If you work in development in Africa, you need to get on board with Black Lives Matter

By | August 29, 2016

As a child of a Nigerian immigrant and an African American, I grew up in the US crossing and navigating many cultural lines. For the past seven years I have been living and working across Africa. In my time here, I have watched from afar, helplessly, as the numbers of our African American brothers and sisters—victims of extrajudicial killings, continue to grow along with the lack of verifiable action on the part of the US government.

Over the past decade, I have worked with a range of international development practitioners in Africa and in the Americas. While some development organizations and individual practitioners are aware of the current and historical context in which they are operating, others are very unaware of terms, behavior, and perceptions that make up neo-colonialism and the preferential treatment which one of my taxi drivers in Kenya terms “white magic”.

White privilege goes hand in hand with the injustice minorities face in the United States. If development organizations don’t face and address the significance of this privilege in Africa, they will export similar issues worldwide (and arguably are already doing so). In Kenya, for example, NGOs are being asked to justify overpayment of expatriate staff—particularly those being paid sometimes three to four times more than Kenyan staff filling the same roles. (Quartz)

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