybe like a white fraternity brother because his older brothers, the Light’s were in fact white and they shielded and protected him like he was their own despite being the token black child. Even protected better than some of his half-siblings and immediate. In fact, I called these two grandpa and grandma before even knowing my biological grandmother and grasping the concept of what a Grandma was, since she was the only one surviving.
Do you see my uncle Harry’s outfit even. He’s not wearing a European shirt 👔, he chooses to wear to this event a custom african top my dad got him.
For my father to INSTRUCT and tell us to identify with Aunt Donna as grandma because we had easy access to her first despite my biological grandmother being alive and surviving at the time and was at high risk via other family members speaks VOLUMES. He didn’t instruct us to identify aunt Donna as grandma out of disrespect of his mother, but in order for us to have some type of grandparent to grandchild relationship, the Lights took him in as his own and the chances to meet our biological paternal grandmother, only grandparent surviving since my birth were very slim. And he was CORRECT. My grandmother Florence passed on 2004, 2 years before we finally made our first trip to Nigeria, while both aunt Donna and uncle Harry to my knowledge are surviving.
I was even heartbroken this year when I tempted to call uncle harry for Father’s Day. To my knowledge, both are still surviving. I don’t call every year when it slips my mind, but when I remember to call, I REMEMBER. This Father’s Day it is always tradition just like any other holiday, to call all relatives that I choose to speak to on the respective holiday. This year I remembered and attempted to call to find out the call had been disconnected, due to no longer in service. My heart ♥️ instantly stopped. I PANICKED thinking something was not well with uncle Harry. My mother then confirmed to me that both are now in a nursing home. I PRAY that all is well with them. 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
All this to say, do you think my grandpa was happy to send the chosen child, 1000s of miles away to be hosted by a white family that may have had racial ties in their family lineage? The answer is probably NO. Do you know we still keep in touch with this family and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to this day? That’s what you call love. They took my father in, and treated him no less than their own village of children. That’s LOVE. They even maintained traditions that my dad taught them as in giving money in terms of rank of children, giving gifts every holiday and birthday in significance of age, etc.
I’m forever indebted to this family. FOREVER my family.
And here go my paternal grandparents. If you want to talk about the issue of colorism, you can’t really tell from this picture since its sepia tone, but my grandfather was as light as day and my grandma was as dark as night. So for you to come to the conclusion that racism is instinct, it’s not, it’s TAUGHT.
So next time you come to the idea that racism is instinctual, let me remind you, IT’s NOT. IT’s TAUGHT.-Evalina C. Ikpoh, Founder, ‘Transparency is Beautiful’