“To work with love… is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.” — Kabil Gibran, The Prophet
Remember those six weeks I was mining for constructive feedback, to increase the value of your time reading my articles? One of the gems I found, advised that I should include other developing regions, in my articles, since Africa is not the only continent that benefits from the implementation of the SDGs. Southeast Asia, South America, and the Middle East nations also benefit from Impact Investments spurred by the SDGs.
The only way I reckon that I could profit from this gem was to learn to see the world from the eyes of those who live in these other developing regions. And, lucky me, when I got the gem coincided with my when the exchange of pleasantries with one of my Asian neighbors was transcending a ‘hi-and-bye’.
It was during our first long chats, she shared with me her desire to own or read a bible, which I promised to gift her one. She added the condition that she will only receive my gift if I agree to receive the Bhagavad Gita too. Fast-forward to today, she’s gifted me the Bhagavad Gita, but she topped it up with Deepak Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws of Success Pocketbook — my luck in making friends with magnanimous people.
Since then, I have come to appreciate the minute cultural nuances between Asians and Africans. But, as a prisoner of my curiosity, and with my Sherlock Holmes tendency to expand my reality beyond what is being reported in the news and viral on social media, I dared to ask her, what Asians think of Africans. Without mincing words, she introduced to the concept of the ‘Yellow Privilege.’
What You Will Gain from reading to the End
This article is the last of this series title, so, kindly pardon its length. As promised in its first part, it will entail my version of Martin, Luther Kings’ dream. But, to get there requires that I discuss the following:
1. Other drivers of the systemic global inequality.
2. Africa’s contribution to systemic global inequality.
3. A Model to make sense of Systemic Inequality.
4. My summary of my version of Martin, Luther Kings’ Dream
5. Acknowledgments to all who made this possible.
Now let’s dive right in.
Drivers of the Systemic Global Inequality №1
To understand the concept of ‘yellow privilege’ better, I had to put on my research cap. While Peggy McIntosh’s paper, White Privilege, is the first of its kind. Stephen Chang’s paper on Yellow Privilege gives a broader and richer perspective on the concept. He, explains that Yellow Privilege is the set of advantages that East Asians benefit from, where these advantages are not earned, but a product of geography and space. The key takeaway for me, from his paper, is the advantage of representation — the scope of this article does not allow me to explore the importance of representation further. But I am sure the recent hire of Jason Wright, by the NFL team, Washington, will give you an idea of the merits and importance of representation.
Allow me to add that the beneficiaries of Yellow Privilege, only have a half-full knapsack of advantages, and will like it to be a full knapsack of advantages just like that of the White Privilege knapsack.
If you wonder how the title of this article relates to Asians, is the #BLM movement not only carried out in Europe and the US? You wonder is not misplaced. From recent news and facts, it is not just in the US and Europe that African-descents and Africans experience systemic inequality. A shred of evidence is the BBC short clip below.https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2FfAHWSbBYsRM%3Ffeature%3Doembed&display_name=YouTube&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DfAHWSbBYsRM&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FfAHWSbBYsRM%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=a19fcc184b9711e1b4764040d3dc5c07&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtube
Okay, your skeptical mind asks: Why was this video feature by BBC during the #BLM movement? Is it not a clickbait move? While I cannot pretend to have all the answers to your questions. I hope the video below will rest your skepticism. Because it was viral before George Floyd’s fame, which shows the Nigerian Consular, in China, asking a Chinese official, why Nigerians are treated unjustly?https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2F06W8FdHsNNE%3Ffeature%3Doembed&display_name=YouTube&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D06W8FdHsNNE&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2F06W8FdHsNNE%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=a19fcc184b9711e1b4764040d3dc5c07&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtube
The videos are not a means to point fingers at other nations or people who practice discrimination. The videos are to show that Africans and African Descents, don’t experience inequality in the US or Europe, but also in South America, Asia, and the Middle East.
This brings me to my point that as long as there are groups, proud of a half-full knapsack of privileges and a quarter-full knapsack of privileges. Social equality for all promise of the SDGs will continue to remain a figment of imagination, rather than a reality. Because, I believe the desire of any group to have a knapsack of privileges, than others, will continue to fuel the systemic global inequality, that made George Floyd famous.
“Fēng yǔ tóng zhōu | In the same boat in a storm” — Chinese Proverb
Africa’s contribution to the systemic global inequality
From the feedback discussed in my last article, one of the conclusions is that there is a disconnect between how Africans view other African-descents, not in Africa. I have it from a renowned reliable source that the day after George Floyd made global headlines, somewhere in South Africa, an African was disfranchised of life by another African.
To my second point, it is an open secret the reason why everyone that looks like George Floyd, suffers one form of injustice or another. Yet, it remains a mystery why there is a disconnect among Africans in Africa, and African-descents outside Africa.
“When the whole town is poor in their minds and the slavery we chose we deny. This foundation, it won’t survive” — Brymo
Ghana has taken the first step to bridge this disconnect with its the ‘ Year of Return ‘ initiative. I look forward to the day that African-descents will visit Africa without requiring visas. Because, I am a subscriber to the point of view that a major solution to end the systemic inequality, requires bridging this disconnect.
If you are like me, even if you cannot understand the ‘why’, you will still want to make sense, of the landscape of systemic inequality. For me, I see the disconnect as the development of an awareness issue.
What do I mean?
A Model to Make Sense of Systemic Inequality
The only model, to help me clarify what I mean by the development of awareness issue, is Fredrich Nietzsche’s Stages of Life, in his Thus Spake Zarathrustra. Dear reader, please do not read further, till you watch the 6 minutes video below, otherwise, the next paragraphs will be extremely philosophical.https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2FHb_4oQ0fXlw%3Ffeature%3Doembed&display_name=YouTube&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DHb_4oQ0fXlw&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FHb_4oQ0fXlw%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=a19fcc184b9711e1b4764040d3dc5c07&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtube
With the above illustration, I believe that for every great nation or people that are recorded in modern history, had to go through these stages, before they could experience a wide sense of unity and equality. That is from being a camel, lion, and child, and that these stages are not inherent to individuals alone, but nations and communities as well. And, for every new phase or level of awareness reached or surpassed, this journey is repeated. The US is just one of many nations that can be used as a proof of concept, to my meaning.
From the image above, we can see two major phases of the history of the US, and below are the development of awareness stages I believe the US had to go through:
1. The Camel: this stage of awareness of the US ended at the tea party. Because here ended the submission to the British Rule.
2. The Lion: this awareness of the US ended with the Declaration of 1776. Because this ended the era of following the British rule of law.
3. The Child: this awareness began with the Civil War, the Union Vs The Confederacy because this is when a new nation with a new ideology of freedom was created, which gave birth to the creation of the 40 acres and a mule plan.
African Americans Journey
While for the African Americans, I will say the stage of the development of their awareness, is different:
1. The Camel: for African Americans, I believe this stage of awareness ended with the Civil War. Because this causes African Americans to start questioning several of the segregation laws.
2. The Lion: this began in the era of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jnr., while Obama’s presidency, began the end of this era
3. The Child: I believe the #BLM movement is presently birthing this era. Because, for the first time, business leaders and global leaders alike are, coming up with several solutions to eliminate the social injustice towards African Americans.
Now, let’s apply the same stages to the development of awareness, to the African continent.
1. The Camel: Some countries can be said to be in the middle of their camel journey, while some are at the end of their camel journey, to name a few, Rwanda, Nigeria, and Ghana, as these are countries with their citizens and governments starting to redefine their global identity.
2. The Lion: for me, I wouldn’t consider any African country in this awareness phase yet, but I can understand if some argue that the 3 mentioned countries, in №1 are entering this stage of awareness.
3. The Child: presently, most African countries’ legal systems are yet to be recreated to be redesigned to fit the African context — most legal systems are still a copy and paste of the colonial era.
Make no error, the above paragraphs are not me comparing, The US a country to a continent, Africa. So, for you to see with my lens, It will be helpful for you to conduct your research. Also, when I talk about African countries, North African countries are not included, for this reason.
Summary of My Version of Martin Luther King Jnr’s Dream
Over 5 decades ago, nations in Africa were freed from the shadow of the colonial era. This freedom came with the cost of these nations not redefining their identities, pre the colonial era, since then, all African Descents, in whatever continent they were, have faced several forms of identity crisis and denial.
And, 50 years later, all African nations are still classified as developing nations. 50 years later, Africans and African-descents, continue to experience the disadvantages of discrimination and social injustice. 50 years later, Africans everywhere continue to be treated as a minority, yet resources from the African continent continue to oil the global economic machine. 50 years later, Africans in their pursuit of happiness strive to migrate to other continents, are captured and enslaved, and they find themselves forced to adopt new cultures and identities wherever they go, to experience this basic human right. And so I write and post this article against this unequal conditions.
I have a dream that one day Africa will rise and define and redefine its destiny as it sees fit without waiting for approval of other continents.
I have a dream that one day the sons of Africans presently in Africa, and the sons of African descents outside of Africa, will not pay lip service to ‘my brother from another mother’ but enjoy and share the benefits of true and pure brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day the North African nations, will not be Africans just by geographic location, but will treat sub-Saharan Africans like they treat their kin.
I have a dream that one day my unborn children will not have to work over three times harder than those, who come from places that cause their skin colors to be of a lighter shade, before they are rewarded and recognized for their efforts, regardless of the continent they desire to reside.
And when this happens, and when we allow justice and equality to ring, when we let them ring from every capital city and every town, from every nation and every continent, we will be able to accelerate the benefits of the SDGs promise, to all men, Aboriginal and American, African and European, Arabian and Asian, will be able to join hands and sing the words of Michael Jacksons, Black or White:
“But if you’re thinking about being my baby, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white”
To you that keep yourself adaptable for my 11th-hour draft review, my ‘thank you’, is insufficient to express my gratitude to you.
And, to you that inform me that these articles go beyond me, you should be added to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs.
While to you that read and take the time, to share with me your perspective, and impressions my writing has on you, you’re my fuel.
While this series title has been, a test of my willingness to be open, I look forward to what my muse, will come up in two weeks, till then I remain radically open-minded to your comments and perspective, to any improvement you might have to my documented thoughts.
By the way, in my article, Climate Change vs SDGs awareness, I left a link for you to test your Climate Change and SDGs awareness, here’s the direct link to the form. I will appreciate your input in the form. Thanks in advance.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.