African students are usually at the receiving end of racial attacks of varying degrees. These attacks keep everyone wondering how African Students can overcome subtle racist attacks as international students suffer incessant attacks.
In 2017, four Nigerian students, including Precious Amalawa and his brother, Endurance, nearly lost their lives in an attack targeted against blacks. Media reports say the attacks against Nigerians and other black nationals have become an annual ritual.
These unending attacks have led various international organizations, governments, and individuals alike to constantly take bold stands against racism at various levels. Many prepositions have been put forward but there are doubts about the effectiveness of these stands in dispensing justice.
A pragmatic approach towards overcoming these racial attacks on African students must be looked into in order to nip this completely in the bud. For this reason, we’ll examine how African students can overcome subtle racist attacks in the following ways:
Be Calm in your Reaction
Peradventure you fall, a victim of a racist attack as an African student, you are encouraged to employ emotional intelligence first. Remain calm and do not follow your initial emotional response. Expressing anger is a weapon only to one’s opponent. You can communicate your disapproval of the racist action without provoking a defensive reaction. In other words, if you don’t keep mute, you could make the racist gain more advantage of thinking he/she has the necessary support to continue with such an act or remark. Adele Horin opined that “One person challenging a racist comment in a calm and measured way in public can have a profound influence on all who witnessed it.” At best, you walk away while you compliment the initiator of the act with nice words. For example, “Nice head warmer.”
Focus on the issue, not the Person
Another way African students can overcome subtle racist attacks is to react towards the issue (act or remark) and not the person. For instance, “I know you are a nice guy, but your words are unnecessary at this time”. This addresses the issue in a matured way leaving the racist (hopefully) remorseful. Also, you need to clarify the intention of the supposed racist. The act/statement made might not necessarily be of a racist nature but look/sound like one. A Buddhist proverb says “When someone fires an arrow into you, you don’t try and find out who fired the arrow and what they are all about. You concentrate on getting the arrow out.” It takes great patience and wisdom and maturity to react towards the issue and not the person.
Expose the Racist Act
As an African studying outside the continent, you can also overcome racist acts/remarks by exposing or publishing the racist act or remark. The racist will not see this coming. This has the tendency of making the racist(s) sacred, nervous or vengeful. This, however, depends on the racist’s person. For instance, media reports once indicated that that the people from Turkey in Northern Cyprus were mostly against blacks dating their ladies. It can be worth the risk attacking the racist with your pen rather than being defensive with your mouth closed.
Call the Police
You can be at the receiving end of a racist attack by both the racist and law enforcement agents. Some racists could be ruthless enough to turn the table around, thereby making law enforcement agents see you (the victim) as the racist. Most racists have the intention of forcing their victims into retaliation. Don’t give them the advantage. As an African student, what you should do to overcome racist attacks is to be the first to call the police. This will protect you from being indicted in any way whatsoever.
Don’t reveal Personal Details
Studying abroad is usually an experience every one longs to have. You often tend to be free and relaxed with everyone. This has its ups and downs. Its downs in this wise have to do with you revealing every detail about your personal life to a racist. Racists often tend to use this against their victims. By so doing, a retaliation is forced from you and you become the vanquished while the racist becomes the victor.
Avoid Educating and Reacting towards the Racist
Try hard not to bother with educating the racist. Most of them, at the time of committing the act, turn a deaf ear to any sane remark. There could be exceptions though. However, you should play safe and consider other options. As an international student, time is always of the essence. You can’t afford to have time for bad energy. Avoid the person, the situation and a reaction to the attack. Most times, racist remarks are a trap. Do well to avoid them.