I speak of the African male in the Diasporas. I speak of men, not individually, but collectively. I have known men who are extraordinary both in their private and public lives. But today, I make no distinction, and instead have as the focus of my treatise the general male population in the Diasporas. There are no mysteries surrounding men. There is nothing that can’t be explained about men. But alas, in their relationship with women and with fellow men, men tend to convey and or project a godlike picture. Their attitude and disposition are quite different. For men, life is all about power and a can-do-attitude; it is about “me, therefore me.” Men have an exaggerated sense of entitlement. They believe they own the world, therefore they rule the world. They make war, make peace; they build and they destroy.
It may sound nasty, archaic, regressive and even hideous. In fact it is! But collectively, men expect women to cook and clean, to raise babies and to provide sex on demand; and if the woman at home won’t “obey before complain,” the men will make a home elsewhere. No man will admit to the aforesaid; no man will admit to being provincial, uncouth, and non-western. And why should they? To admit to their primordial instinct and belief would be suicidal. A man’s world is a world of grave contradictions, a world of simmering anger, fear, uncertainty, and parchment of egos. Left alone and without guidance, men will self-immolate, will self-destruct. Men live in a bubble and are eternally self-centered. Go down history-lane and you will realize that women have been keeping men “together” and afloat long before Adam & Eve; but unfortunately women don’t know these simple facts — facts men are not about to admit to now, or ever!
It is a shame that, collectively, women have yet to realize three general facts about men: throw a man out of the house and he will go to pieces; deny him sex and will pout and pout and pout; deny him food and he will whine like a baby. To challenge a man’s mentality, disposition and worldview is akin to castrating him. It is better to kill a man than to take away his “john.” Women should know that there is an invisible rope around a man’s neck. Women just needed to know when to pull and when to let go: master the timing and you can enslave a man! But because women do not know these basic facts about men, they allow men to dominate their every existence and very essence. Women allow men to be kings not knowing that men are childlike and duplicitous — mostly devoid of ethics, morality, good sense and common sense.
African men are quick to lie and cheat and bamboozle African women. But then, lying and cheating and conniving are in their nature. Brought up to view women as objects — mostly objects of sexual desire — they have no respect for women. The African male does not view the African female as an equal. And if these men have their ways — women will be confined to the kitchens, to the maternity wards and to subservient roles. One need not look far and war to witness some of the atrocities the African men commit against African women. Aren’t these the same women who are the bedrock of the society, the pillars of the family? Men rely on women for everything. They cry on the shoulders of women, rely on the advice of women and when they fall on hard times, these women will take them in. And more often than not, these women become the only anchor in a sea of turbulence. Yet, how do men repay women?
To repay these women, they go back home to the hills and mountains and waterways of Nigeria to bring back to the U.S supposed virgins who are thought to be of good moral character. These men go back to the rural areas of Tanzania, Zambia and Lesotho, and Ghana and bring back to the U.S “nice, religious girl with good family background.” For the vast majority of these African men the aim is to bring back a girl who is like clay, a girl they can mold in a desired image. Good gracious, after years and years of being the rock, of being a steady and reliable friend and partner, the African women (in the U.S) get dumped unceremoniously in preference for the “innocenty.” How sad!
It is beyond ones wit why after all these years women have yet to figure men out. Year after year, men have been abusing and disrespecting women. Year after year, men have been lording over women and in the process have taken away or crushed their rights and dignity. There are women who are driven to mental penury after their encounter with these men. In the last couple of years, one has noticed a new phenomenon: in a country where polygamy is illegal, the Africans have found a way to “marry” more than one wife. From Maryland to Texas, from New York to Los Angeles, there are African men who are raising children in two or more households. (I don’t mean divorced household, but households of unofficial wives where the man “comes and go” as he wishes.) The women are trapped. Too tired and beaten to start afresh and so have accepted their lot in life.
Africans, and especially Nigerians, are making a mockery of life. They are making a mockery of everything decent. Today, it is difficult being a Nigerian. To admit to being a Nigerian, within certain circles, is to invite ridicule, scorn and suspicion. Known for their big cars, big houses, big ego, pipedreams, and big mouth, Nigerians have become the poster boy for all manner of illegalities. And when these men return to their villages in the East, West or Southern Nigeria (on vacation), they paint a rosy picture of life in North America and elsewhere. Suddenly, dope dealers become pharmacists; insurance and real estate crooks become consultants; CNAs become registered nurses and medical doctors; janitors become big city building inspectors; and cab drivers become information technologists.
And then there are the international business men who are always waiting for containers that never makes it to the Port of Houston, Miami, Seattle or wherever! When they are not lying to the women in their lives, they are lying to the women they are about to snag. When they are not lying to their brothers and sisters, they are lying to their parents. But mostly, they lie to themselves so much so that most are not even aware they are lying. They have lost their moral compass. They have lost touch with reality.
Compared to most countries in the world, America is a wonderland. It is a paradise. It is also a very frustrating country. Her opportunities are also slightly exaggerated. With all the talks about freedom and liberty, it is also, in many ways, a police state. It is a country where the lazy and the feeble-hearted easily get shoved to the margin of society. Hard work does not guarantee success. Education does not guarantee success. Contacts do not guarantee success. Luck does not guarantee success. And at the same time one is doomed without any of the imperatives.
More often than not, one needs the combination of all four to be a success. But Africans, Nigerians especially, have found ways to circumvent the system. Nigerians, among Africans, are about the only group of people who can show up in America today, and within 24-months drive Mercedes Benz, own a 2-car garage home in an exclusive or gated community, have a collection of suits and shoes and can afford to throw parties week after week after week. Yet, other Nigerians will not question the source of the ill-gotten wealth.
Not only do we misuse and abuse our women, we also corrupt, abuse and misuse the communities we live in. We are doing the same things we did back in our own continent (and respective countries). We have become a community that lacks moral sensibility; a community without scruples. Excessive greed and a complete disregard for the law is now part of our culture at home and in the Diaspora.
For the great majority of Africans in the Diaspora, we cannot go back home. Some are economic refugees, while others are shame-induced refugees. We cannot go back to a continent that does not know what do with us (or we with her). We cannot go back to a continent that is fast becoming a strange land to most of us. Consequently, we stay away and hope — we hope that someday we will return home. But unfortunately, the vast majority will never be able to call Africa home again, save in nationalistic sense. If our forefathers were involuntarily sold into slavery, we have voluntarily sold ourselves into slavery.
Sadly too is the fact that for the vast majority of Africans in the United States and elsewhere outside of the continent, our children cannot speak our language. They know almost nothing about our people, land and culture. For them, the continent is a distant and far away land just as it is fast becoming a distant and far away land for most of us.
Norman, Oklahoma 73072