By Kilemi Mwiria
In the last week, the social media has been awash with condemnation of comments made by Northern Ireland’s Health Minister, Mr Edwin Poots, who warned against blood donations by Africans and Europeans who may have had sex with prostitutes. Then there is the infamous Korean airlines advertisement referring to Africans as full of “primitive energy”.
At the ongoing European football championships black players are constantly subjected to racist insults. Recently, Spain’s Prime Minister, Mario Rajoy, while discussing his country’s economic situation derogatorily said his country is no Uganda; while an Arizona radio presenter, Barbara Espinosa called Barrack Obama America’s first monkey president.
Why do Africans continue to be the most despised race, years after the banning of slavery and with world bodies constantly preaching against racist abuse of black or white?
First, we should acknowledge that much political racism is driven by sheer ignorance. I doubt that Mr Edwin Poots, Ms Mario Rajoy or Ms Barbara Espinosa have benefitted from the slightest education on Africa, leave alone setting foot on the continent.
Most of their knowledge on Africa is derived from movies and racial gossip by isolated ignorant elite for whom we are a bunch of beggars always looking for the opportunity to emigrate to the West.
Mr Poot’s ignorance cannot be in doubt. He does not seem to know that blood has to be screened before it is donated or that the riskiest of donors are Western tourists who have more interaction with prostitutes and gays than the average African. And how will Poots identity Irishmen who have had sex with Africans?
Unfortunately, the likes of Poots are proved right by some of the ugly things that happen in Africa. And some Koreans may be persuaded to believe that there is too much primitive energy around after reading of Maasai villagers cruelly butchering defenseless lions, or bloody tribal clashes over election disputes and natural resources. Africa is also the last continent to maximise on the gains that have come with technology.
We are the most manual continent. We also lead in HIV incidence and prove this every day as we complain that the aid we receive from the West is inadequate to fight the disease, as if it is a priority for them. In any case, what Poots said is what has been law in all of Europe with regard to not accepting blood donations from individuals who have not lived in Europe for over a year. The problem was the crudeness with which he said it.
As much as we must not tolerate racial abuse, we need to do more to make it less common. If our governments were less condescending to Western powers, the West would be more respectful.
If we built strong economies and restrain from banking stolen loot in Jersey and Switzerland, we would deserve the respect that China is enjoying from countries such as America that previously had no room for communism and will have less reason to beg or emigrate to the West.
If we respect ourselves more by shunning violence against our fellow Africans, there will be less talk on our assumed primitivity by countries such as South Korea that only recently were no better than us. This is the ultimate solution – not emotional defensive posturing.
- Salva Kiir sacks top South Sudan officials
- Lawyer wants Chinedu to appear in court
- Maji marefu’s futile effort to find stolen property
- Can chickens really be cleverer than a toddler? Studies suggest animals can master numeracy and basic engineering
- Freedom of media under threat in Eastern Africa
- Rapid desertification in Kenya threatening livelihood