THE BLANKET: YOU ARE NOT WHERE YOU COME FROM

“Americans are irreverent.”

“Nigerians are scammers”.

“Arabs are cheats.”

These comments (or things like them) are said about people of specific nationalities and ethnicities on the daily. And for the most part, this sort of labeling passes unchallenged, because it’s more frequently done in group conversations involving people who actually believe that individual behavior can be put down to the purported tendencies of the societies from which they originate.

Interestingly, many of these people will resist attempts from others to slap the same sort of negative group labels on them. They will claim exceptions for their own individuality, perhaps even reject derogatory descriptions of members of their group.

A lot of us have done these things at some point in our lives. Some of us still actively identify the behavior of individuals with popular stereotypes of their countries or cities of origin.

If you’re reading this right now, your default response might be to “condemn negative stereotypes” and “encourage us to see one another as unique in ourselves.”

Of course, there are irreverent people, scammers, and cheats in every ethnic group, country, or race. In any case, there’s next to no empirical evidence that any specific nationalities are more given to doing bad things than others.

The problem with blanket statements, positive or negative, is that they significantly distort reality. They tell us that things are as they are not. And these distortions have serious consequences.

There’s one obvious example. Young children don’t seem to mind about the colour of their friend’s skin or where they are from, until they get exposed to negative social ideas about race and their parent’s take on geopolitics.  As they grow, they pick these ideas up. By adulthood, they have acquired a full set of stereotypes which they’re ready to slap on to the next available target.

That’s a very easy takedown.

But what about positive cultural stereotypes then? Do we give those a pass?

We suggest not. Claiming that the Chinese are accommodating by default simply glosses over a sizeable number of instances in which Chinese people have treated strangers badly.

But there are consequences for so-called positive stereotypes as well. When we say that an ethnic group has some fantastically good qualities just by virtue of their being that ethnic group, we’re claiming that ‘goodness’ is expected of people of that group by default. In reality, it’s wishful thinking (and even dangerous) to trust that ethnic identity will confer positive traits by themselves.

It’s wishful thinking because selfishness, the default human tendency, eventually rears its head even among the most ‘pleasant’ people, if we hang around them long enough. It’s dangerous because it sets us up to be disappointed, to lose the trust we have invested in people, and to despise them for disappointing us.

In the end, we are individuals, with a capacity for both good and evil. Our expressions of these things may vary according to our environments (and some stereotypes may be drawn from characters that actually exist). But this doesn’t change our individuality. It doesn’t make us any less human in God’s eyes.

This rings true for Christians, united as we are by our faith in Jesus. As the apostle Paul says in Galatians 3:28,

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

 

Ikenna Nwachukwu & Ezeonyeka Godswill.

Evolve

Man.
Lord of the earth, unknowing.
Born Heroes; living victims.
Black Panthers scared shitless.
Superintendents gone puny.
Sad.

Man.
So primitive. So common. Like dirt.
As is the sunrise.
Aye, it doesn’t make him, nor the sunrise,
Any less a miracle; any less a beauty.
But then…

Man.
“Ye are Gods,” I heard Him say.
Creators, made He you.
But it’s sad.
You only live as pawns on a chessboard.
And you die like mere scum of the earth.
Who knew the hashtag was truth, after all.
Men are scum, indeed.

Man.
Oh, man.
Pity! PITY!
I mean, you share a last name with Deity!
With Yahweh Himself!
Oh, that you knew thyself!
And, that, to thy sweet self, you be true.

Man.
Do not your dreams whisper to you
The destiny of your race?
Do not your superheroes, your folklores, your movies
Point towards mastery?
And power?
And love?

Man.
Does not your genius, your spirit
Nudge you ever so silently
To rule from the top of the rainbow?
To conquer the sky you’ve agreed is your limit?

Who has deceived you?
Oh, man!
“Evolve, man!
Evolve!”
Eternity screams.
Immortality beckons.

But no. You’ll read this poem, this call,
And just move on.
Sadly.
Oh!
Man!

Nonso John
© 2019

For love only

I thought I knew strength, what I thought
I felt I needn’t do what I ought
I was wrong, so I blamed my strife
Follow me and you’ll have eternal life
These words I didn’t heed
I was that rebellious seed
Though aware of this grace, I was no bolt in this race
Adam where art thou? I hid my face
I had gone against truth, tasted the forbidden fruit

Surely I still had time, I said
But any hope in this very lie was dead
“The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief…
But I kept sinning, ignoring my belief
“The wages of sin is death…
Mine drew closer with every breath

This cliché have I heard, the thousandth time
Repent or eternal death; the clergy rhyme
So at times I wondered, beyond and under
Is Hell a yonder? Or should I even bother?
If this suffering, they speak is somewhat real
maybe the safe side is where I’d rather be
So yes, I did consider

What if I got saved, or take a break from life o’er there
I would still be lost, neither here nor there
“Thou shall love the Lord your God…
I knew mine wasn’t love; Just the fear of hell
Maybe it was the same if no one could tell
So I walked in hands open, heart closed.

“By me if any man enter in, he shall be saved..
I walked in and didn’t come out the same
I didn’t come out at all.
I thought he was blinded by his love
But it made him see what even I couldn’t
Coz even when I despised him, he loved me
He still does, and always will.
Oh! and this time I love him too

Erudite
© 2019

Let these lines stand proof i said it: the reply

On this day I found my thirst
I am life for no love I thirst
Am disgraced by just this grace
Let these lines stand as proof… I said it

Thirst or not, write or wrung
Life and love, none or more
Grace or Craze, choose a race
Let these lines stand proof I said it…in your face!

Davnique like Blyton, having a need
To be a little spectacular, not today indeed
Blowing my mind like a volcano freed
Let these lines stand proof I said it

Oh, una sun start
They say is four lines me I need like eight stat!
But you should landscape your screen before you count it
Let these lines stand proof that I said it

Script beauty let my Baby act it
Forge next year let me yesterday it
And I began already when I thought about it
Let these lines stand proof I said it

Stand proof I said it
Arm me with the truth Bros
So I can Arya Stark deathly hallows
Many seek hilled woods till my pens speak
Let these lines stand proof… I said it!

His tree will be mighty
If to my Yahweh him go bend knee
For to live is Christ and Paul thought this
“Let these lines stand proof I said it.”

Nonso-sama
Kinda who I’d rather read than give answer
But lemme say I miss you Big Papa
Let these lines stand proof, I said it; instanta

The Niel
Felzpoecy
© 2019

ETERNAL LIFE

it was so much joy
That day I joined the life
In the race of men
I gave my first smile, looking into her face who gave me life
While mouth stocked to her chest gulping out desperately a white river
A white river that would make me strong and grow

Day by day I got to know how life is
The sweetness of it and the sour it gives
How good life could be and how evil could penetrate
I only know the first life given from a woman
But as time grows
I begin to see despite life was given life itself could be taken too

I see the young and old been taken
Taken not from the woman who gave it
But taken from another life named death
Death I was told it’s also a life
Another life not to live walking
A life laying silently below the ground
Soundless, only the cracking walking sounds of termites feasting on every part beneath the ground

One morning ,I walked down with mama to a place
Under a shield filled with different faces
Looking lost but wanting more
There , I got to know of another life
Far better than the life from a woman and the life beneath the ground

I heard of the third life
A life flowing with milk and honey
A life of peace without stress
A life which know no sickness nor sorrow
A life forever more with no endings reigning with kings and Angels
A life bought by a boy called Beloveth Son
Who give to it freely with His blood
Blood bonding is as one
That whoever believeth in Him should not perish
But have Eternal life

Deeyoke
©2019

Freedom

I want to be free to live,
A life free from difficulty,
A life with no tragedy

I want to be free to walk,
walk and never be stopped
Free to walk away from that sin that enslaved me,
Free to confront the devil that estranged me

I want to be free to speak,
Oh let my tongue leak, the truth.
I want to be free to spill out words that heal,
Words that plant and uproot futile roots

I want to be free to see,
See beyond diverse challenges,
See an adventure in the midst of peril

I want to be free to smile,
A smile that brightens and brings joy to a troubled mind and uplifts the weary heart

I want to be free to dream,
Dreams that are not assaulted by ferocious nightmares,
Dreams that give the assurance of a bright future

I want to be free to give,
Give without demanding to receive
Free to give myself up, just as Christ did for us

I want to be free to worship,
Acknowledging him who has dominion and lordship

I want to be free to love,
Unconditionally, exclusively and indefinitely

I want to be free to be the creators poet,
Free to get my papers wet,
With blue blood as they surge freely through my pen

I want to be free to write my piece,
Without chaos afflicting my peace

I want to be free to be the “me” that I’m supposed to be,
Not regarding people’s thoughts and opinions of me

I want to be free from pressures,
Free from peer pressures that accelerates my blood pressure
Free from living to measure up and forgetting his “treasure up”

I want to be free from the shadows of my past,
Free to take off this obfuscating mask
I know I committed crimes and crossed lines but I want to be free to bask in his ever redeeming light,
Free to actualize that in Christ, I am worth a Jew’s eye

I want to be free
According to God’s will
Flourishing like the flowers
Gushing with full strength like the waters
And as a tree planted near the rivers whose root spreads across like the garment of a diva

I want to be free expanding in knowledge
thrilling in the realm of possibilities
healing the broken souls with those words gifted from above

So, I desire to be free
Free from the seal of fear and jest
Free from imperfections and wrong decisions
Free the rain of confusion that overwhelms the kingdom on the inside,
Free from the floods of lust that empties grace
And takes away God’s face
I need to be free!
clothed with righteousness on the race
Nurtured on the way
Living to become my very best

Princess
The Alchemist
© 2019.

CHRONICLES OF A DROWNING MIND

Dead zone
Broken soul
Scary shadows
Those are rhythms of a poor old kid
Whose ways never pleased anyone, not even herself.

No hope
Buried grace
Weak for the race
Those are top list words recorded in the word billboard of her mind
She used to be of the royal line
But now goodness turned to lime
She sees God’s intentions as the least
Her faith so rusty and loosen like an abandoned screw
There she becomes a beast that feast with the devil.

Records of heart failures
Impotent to believe the best inside
Drenched with the thoughts of discovery
Draining in the memory lane of no understanding
Tears from the sole of the heart dripping down like flood yet none sees these flood of questions buried in tears

Travelling alone in travail… I weep in smiles…
Because in my green days have I grown grey because am yet to discover the me in me

In silenced smiles I’m drown in fears because my mind has become aged in thoughts

Hold my weeping mind
Embrace my tears in warmth,
Caress me with words of rescue
Carry me in the wings of warmth understanding
For I drown in silence

Oh…save me from this destiny device
For I transit into the groove of eternity
My powerhouse drowns
I plead for restoration if that exist
I seek for redemption for this battle is beyond me

Nonye
The Alchemist
© 2019

Keep moving

It’s deadly, It’s dangerous,
Was purely invented to endanger us,
It may not seem so now, but don’t forget,
It’s real,
And like a diabetic sore it doesn’t always heal,
A scary arrow we should beware of,
It’s a tranquilizer that takes years to wear off,
It keeps you there,
Trapped in illusions of self satisfaction,
Smeared with delusions so you shelf you actions,
It leaves you bare,
And freed from the hustle we all tread,

Your life becomes a repetition of hard lies,
You raised the stakes, laze, pride, your new allies,
Quick to gloat,
Mr Ambassador for past glory, enemy of growth,
You continue everyday in this same place,
“I’ll do it later” is your super phrase,
But you are in the race,
Moving on and nowhere with zero pace,

To Grace, you become yesterday’s testament,
Of shame, you adorn today’s garment,
Of Hope, you are tomorrow’s predicament,
Oh fool! when will ye be wise? Proverbs asks,
Baba doesn’t need a curriculum vitae to endorse us,
If not our sins would make a pretty bad CV,
So don’t hold back,

Take a step forward from where you are,
Take a swing upwards to raise the axe,
The laborers are few,
And that includes you,
Because the sharpest if abandoned becomes blunt,
And if you are useless another He’ll appoint,
Remember, It’s a race,
And you are not running if you remain at a point.

Erudite
© 2018