I promise, I had no Afrocentric notions of Nigeria as “the Motherland.” I knew full well that there was a massive ocean and centuries separating African-Americans from Africans. I had no romantic hopes of being embraced warmly as a sister who had come back. I had an inkling that people might question my racial identity, but I had no idea that I would be white here.
I didn’t realize that I would be called ‘Oyinbo’ by bus conductors, taxi drivers, drummers at parties, and passersby. I didn’t foresee that children would stare and point at me, or that a teenage girl would ask my host-sister “Why don’t you take her in a taxi? White people’s legs aren’t made for walking.” I would have never imagined that a guy would hit on me by saying he needed some white skin to cure his black headache!
It’s a mind trip when you’re in a place where how you identify yourself is the exact opposite of how people identify you; when how they identify you negates your background and experiences and places you in the privileged category that you and your family have been subjugated by for your entire life. How does one negotiate that?
Posted By Erica Williams
Posted Apr 9th, 2007