So still out of the surgery, a waste of a morning, the bloody was obsessed with my abdomen, telling me to go for a blood test for malaria, the issue is with my nose. I have a headache because I am not breathing properly and having breaks in my sleeping pattern because of it, I have lived with this body now for 34 years and 362 days, I think I should know if the problem was malaria. I walked out minus a prescription and straight to the pharmacy. My body is antibiotics’d out and I know what will happen, the test results will come back negative but she will prescribe me them anyway, I am sure these doctors get some kind of commission on those and anti malarial tablets, nothing for the headache maybe some paracetamol which is as effective as chewing white chalk, and send me on my way. The doctor was more concerned about the people that were barging in and out, like I could have been undressed and somebody would have walked in without a care in the world with whatever trivial matter they had walked in with. If I am forced to get a sick note, I will go back to the hospital but I refuse to spend the whole day just for the fun of yanking out my blood from my veins.
While I was waiting, I was checking out my facebook friends’ posts. My friend Russ signed me up on this group called the debators. Basically a forum for intellectual black folk to bring up an issue for discussion. I am a bit of a lurcher to this page, I haven’t actually participated in any of the discussions. Today there was one discussion that caught my eye. It was a discussion about black female role models, and Condaleeaza Rice was not included amongst them. In fact she is quite the villain against the black community. Once person said, it’s because she went up the elevator but refuses to send it back down.
It gets me wondering. There are a lot of we of African origin who have taken the elevator to the top but are refusing to send it back down to give the rest of us a chance. Why is that? This is especially ripe amongst we women although our men too can be just as bad. A cousin of mine works in housing, I had put my name on the housing list years back but as I was single, no child and thus not on the priority list, I had more or less dropped off their radar. My parents had asked me to ask him. He’s family, why shouldn’t he, but I couldn’t. Why, because we had a conversation once and he told me that he never tells anyone where he works because (especially his relatives) will be begging him for a house. I got what he meant, he would be considered the family housing officer and if he does for one he would have to do for all. However I didn’t feel it was fair to put us all in the same bracket. But what could I say, he wasn’t willing to help me, so I didn’t bother to ask.
I find that especially in UK and even here in Ghana, we attach ourselves to the whites and jump on their backs to reach the top, then we jump off and there we stay, we are almost resentful if another black finds their way to our side of the fence and in some cases will ensure that they manage to open the elevator door and push them back down to the ground. One day in my younger partying days, me and my friend Z were invited to a club by a colleague where we worked. A club in the back streets of Holborn playing that techno crap, we were bored out of our brains being ladies who listen to R&B and what was worse is that we were literally the only black people there amongst all these long leggy blondes and brunettes high on E’s. We went into the ladies washroom where we met another black lady and we voiced our relief out loud. The response from this girl was a look that said “who me, black, you must be mistaken, please don’t mug me you vaggerbonds”. We looked at each other like we got told and went back to our original thought that we were the only two black people in the club. As far as she was concerned, she got in to the elevator with her obroni counterparts and we should stay on the ground floor and clean the lobby.
It is not like that with the Indians. I remember in my last department before I left, there was one Asian guy who had started after me we were at the same level. His Asian colleague helped him to get managerial exposure by attaching one person under him (another asian), because of that exposure, he was promoted quicker and the lady under him was promoted too. Of course I was furious that there was this bias in the camp, but I also admired the fact that they had helped each other.
My own black female manager, when I first started, I quite naively thought that being a black female with experience in this sector, I could take her as my mentor and help me get on the elevator at least. Fresh out of university I probably wanted to get on a few floors ahead of my experience but still isn’t that the point of going to university. It wasn’t the case, in fact she went to great pains to make it known that she got on the ground floor and walked up, even if my education was more than hers, I would be walking up too. After 8 months in the company, there was a chance for promotion, I felt that I was right for it, but she was my boss so it had to go through her. She was a bit hesitant for me to go but said she would discuss with her boss, another black female. Her answer was, I had not been there long enough so I should wait. The job I was doing was photocopying bundles of court documents together and sending them out, basic admin, the senior position would mean I would get to go to court and somebody else would do the photocopying but the same job, maybe advanced admin, it didn’t even require using much of my brain, its not like I would be writing legal arguments. Well put it this way, I am thankful for the people around me both black and white who allowed me to get to the next floor otherwise I would still be waiting for the elevator.
Now to play devils advocate a bit. Truly, some of us are lazy. Put them in a position of authority and they will mess it up. Some of us feel that we can just feed of other people’s hard work. They sit at home waiting for their chop money to arrive and will not use a penny of it to even attempt to turn it into a pound. There are those you help to get a job, they don’t turn up on time, they spend all day on the internet and at the end of the month blow the cash on booze and good food. For those people, I wouldn’t even recommend even holding the door open, its just a waste of time. But there are some of us also, who just need a chance, just catch a break, they are not asking for help all the way to the top but just asking for a shoe in a chance to show their abilities but are not even given a look in. We see many rich white folk and celebrities (all types) throwing charity events, making donations for all types of causes from saving a tree to saving a life. Although less than 10% of Ghanaians and Nigerians are rich of those that are, they have a lot more money than even the highest paid celebrities in America. Yet how many donate money to charity, how many would donate time to go and visit a school whereby they are being taught under the trees just to see what the people are going through. Even the MP’s, most of them really only go and visit their constituency during election time to buy votes, the rest of the time he is going on holidays to Dubai and renovating his home.
India is a developing nation yet we in Ghana import our raw material from them. If they could gather themselves together to get to where they are now, why can’t we. We need to help each other more, we also need to take advantage of each other less. Then and only then can we start rubbing shoulders with the best. We need to send the elevator back down, and for those at the bottom getting into the elevator, make good use of the ride. Then we will not have to look for others to make us feel good about ourselves.
A powerful and thought provoking post. I could not agree more.