I Found Racism In A Country That’s 98% Black

Because white supremacy seems to exist in every corner of the world

racism (Image: courtesy of Akintunde Ahmad)

 

It seems that no matter where you go as a person of color, White supremacy may follow. It was true growing up among violence in Oakland. It was true when I started my freshman year at Yale. It was even true when I arrived in Ghana, a country where I wasn’t in the racial minority, for a semester abroad. Here we are in 2017, and still, racism and race-based oppression are all too present.

As a nation, we have gone from having our first Black president to electing Donald Trump, a man endorsed by the KKK. In the weeks following Election Day, myriad examples of harassment and hate speech emerged.

Take, for example, the recent incident at the University of Pennsylvania (Trump’s alma mater), when Black freshman students were added to a group chat complete with a calendar of “daily lynchings” and a photo of Black people hanging from a tree.

This is all the more reason I think it’s important to raise awareness about what is happening, spark conversations about what’s needed to move forward, and help create spaces where people from all backgrounds can feel supported and safe. Now I’m handing the keyboard over to my friend Dwight Haggard, a University of Kentucky student I studied abroad with this fall. During our program in Ghana, I watched as he came face to face with a White University of Vermont student who refused to stop using the N-word (and that’s just the beginning). Here’s his story:

racism (Image: courtesy of Akintunde Ahmad)

 

Before college, there were very few instances in which I encountered White people. As a student at a majority-Black high school, I really only interacted with people who looked like me. So, when I arrived at the University of Kentucky, which is less than eight percent Black, I suddenly felt like I was required to represent all people of color. I worked hard not to upset anyone around me and to be conscious of all my speech patterns, actions, and inabilities. I believed my behavior was not only a reflection of me, but of my entire race.

When I decided to study abroad in Ghana, I was officially setting off to research the effects of the transatlantic slave trade on the local community and to compare the current social and economic differences between Ghana and the United States. Unofficially, though, I was eager to go somewhere where others looked liked me — somewhere that didn’t require me to constantly think about how I was representing my race.

Upon my arrival in Ghana, I got to know both the Ghanaian students and other exchange students from different parts of the U.S. People seemed genuinely nice and helpful. As I’d hoped, I felt better represented. I didn’t have a spotlight on me at all times. I was comfortable in my own skin.

*That is, until an encounter with another exchange student, a woman from the University of Vermont, who reminded me that you can go halfway across the world without escaping racism’s reach.

I was hanging out in a dorm room with some friends when one woman excused herself to use the washroom. She returned moments later visibly distraught and explained that, while in the washroom, a fellow student — a White woman — had called her the N-word. The aggressor was obviously extremely intoxicated (her boyfriend was helping her bathe because she couldn’t do it alone), and when our friend asked her a simple question about some shampoo that was sitting out, she replied, “What’s up, [N-word]?” Completely taken aback, our friend turned around and left.

I’d seen this couple around campus. We only ever said hello in passing, but I’d had enough indirect interactions with them to understand that they expressed no remorse for the offensive things they did and said. Once the boyfriend held a traditional African mask to his face and chased his girlfriend around while screaming gibberish. Everyone around them understood how culturally insensitive this was, but they seemed either not to realize or not to care.

So when we heard the couple leaving the washroom, my friend, the victim, went into the hall and calmly told the woman never to call her the N-word again. This prompted the woman to do quite the opposite; she began repeatedly saying the N-word, even going so far as to say, “If you wanna fight me, [N-word], you can fight me.” That’s when I stepped in, the situation escalated, and this woman spat in my face — twice.

Words can’t describe how it felt to be spat on and repeatedly called racial slurs.I have encountered racism and been called many derogatory terms in my time, but being spat on twice seriously affected my mental and emotional state, especially since I’d moved all the way to Africa to better understand the historical foundation of racial inequality.

The next day, another friend overheard the couple talking about the incident and even managed to record a portion of what the man said. On tape, he called me a “monkey” and threatened to have me killed by the mafia. I’d reported the incident the night before, but after this, I followed up only to learn the report hadn’t even been filed yet. I persisted and requested that the university expel the couple for threatening me and making racist comments. After a week-and-a-half-long investigation, during which I watched them both parade around the hall as if they had done nothing wrong, they were only relocated to different residential quarters.

I felt defeated and disrespected. Then, I received a letter from the University of Ghana demanding that I apologize to the woman and her boyfriend for my actions (in my anger, I had dumped a garbage can in the woman’s room and used some derogatory terms of my own) despite the fact that neither party had apologized to me. I refused, writing the following to university officials: “To ask me to apologize to a White woman after she writes me off as another ‘[N-word]’ is even more demeaning to me as a Black man in Ghana. … Her actions and those of her boyfriend the day after the incident (she paraded around bragging that she spat in my face and her boyfriend threatened to kill me and called me a monkey) reassured me that they understood exactly what they did – and that they still have no remorse for acting in such an uncivil and disrespectful manner.” I never received a response.

When I first came to Ghana, I expected that my fellow students would respect the accomplishments of its Black leaders. After all, Ghana only gained its independence from British colonial rule in 1957; to see a country develop as much as it has in just 60 years is a true testament to what Africans can accomplish when they stand up against foreign rule. That’s why I was so shocked when I experienced a level of racism even greater than that which I encountered back home in the U.S., where Black people are regularly oppressed by the White majority. I traveled 10,000 miles to Africa and spent nearly $15,000 in expenses to be spat on by a White woman. It’s taken a long time for the anger I felt to diminish, especially since the university would not take the incident seriously.

For me, this incident affirmed that White supremacy is alive and well. It refueled my desire to fight against racism, so that future generations don’t have to suffer through to the same discrimination and disrespect my brothers and sisters of color have experienced throughout history. Together we will stand and fight back peacefully against the tyranny of oppression.

 

This article originally appeared on The WellJopwell’s digital magazine. It is by Akintunde Ahmad. 

 


Do you have a story of racism at work or on campus that you think we should be talking about? Email thewell@jopwell.com with a one-paragraph summary for a chance to be featured in a future story.

 

 
  • Martial

    This is a very good article. Too often the cry of “racism” is heard without understanding that it is present because of centuries of racist slavery. Thus, our language and thinking processes retain the influence of this particular issue in the US over a century and a half after the banning of slavery. For this reason, reliance upon such things as affirmative action will be required for some time to come. By the same token, the progress as respects this particular prejudice should not be forgotten. The existence of this magazine is testimony to that progress.
    The other reason to avoid decrying what is omnipresent is that it then is used for prejudices other than anti-Black racism, with its specific history. That must be avoided at all costs, for the mechanisms to relieve the woes of these other prejudices have no significant overlap with the means by which anti-Black prejudice is being overcome.

    • John Feldman

      Anywhere blacks go you have Apefrica, Invent Nothing , Build Nothing, Destroy Everything. Mugabe had to ask the white farmers back and for trillions in food aid. What we should do is let people too dumb to feed themselves starve to death. Useless subhuman animals

      • Anton Chigurrrh

        although they are useful for medical experiments. It’s a good way to save mice & rats from too much pain.

        • WhitePedophileGuy

          Typical white guy pedophile behavior.

          • Anton Chigurrrh

            said the guy with “pedophile” in his handle. Isn’t there a playground where you can hang out, short eyes?

      • Martial

        You are definitely making my point for me.

      • Scouticus

        BLACKS EQUAL APES

    • BillyDe ”°º×»-(¯`v´¯)-» ♥ ♥

      …•´¯`(>▂<)´¯`•…

  • zigzzagz

    Book travel today for a racist getaway in Ghana.

  • matt k

    Racial inequality has to do with Genetics my friends. Rushton has done a lot of research in regards to this matter if anyone was interested enough to read his literature. In Rushton’s work “Race,Evolution and Behaviour” it is well documented that Blacks have a lower IQ and he clearly goes on to explain why through his various studies.

    Also in regards to the whole idea of Slavery, does anyone know the origin of the word “Slave”? Do the research, it’s quite interesting.

    Also, Black’s enslaved each other on the continent of Africa much before the “White Devil” ever set foot there. Warring Tribes would often take slaves of the conquered Tribe.

    This practice was also done on the continent of North America by the indigenous who had lived there.

    Also another interesting point is that Jews were the major influence on the Transatlantic slave trade as was pointed out in the book by Friedman.

    Sadly, i find this article to be nothing more than misinformed Propaganda espousing the Afrocentric myth.

    • WhitePedophileGuy

      Of course you would. Not sure why you chose to come to Black Enterprise to repeat the same “blacks owned slaves” fallacy to make your point. Go back to Breitbart.

      • matt k

        This is based on which research?

        • WhitePedophileGuy

          You base your claims on a discredited white racist hack like rushton. Most white men like yourself have no conscious and will use whatever case study (written by white men) to justify your inherit racism. I dont believe anything white people tell me about history or their sources because its usually bullshit to back up their beliefs or to make them look less violent.

          • matt k

            Rushton work is being proven to be true every day. Sorry, its the truth. Africa like america before colonization was a neolithic society that had no form of writing and hadn’t even invented the wheel and did practice slavery and cannibalism much like north america. As the old saying goes ignorance can be bliss and your low iq mind seems to prove this to be true. Best of luck with that.

          • WhitePedophileGuy

            Works for me.

          • Scouticus

            “Conscious”. “Inherit” “fax be rayciss” Another dimwit monkey

  • Neo-Tribe

    This article is 100% Lies and Myth…….

    The author is a Violent Anti-White Racist…….

    A Black Hitler…….

    Don’t believe anything he says……

    • WhitePedophileGuy

      So we should believe you instead? GTFOH

      • Scouticus

        Yeah, nig, because two plus two is four. Not two plus two is KANGS

  • Anton Chigurrrh

    “It seems that no matter where you go as a person of color, White supremacy may follow.” Awww, what’s the matter? Are Detroit & Baltimore too full of whites for you?

    • WhitePedophileGuy

      No but Kentucky and Kansas are and that’s meth smoking welfare receiving whites live.

      • Scouticus

        Oh, really? Lemme school you on PER CAPITA again, nigger. PER CAPITA (as percentage of a total population) you monkeys use welfare and food stamps EIGHT TIMES more than whites. So before you bitch about Kentucky or Kansas, nigger, perhaps you should learn to read.

        • WhitePedophileGuy

          I hope your mom died in the world trade center. I wish their was another 9/11 to take out more of you crackers. Retarded inbred meth smoking pale pigs like yourself deserve to be burned alive.

          • Scouticus

            LOL “their”. God, nigger. You’re F.A.S. crack-smokin’ mammy-ho tier.

  • Mr. Privilege

    Oh so you left out the part about dumping a garbage can in their room until you were called out for it, I see. You are trash, dude. Worse than what you dumped out in that girl’s room. You are scum.

    • Scouticus

      No, it’s a nigger. Dey never dindu nuffin. Eberybody be rayciss.

  • Nunya Biznys

    All these folks going out of their way to contradict the wtiter on black enterprise pretty much proves the point of the author.

    • Scouticus

      NO, they’re just proving that nigs can’t do anything without blaming YT

      • Nunya Biznys

        -Yet here you are – obsessed. Creep.

        • Scouticus

          Naw. Just doing what you cretins do, just doing it better. Ape.

    • Exactly.

  • BillyDe ”°º×»-(¯`v´¯)-» ♥ ♥

    Studies from SUNY Communications Dept. show that the average non-African American American sees over 700% more African Americans

    ☻☻☻☻☻☻☻

    on TV commercials than in real life. THAT is RACIST.

    BLACK LIVES MATTER!

  • RandomComment

    So oppressed to have $15000 to spend on travel. Tell me again how racism is holding you back, but wait until I finish rolling this change.

  • Scouticus

    Ok, ameriniggers- you can have Apefrika and we’ll stay out. You can prove to us how you are kangs once and for all, and in return you will stop following us everywhere destroying our civilization that you find so strange and threatening. I’m sure you’ll do wonderfully… because the subsaharan homo erectus invented everything, built everything, etc. We’ll stop holding you back, and you will never pester us for gibs or anything ever again. No food or medical aid, etc. I’m sure you will do wonderfully, and since you built our societies, what better way to punish us but remove your holy, creative presence? Our societies will collapse into failure without you niggers! What better way to get revenge on evil whitey?

    • Gtoe Washington Jr

      You are so ignorant. The things you say make no sense whatsoever. Do you thing one group can survive without the other. You speak of medical science and supplies…where do you think the raw materials come from? Why don’t you ask Acelor Mittal where the iron comes from that is used to build cars, trains, buildings, roads, ect. I can see from your post that you are a waste of my time. Go back to the school of life and sustainability.

      • Scouticus

        Australopithecene say whut? Oh, yeah. Africa is the only place on Earth IRON ORE is available. Sorry. You “be” “ignorant” (I love how groids always use the word “ignorant”, constantly and incorrectly. What, is it the only other multi-syllabic word English you know besides “muhfugguh”? ).

        What is it you are saying? We can’t mine iron ore or make steel without “ignorant” negroes? Uh, YES WE CAN, (we were for 5k years before we brought it to subsaharan apefrica where you were stabbing each other with firehardened sticks) DO, AND WILL CONTINUE TO. Sorry monkey, we don need ya. Don’t want ya. And whites (too many of whom have been apologizing for NO REASON) are woke and waking. You’re a 95-I.q. ape in semi-human form. We don’t need, want, or have ANY DESIRE to smell or clean up after you any more.

        • Anton Chigurrrh

          I must say 95 is too generous – it’s more like 65.

    • WhitePedophileGuy

      You white pigs need us. You will be molesting your kids like you enjoy doing while smoking meth and drinking mountain dew if were not here to stop you. 88% child sex crimes are committed by white males like you. Im sure you were molested as a child and now your upset at blacks about it. Go back to Europe you genetically mutated pig.

      • Scouticus

        Ah, another sheeeitskin who looks at crime stats, but doesn’t understand “per capita”. Well, little buck boy, the FBI’s crime stats evidence that, like with ALL crime, the American Pavement Ape outstrips whites in “pedophilia, domestic crime and crimes against children” by a factor of four as it does in murder (by forty to one), and forcible rape by several score multiples. But you’re an idiot groid, so when you get triggered (which is all the time) you make an ass of yourself. I love it when you bluegums spout your “pedophilia is white” bullsheeit, because it just shows how fcking stupid you are. Sheeeeeeeeittttt, all a KANG has to do is go to FBI dot gov and look at the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) to see your oft-eeped-and-ooked assertion is bullshit- and to see what neegashines you homo habilises get up to in the US every year. Not only do you faaaar out-pedophile us, you also faaaar out “serial kill” and “multiple shooter” us as well. See, finally, something the Americoon IS superior at- acting like an uncivilized child in an adult body! Go read them crime stats again after you understand “per capita”, there, Kunta Kinte!
        You say we “need” you LOL OK spider monkey…sheeeeeeit, kang, we only done spent two TRILLION DOLLARS on you worthless boons since about 1965. Sheeeeeeeeittttt, nigra- whitey be done havin a colony on Mars if not for takin care of you monkeys ! We don’t in the slightest “NEED” your antique farm equipment assss. If we subtracted the human and financial cost of all the pointless mayhem you ridiculous rabid chimps create, we’d erase the national debt. And that’s a fact, monkeybwah!

        And… we sure as sheeeit don’t “need” you. Cause, guess what, ape- now we got Mexicans. They’re far easier to get along with, they like us, we like them, and they hate you more than we do. So pack those Gucci trash bags, groidlet! Time to move out dat seckshun 8 housin whitey be payin fo and get on the next container ship to Liberia!

        • Anton Chigurrrh

          “We needz mo’ money fo’ dem programz. Da messkins be ethnikally kleanzing us!!”

  • Scouticus

    God, I hate you jiggers. I mean, I really, REALLY hate you. Not only are you full of shit eternally, because you are children in adult bodies, you eternally WHINE. Listen up: no MAN- of whatsoever race- WHINES. If you are supposedly “woke” wake the fugg up to THAT.

  • Thank you Akitunde for this article and I’m disappointed that the comment section has been overrun by internet trolls.

    I have witnessed and experienced similar situations with American volunteers here in Namibia where I live abroad. It is why I really feel these organizations have to do much better screening when it comes to the types of westerners they send to work on the African continent.

    My own experience was my natural hair being referred to as “freedom fighter” hair by white American volunteer teachers here in Namibia. These were Americans working with Black Namibian children with of course, the same hair texture as mine. Too many Americans are working in Africa with a condescending and ignorant attitude towards people of color.

    Thanks again for sharing this.

    • Ed

      You’re too sensitive.

  • Ed

    I’m Ghanaian-Americans. Ghanaians prize politeness, you physically committed an action. An action that would be easy to prove. Maybe you should learn some manners, if you think you can bring your akata ways to Ghana think again. I don’t believe she spat on you either. A white woman willing to travel to Ghana isn’t a reflexive unhinged racist. It doesn’t add up.

  • Ed

    This board could use a mod. How did all of these white supremacists end up here?

    • Scouticus

      We don’t have to be “white supremacists”. Whites ARE supreme. That’s why you’re typing in English on a computer and not banging rocks together and raping and eating babies in a mud hut in apefrica.

      Oh, but I forgot. You wuz kangs and sheeit. Blacks actually “invented” the modern world; Europeans just stolt eberytang wit dat big head “tricknology”.

      If nigs weren’t evolutionary throwbacks, THEY would rule the world. But whites do. And will continue to, despite your silly nonsense about our supposed demographic demise. See, nothing happens that we don’t allow, and you exist solely on our sufferance.