Editor’s Note: Here’s another one I wrote a while back. Procrastination truly is the devil. Anyway, enjoy!
That was the comment I left after watching Evelyn from The Internets’ video about national identity. As promised, here is what I have to say.
First and foremost I am Black. That it my race and social identifier as that is all people know about me. Once we get that out of the way I am British. Now, as I stated in my comment I am born of Nigerian parents but was born and raised in London, UK. All I know is London. I understand the lifestyle and the struggles because I am a Londoner.
I can remember as far as I can think back, my mum and all our family friends saying that I behave like a white girl (whatever that means) and that I don’t act like a Nigerian. This happened mostly while I was in Primary School and was the token black girl. However, in my mind I’ve always been the African girl, most specifically the Nigerian girl, amongst all of my friends. As I’ve grown up my mum has expressed her relief that I have nice black friends (both Caribbean and African) who are in tune with our culture. I personally have never wanted to be white and have had a strong sense of pride in being black, especially growing up with shows like Moesha and Sister Sister that all my white friends admired and spoke so highly of.
After being British, I am Nigerian. I relate with the culture because I was raised in a Nigerian household. I eat Nigerian food. I understand Yoruba (a Nigerian dialect) and Pidgin English (broken English). Now this is where it gets complicated, because if I you ask me where I’m from I won’t say West London as I used to say throughout High School, I’ll say I am Nigerian.
I think, due to the household I was raised in and the culture that I’ve grown to completely embrace I now identify with it. Especially in a place like London where everyone is very distinct with their background as we have strong communities around the city based upon where we are from. You know Polish people are the majority in a particular place because you’ll see the Polish shops around, you know Caribbean’s are in the majority in another area because you’ll see the bakeries and food stores around and you know Nigerians are in the majority because you’ll see a string of restaurants within a 5 mile radius. These communities that are becoming more prevalent make it easier to become more connected with your culture outside of your household.
However, as patriotic as I am about being Nigerian I know that Nigerians born and raised in Nigeria don’t look at me as a Nigerian, especially when I travel over there. Despite the fact that I have a Nigerian passport, I’m the Britico girl who they think doesn’t understand a word they say while try to stick me for my paper while I’m out buying CDs and DVDs in Alaba Market.
The bottom line is I am a British girl but I’m also a Nigerian girl. I’m a Londoner more than anything else but because of my culture and morals that I’ve been brought up with I will wave that Nigerian flag forever until I die and talk my talk in my authentic British accent but put you in your place with my serious Nigerian accent and yoruba/pidgin/British English (it makes sense when you hear it) . In short, #yougofear