Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Privilege of Birth/Birth Right - Funke Awolowo



During the week I watched a programme on I TV on the British Royal family and was able to see for the first time that even with them,
it's not just about the pomp and pageantry. Amidst all the glamour, we see imperfections as well. In fact there was this one year, the Queen had tagged her annus hornbillis. The Windsor palace was burnt down almost totally and the system failed her, literally pushing her in that exalted position to source out for funds which was made possible by opening up and making the long term plan for the public to witness the royal relics, a seemingly practical reality initiated by imposition of some token for members of the public to pay their way through. This was a brilliant idea which in turn paid handsomely for the rebuilding of Windsor.


The taxpayers burdensome discuss was thrown out and they earned back their respectability. The cry for abdication or eradication of the British monarchy also died down. This singular positive response saved the Royalty for decades. The truth am trying to share here is that privilege birth and background is not the way Nollywood depicts it, in reality there are real challenges in spite of the privileges. Watching that program did reawaken some of my experiences at different stages in life.

Most of my life, contact with teachers had been horrendous, intimidating and initially fearful. One of the first things I quickly taught myself is to present the body language which announces to them in Bobby Brown's song that you can touch this. My God given advantage being that of a rather intimidating presence. This however does not stop the snide remarks, chiding and saying things like so what if you are rich, after all you are not feeding me, etc. Oh yes you have got to be tough with that superiority in mind, understand the complexities and develop a tough mien, so as not to constantly apologise for your status. Whereas there will be those who celebrate you, some will also be victimised based on that. At that stage in your life you need a confidant who has the sensibility to not make you a spectacle by fighting back but methodically averting these discrepancies.

The Yorubas actually are spot on when they say the quarrelling of ranks and superiority cannot be verbalised. It's important to play it down especially as you realise these are needful hurdles you must overcome educationally and character wise. These for me were the first lessons in humility. Funke are you saying you are superior, oh no but the motive however by such people is to demystify every form of superiority which of course emanates from chronic unfounded fears.


I recall in secondary School one of the nuns, who was our teacher then will stand me up to explain certain free education policies. I never went back home to tell as this was not encouraged at the home front. However as she persisted the joke was reversed to her, as many joined me as I wondered if she ever imagined if I was involved in the free education programme. My take is sometimes we must learn to engage and hear from our children or grandchildren this will help all parties I have learnt.


At times however, I have jumped queues based on this privilege, gained unmerited gifts, made friends just like magnet and curried some really fantastic favours. Indeed most of the time, depending on the tribe have sometimes had to fight my way through.


I remember my first day as a psychology student at the University of Lagos. The statistics lecturer a Yoruba woman for that matter got into lecture looked at the register and she called my name, and I stood up to greet, she gave me this really dirty look , asking me to tell her how to get averages. I told her and without affirmation or any formal confirmation continued to teach, eventually I had to quit and complete my education outside the country based on one form of frustration or the other.


Definitely this is not a pity party but you see many have been totally annihilated from life's destiny without explanation. I recall my uncle’s wife was quick to observe this and with prayers and some needful confrontation averted these problems. Parents, guardians and even teachers must be watchful. Yes at some point I have had teachers literally come to my defence. The privilege of birth can make you easily victimised and this is the only justification that backs up the need to send a child abroad. Which is basically to ensure that the child attains the God given potential. For this reason many have been undermined by rash and unfair judgement. This is my experience. God help us all so that we are not architects of defaults in the Mighty name of Jesus.


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