Bayo Omolola, Baltimore, MD
The speech of Dr. Chika Onyeani holds the blacks responsible for
every calamity that has befallen them. In it Onyeani, exonerates the
whites, lambasts the blacks, and emphatically portrays the blacks as
their own enemies who are the architects of their own poverty. He
labels his speech the "Truth, Honesty and Frankness." The overall
impression one gets from the speech is that the white people have
done nothing to harm the blacks. While I do not intend brushing aside
his personal opinion, I wish to state that talking about the black
race in relation to the whites requires using both eyes, not one, to
examine what happened in the past and the implication it has today.
Onyeani sounds as if he does not know that Africans (or the entire
black race) have their traditions which kept them going before the
whites intruded and imposed themselves on the blacks, diverted the
attention of the blacks, "captured and turned" many blacks into
slaves, deprived the blacks of their traditional system of
governance, deprived many blacks of living on their continents,
caught the blacks from their way of worship, forcibly manipulated the
blacks, subjected them to different forms of inhuman treatments.
If Onyeani's "opinion" ignores the impact of the ugly past that the
whites forced on the blacks, then, his speech is laced with elements
of bias, and as such, does not fit as the true representation of the
black race and the predicaments of the blacks all over the world.
One question that comes to mind: Why has Onyeani, a black man (I
assume he is), has taken an opposing position against the blacks who
have suffered all forms of degradation in the hands of the whites?
There may be several answers to this question. Examples:
1. He reacts angrily at the behavior of African leaders like Abacha
and Mobutu Seseko who, as information has it, looted their national
treasuries and kept the stolen loots abroad.
2. He has been washed away by the ideas that are foreign to African culture.
3. He may have something that he wants to benefit from the whites by
doing a public relations job to make the whites look white and
angelic and the blacks black and satanic.
Whichever answer fits the question, the truth remains that Onyeani ,
in his speech, has spoken "a half truth" in his speech because he
has not used both eyes to look at and to address the problems of the
black people in the world. Rather, he seems to have been beclouded by
his boiling emotion against those he regards as bad African leaders
who ruled African countries after independence from colonialism. I
hope Onyeani will remember to look at both sides of the issue in
another speech so that there can be an objective conclusion about the
whites and the blacks. Having said that, I would like to commend
Onyeani for lacing his speech with African proverbs and expressions
translated into English. I like it, and I hope he will find African
proverbs to make an objective speech about the issue in the future.