“Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the colour of your skin? To such extent you bleach, to get like the white man. Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips? Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet? Who taught you to hate your own kind? Who taught you to hate the race that you belong to so much so that you don't want to be around each other? No... Before you come asking Mr. Muhammad does he teach hate, you should ask yourself who taught you to hate being what God made you. We don't steal, we don't gamble, we don't lie and we don't cheat.

You can't get into a whiskey bottle without getting past a government seal. You can't buy a deck of cards without getting past a government seal. Here the white man makes the whiskey then puts you in jail for getting drunk. He sells you the cards and the dice and puts you in jail when he catches you using them.

The most disrespected woman in America, is the black woman. The most un-protected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America, is the black woman. And as Muslims, the honourable Elijah Muhammed teaches us to respect, our women, and to protect our women. And the only time a Muslim gets real violent, is when someone goes to molest his woman. We will kill you, for our women I'm making it plain yes, we will kill you for our women. We believe that if the white man, will do whatever is necessary, to see that his woman get respect and protection, then you and I will never be recognized as men. Until we stand up like men and pays the same penalty over the head of anyone, who puts his filthy hands out, to put it in a direction of our women....”

-(Malcolm X – May 22, 1962, Los Angeles speech on black-on black violence).

Contrast this with what is happening in South Africa…then read the next excerpt on the back race.

 Black Man Still In a Dilemma

“This book is about the problems of the black race. I have tried to find reasons why the black man’s membership of the human family has never been on the basis of genuine equality and the reasons the black race is backward. I have examined the black man’s past, his stupidities and unexplored challenges. I have raised many hard questions, which challenge the very nature of the black society, its long-standing values, beliefs and institutions.

My observations and conclusions have relevance to all black peoples who lived in Africa in the period before the slave trade and colonialism, the black peoples of the new nations of Africa and those who are still under foreign domination as well as the blacks in the United States, South America, the Caribbean and Europe. In short, this book is about black peoples throughout the world.

The concept of the black personality is becoming increasingly popular. Culturally, the concept is believed to be deep-seated desire of the black race to reach out for its past and the peculiar contributions, which our race had made and may make to world culture and civilisation. Politically, the concept of black personality connotes the assertion of equality of black peoples with other races. And the political aspect of black of black concept has become increasingly important with attainment of independence by many African countries.

But I believe that concepts like black personality or Negritude will remain empty slogans unless it helps black peoples to embark on a candid self-examination of the past, their present and their future. It is the belief that that black peoples are today leaving the substance for the shadow that prompted me to write this book.

And in this study, I have come up with the sad discovery that the much-vaunted black man’s contributions to civilisation are comparatively negligible. Africa, in particular and the black world, in general, have contributed very little to modern world and the enrichment to civilisation. For if truth be known, we are just backward.

This view is bases on an assumption that the different races of the world came into existence at the same time. Of general significance is the possibility that our contributions to civilisation may continue to be insignificant hundreds of years from now unless we critically and honestly find out why in all the crises of man’s story, our race has always been the underdog.

We must admit the fact of our backwardness. We must ignore the liberal white scholars who exaggerate our past contributions to civilisation.

After all, our black ancestors were as civilised as some liberal scholars would want us to believe, we must be able to find unmistakable evidence of their concrete achievements in Africa. For instance, the English, the Chinese, the Egyptians, or the Japanese, can point to their ancestors’ great achievements in terms of buildings, works of art and inventions.

Some writers have attributed our relative backwardness to black man’s mental inferiority in comparison with Caucasian and other races. These are to my mind, extreme views. These are theories, which regard the black race as sub-human and genetically inferior to other races. But after an elaborate examination of the intelligence test studies, I have come to the conclusion that there is no genetical intellectual superiority of the white man over the black man as such. The range of mental groups is the same among all races and throughout the world. There is abundant evidence of black men who have clearly excelled the white men in various aspects of human endeavours. Even then, I have come to the inescapable conclusion that factors like the black man’s colonial past, the crippling effect of the slave trade to him, nature’s kindness to him, his isolation, climatic conditions and neo-colonialism in the new black states of Africa, the Caribbean and South America have, to varying degrees, conditioned our intellect, our life outlook and our identity. These factors have adversely affected our creativity and originality.

For instance, the social effects of colonialism have degraded and dehumanised the black peoples. The great historical wrong done to blacks through the slave trade and colonialism constitutes an important explanation for our backwardness.

But the strange thing about our race is that other races have, in the past, been similarly enslaved and colonised. But these other races broke the shackles of slavery and domination, reached great heights and in many cases excelled their oppressors in contribution to civilisation.

But the black man has, for too long, looked for scapegoats for his many problems. He has, therefore, become his own worst enemy. It means our salvation as a race depends on our ability to honestly and candidly examine our limitations and weaknesses. We must find out why we have, for centuries remained poor imitators of the Caucasian race. The present great pride in our cultural heritage is significant only if it helps us to reshape towards new goals and purposes.

Pride in our past is meaningful only if it becomes a source of strength for great achievements in science and technology by some of the free black nations of the world. Pride in our past is meaningful if it enables, at least, a black nation to make an original breakthrough to modernity. Nkrumah’s Ghana, Guinea, Tanzania, Guyana, and Nigeria since July, 1975 coup, had sought or have been seeking original solutions to their problems of development. They have thinking and progressive leaders, but these are so few in relation to many black states that are helpless and have no sense of direction.

Civilisation is a heritage of mankind. It is not a native of any region. It is not an exclusive contribution of any race. May races have contributed to civilisation through contacts. But unless the black race makes its own significant contributions to civilisation, our race will continue to be pitied or at best merely tolerated like all beggars. We will continue to be world’s underdog. To make it, the black man needs a hurricane of change known as revolution. He needs a complete mental revolution. But it appears to me that a great majority of the back middle class are not ready for this. Here lies the black man’s dilemma....”

(This is a Preface to the 1976 edition of Areoye Oyebola’s book, a classic, titled, ‘BLACK MAN’S DILEMMA’, which is relevant at this time when Africa’s fate is being discussed in the context of a clash of the two titans, Nigeria and South Africa at this moment.


Something not so prominent but quite significant happened in Kano last week and the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, a law professor, witnessed and praised the initiative. It was the launch of free and compulsory basic and secondary education in Kano State, amidst widespread and devastating effects of Boko Haram insurgency in northern region. I was there for a two-day summit on the free-and compulsory education policy that will somewhat be the fundamental objective and directive principle of state policy of the second term of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s second term in office. I was privileged to be there. I took copious notes and I saw some obvious danger signals between the north and the south that the Buhari administration has to begin to address. I will give details of the challenge later. But read this excerpt from the Vice President’s keynote on the occasion. It is instructive about what all governors in the core north should copy instead of lamenting about the effects of Boko Haram and posing with criminals for meretricious photo opportunities in Katsina state, for instance.

‘…One of the expected critical outcomes of our efforts to expand access to basic education is the attainment of Mr. President’s commitment to lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next decade.

Indeed, it is our conviction that the inclusive prosperity we seek requires a commitment to inclusive education. This means addressing class, regional and gender-based disparities in access to education…. Kano lies at the centre of that plan because Kano itself is at the centre of the region that has been historically considered a zone of educational disadvantage. Kano has always been reputed as a place of learning and this landmark policy pronouncement on free and compulsory education will not only draw the over 1 million out-of-school children in the State from the streets into classrooms, it also sets a hugely important precedent for other States to follow. We believe that as the most populous State in the North, Kano is eminently positioned to trigger an educational revolution across the region. 

I am especially gratified to see that your policy of free and compulsory education specifically and unambiguously includes “the girl child.” Economic growth is simply impossible when a critical half of our population is denied the opportunities for empowerment. Indeed, the most prosperous societies on the planet are places where gender is no obstacle to gaining an education and boys and girls enjoy equal access to knowledge….’

Let’s encourage northern states to integrate the Almajiri education programme with the conventional education system for national integration too.

We will continue this conversation.

Note: This article was first published in The Guardian of Sunday August 18, 2019, on “Inside Stuff with MARTINS OLOJA”.  Used by permission.

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