First Things First

Well hello first post.  

In case you are yet to take a look at my "About" page, my name is Enobong Essien and (according to every government form I've ever filled out) I am Black British (African).  Both of my parents are Nigerian, my name is Ibibio (a Nigerian tribe and language) but I am English born and bred.  Many people throughout my life, both black and white, have called me a coconut because I do not conform to their expectations of what a black person is.  It's one thing to say that German people are very efficient or that British people complain a lot or that American's are über patriotic.  These are still stereotypes but at least they're stereotypes based on culture.  But to attribute character traits on someone because of the colour of their skin makes no sense.  What is that?  How does the level of melanin I have determine anything about my personality?  Anyways... (rant over).

But first things first.

In an ideal world this post would be super light-hearted and about rainbows and unicorns and all that's good in the world.  Unfortunately we do not live in an ideal world and the world we do live in is broken.  Part of the reason why I am starting this blog now is in response to the helpless feeling I had (and still have) regarding the recent deaths of black people in America due police brutality.  So I can't begin without speaking about the #blacklivesmatter movement.

To quote Angelica Pickles of the Rugrats "if you have to ask, you'll never know".  I feel this sums up a lot of people who just don't get #blacklivesmatter vs #alllivesmatter.  The simplest way I've heard it explained is that if all lives did matter then they'd be no need for #blacklivesmatter.  Many people have explained #blacklivesmatter far better than I ever could and so I'm not going to try to reexplain it here.  Instead I'm going to leave two of my favourite explanations for those who don't get it and if you still don't get it then you need the Holy Spirit to come reveal it to you because I don't know what else I can say or do to help you.

The links will take you there:

The most important thing I can write is that you do not have to be black to understand #blacklivesmatter.  Just like you do not have to be Jewish to understand that the holocaust was evil.  

Haven't you even been in a conversation about the atrocities of the past and wondered or discussed what you would have done, had you been around?  I'm a Christian and I've often wondered if I would have followed Jesus, had I been around when he was.  It's easy to follow Jesus now because I can see the big picture of things but would I, as a first century person, have trusted in this peace-loving guy claiming to be the Messiah once he died, not knowing that he's going to rise again?

I live in Germany and I love this country and I'm a firm believer that we must remember the past in order to learn from it.  Didn't we all wonder how the German people could have let the holocaust happen?  Those everyday, normal citizens who were around when all the atrocities were going down said afterwards that they didn't know.  They did know.  How could you not know?  But still it happened and the majority didn't do anything about it.

Am I the only one that sees a middle-aged white South African and wonder what stance they took during the apartheid?

Here's the thing: History is being made right now.  #blacklivesmatter is a legitimate movement for basic human rights.  It's about respecting your fellow human being.  #blacklivesmatter is about respecting all lives, whether the person be white, black, Asian, Hispanic, Muslim, Christian, Jew, gay, straight, asexual... the list goes on.  The #blacklivesmatter movement will prevail and it will come out on top and in years to come they will write history books on it and people will learn about it.  What side of history are you going to be on?   The side that fought for humanity, the side that fought against, or the side that will continue to claim that you just didn't know?

 

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere
— Martin Luther King Jr