Yes, this is your quintessential ‘do not judge by the cover’ discourse. So strap-on, get your ‘hmms’ and ‘ahhs’ ready, as you revisit what you already know, or perhaps, and hopefully, learn something new.
“As-salamu alaykum” — a man who I presume to be muslim said to me, as I strolled through the fruits-section of a Tesco store. I nodded my head in acknowledgement of his greeting: 1)because I did not know how to answer, and 2) because I am not a muslim. Carrying a full beard comes with certain presumptions, and I have no qualms with it.
Bigotry however, is the thorn in my flesh.
“They should go back to their village and develop it” — a Nigerian acquaintance said to me on a bus headed to town. My frontal lobe experienced several explosions, as I gazed at him to gauge the level of his seriousness and how oblivious of his bigotry he had become. I argued that Lagos belonged to all Nigerians, including the igbos, and not just the yorubas. I dared to bring up the atrocities of the Biafra War, — starving igbo children and dry-breasted nursing mothers, to which he replied: “so we should have let them take our oil away?”
Why is Lagos ours, but the oil on eastern land not theirs?
Behind this seeming bigot, is a nice, church-going guy, who I think is an absolute gentleman. Maybe I am being judgemental in calling him a bigot.
Are we selectively bigoted or prejudice? Do you have a deep resentment for the transgender folk, but bear no grudges against homosexuals? Do you hate racism but view tribalism as fair game? Is there a line between bigotry and opposing another’s lifestyle choice? and where is this line drawn?
Whilst we do have our innate and subconscious propensities towards certain prejudices, can’t we live harmoniously? Can we accept that society has problems to be discussed and discoursed? Can’t we agree, and agree to disagree, without disagreeing to agree?
So, whether or not my goatee makes me look like a stereotypical mallam; or I like to talk about Christ, the least you can do is treat me the way you want to be treated: It is the golden rule.