Why Does The Black Community Hate Nigerians?

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If you are a resident of the United States you may have felt or noticed the simmering heat emanating from the tension within the Black community. You may have felt the mutual suspicion and objections and the intense competition between the African-American, Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Latino, and the African community. There is also the tension within the African community. In some enclaves and professional sectors, the heat stemming from these tensions can be unbearable. Often times one wonders why people with common ancestry, common history and common life experiences engage in self-immolating, self-defeating and self-hating tendencies. What’s the problem?

Let’s start with Africans. Most Africans I have come to know or communicated with are suspicious of, and love to hate Nigerians. I don’t mean this at the individual level. I am speaking in collective or general terms. Every where I go, I hear Congolese, Togolese, Sierra Leonean, Liberians and South Africans and others speak ill of Nigerians. They hate the fact that Nigerians are “too aggressive,” “too dishonest,” “love to show off their wealth,” and are “always loud.” They associate Nigerians (and Nigerians only) with “419” even when their own nationals have been caught committing criminal offences.

Personally, I don’t know what it means to be “too aggressive.” Does it means that Nigerians have a quicker and better understanding of systems and societies they find themselves in? Does it mean that Nigerians, by virtue of their worldview, education, and experiences, gets acculturated better and faster than other Africans? Does it mean they know how to stretch and bend rules to suit their conditions? Does it mean that Nigerians are generally never afraid or intimidated of their new environment? Whatever “too aggressive” means, they are always grateful when Nigerians show them the ropes, helps them out of difficult situations and introduce them to wider circle of benefits.

To be a Nigerians in some cities and in some ethnic enclaves is to be a pariah. Africans from Mozambique, Tanzania, Botswana, Angola, Zambia, Kenya and other East and Southern African countries can’t tell enough of the “monsters and crooks” living in their countries. I hear it every time. And indeed, some Africans are not happy with the fact that Nigerians have a huge presence in their educational system. That Nigerians are the Nouveau riche in some of these African countries is a source of jealousy. Sadly, when confronted, most of these Africans have never associated with or personally known such new-Nigerians. They’ve only “heard of Nigerians” who fit their flawed expectation.

Sadly, one also hears African-Americans, Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Latinos complain about Nigerians. The image these Blacks have of Nigerians is not unlike that of other Africans. A Nigerians trying to secure a professional job or contract — if such office is headed by an African-American — will find it to be an uphill task.If no one else is listening to the interview, you may be queried, grilled, toyed with and asked unethical questions just to make you loose your composure. Generally speaking, a Nigerian stands a better chance for employment consideration or a level playing field if the man or woman at the top is a non-Black. For whatever reason, African-American women do not share the opinion of their male counterpart (regarding Nigerians).

Back to Africans: what is it about Nigeria and Nigerians that vexes them? Nigeria is not a global hegemon. We neither invade nor occupy other lands. We do not have expansionist tendencies. We are not even a crusading nation lording over the West African sub-region. And even within the African continent, we have mostly helped, and have been a good neighbor. By and large, all we have done is help other African countries in terms of their economy and or political independence. Even though Nigeria has her own problems we continue to expend time and energy and other resources on fellow African countries.

Without Nigeria, close to 40% of sub-Saharan African countries would have found it difficult to gain independence or be in existence today. Our country remains the lifeline of several African countries. Since 1970 or thereabout Nigeria has spent billions of dollars towards peacekeeping and economic and political stabilization missions. In addition, thousands of Nigerians have lost their lives in the service of these countries. For all we have done and continue to do — is these all we get? Scorn and ridicule and hate?

But really, what did Nigeria and Nigerians do to African-American, the Afro-Latino and Afro-Caribbean community to deserve the hostility that is generality directed at us? If others hate us for the obvious and unobservable reasons, what about other Africans? What’s their problem?

About Sabella Ogbobode Abidde
Please, do not ask me about religion. I get the evil look every time I tell people I am an agnostic who teeters on atheism. My world resolves around ethics and the rule of law. That’s it. I have no use for religion: religious convictions are not part of my existence -- the laws of man are good enough for me. I have lived in several cities: Seattle, Miami, Norman, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Saint Cloud, the District of Columbia, Houston, and Mankato. I am not sure where I am going to live next. And I have never really had a profession, only jobs: been a cook, a dishwasher, a civil servant, house cleaner, university instructor and researcher and so on and so forth. Every so often I get questions concerning the role and place of the African woman. Well, I don’t know; at least not with any certainty. What seems to work best is when both partners work as a team: cooperate, coordinate and collaborate their marital efforts. And they should be mindful of the insidious effect of modernization on the African family.

Posted in: Life Abroad

21 Comments

  1. kandie says:

    Usually when an individual has a shortcoming they need to make someone else seem inferior to them. We as black/nigerian individuals are at odds with ourselves. We tend to glamorize caucasians and even hispanics and consider them superior to us in intelligence. We have been brainwashed to hate ourselves thus we hate those that look like us. We as people of African descent from either continent need to wake up and see the benefits and need to integrate and learn from each other. Descendents of slaves did not get to that position without help from within. We need to begin to heal the gap and animosity between ourselves. Africa is a spirit…which is evident in the Lost children of Africa…even though blacks have never set foot in Africa the very core of Africa comes through in our dance and in our style minus the hip hop…Lets just be open and communicate about the situation.

  2. Natasha says:

    Truth be told, the article should read " Why do Nigerians hate Black Americans", this is the other story. Many Nigerians think that Black Americans are inferior to them, they discourage their children to marry black americans, to socialize with them and to even call them names such as Akata. There is racism from Nigerians that are far beyond belief, to me a Nigerians disrespect and discredit to black americans is similar to white racism against blacks. Many Nigerians don't realize that even though we are not recently from Africa we departed there hundreds of years ago and share the same bloodline along with similar customs that were kept since slavery, most importantly if it was not for black americans fighting for civil rights and independence in American, Africans would not be able to be in America today. Overall, it is sad that people that are blood relatives and are still looked at as Black or African by whites regardless if we came to America 300 yrs ago or 20 years ago they still groupus in the same category. Why can't we get past this horrible racism as with Yoruba and Ibo that's another racist problem and realize that we are all the same. Nigerians stop raising your children to be racist against black americans.

  3. tosin says:

    This message id addressed to Patricia Dabouh (post 14), I have just discovered this site and to be honest it is a bit tiresome that u keep starting all your e-mails with the same into, look I am sure majority of us kmow that u are "married to nigerian man, with a stepson in toe".

    I am not trying to offend, but pls just introduce yourself as patricia and just comment on the topic at hand.

  4. Kat says:

    I am a white woman who has dated many nigerian men here and in Africa and all I can say is watch you back! They will tell you eveything you want to hear,try to get as much as they can from you and when they know you are wise to their game they will dumb you fast! They say they are about family,family values,religion ect…Its all a game.

  5. Kenflipper says:

    The Black communities simply hate Nigerians because they are limited in intelligence while Nigerians on the order hand has no boundary to intelligence. We stand out where ever we are, they would give anything to be like us but they just aint like us cos' they are not NIGERIAN BREEDS!!!

  6. Ayo says:

    African Americans dont like Nigerians in general. but then they realy dont like themselves either, so its no surprise. as for the comment that someone made about africans being unintelligent, if Nigerians or even other africans were not in this country, you will not even have a representation in science and technology. my college ws mostly white, but there wer more nigerians than all africans put together, and more africans than all the black americans put together. and we had themost cuml laudes or magna and summa. If not for nigerians there would be two african americans studying biology. we are wayyyyyyyyyyy smarter than AA who dont seem to want to use their brains even though it is fully functional. I love my Naija people ooo. Our men are too aggressive yes, but they are the ones who get things done because of that aggressiveness.

    e.g I was waling in the mall and at least twenty African american males were either calling out to me or trying to holler. The only Nigerian not only pulled my arm and made me face him, he followed me into the train station and would not leave me without my phone no. well he got it. and only him. and it wasnt just because he was Nigerian either, he wasnt even that cute. Nigerian women are just as materialistic as other women, plus we know we are fine and try to keep it up. what….. WHY HATE ON US????????? PLEEEEEEAAASEEEEEEEEE

    SHIOOOOOOOOOOOO…………………..

  7. Evance says:

    I simply love Naija—The salt and pepper of the earth–It's time for some real royalty here–Nigerians are very intelligent, cleaver, and extremely sexy, people need to back off—I do believe it is jealousy for a smalll part—but ignorance is still a problem for lots of people (not just white people either—sometimes they will know more about a race then a race is willing to find out about themselves….sad, but true) anyway I feel If I'd of known brothers and sisters like this would have come in my lifetime I would have saved myself from some miseries in this life as a "African-american" woman born in usa

  8. pmdaboh@yahoo.com says:

    I enjoyed reading your article. I am an African American woman who recently married a Nigerian man and am waiting for he and my stepson to come to America. I think your words are correct! I have noticed that many African Americans talk down or look down on Africans period (not all, of course, but many do). I have heard comments, such as: Africans are ugly. They all have AIDS. They are not intelligent. However, during my visit to Nigeria, where I got married, I noticed a lot of beautiful Nigerians, who displayed more humility than we do sometimes with our air-conditioned homes and cars and modern conveniences. I noticed that many of them were honorable–not all were trying to pull some scheme on someone. When I think about it, that happens right here in America. Of course, my decision to marry a Nigerian man was not met with much negativity and, sometimes cruel remarks. But when I let people know that I would not allow them to talk negatively about the man I chose to marry, the comments, at least to my face, stopped. To just be blunt about it, a lot of times I think African Americans think (not all mind you) that they are just BETTER than Africans. And yet, we cringe when a "white person" acts as if he/she are better than us. We (meaning generally speaking) do the same thing when we (meaning generally speaking) look down on an African–simply because he is from Africa.

  9. Ejiro says:

    I LOVE Nigerian. Love. Love. Love my country. but, I avoid Nigerians as much as I can. A contradition, I know, but It's like this. People hate Nigerians and a lot of it is jealousy, YES because Nigerians have a drive and ambition that most Africans and blacks dont understand. Black, even the American blacks with all this opportunity, are content to have things done for them, Nigerians are more likely to push, shove and shout to get their own. Unfortunately, if one culture dislikes yours, it's purely jealousy, when it's a whole load of people, you need to start asking what you are doing wrong ang what Nigerians are doing wrong is manipulating and cheating their fellow Africans, the whole 419 thing has spread in Benin, Ghana and so on, ruinging their countries reputation along with ours. There was w time when Nigerians bragged about hustling every one but their own and now a Nigerian will NOT think -even once – about screwing their fellow Nigerian, much less African or black to get theirs. We never had that link with America, caribbean or Latino blacks, so who cares why they hate us? but when even Ghanians, Benins, and other Nigerians are saying: "waoh!" then we need to start looking at ourselves.

  10. Mayowa says:

    I'm nigerian and i live in Germany. Nigerians constitute less than 5 percent of the african community here. In other words, one can say they're voiceless and very little is known of them by the native germans or other immigrant groups here represented. Having said that, the fascinating thing about all these is that nigerians are even better known in the academic environment (where i belong) than most of the other africans save for our brothers from cameroon who make over 70 percent of the african student community(kudos to them).This may have influenced some recent happenings where u see nigerians, despite their little number, being actively involved in the negotiations between the german government and the african community towards improved living conditions for africans here. You often hear our other african brothers speaking evil of nigerians especially when they're with german ladies. I had a very personal experience last year. A ugandan masters student visited my institute and was to spend three months. He quickly located me(i'm a Ph.D student) for advice, which i always gave. I even asssited him in drafting a research proposal which he was to submit towards a possible Ph.D admission. He shared apartment with a colombian colleague and friend of mine and would spend his evenings telling my friend of how bad nigerians were and how a disgrace they have been to the african pride. He would then spend his days running after me here and there for assistance on how things worked in the institute as he couldn't speak a word of german. He was with me one day when my colombian friend stopped by to check on me. My colombian friend could not hide his shock and asked me if i really knew the ugandan. He later told me all the ugandan had told him and wondered why the same person would come to me for help. Depite all these, i remain a very proud nigerian.

  11. Ayodele Henry Adeneye says:

    Gba o! I agree wit many of una bcos an eastern african sister confirmed to me that Nigerians, both men and women are very "danjarous" and when I asked why? She said what other africans see as a kilimanjaro hill, Nigerian see am very very easy. Long live Naija

  12. jololade002@yahoo.com says:

    I live in Ghana and its the same thing here.Everybody wants to hate on the Naijan bcos he's the one who gets things done plus he knows how to flaunt his wealth. The average Naija guy will break down barriers just to make an impression so as to have a better opportunity next time around. But the bad eggs are the one that get all the press in a bid to discredit all of us. There are over 7 new Naija banks in Ghana but they try not to employ Naija folks so that the locals won't say that they want to steal their money. You should see how the Naija banks have turned around the fortunes of their banking system. Nigerians make the world go round.

  13. arrowbagger! says:

    no be lie my broda!its not just an american thing even in places like Austria naija people are hated by fellow Afros.i just dont understand it,i have come up with a simple explanation its all because Nigerians are the only set of Africans that come out of Africa wise thats all!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Oh to be the martyr! As if I haven't heard Nigerians going on about their dislike/hatred/suspicion for others – please, spare me, it's getting very old and tiring.

  15. Archbald says:

    Truth be told why do Nigerians hate Nigerians? Tribal clashes and deaths are a reality in that nation. Wasn't the gov't of reluctant to take a census of the Naija population out of fear that there may be more Yorubas than Igbo or vice-versa? Why are Nigerians being portrayed as the innocent victims of Jamos and Afams? Are Naijas that open and welcoming to those mentioned groups?

  16. uniben82 says:

    The good, the bad, and the ugly abound in every race, culture or society. To all those Nigerians who continue to rub their bellies and pat themselves on the back, I say, stop tooting your horns. Let others do it for you!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Its just jealousy! As in every society as there are good Nigerians there are also bad Nigerians. Jamos, African-Americans, South Africans and who ever you want to add on the list are just jealous. If trying to be a better person instead of waiting at a queue at some welfare giro office for food stamps and handouts is bad then good luck to you!

  18. Malaria says:

    Why do Nigerians hate the the Black Community. I'm aware of the beuatiful relationship you all share with the West Indians in England as well as the same relationship you share with African-Americans in America. When the Naijas start to immigrate to the South Americas (Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, etc.) I'll eagerly await your reports of the cordial relationship you all will share with them. Question is since you all are so educated, successful owners of this and that why can't this drive be utilized to improve Nigeria. Why are you all Andrewing out of Naija in such hefty numbers?

  19. Beemoney says:

    Too bad for those so called "African Brothers" who hate Naija. Only Nigerians have the ability to keep it real and call a spade a spade! If that calls for hating, well so be it. The Afro-Americans have been abroad for ages and still cannot understand the tricks of the white man, but felt saddened by the fact Naija came along and literally opened up their eyes now they have to tag along behind us. They were just comfortable with subservience to white folks but we came with a different attitude and its shoked them to see that we be the best crooks, the best sportsmen, the best musicians, actors and every endeavor a Naija is involved in he takes control….like I said, if they don't like it, they should kiss our b—–!!

  20. Rosie says:

    Nna na wah o? Even Nigerians hate to hang out with Nigerians and I will tell you why. Most Nigerians are opportunists and that is not necesarrily a bad thing. The problem is that some Nigerians will go to any length to be successful, including stabbing their fellow Africans and country-men in the back. This leaves a sour taste in many mouths, including mine. And I am speaking from experience.

  21. sakley says:

    Sabella–

    I love Nigerians. You are making me feel bad now…LOL

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