As the United States of America continues to confront its legacy of racism and inequality, the #BlackLivesMatter movement has its work cut out speaking out against police brutality. It is an uphill task though, with public persons like the disgraced Bill O’Reilly going on record to equate blackness with crime.
Statistics have shown these views to be extremely damaging but the problem of inclusion remains an underlying problem with black communities. Kids in white communities are provided with basic tools for personal growth and development, while black children on the other side of the spectrum, lack in things as essential as a decent educational system. Reduced funding for schools, access to healthcare and basic incentives tend to hit predominantly black communities the hardest.
On the flip side, recent news reports revealed that children who were given access to free eye care and eyeglasses performed better in schools.
As it is in the big old USA, so is it in Nigeria. Not limited to tribal lines, but across board. A report from the World Bank Factbook puts poverty in Nigeria at a whopping 70%. This means that a staggering number of poor people are not just attending terrible schools, but are now leaving school to become breadwinners.
Two filmmakers, Ifeoma Nkiruka Chukwuogo and Diji Aderogba have taken deep dives into this malaise with their respective short films. According to these films, children are whiteboards until life events shape them into the adults that they become.
Without mincing words, these two projects make for great activism material while presenting a clear picture of Nigeria and Africa at large. Children should be allowed to be children so they can mature into functioning adults who do not bear the burden of their parents’ social and economic responsibilities.
Oluwatosin Adeshokan is a freelance journalist and writer reporting stories about West Africa. He was previously the Culture Editor for YNaija. He tweets at @TheOluwatosin