Monday, October 15, 2018

Chad's Neighbor... Niger!

Last week Mebbie was super stoked for the opportunity to stand in front of her class and share a little bit about Brighton Their World!

Her teacher had offered for her class to write encouraging letters to the students at Brighton Academy and Mebbie was proud to stand up and share about how we got there.

But satan absolutely hates when we glorify God through our lives and our stories - so he decided to come to Mebbie's class that day and disrupt like only he can.

After the presentation - the map of Africa was still up when a kid in class started laughing and telling everybody to "Look at the country beside Chad."

In case your geography is hazy - that country is NIGER. He was then laughing loudly and saying "I'm just thinking about something that's really funny."

Two days pass... and Mebbie finds herself in a group with this same student - and he brings it up again to the entire group and said again that "it was so funny..." and other students asked him "whats funny?" and that's when he said (while laughing):

"It's a word that's offensive to people who look like Mebbie..."

Uh.... no.

And not just no... but HELL NO!

We addressed this quickly with the school - and tonight I asked Mebbie if she wanted to share this story - if for anything to help people be aware that racism sucks and is super dumb - and to help educate folks.

With a beaming smile, she said "YES!"

So - since our classroom racist was all about the country of Niger (which he was mispronouncing in his teeny tiny itty bitty misinformed head) - let's start there with some facts!

  • Niger is a country located to the west of Chad between the Saharan and Sub-Saharan region on the continent of Africa.

  • Niger covers a land area of almost 490,000 sq mi, making it the largest country in West Africa.

  • Over 80% of its land area lies in the Sahara Desert.

  • The capital city is Niamey, located in Niger’s southwest corner.

  • The economy is concentrated around subsistence, with some export agriculture in the more fertile south, and export of raw materials, especially uranium ore.

  • Since independence, Nigerians have lived under five constitutions and three periods of military rule. After the military coup in 2010, Niger became a democratic, multi-party state. A majority of the population lives in rural areas, and have little access to advanced education.

  • Niger faces serious challenges to development due to its landlocked position, desert terrain, inefficient agriculture, the poor educational level and the poverty of its people, the lack of infrastructure, the poor health care, and the environmental degradation.

  • The official language is French.

"But wait... there's more!" Mebbie says as she points out where Ethiopia is in proximity to Niger.
  • Humans have lived in what is now Niger from the earliest times.

  • In the 19th century, contact with Europe began when the first European explorers explored the area searching for the mouth of the Niger River.

  • The country is named after the Niger River.

  • The cuisine of Niger takes after many traditional African cuisines, and a significant amount of spices are used in dishes. Grilled meat, seasonal vegetables, salads and various sauces are some of the foods consumed.

  • Horse racing, camel racing and sorro wrestling are some of the traditional sports in Niger that were firmly entrenched in their culture. Sorro Wrestling is known as the “King of Sports” in the country.

  • The W National Park is a major national park in West Africa around a meander in the River Niger shaped like a “W”. The park includes areas of the three countries Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso, and is governed by the three governments. The park is known for its large mammals, including aardvarks, baboons, buffalo, caracal, cheetahs, elephants, hippopotami, African leopards, West African lions, serval and warthogs.
So how's that for some information on the great country of Niger?

And guess what silly classroom racist? NONE of this is offensive to people who look like Mebbie.

Not a single piece of it.

You're confusing "Niger" with a stupid, little, demeaning, belittling, degrading, ugly, hurtful and mean-spirited word you have in your head because you don't quite know how to spell just yet.

But this time - you picked the wrong little girl in the wrong family as the target of your hate.

So let's recap...

Racism is super dumb.

So don't be a dummy!

It's also super ugly, super mean and super gross too.

And racism sucks. Always.

So try really hard to not be a racist, okay?

And if ya work towards that - we'll all be smiling... and remember...

Niger is a beautiful country in Africa and it's not offensive to Mebbie AT ALL!

1 comment:

adrian.crawford said...

Alysia, here...
Man we’re dealing with the same dumb garbage in various ways at our kids schools... this week our high schooler’s lit teacher decided to give his thoughts on Ebonics. I’m currently formulating my plan to communicate with him... esp since he ended the lesson by approaching Anna’s black friend with, “What’s up, brother?” Evidently he focused on the mocking aspects of it instead of the complex history behind it... an incredibly lost opportunity for her class. Our education system is designed to keep our country convinced that white imperialism- even in its most hidden and mutated forms- is the system that holds our country together. They build fear into the ideas that draw our dependency away from this imperialism. But families like yours (and I pray ours) will be part of demanding a new education- one based on TRUTH that’s been buried time and time again. This quote reminds me that Truth will always find a way:
“If you shut up truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow, and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through it will blow up everything in its way.” Emile’ Zola
May we all be those that allow truth to burst forth. Stay strong πŸ’ͺ🏼πŸ’ͺ🏽πŸ’ͺ🏾
And a THANK YOU for telling the truth to your kids!!!! This next generation will need to make up for a multitude of our current sins