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Cooling off at one of the most celebrated beaches, ‘the Borla Beach’—a name it won thanks to its poor sanitation – at the back of the independence square, where Ghana parades every year to showcase its liberation day – a day considered a red-letter day to some people, and to others a black-letter day. As I was still contemplating why such a potential tourist site could be left to ‘rot’, a little imp started asking me numerous questions: ‘‘is it the color or the mentality’’ was one of the questions, the rest will be transmitted to you another day.
Just about to convince the little ‘demon’ that the color of our skin (black color) is innocent and that our mentality is responsible for our status quo, there appeared a bunch of dark-skinned guys dressed in ‘all black’. And when I inquired why ‘all black’, I was made to know that they were mourning a departed soul. Natural inquisitiveness pushed me to quiz them further why they were not in ‘all white’, rather. ‘‘White is happiness while black denotes melancholy,’’ was the shocking answer I received. Rapidly, the above answer raced me back to the question: is it the color or the mentality?
Fortunately, we see on television how beautiful and promising the various countries of our colonial masters are, and this has gingered a chunk of energetic and brilliant Ghanaians to seek greener pastures abroad. What could, then, account for our reason of aiding and abetting foreigners to destroy our environment? Some Ghanaians conspire with the whites and the yellow people to reap our land of its precious minerals in exchange of devastated environment and sicknesses resulting from poisoned water bodies and polluted air, consequent of improper mining and petroleum related activities. To say this situation is peculiar to Ghana alone would be a half-truth since it is reported to be endemic in the black dominated continent, Africa. Hence, the question, is it the color or the mentality?
That the black color absorbs more heat than any other color remains a fact, hitherto. However, it will be eye-popping if this is the reason why some black youth lighten their skin—in that they could deflect away some of the radiated heat emanating from the hostile African Sun. ‘‘we look ‘fresher’ in our brand new skins,’’ as some of them stress; others argue that it (the toned skin) opens more doors for them, upon discovering that our continent revere light-skinned people.
What is amazing is not government inexhaustible effort at encouraging citizens to venture into entrepreneurship, but the bureaucracy one has to endure, the time and the calories of energy one has to burn before acquiring a business certificate to legally start up a business. Is it the color or the mentality that has pushed some Ghanaians to ensuring that foreign nationals operating businesses in this country evade or escape from paying tax knowing, definitely, that tax is the propellant that drives a nation forward in development! Paying tax is divine, therefore it is recommended that we pay our taxes, but ironically it takes forever to be issued a Tax Clearance Certificate anytime one demands it. Is the color or the mentality!
The cause of market women and men running helter-skelter whenever they spot thick dark clouds is comprehensible—because a catastrophic rain is on its way. What cannot be assimilated is why a central bank will give out huge sums of money to insolvent banks; how possible is that a bank can operate with a fake license without fear of any sort? Could it be that the regulator got its cut? Or it might be that the owners of the banks in question carry some political weight. Possibly, you can also gain financial support and a license to operate a bank if you are able to convince mother Ghana that you are outstanding in the eyes of the Lord. Is it the color or the mentality!
It is an open secret that Africa is a host of some of the world’s billionaires; what is unclear is the number of foundations established by these billionaires—though they are not obliged to. Is it the color or the mentality that makes abled Africans sit aloof for other races to extend helping hand to the African continent to aid combat Ebola, HIV Aids, and other killer diseases? And the worst of it all is that, with all the arable land that we paid nothing to own and the human resource that we boast of, we still import food from other continents. Is it the color or the mentality?
Instead of National Disaster Prevention and Management Organization, Ghana, the onetime Hope of Africa, has decided to go for National Disaster Management Organization. We are yet to discern the cliché ‘‘Prevention is better than cure.’’ Welcome to Ghana where there is a daily (to mince my words) refinement of prices of goods and services. This is a State that frustrates and drives away its talents, and follows up to claim glory when these talents make news in the western countries where they seek refuge. Is it the color or the attitude?
It might be the color because on a trip to the Caribbean, I saw quite a number of the black youth with toned skin, same as in the US. Again, corruption stared at me in the Caribbean like it has always done to me in Ghana, Africa. Still in the Caribbean, temples sprout out from every corner same as in Ghana—Just like most Ghanaians, with their attitude contrary to the words of the scriptures.
Yes, it’s true that the other descents, too, have their own flaws, but ‘Not to boom like Mr. Boom’; it is an honorable thing for one to remove the logs in one’s eye before pointing at the specks in another’s eyes? Is the color or the mentality!
How could it be the color if history has, invariably, recounted the contribution of great black men like Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Malcolm X, Patrice Lumumba, Thomas Sankara, etc., to the liberation and the development of the Blackman? It cannot be the color when we have the likes of Brian Gitta, the young Ugandan who developed the device, Matibabu, which tests for malaria without drawing blood; Frank Darko, a Ghanaian student who invented a water bicycle; Reginald Sekyi-Brown, the young, brave Ghanaian student who protested solely against the delay in the opening of the University of Ghana Medical Centre; Mutaru Mumuni Muqthar, Executive Director of West Africa Centre for Counter- Extremism, whose research and advocacy works are intended at uncovering the underpinnings of radicalization and violent extremism with the objective of building State and community resilience against terrorism in West Africa; ‘almighty’ Paul Kagame, the Rwandan president, who has resurrected the onetime dead Rwanda and has made her the beacon of Africa; and ‘the man of God,’ Kofi Annan, whose contribution to the promotion of human rights has been felt by the world.
If the genesis of the above chronicled grievances is rooted in our mentality, then they can be cured if we all change our ways. However, if it is the color, then…we can only perish here on earth and maybe rejoice in the house of the lord one day! Is it
The color or the mentality?
By Rahim Newton