Opinion: As bold, confident and resilient as a Nigerian, as rude as Jamaicans

by Simon Utsu

I did a write-up yesterday where I castigated the arrogance that oozed out of a popular Chinese newspaper’s article, where blacks, Indians and Pakistanis were profiled and despicable stuff written about them.

The debate that ensued in the comments section of my facebook write-up took a new dimension when a couple of my Nigerian friends said my claim that the Chinese were displaying their new-found arrogance with such a write-up was in fact false as Nigerians in general are an arrogant people. In my own little way, I’m a social scientist and usually take out time to study the behavioural patterns of people.

I make bold to say that with my several years of exposure to my fellow Nigerians at home and abroad, Nigerians aren’t in anyway an arrogant set of people, we’re simply resilient, bold and confident. Resilient in the sense that we can survive in the harshest conditions anywhere in the world.

Nigerians when exposed to better conditions abroad are capable of breaking grounds, be it in education, sports, entertainment, just name it. I won’t go into examples because they’re a plethora of them available- we hear of Nigerians winning prizes in literature, the sciences, medicine, the academia etc.

Bold in the sense that we always stand up to bad leadership. Right from the 80’s till date, Nigerians in their millions have always lent their voices to the fight against dictatorship and bad leadership. Slowly but surely, we’re getting to the promise land.

The only thing Nigerians lack at home an abroad is bonding- Nigerians are individualistic in nature, especially when they’re abroad and clanish back at home. Hence, I won’t agree with you if you say Nigerians are arrogant but I can agree with you if you say we love showing off; that’s a trait common amongst blacks all over the world; it’s a black thing.

If I’m to profile any group of people as arrogant, I think I’ll go with Jamaicans due to the number of personal experiences I’ve had with them.

First experience I had was somewhere in Yorkshire, UK many years ago. I went to the market to get some foodstuffs. I stopped by a Jamaican’s shed and was admiring the fruits on display. I then sighted some fresh Bananas or so I thought. To clarify, I asked the shop owner “Sir, is this plantain over here or its Banana”.

He pretended not to hear. When I asked again and again, thinking he wasn’t listening, he went ahead to scream in the usual Jamaican ‘bomboklaat’ voice “Rude buoy, you a don know what ah plantain is”? I took to my heels scared that he might just bring out a stash of Jamaican weed and stone me with it.

Second experience was a few months later in Central London. I was returning from an interview, walking along a windy road when a Jamaican busted out of a gambling house and started walking towards me. I was also walking towards him with my tie flying to and fro due to the gust of wind blowing when our paths crossed.

Without provocation, he blasted me with “change your tie blood, you wearing a fake tai”. “Was that necessary” I asked myself. If I remember correctly, the slim-tie I wore that day was made by Marks&spencers.

Next stop: About a year later, got into a taxi driven by a Jamaican man somewhere in Yorkshire. He seemed to be more cultured than the previous two I had encountered; I extrapolated immediately that he was middle class.

I went ahead induced a conversation and when we got talking, I found out he was Jamaican with mixed heritage and when he found out I was Nigerian, he kept speaking with an air of superiority. Telling me how his Jamaicans forefathers  were responsible for building most of the infrastructure in the UK.

The height of it was when he told me that the white British consider them(Jamaicans) superior to other blacks. “Gaddem it” I screamed to myself, does anyone’s opinion on your superiority or inferiority count? I was pissed and stylishly brought the conversation to an end.

One other experience I can remember was at the barbers. There was this Jamaican barbers shop I kept visiting in Yorkshire. The Jamaican barbers never took to instructions, they only did what they felt was good for you. Well, as expected, I changed my barber; I started patronising some Congolese guys who were more patient and even better at the job of barbing.

My final example as to the national attitude of the Jamaicans is in fact a quintessential one; their most prominent athlete at the moment. Even if the mainstream media are very careful not to call Usain Bolt arrogant, the perception of the average sports enthusiast is that he is.

How can an athlete in his second olympics(London), after winning his second treble claim he’s the greatest Olympian of all time? That to me was unnecessary and an outright display of inherent cockiness and stark arrogance from Jamaica’s number one ambassador to the world! On the lighter note, maybe that’s why Jamaicans refer to each other as “Rudeboy” or “Rude Girl”.

To end this write-up, I would like to tell my other friend who referred to Lagosians as arrogant that Lagosians aren’t. Lagos like London, is a fast city. Hence, people are impatient and usually don’t have time to entertain questions from newbees; JJC’s.

So if you’re in Lagos for the first time and you notice people ignoring you, your greetings or your questions, just know that it’s the Lagos state of mind; which is the state of mind in most mega cities worldwide.

Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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