Friday, July 19, 2013

MEMORIES RECALLED: Are you a nigga? - Runoko Rashidi

Rom Runoko Rashidi

Family,

How are you? You know, I travel all of the time and I have a great many memories. The one that comes to mind right now comes from my first trip to Fiji around 2000. I wanted it to share it with you.

One night I was in a store asking for something called kava. A young brother--a native Fijian--picked up my accent and realized that I was an African-American. He asked me with great curiosity, "Are you a nigga?" I was shocked! Here I was deep in the South Pacific and a young stranger asks me, am I a niigga! Well my shock soon turned to fury. I am deeply offended by that word. I just don't like it.

Now my first reaction was to say, "No! I am not one! But I can be one if absolutely necessary!" But I am trying very hard not to react with anger and to think before I speak. So, I said to him very sharply, "No! I am not one! Are you?" And the young brother said to me with pride, "No, but I am trying hard to be one!" It was as though he was saying that he was about to get married or graduate from medical school or father his first child or collect a large sum of money.

And I realized the victory of the cultural system under which we live, in that at some point the victim embraces his victimization and wears it as a badge of honor.

I hope that you are doing well.

In love of Africa,

Runoko Rashidi Okello
www.travelwithrunoko.com
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