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Today is Nigeria’s Independence Day, but I can’t focus on my country’s progress. It’s challenging to remain optimistic in the face of landlords telling you they won’t rent to you because “you’re a single woman who could potentially use the apartment for prostitution.” Until “Nigeria” addresses its treatment of women and LGBT people… oh shoot, I just moved back home, didn’t I? Guess I best get back to dealing with the country as it is.

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Let’s get something straight. There are lots of Africans who don’t speak their native languages, for a variety of reasons, but they want to learn. But given that the pool of resources for learning indigenous African languages isn’t as large as say, for Spanish, wouldn’t it be more productive to frame our conversations about the diminishing fluency of Nigerian languages around solutions (i.e. what we can do to increase interest in AND access to greater learning resources) vs. the polarity of judging one’s Africanness based on which languages they speak? Just a thought.

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If my detest for words and definitions stems from anything at all it’s the “allies” I’ve experienced in both my personal life and my work as an activist. I’ve met hundreds of “white allies,” for instance, many of who profess their “consciousness” via some digital channel (e.g. an overly serious twitter bio or utopia-inspired vision statement) or, in person, via some self-congratulatory speech masquerading as a relevant anecdote… especially when surrounded by women of color.

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