The most eye-opening comment I’ve received in 10 months of blogging came this week from Comb & Razor, a Nigerian music blogger.
Regarding Idang Alibi, the ashamed-to-be-black Nigerian newspaper columnist, Comb & Razor wrote:
“i can testify that the point of view he expresses... is far from uncommon amongst Nigerians--and other black Africans, i would guess. ... many people look at you like you’re crazy for even thinking of contesting the idea that white people are more intelligent than blacks.”
Wow. For real?
I can readily imagine one guy like Idang Alibi, who seems to enjoy writing outrageous and shocking things. But now another columnist at the Daily Trust in Abuja, Nigeria – a woman named Zainab Kperogi – has echoed Mr. Alibi’s sentiments.
Here is some of what she wrote:
“Before we get carried away by emotions and become enmeshed in the theory of black pride, we should ponder awhile and do some soul-searching. When we do that objectively and look all around us, we will not disagree too much with [James D.] Watson.”
“[A]lmost every other race in the world has evolved from the animalistic level, but the black man is rather descending further into it. Whenever debates like this crop up... our first and instinctive reactions are misdirected indignation and denial.”
“We often blame slavery and colonialism for our backwardness but we were not the only ones that have so suffered. India was also under British rule but unlike us, they are not only a nuclear power but one of the world’s leaders in Information Technology.”
“There are many factors militating against our development, among which are that we lack depth and perseverance. ... [W]e do not have a maintenance culture and do not mind staying in filthy environments. Most of our workforce is redundant and civil servants most often than not loaf around.”
“Most of us blacks simply do not have the capacity to think very deeply and a people that can’t do this, in addition to planning, strategising and organising, can’t make progress. About 70% of blacks lack these attributes and the few that have them are too engrossed in their individual achievements and cannot be bothered with the common wealth.”
“If we are tired of insults, why don’t we try to prove the White supremacy theory wrong by developing our societies? No one can deny that our African rulers lack focus, vision and strategy and the fact that they are kleptomaniacs. ... How can anybody blame the whites for thinking we’re less intelligent?”
It blows my mind that this is the character of a public discussion in a major newspaper in the capital city of Africa’s most populous nation.
Think about what Bill Cosby is catching hell for saying. Now re-read Zainab Kperogi. “Most of us blacks simply do not have the capacity to think very deeply...”
It’s one thing to want to shake folks up... to demand the best from your people. It’s another to be fully invested in the psychology of black inferiority.
I don’t know how Africans can get past that.
By the way, Idang Alibi, in his Daily Trust column today, revisits the subject of race and intelligence. He promises to continue next week. Also, he has decided to write a book about it!
“I was simply overwhelmed by the torrents of positive responses I got to the first part of this two-part series on Dr James Watson’s comment that the Blacks are less intelligent than the Whites,” Alibi begins. “I received over a hundred phone calls commending me for speaking the mind of the average African man who is genuinely concerned about the way we are.”
This is not the sort of feedback Mr. Alibi expected. “I was waiting for a storm of very angry reactions from pseudo-intellectuals, and ‘patriotic’ black men who are usually very touchy when they think the dignity and pride of the black race have been assaulted.”
He expected to be called “a sell-out or a self-hater.” After all, he says, “[w]e are not a people given to deep introspection.”
Bizarrely, Idang Alibi believes that acknowledging “our inferiority” is the first step toward solving Africa’s problems.
“[E]very revolution begins first in the minds of a people long before the actual revolution comes to take place,” Alibi declares.
“The fact that we who ought to have regarded Watson’s testimony about our inferiority as an insult on the basis of pure emotion are saying that what he is saying is a painful truth gives me confidence that our mindset is changing for good.”
But it’s hard to imagine what such a change of mindset can lead to, given Alibi’s grim assessment of the African throughout history:
“We are not pathfinders of any route to anywhere. We are not pacesetters in anything. We are not discoverers of any hidden truths. We are not inventors of any useful tools. We hardly make insightful statements. Our leaders cannot lead. They cannot follow. They do not learn from recent or past history. ...”
It is a confusing, soul-hurting irony that James D. Watson has resigned his job in disgrace for saying things about Africans that some Africans deeply believe to be true.