Sunday, 2 November 2008

The Snobbish Attitude of Most Nigerians

Now I'm not about to point fingers because I'm guilty of it to some extent but if I'm frank those were back in the day of limited knowledge. The days where I valued the 'foreign' stuff over homegrown or the expensive material things over the things that offered real value for money. Now I know better that showing class or sophistication does not have to include looking down on people or saying 'I am better than you'.

What informed this post? Well I had gone to see a friend of mine whom I only met just over a month ago. From the little I know of him, I gathered he was one of those people who had a semi priviledged background. He grew up in the Ikoyi/VI area of Lagos, went to Kings College and had a car even before he went to university. Someone whose parents were so liberal to the point that they would drink together and even allowed him to host wild parties in fully air-conditioned room with cigarette smoke dancing around the room.  Till today he still carries on with that sort of life and his conversations mostly surround video games, girls and parties. 

Let me give in a little background to this. In London most Nigerians live in the South East like Peckham, Thamesmead etc and in the East like Barking which are mostly area for working class people and immigrants. Most of the Nigerian clubs are also concentrated in the SE and East of London so you find a lot of Nigerians within these neighbourhood have a lot in common. Sometimes people in their bid to appear 'different' will go to the 'city' to party and mingle because this is where you mostly find white middle class people. If you go to city clubs you will feel like you really are in London because the crowd and music is different. When some Nigerians go to places like that to party they come back to boast to their peers about how they partied with 'cream girls' and city boys.

Such was the scene at my friends place on Saturday. He and his friend went on about how they went to a club in the city called Ink and the crowd was so much better that they have decided not attend 'gongo aso' clubs anymore. Gongo aso meaning clubs with heavy Nigerian presence and Nigerian music. They ranted on about how they do not feel like they are in London and cant even speak 'phone' like a real london guy anymore because they keep mixing with all these people who were fortunate enough to get a visa to London but cant speak good English. It was blatant that they brought that classism from Lagos where peeps from Ikoyi believe that they are better than those who live in Oshodi. They washed down London girls saying they are loud and money grabbing but one of them is married to a Nigerian woman. They gave examples of their friends who would not even speak to a Nigerian person because they do not want their 'razzness' to rub off on them and berated Nigerians for speaking their language too often.

I looked on in horror as these two people exhibited a lack of respect for anything Nigerian. I was so gob-smacked that I didn't even know what to say to them but in my mind I was thinking how pathetic they were. I admit that some Nigerian people put their fellow Nigerians to shame with their unpolished attitude especially in public transport. Some of them shout at the top of their voice when speaking to each other or on the telephone. In fact just last Tursday I listened on as one Yoruba dude gave a vivid description of how he slept with his girlfriend that he hadn't seen for a while and how thick his sperm was blabla and I thought this is gross. However I don't think this problem is isolated to the Nigerian community only. I see a lot of East Europeans who get on the bus and chatter on in their language and some British folks who just go on and on.

However what my two friends are forgetting is that the white man's way of life is not better than ours. While they clearly do some things better than us, it does not mean our culture and way of life pales in comparison to theirs. It is good to enjoy and appreciate a little bit of everything as this leads to a healthy balance in life. I believe what people should aim for is to be able to hold their own in any situation. If you want to party in 'chinawhite' with footballers and reality TV stars, well do so and not put down 'carbon' where Naeto c may just show up if he's in town. If you wish to wear a Georgio Armani suit, do so and not put down my 'ankara'. If you wish to speak in your British accent, please do so and not put down my own accent because frankly I ain't Bri'ish.  There are more to people than meet the eye and no one human being is above the other even if our social status may suggest so. We are all going to die and be buried and our soul will leave our bodies. People should learn to feed their soul and their minds and not just their bodies. Karl Marx was known for capitalism, Newton for gravity, Freud for psychoanalysis and Mother Teresa for her humanitarian work, what will you be known for when you finally depart this earth?

35 comments:

miz-cynic said...

1sssssssssssssstttttttt.well i'd rather be known as mother theresa if i can change some of my bad ways tht is. asper wht u said , just yesterday, we went for a show,....some small girl was feeling like she had more right to be thr than us and luking down our nose at us and i was like wtf.u will soon get thr stupid girl.

Confessions of a London gal said...

Damn!!Would i EVER be first in my life! But at least i am SECOND which is better than my usual 10th or something!
This attitude is something every Nigerian one way or d oda is guilty of u know, but i find it VERY annoying when i hear Nigerian guys cursing out Nigerian girls that live in London. Going on all about how they like money and stuff- let them go and try girls from other country- they always come crawling back...If it is not Panadol, it cant be like Panadol!

FFF said...

dis attitude is not reserved 4 nigerians, i must say. & i hate such in everyone, no matter d national. of course, growing up we felt we needed 2 b rich enough 2 feel worthy, den wen u finally get dat money dat u never knew u would, u feel like 'hey, now everyone needs2 know dat levels have changed.' but really, look at it dis every way. nearly 100% of d pple in dis world have someone richer dan them, so really y rub ur 'success' on someone's face, wen u could b receiving d same d very next minute.

Tina said...

Leave them. People like that probably know they are bush deep down but they put on that front to tame it. They don't want the Oyinbos to know their true side. Sorry to say this but Nigerians do show off, some show off to the point where they think they can buy something from H&M and be full of rage when someone else buys it. There's a way of showing you are sure of yourself without it translating into snobbery.

There is nothing such as London girls, we are all different. They just seem to come across the uncouth gold diggers. A real woman doesn't want your money, she just wants to know you have money so you are not a burden on her. After she has worked for her money why should one OLODO Major come and enjoy it? There's nothing wrong with sharing so long as everyone gives and takes accordingly.

naijalines said...

Parakeet you've come up trumps again. I loooove this post. Had to be said jare. And I ain't Bri-ish either. Maybe I'm sort of in between mentally but tiwa n' tiwa jare. I dey even rub am on dem oyinbos nose sef if they try me o.

I'm proud of my naija identity when I'm with britons. And when I'm with naijas who put down everything britiko, I find myself going the other way sometimes. Like you said both cultures have something to offer. That's what I tell Ore too.

ShonaVixen said...

4th!!!@least i made top 5!!well, i have been the outsider looking in when I've heard Nigerian guys talk like that about each other and well to me it really doesnt make no difference, yes there are some who are more razz, eg De Den peeps..lol..but still there's no point in looking down on them!!Seductive Saturdays or China White, its who you are, really are, the person who lies down on that pillow and has conversations with self...not who you want people to think you are!!I want to leave a mark & its how diverse i can, how i appreciate different cultures and the way they choose to live...its all about self-contentment

H2O-works said...

oh yes...she is back....this really needs to be put out there, I can't comment right now cos I have an overflow of work to be done, and u know how I like to talk about such issues...I'll be back to give my opinions laters...good to have u back...

bumight said...

my dear its not limited to London alone. I began to have a greater sense of respect and belonging for everything Nigerian when I left home.
I feel equally disgusted when pple say if you speak ur language here, you're razz.

I feel more at home at Nigerian parties and get bored easily at the typical club party. TO each his own!

Naija Idol said...

On point!!!!!! They shud do watevr they want without putting th other down. really loved this post.

Parakeet said...

@Miz-cynic...I know what you mean. Some people really need to be thought a lesson.
@London gal...lol at not being first, take heart. Yes o...the yeye guys end up with Nigerian women after all.
@FFF...that's so true. Social class and wealth is hyrachical after all.
@Tina...hahaha you make me laff but its so true. Who needs a burden eh?
@Naijaline...thanks me dear. Am humbled o and its Nija for life.
@Shona...lol @ De Den peeps, what's that?
@H2o...my favorite person, its good to be back o. Looking forward to reading your comment.
@Bumight...so they do that in Yankee too. Na wa for us Nigerians o.
@Naija Idol...everyone to their own abi? Thanks love.

Funms said...

ur so right gurl....... ive been a lil' guilty too but not as bad as these ur new friend. Whenever im in london, all these europeans and asians speak their languages like no man's biz and sometimes r worse than nigerians. Everyone is equal and are entitled to their attitudes and characters. nice post!

NigerianDramaQueen said...

Babes this is why I like your blog-you always speak the truth.

At the root of all the forced 'fone' is an inherited insecurity. It goes back to the days of colonialism, when in our minds we began to associate being western with being civilized and being African with being barbaric.
Reminds me of this quote from The Beautyful ones are not yet born:
"He was trying to speak like a white man, and the sound that came out of his mouth reminded the listener of a constipated man, straining in his first minute on a lavotory seat . . .in the forest of white men's names, thre were the signs that almost said almost aloud: here lives a black imitator.."-Ayi Kwei Armah

Even though I was born in America, and I'm an American citizen, I tell everyone first chance I get, that I am Nigerian and from Nigeria. Infact all my friends can sing 9ja songs now sef...

LG said...

preach it sista'

aloted said...

this was a nice read..
i think it is a universal issue...not just nigerians..but i totally feel u

uNWrItten* said...

wow...i loved this boo..
i so feel you on the snobish thing..thats how it was when i was in high school in naija and some of my friends havent changed...this people dont know that RAZZ is the new cool.. :)

Tigeress said...

oooohhh Parakeet, no u didnt just go there. This is a pet topic that easily gets me fired up. lol!! when i meet such Nigerian, i feel ashamed for them. I've concluded that it all boils down to them having a complex. I am PROUD to be Nigerian. Nigerians who turn their noses up and backs to their fellow people shld be utterly ashamed. I do not see any American or white British denying their roots and trying to claim Nigerian. We need to embrace our roots and learn how to deal with both the bad and ugly. Clubs such as O2's Seduction quite alright consists of bare razz SE/E boys but i'll always support it has my boys run it and folks there are my fellow nigerians. These type of useless Naija boys need to be informed that all races have razz folks. No matter how white they try to be- they will black as hell forever. London boys cussing London girls out- thats so fresh. I met a London boy yesterday in the Chi cussing out Naija babes in London- dude was short, fat and ugly and sounded retarded- he's going to Naija to find wife. lol!! Sorry for him.

But meeehhn them SE boys are RAZZ!!! lmao!! bless them. But not all of them tho. My bruv, and the guys who run Seductive aren't razz. :):)

OluwaDee said...

I ain't Bri'ish.

Say it loud & clear.

Nefertiti said...

lol @ NDQ '...and the sound that came out of his mouth reminded the listener of a constipated man, straining in his first minute on a lavotory seat...'

I never try. Although I am teased about my naija accent at my job, I realise that 'phone' does not make me smarter. It's the stuff I hold up there in my noggin that counts. Truth is, wanting to be like the caucasians implies that we believe we are not good enough. No matter how priviledged you were raised, you are still an African, Still Nigerian.

Phew! You nigerian bloggers sure know how to get me fired up, cos now, I feel like running round the office building singing my lungs off - off key to some 'conc' naija music...lol

Dammy said...

Why did it take you this long to update???

Why the long haitus from blogville???

Should I be mad at you? Hmmm...I am loving your post!

Off to read....

and...welcome back!

Parakeet said...

@Funms...am glad u agree.
@NDQ...double wow! Me love that quote o...thanks for injecting some intellect into this...
@LG...no be only me dey preach o. Am loving all the comments here.
@Unwritten...lol at razz being the new cool.
@Tigress...yes seductive is cool but some of the guys who attend are so naff but eh that's life. You so funny gurl!
@Oluwadee...lol
@Nefertiti...I feel you. Some dude at work is forever mocking some of my pronunciation but I tell him to take a hike...
@Dammy...aww, someone missed me. Its not my fault jare. Its life. Glad to be back though. And did I like your post on scrotum? You're good with words mehn...i doff my hat!

aloted said...

u skipped my comment AGAIN :(

Parakeet said...

Oh no! massive apologies to aloted. Why do I keep doing this (not that I recollect the first time doing it). I am awfully sorry...you know that wasn't deliberate abi? Aww...I feel so bad!

aloted said...

lol..ok i forgive u ;o)

Parakeet said...

Thank you velly velly much...I'll sleep easy tonight, lol

Smaragd said...

I agree with you o jare, i appreciated naija more the first time i spent time in a foreign country. and guess what? when i found someone to speak yoruba (that i previously shunned) with, i practically jumped for joy!

dont mind us.

ChiefO said...

i trust my nigerian pple to "represent" whenever they can. u go to a naija reunion wherever and u see people fronting. trying to prove 'im hotter than u is'(i guess thats why i havent attended any) but heck, whatever sinks their boat. reminds me of this stunard who made a comment about him not being able to speak "hoodrat" when we suggested we go to 40/40. his reason being since its free to get in, the crowd would be wack/hoodratty.


those of us that wear our naija badges proudly, BIG UP to US. i never waste a minute to tell whoever wants to know that im nigerian, see the shock on their faces when i told them i voted this morning. they are probably still wondering, "how come he could vote, i thot he is nigerian..."

InCogNaija said...

it happens all over the diaspora. Some places more than some others. Ignorance always has its place among a group of people. we can get away from that, we can only pray we dont get infected with such foolishness.
LMFBAO @ the yoruba guy with the raunchy descriptions just because he thinks nobosy around understands what he is saying...i can relate on that level too. lol!

rethots said...

...a man without substance, rather than celebrates what he has; would rather desecrates what other have. Why? He think what others have (& celebrates) diminishes what he has. Oh! what a faith.....

princesa said...

Is it snobbish attitude now or plain ol' inferiority complex?

geisha.song. said...

LORD i know what you mean... even tho the details of the conversation those guys were having is the worst manifestation of self-hate i have ever read. what utter nonsense!!!!
while i dont live in 'jand', ive heard of all those clubs, and all those 'elitist' people feeling like they're too good to hang with other nigerians, and some evn going as far as to say they dont like hanging with blacks in general. it sickens me!!!!!
it's like, get over yourself! we all paid for the same ticket to board the same plane to the same effing white-man's country so who do you think you are?????????

i admit, we all have the elitist thing to a certain extent but meyn, there's a limit. or there should be.

AnyaPosh said...

My dear, na u talk am abeg. Preach!
It's true all what you said, especially the comparisons between the Ikoyi-bred vs. the Oshodi-bred. Life is full of these classifications everywhere...but as you rightly point out, we are all going to die. Eventually everyone must kpai. And that's when it'll be way too late to worry about effizy.

Infact, I love you for this post. I'm guilty of classism too, so i'm grateful you're calling everyone out on their superiority complexes. It's rather unfortunate but it's the reality of our colonized mentality. Blame the Bri'ish. LOL...

And what the heck was that dude going on about about his thick sperm? that shit was nasty!!!!! Yuck.

La Reine said...

I hope you posted this in more than one place.
-Why people think being anyone other than themselves is more appealing, I may never care to know.

HRM said...

you are so spot-on with this post..,you pretty much sed it all.
impressive..

Tisha said...

agreed
i am cream and all
but i am also all nigerian
and proudly so

Anonymous said...

i prefer nigerian girls ... i mean am not eeven attractedto others but they have been giving me cold shoulder , once i tell them that i am doing masters they run away ... well a tree was once a small tree . i have found my own naija girl now from back home .... knew her before i left and she was loyal then and loyal now . i am thru with london naija girls.