Stereotypes and generalisations are things that we must constantly watch ourselves for. I was on the Metro in Barcelona at night recently and remember feeling out of place being the only black person on the platform. I could see a few of the people there were watching me closely and perhaps cautiously.
The strange thing was that when another black person appeared on the platform, I too felt unsafe and caught myself thinking, ”I hope he doesn’t come near me”! I felt the same way about a fellow black person as those people I was thinking were ignorant and misguided! I felt ashamed.
Last week I posted a photo of an wooden multi-plug adaptor made by someone on the streets in Zambia and commented on how I loved the idea. Some people liked it but a good proportion were sceptical. As I pointed out, the product was not perfect and could probably use some improvements, such as giving it a fire-proof coating. I got to thinking ”would this have been better received had I said it was made in the United States”? I can’t help thinking that it would have been better received.
All in all, it’s food for thought. Are we as black people generally also to blame for our relative lack of progress when it comes to innovation and groundbreaking ideas and innovation? How receptive and supportive are we of one another?
I think we must guard ourselves and always watch out for such prejudices.
We must begin to think ”African” is good enough and ”African” can be best.