Monday, August 6, 2012

Perception is key.

Perception is so important.

You and I both know that.

Especially in the Nigerian Society.

In the words of Suliat, (Jennifa, a must watch movie), we all try to be "Bigx Girls an' Bigxz Boiz", that is  society's perception of us.

Going back slightly,

I went to a friends dinner once where I was asked by this handsome Bulgarian man, whether my parents were rich. I responded with silence. He asked again, failing to realise that I didn't know the pertinent answer.

I collected myself and stated, "How am I supposed to answer that?"

A Nigerian fellow who I just met that night, then stated,

"Just look at her, I mean from her face, to her clothes...of course her parents are rich!"

Now forgetting how deeply perturbed I was at that statement, that comes with all sorts of conclusions. I could be seen to be spoilt, bratty, never needing to work hard 'cause my parents have it all covered...etc.

To be honest, those who know me, know (I hope), that I am far away from any of those things. Just because I dress nicely, doesn't mean that I could be any of the things mentioned in the latter.

Looking deeper now at the underlying issue, the people I was hanging with, were of the same calibre myself. I mean we are all in School in England, we can all go out and have a nice time and buy expensive clothing. But yet, we are humble, down to earth people who work hard to excel in school.

Taking it a step further, if a Nigerian who is of the same social strata as me, can make such conclusions, then why won't a person who isn't as fortunate make the same conclusion? The fact is that they will.

This is what we sometimes call the inferiority complex. Which plagues a lot of people who are not very well off, and even sometimes, it exists amongst the upper classes. In their minds, because we have "sooo much money" then we won't miss a couple hundred thousand here or there. So, they feel they can use any emotional tool available, to expunge money from the upper classes. That is the worst line of thought available, but the upper class have it coming.

The lack of humility shown by those that are fortunate is saddening. Not only that, but when they have enough, they only want more. Over generalising here, a lot of Nigerian well to do families (I don't necessarily mean yours), have laundered money in the past or are currently doing so, stealing money from Nigeria. This is the money that is needed to ensure that the country can function effectively. Even if they don't, they parade around 'Naija' like Kings, not realising the butterfly effect of those actions.

A lot of the younger members of this upper class order, then grow up to be exactly like their parents. Their parents never got caught, how can they? Well, with the recent Ibori scandal, and a fellow family friends dirty laundry being brought out to air, states otherwise. Nigeria is yet to get better at prosecuting our own criminals, rather than letting other countries do so. (The legal system shall be discussed in another feature shortly).

If we really want Nigeria to change ,we need to make a stand. We need to show that we are a different sort of people. We need to show that we care a lot more, be more active in inciting change in Nigeria,. Not just talking but acting.

Think. Talk. Try. 
The title of another one of my features. Click below to check out that post.

I don't ever want to be perceived by any Nigerian, regardless of social class, that I am a spoilt rich kid who cares about nobody but themselves. You can then ask me, "Why should I care what people say?" - the truth is, that the more you pretend that people's opinions don't affect you, the more you lie to yourself. People's words and actions shape our decisions each and every day.

You can claim that "You don't give a damn." But sir/madam, you do.

This is all a cycle. If the upper classes actually act like they give a damn, seeing as they basically rule the country in all aspects, government, film, banking, law, etc. The lower classes mentality might actually change.

Someone once told me that,

"We are treading a fine line before the lower classes, jump off their bicycles and attack us in our cars. Look at the malice on their faces."

Let us not accept the totally wrong perception of ourselves. Let us prove them wrong and change our country.

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