LIES THEY TOLD US
WRITTEN BY RACHEAL TORTY
Stereotypes, somehow they rule the way we think, feel and see the world.
Nigeria is a land of diversity; boasting of over 500 native languages and 250-300 ethnic groups, each one unique with their own local delicacies and way of life; from the Yoruba in the west, the Igbo in the East, the Southerners and to the Hausas in the North and everyone in between.
As children, we were somehow indoctrinated into our society’s ideologies; perceptions about other people of other ethnicities were drummed into our minds. As we grew, most of them seemed to grow and mature with us.
One of the most common ones is stereotypes. We seem to have inherited a stereotypical view of the world from the society particularly tribal stereotypes. We have attached certain attributes negative and what not to certain ethnic or rather tribes. The most horrible part is generalizing whatever stereotype we have about that tribe to everyone from that tribe. What might have been the ‘sin’ of one is taken as the ‘attitude’ of many.
We live in a country where once you mention your ethnicity, a list of assumed behavioral traits are drawn up about you — most of which are probably not true. It also seems as though you are not even given a chance to be seen for who you are before conclusions about your supposed personality type is drawn.
An Igbo man is thought to be business oriented, love money and pursue it at any cost—including his own life. The typical Yoruba family is expected to love parties and all things “Owambe” even at the cost of borrowing to fund it. Hausa people, well, Hausa people are known to be illiterate Jihadists and herdsmen, Urhobo men are said to be lazy, Ijebu people very stingy, we could go on and on.
It has resulted in difficulty in navigating inter-tribal marriages and friendships. Children are told from a very young age that marrying from any ethnic groups that is in the black book of the family is tantamount to being disowned. Parents and relatives seek to protect their children from the “evils” of other ethnicities by refusing to allow inter-tribal marriages.
It has influenced how we see each other, coming to conclusions about people without getting to know them, so when people act in a certain way, we simply attribute it to their ethnicity whether negative or positive. We must not forget that we are who we are; not simply defined by our ethnicity. People acquire knowledge and learn from experiences, in turn, sometimes act based on that.
Are these stereotypes baseless? Is there any atom of truth in them?
There are facts we cannot deny, of course, most Yoruba communities love parties and lavish celebrations, many Igbo men are business oriented but Hausas aren’t exactly illiterates, Jihadists or herdsmen.
Yet, the entire problem borders on generalizations. There are Yoruba people who do not enjoy throwing parties or lavish celebrations, many Igbo men are not business savvy and many Urhobo men are not lazy. They are not black sheep, they are themselves.
In order to embrace our diversities better, we must throw preconceived notions out through the window. The need to unlearn many ideologies grows stronger every day. Whatever tribe they are, remove that preconceived notion and get to know them.
The ways of one should not dictate the life of all.
WRITTEN BY RACHEAL TORTY
Racheal Torty is a Christian, pharmacist, blogger, graphics designer and creative writer. When she is not looking up drug information or writing poetry, she enjoys reading fiction enough to start her own book reviews blog https://rachealtorty.home.blog/ and also pursue lifestyle blogging at walkdword.wordpress.com.
You can contact her at +2348132264514 or [email protected] or follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn: @rachealtorty.
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