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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 31, Issue 1, 2021

Racism

Columbus N. Ogbujah
Pages 23-39

Colourism, Ethnicism and the Logic of Domination in 21st Century Nigeria

The 2016 launch of the courier giant—Dalsey, Hillblom, and Lynn’s (DHL) Advanced Regional Centre (ARC) in Singapore—was significant not just for the scale of the facility and its impressive level of innovation, but for the visual identity and branding of DHL’s red and yellow corporate colours. These colours, as is evident in all branding, set it out from the rest, and have become a symbol of power and domination. This resonates with the use of colour categories to isolate human beings into unjust classes that manifest divisive social and racial hierarchies. The symbolism of colourism and ethnicism viewed either plainly or as metaphors, lies in the “othering” of fellow human beings for discrimination and scapegoating. The markers are the same, whether in the case of George Floyd or the victims of discrimination and/or recurrent massacres in Nigeria. This essay explores how, by creating a visible barge of “otherness,” the current political leadership either shirked responsibility in the face of discriminations, or contrived excuses for the endless massacre of minorities in Nigeria.

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