It’s always belittling and painful when you are reduced to a stereotype by other people. At that moment it’s like your individuality doesn’t count, it doesn’t matter who you turned out to be, what values you hold, or even what you have achieved. At that moment you are watered down to whatever stereotype you are being judged by. It’s even more annoying because it’s like there’s a specially curated Nigerian stereotype for every demographic. We asked 7 Nigerians about it and here’s what they told us;
Rose / 25
Someone said that girls from my place are promiscuous, that really hurt me. That’s why I hardly tell people where I’m from. They can’t look beyond the stories of our women strafing their brains out. I’m from Akwaibom. Nigerians call us Calabar.
George / 28
I lost a 3 year old relationship back in 2017 because she is Yoruba and an only child. Her parents said they can’t leave their only daughter to marry ‘Omo Igbo’. I’m from Rivers.
Kosy / 29 / Female / Igbo
I deal with a Nigerian stereotype almost every day of my life. I also experience a funny one because I am light-skinned. Most people saw me as a girl like a very rich home. Becoming an adult, it’s now different like most men see me as a girl who can’t cook or do chores because of my skin color. There is this belief that beautiful ladies are rude and materialistic. Then there’s the stereotype that I’m a feminist so I hate men. Also because I advocate for Gay rights I must be a lesbian or whatever. The stereotype that if I live alone, it means that I’m wayward. The stereotype that because I speak against rape it means that I have been raped. The stereotype that I’m born female that I must have cooking skills, laundry skills, doing other chores, etc. The worst stereotype that I’m born female that marriage is my validation even if I have a Ph.D. with different achievements. There are many women living in Nigeria are often labeled with.
Benji / 24 / Male / Igbo
It’s not particularly serious, but people make jokes about how Igbo people like money and I’m Igbo by birth. The jokes were lame, so it didn’t really feel terrible. Someone once called me a cultist because I come from Benin but that didn’t hurt either cause I had a comeback.
Chikaodili / 28 / Female / Igbo.
People always assume that skinny girls do not like food. I have always been skinny. In secondary school, I didn’t really like eating but now as an adult, I am in an intense relationship with food. So when people come to my house and see me eating 6 times a day per usual they go “Ah, you can chop O, you don’t even look like someone that likes food“, “You look like a picky eater”, “where is the food going to?” Or when people see me eating after 3 hours they go “No be me and you been chop before?” To which I usually respond “What is your problem?” I don’t know why people always make it their business to question my relationship with food because I am skinny.
Jennifer / 31
The “Warri girl stereotype”. The women are “daft and foolish” Nigerian stereotype. The South-South people are crooks stereotype.
If it doesn’t directly touch me. I am more than willing to ignore it. I am a very lazy person, I conserve my energy for the things which pay me, or gives me some form of catharsis, or gratification.
Mohammed / 31
I’ve suffered from stereotypes both because of my tribe, which I was born into, and because of the fact that I’m irreligious, which is a choice I made out of my own personal conviction. The fact that I live and work somewhere in the south-south which should be outside my comfort zone, most people when they hear my name and the part of the country where I’m from always have this certain perception of me before they even meet me in person. They expect me to be conservative, unintelligent, with a bad command of English. This is why I have a hard time convincing most people here that I grew up in the north or that I’m a northerner. Most people here see uneducated northerners and northern peasants who come to the south to seek greener pastures and they assume everyone from the north is like that. I mostly don’t disclose the fact that my mum is from the south-south or that I grew up speaking English as a first language because I want to change people’s perception of northerners. Then there are those people who, because of their knowledge of the north, start hating on me because they believe that every northerner with my level of education must be an offspring of a northern elite, or rather “the northern elite” who have you been robbing this country blind. I’ve also suffered discrimination from members of my own tribe for not being a Muslim, for being liberal, and for not conforming, they see me as a traitor.
Have you experienced any Nigerian stereotype? Tell us in the comments.
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