Monk Thought #11 : Black Taxation : The Igbo Christmas Perspective

Think home!

Think home!

Think home!

Think home!

If you are African, and you are an immigrant to a country outside the shores of Africa, I’m sure you’ve heard many a politician or someone from home making this adjuration to you as a result of your immigrant status. It is normal that you be reminded of the fact that you come from a place that is not as developed as the country you currently stay in, and that one day, you will be expected to come home and share the fruits of your long journey with your kinsmen. More often, it is believed that you should reach out and take a kinsman or two along with you so the wealth, or better standard of living which you currently enjoy can be spread around the kindred. In cases where you end up rich and famous in the new country you travelled to, it is expected that you lift the whole kindred out of poverty by way of cash gifts whenever it is demanded, of which a failure to do so will cast a shadow over your status as a true son/daughter of the kindred. Such expectations can be suffocating most of the time for individuals who are expected to do all these. This wide range of expectation is called the Black Tax, which I am aware exists in different varieties and is also experienced in Black American communities, which also share with Africans the commonality of large extended families and strong familial ties.

However, we need to look at this from the prism of the yearly Christmas exodus from developed countries and cities back to the hinterlands in Eastern Nigeria which is known as Igboland. I am aware of the fact that this happens in other regions but not to the extent which it happens in Igboland. Let’s get cracking.

I noticed that most of the time, Families who come home for Christmas are always expected to come back loaded with gifts for their family members in the village as well as their neighbors. It is proper, as a gift is a symbol of appreciation which everyone deserves. It is indeed Christmas, a period which should be marked by giving, sharing and family time. I do not have a problem with that.

My problem is the unhealthy reactions that come when people who come home do not give those expected gifts.

The reactions to situations like these are hostile, which in my opinion is uncalled for. Many people have had a very poor year unlike others, many of them have had it rough, many of them have barely survived, wherever they lived for the rest of the year, and they came home because of the fact that home is where the mind should know rest and peace; a sanctuary for its children who have been out in the world trying their possible best to eke out a living. As you ask them to think home, make sure that the place you are asking them to come back to is home enough.

The Monk

That being said, Have a Merry, Merry Christmas Everyone! 

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Beast, Monk, Hammer, Nomad.

Ex-Foodie. Cowardly Renegade. Marvel Stan. Onitsha Made. Lawyer. All-round Creative.

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