Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Why are Nigerians always the bad guys?!?

Ok, so maybe "always" is a bit strong.


I watched District 9, a compelling sci-fi flick, over the weekend. I was enjoying the movie until they got to a scene about gangs running scams in a Johannesburg (South Africa) slum. Turns out they were Nigerians. I tucked this nugget of info away and proceeded to finish the movie. (It was pretty awesome and has a lot of parallels to today's world.)

For some reason, the scene with the Nigerians kept gnawing at me. The more I thought about it, the more indignant I became.
I thought about another one of my favorite films, the Bourne Identity. The deposed African dictator Jason Bourne is sent to kill is also Nigerian. How do I know this? He spoke Yoruba (my other language) in the film.

Granted, the fact that you've received emails from some supposed Nigerian prince or businessman who wants to share $5 million with you hasn't helped our case.
(That people still fall for those scams baffles me. Sometimes, you just can't fix stupid. But I digress.)

To make myself feel better, I did a quick Internet search for native-born Nigerians or folks of Nigerian descent who have not only brought a good name to the West African country and its people but have also contributed something good to the world.

Here's what I found (an incomplete list, of course):
-- Bobby Ologun (TV personality in Japan and mixed martial artist)
-- Chinua Achebe (writer. Did you read Things Fall Apart in school?)
-- Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy (Royal portrait artist)
-- Chiwetel Ejiofor (actor)
-- Hakeem Olajuwon (basketball player)
-- Sade Baderinwa (TV news anchor)
-- Seal (musician)
-- Wole Soyinka (poet, playwright, novelist)

Take that, Hollywood!


  1. You forgot to add your name to the list!

  2. I love my baby sister. Just saw her comment above. All I know about Nigerians is that they don't know personal space. Do you remember that boy from Gatlinburg Getaway who was all up in my space? I couldn't take it! I think his staff person had to explain how we have a personal bubble here in the states.

    In other news, I passed the Versatile Blog Award on to you! Stop by and pick it up! Happy blogging :).

  3. Lola--I've noticed this, too. Have you read Alexander McCall Smith's Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency books, which are set in Botswana? Nigerians are almost always the bad guys! And Mma. Ramotswe has a very low opinion of all Nigerians in general. I guess that Nigerians are kinda the Southerners of Africa. In the U.S., if you need to have a character in your story/TV show/movie who is stupid, genetically challenged, racist, small-thinking, duplicitous, and generally unpleasant to be around, you write a Southerner into the part.

  4. Great point, Kathy!
    Thanks for the award, Laura. I've looked at it but haven't had time to fill out the stuff it's asking about :)
    Lisa: you're sweet :)