Inter-ethnic hatred is like a virus. It harms its victims, and before you realize that you’re infected, you may be too far gone to be able to do anything about it. In the Nigerian 2023 election season, we have really seen the full surge of ethnic clashes in their various forms. It’s a very sad thing. A sad problem, especially when you see educated, seemingly enlightened folks, infected by this virus.
The truth is, you might not know you’re an ethnic bigot. Yes, bigotry is a strong word. But sometimes that’s what we actually experience in full swing, both online and offline. Name-calling, physical attacks, arson, lynching, and raiding entire villages. The Yoruba and the Igbos. The Northerners and the Southerners. Sometimes there are even attacks between sub-factions of the same tribe. And you wonder how broken apart a people can be. Is it possible to open your eyes to inter-ethnic hatred and say No to it? Let’s see how:
Get Your Facts Right
Inter-ethnic hatred and prejudice is often based on misinformation. For example, we might grow up with the knowledge that people from a particular tribe are all thieves, or that they are dirty, or that they have an excessive love for money, or that they’re promiscuous, and all sorts of stories. 9 out of 10 times, these facts are not right. Any human being can have a bad character no matter where they are from. Without knowing the facts, we misjudge people.
When we empathize with someone, we become aware of just how similar we are to that person. We realize that he or she may feel the way we feel and may react the way we react. Empathy helps us to see that all people, no matter what their background may be, are part of the human family. The more we focus on how similar they are to us, the less likely we will be to judge them negatively. If we strive to understand another person’s struggles, we are more likely to empathize rather than to criticize.
Expand Your Circle Of Friends
If we isolate ourselves from people whom we view negatively, we may reinforce our prejudices. And if we limit our friends to people who are like us, we may tend to think that our way is the only acceptable way of thinking, feeling, and acting. When we get to know others personally, we begin to understand why they do things differently. And as we grow closer to them, we start to see them as part of our own group. We come to value them more, and their joys and sorrows become our own.
Interethnic hatred, prejudice, and all forms of bigotry are eating deep into the human race. If we do not watch ourselves, the hate will continue to grow and even outlive us for generations to come. We need to truncate every growing seed of ethnic hatred in us. No matter what a person, or people, from a certain tribe, have done to us.