Trending recently is the nauseating video clips showing helpless black men in the cold/rainy streets of China having been dragged out of the hotel space they paid for and a house they have legitimately occupied for years. The clip showed pictures of men with their families in toe, looking confused and fearful as the Communist police brandishing lethal weapons threaten their very existence. Maybe they could have just packed up their bags and hop on the next plane home rather than face such inhumanity, except the whole world is under a total lockdown. A lockdown we all know was brought upon us by a virus not discovered in Lagos, Nigeria but in Wuhan, China.
Just to be clear, they weren’t caught attempting to bomb Beijing or even trying to befriend an oriental damsel which as a black man I understand is a crime of some sorts in China. The only sin committed here was nothing other than being black which by implication mearnt they must be the reason why Covid-19 is wrecking China and the entire world. Black equals evil, remember! And so you know, every one of these folks already went through the standard 14-days quarantine and did whatever they were asked to do by the Chinese authorities.
That makes a lot of sense right? Well.. If it doesn’t, that’s probably because you are not black and so never had the ”luxury” of enjoying the black experience first hand. I have no doubt that some here in America may have heard about it. May be in one of those noisy Black Lives Matters’s rally. For those who don’t know, if you are black, you are automatically a criminal in the eyes of the world. The burden to disprove lies on the individual black person. It doesn’t even matter how successful or distinguished you are, as long as you are black, your experience will be same. Unless you are a Barack Obama and even Obama travelling in a private capacity, would still need to have his name tatooed on his forehead to escape the humiliation. That’s the everyday life of about 850 million human beings that call this planet home.
We have been told in the past that blacks would have no issues only if we could just tone it down, keep a low profile, don’t say a word and carefully avoid the prying eyes of the police. That turns out to be a big lie. The rules change each time leaving us more confused and feeling seriously endangered.
It’s true China is in the news today, but it could easily have been London, Paris, India, America or even in the streets of Manila, Phillipines. Whereas it’s more subtle in Europe and America, the experience is nonetheless similar. We use to blame many young black men here in America for being responsible for their own demise, till we kept seeing videos upon videos of non-threatening black men being shot and killed for flimsy reasons or no reason at all other than the sin of their race.
You know, I get it that the world is paranoid about blacks. First, we have certain physical features some may not consider particularly appealing. The blackman is the face of poverty, he is physically threatening and don’t seem to get anything right. He is also the one that is likely to die should the world face a pandemic. I get it that there must be something fundamentally wrong about the black genome.
The only small problem with that myth is that blacks have excelled just like any other race if the playing field is levelled up. In fact sometimes we have done even better. Many blacks hold patents on disruptive technologies and are behind ground breaking invention, though you may never get to know this. Many work behind the scene and are just happy and feel privileged to be given such a chance. I know a lot of top NASA scientists who are Nigerians. You have also a whole tribe of successful African-Americans who have written their names boldly in science, technology and business barely coming out from the Jim Crow years.
We have all shuddered at the sight of those hungry faces and charred bodies as they made the fatal Odyssey across the desert. We are now used to the news flash of sinking migrant boats as they make the desperate trip across the Mediterranean. There must be something wrong to flee a land flowing in oil, rich in gold and solid minerals. Do the world care to know that those precious metals and black gold built most of the legendary iconic towers of London and New York. And that while those were happening, Mother Africa bled dry and her sons and daughter wallow in abject poverty.
Now, If you are black, please don’t just get emotional over this and play the victim. Yes, we are victimised but no one cares to know about that. Truth is that we play a huge role in the fate that befell us. I say that because while China is driving the very few of us living in their land, African heads of state are busy rolling out the red carpet for millions of them threatening to take over our continent. My friend once called it the Chinese invasion of Africa and I couldn’t agree more. I had written copiously about this issue in my previous essays. While victory seems far-fetched, all hope is not lost. After all a black man is an incurable optimist by nature. That’s why we see an African mum living in a shack but still smiling and remains thankful for the gift of life. In this 21st century, we still have the power to redefine our destiny. The best way to predict a good future they said, is to create one.
Here is a special appeal I believe blacks should make to the world. World leaders should congregate and for once draw up a code of conduct for us. We should be told where we are allowed to go, what we can say and who should be allowed to visit us. They should also not hesitate to tell us when they are finally fed up and would rather have us exit this planet. I know for a fact that many of us living outside would rather make our ancestral land our final resting place than for it to happen in a foreign soil. They never wanted us in the first place anyway . Everyone deserves the honour of a last wish. We are hoping that too is not asking too much.
•Dr. Agbo is the President /CEO of the Houston based African Center for Transparency