Saturday, February 28, 2009

Racism in Ethiopia

By Fikru Helebo and Ephrem Madebo

Obang Metho of the Anuak Justice Council recently asked a rhetorical question: "Is there racism in Ethiopia?" Yes, there is racism in Ethiopia, no doubt about it. What may be debated is in what forms is racism manifested in Ethiopia and the degree to which that racism affects one’s social life. It would not be far from the truth to suggest that there is some form of racism in every country around the world -- Ethiopia is not an exception. Sadly, one of the worst kinds of racism, slavery, existed in Ethiopia until about three generations ago.

Slavery was officially abolished in Ethiopia only in 1942! It was even used by the Italians as a justification for their invasion in 1935. Unfortunately, the vestiges of the ugly legacy of slavery are still with us today. This legacy is primarily manifested in the form of prejudice towards our compatriots who come from the peripheral regions in the southern and western parts of the country. Ethiopians, as a people, should be ashamed for allowing this kind of racism to continue unabated in the dawn of the 21st century.

By the way, what is racism? When we think of racism, we mostly think of the institutionalized form of racism that we see in the West which is directed mostly towards people of African descent. In reality, however, racism is a phenomenon that exists anywhere between groups of people when one discriminates against the other based on any inborn physical attributes and considers their group to be superior. Ethiopian racism is based on the tone of skin color and physical traits such as facial features and hair texture. For the purpose of this article, racism is discriminating against or denigrating a fellow Ethiopian or human being based on skin color and/or physical characteristics.

Mind you, though racism in Ethiopia has its roots in our ethnic differences, it should not be confused with discrimination based on ethnic affiliation or economic status. This is true because in Ethiopia ethnic slurs are different from racial slurs, and no matter what one’s economic status is, he/she might not be free from racial abuses. Some ethnic groups might be bombarded with bone piercing ethnic slurs, but not necessarily with racial slurs, whereas some other ethnic groups, especially from western and southern Ethiopia, face both ethnic and racial abuses. Even today, social contacts (for example, marriage) with Ethiopians of Nilotic origin are considered a taboo. We all know that any Ethiopian whose physical characteristics has resemblance to Nilotic or Bantu people faces daily verbal abuses and is showered with ugly and discriminatory nick names such as baria, mesheto, wefcho-lash, etc…

The other strange face of Ethiopian racism is that it is not limited to within Ethiopia or between Ethiopians. When we travel abroad, our racist attitude travels with us. Here in the United States, Ethiopians display splendid respect for white Americans, but do not accord the same respect to black Americans. Some of us even use the derisive Amharic word baria to refer to darker-skinned black Americans. In whatever foreign country we are, when we see a black person with straight nose, large eyes, and zoma hair, we tend to say “he/she looks like an Ethiopian”, knowing that the person is not an Ethiopian. On the other hand, our heart does not accept a darker skin, a flat nose or a kinky hair person as an Ethiopian. Basically, in Ethiopia or outside Ethiopia, we Ethiopians have certain physical characteristics and features that we ascribe for ourselves, and anyone outside that artificial provenance is subject for abuse or ridicule.

In the last 35 years many Ethiopian expatriates have lived in places like Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Djibouti, and Somalia (pre-1991). Some oral and written accounts and many real life experiences in these and other African countries have indicated that many Ethiopian refugees displayed superficial cultural and racial superiority, and in many cases bombarded the natives with racial slurs. However, the cultural superiority and the racial slurs were non-existent among Ethiopian refugees who lived in Somalia and Arab countries. The reader can easily guess why! I [Ephrem] very well remember my personal experience when I was a refugee in Kenya. I had a Kenyan girl friend from Machakos who has to endure daily mocking and racial slanders [monkey, baria] from almost all of my Ethiopian friends [male, female]. To some Ethiopians, racism might look like a simple joke among equals, this is not true because when racism is expressed in the form of joke, the joke is always one directional and it is based on one side always taking pride in its superiority.

Racism is a broad topic and probably as old as humanity itself. We recognize that racism in the Ethiopian context has its own unique characteristics and should be addressed with care and sensitivity. We also recognize that there are some cultural preferences that are exhibited by some Ethiopians that could unfairly be labeled as racist in some quarters. Be that as it may, Ethiopians must rid ourselves of any kind of prejudice towards any one based on his/her skin color or physical characteristics. If and when anyone of us exhibits such foolish and backward racist behavior, as was clearly the case when the AigaForum web site attempted to denigrate the tireless human rights campaigner Obang Metho, we have a moral responsibility to confront the perpetrators and unequivocally condemn their behavior. Not only must we condemn such racist behavior, we should also put the perpetrators to public shame. If we fail to do this and turn a blind eye to racism, then we are just as guilty as the offending party.

Obang has made an eloquent call for Ethiopians to address the issue of racism in Ethiopia. We concur. We believe that the time is now for us, as Ethiopian people, to acknowledge that racism in Ethiopia is a real problem that must be confronted sooner than later. Trying to deny, hide, or downplay this very sensitive and agonizing problem will only compound our existing political divide. We do not see any valid and over-riding reason to delay this issue from being discussed at this point in time. Fighting racism is as important a human rights issue as any and by proactively and responsibly addressing this very important issue at this time head on (lest we regret not heeding this call), we will only help ensure that our struggle for human rights and democracy will be a more complete one.


Anonymous said...

Ethiopian racism is not one ethnic group attacking others but also one ethnic group attacking its own dark skin brothers an sisters. For example, I am a dark skin in my family and I remember being called baria when I was small, mind you all my families (mother and father) are from Amhara ethnic group or regions. Also, we called some Gojamies (they are Amhara) Buda. So, Ethiopian racism is not based on ethnicity.

enset said...


You are correct. This racist behaviour is a reality within an ethnic group and even within a family unit as you described well. We have also alluded to this by pointing out that this type of racism should not be confused with ethnic bigotry. Sadly, some ethnic groups suffer from this type of racism more than others and this, too, must be acknowledged.


Anonymous said...

Words like Bariaw (Barich) are widely used within a family & friends to show affection. It may hurt the person but it is not targeted to insult him/her!

“You don't look Ethiopian!”- this is the phrase that disturbs me a lot! What does an Ethiopian look like? Can we generalise the physical characteristics of Ethiopians? Anyone who travelled in Ethiopia knows that the physical characteristics of Ethiopians varies from North to south and from East to west like the varying physical features of the country( mountains, rivers, vegetation etc). We have a mosaic of people varying from very light skin “Aderes” (almost Arabs) to our dark skinned brothers & sisters in Gambela and Benishangul Gumz regions. There are some group of ignorant people, particularly city boys who never got out of their city, who believe that the majority of Ethiopians are light skinned and try to question our dark skinned compatriots Ethiopiawinet! They are simply IGNORANT!

Anonymous said...


You are absolutely right, Ethiopian racism is not based on ethnicity, and this is mentioned in the article. What has also been mentioned is that there are some ethnic groups who are burned with both ethnic and racial abuses. In Gojam where you are from, and as well as in Sidamo where I am from, we all used to call our dark face friends “Baria”. The main question is that why do we do so? Where did this notion of calling darker people “baria” come from? Kenyans do not do so, but they have darker and light skin people just like we do. We also call other black Africans “ Baria” To be frank, Ethiopian racism is much deeper than friends calling each other “Baria or baricho” On the other hand, I don’t think the concept of “Budda” has mush to do with racism.

Anonymous said...

Fikru and Ephrem,

Firstly, I would like to thank you for raising this issue and raising it for discussion in such thought-provoking way. It is a timely call for soul-searching to those who say they love Ethiopia.

I too have travelled across Ethiopia and seen the real Ethiopia as it is and not as perceived by some. I too have lived in other African countries and witnessed similarly shameful behaviours. I too can clearly recall the abuse and name-calling my then Kenyan girlfriend suffered, not from other Kenyans for going out with me, but from my own Ethiopian friends, for going out with me.

So, where does this light-skin Ethiopian and dark-skin Barria/non-Ethiopian myth comes from and why is it still prevalent even among those of us who have travelled far and seen much? Or may it not even be a myth at all? What is Ethiopia? Who is an Ethiopian? Are there two types of Ethiopias and Ethiopians?

Born from two of the largest ethnic groups (Oromo and Amhara), growing up in Ethiopia was full of joy and cherished childhood memories for me. However, as anyone of mixed ethnic parents would tell you, eventually identity crisis creeps into your conscience. Then you begin to see things differently. This is even more so when one half of your relatives superficially exhibit inherent cultural and moral superiority over the other one half of your relatives.

In my opinion, racism and all the prejudices that accompany it in today’s Ethiopia is much, much deep rooted than anyone can readily accept. And this deep root I talk about is seeded in the old Ethiopia.

The old Ethiopia refers to the northerners. Whether we accept it or not, there is an intrinsic sense of superiority among the Amhara and Tigre over the rest of the people in the country. Not everyone but. You may argue that there are dark-skin and flat-nose Gojames. But it isn’t necessarily the grading of the shading; and also as you know exceptions don’t hold that much water when we talk in such a generalised manner.

For those at the receiving end, the ugly jokes and racial slurs are painful and even more excruciatingly when coming from other fellow Ethiopians. Ethiopia is not a country and a people I once thought it was. But still, I keep on loving her. And, I hope and pray that the marginalised people of Ethiopia do not give up on her.

enset said...

Hello Anonymous,

Thanks for the kind words. But, in all sincerity, I do not think we deserve any thanks for raising this issue at this time. Thanks should go to Obang for raising the issue in such a constructive that invites thoughtful soul searching. This was just a modest attempt to contribute to the dialogue that Obang has initiated and which I hope will be taken up by many others. We all know that racism is a fact of life in Ethiopia and it affects the daily lives of millions of our compatriots. Frankly, I think we should have spoken out about it much earlier than this.

I can't really say whether I agree or disagree with your thesis that Ethiopian racism is rooted in what you termed "old Ethiopia". Here is why. Unlike some of you, I have not traveled much in Ethiopia and my knowledge of racism comes from the 10% of Ethiopia that I know. I have never been to the other 90%, which includes the "old Ethiopia". It is true that the part of Ethiopia that I know has been influenced by the "old Ethiopia", but I am not convinced that the racism that I grew up with in the part of Ethiopia that I know would have been any different if the area had not come under the influence of "old Ethiopia". It may also be the case that folks in the "old Ethiopia" have more racist tendency than the rest of the country, I just don't know. It would be nice if you could elaborate more on your thesis.


Anonymous said...

Racism is not exclusive to Ethiopia, in fact comparatively speaking no where in the world there is tranquility in a country where over 80 linguistic/ethnic group live side by side. The problem with all Ethiopians is we do not know about each other, but through the lenses of who ever manage or wish to get to power by war and intrigue.

For the poorest country on earth and with constant barrage of conflict instigation by the intellectuals we are doing relatively well as far as inter ethnic relationship is concerned, and the traditional conflict mediation who did wonders to keeps us going when supposedly the intellectuals with knowledge of modern western institution could not be able to do a thing, but exacerbate by lies and deceit as Woyane, shbiyas, OLFs etc. did and contnue to do.

Thank you for changing your perspective from southern to moderate perspective. In a typical Ethiopian tradition you failed to admit you were wrong, and learned from your mistakes. Let’s talk about how our people elect their leaders than racism. We have been looking for 100s things to divide us not one to bring us together. Moderate perspective can mean any thing too. We can not legislate love for one another, but we can surly punish those who commit crime against us if we have the peoples’ government.

Our problems are and continue to be the so called intellectuals. They failed, often out of arrogance to appreciate the traditional society system and build on the good and changed the bad. Instead the intellectuals of our time who could not seat around a table in western countries where they live comfortably to save our country began to slice and dice the fate of our people with out fully understanding how much wisdom our traditional leaders showed to bring communities together.

Woyane intrigue is a product of our intellectuals self serving attitude, arrogance and self appointment to speak on behalf of the people to pit one group with the other to destroy our country.

The problem is no one wants to take responsibility for their wrong doing, but jump on something else to cover their wrong, and yet to create more havoc. The question “Does Racism exists in Ethiopia?” It self is a coup out to divert from the bigger issues we need to discuss.

As we witnessed every intellectual with the exception of the few jumped on the Woyane intrigue of victimization and killed and destroyed the perceived victimizer while our traditional leaders rejected it. At the end, as always, the wisdom of our traditional leaders prevails while the intellectuals are running for a cover leavening the problem on our poor people to sort it out.

As long as our intellectuals are on the driver seat our problem will continue and the only solution is the people to be represented by who they choice, not by half cooked intellectuals who can not tell who they are from one period to the other.

I rather listen to a traditional leader with a lot of wisdom than a bunch of intellectuals who live for the moment of fame and glory and run when the going get tough.

We got to go back to our traditional leader's wisdom if we did not destroy it all together, the book intellectuals would not get us any where.

enset said...

Thanks for the comments, Fekre. I wish you put your comment about "moderate" in the other post where it belongs. In any case, I was wondering what led you to conclude: "In a typical Ethiopian tradition you failed to admit you were wrong, and learned from your mistakes". Wrong about what? Please elaborate more.

Regarding your comment about Ethiopian racism: "The question “Does Racism exists in Ethiopia?” It self is a coup out to divert from the bigger issues we need to discuss", my reply to you is simple. Say what you said to the faces of those who are on the receiving end of racism and ask if they agree with you.

Your comment about valuing the wisdom of our traditional leaders is correct. But we should only criticize specific intellectuals for specific things they have done which has brought harm. Bashing our modern day intellectuals with a broad brush like you did doesn't really help improve Ethiopia's predicament much, and I consider this to be the real cope out! After all these intellectuals people that you seem to abhor did not appear out of thin air. Rather, they, just like you and me, are byproducts of the same culture, a culture that has been and still is an impediment to real progress.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Enest, First I have to admit my expectation and the frustration that followed with our intellectuals for the lack of giving us direction and their behavior in fighting over pity stuff may have taken a toll on me to have no fate in them in general. Forgive me for generalizing, but in my experience, with the exception of the a handful, most are useless. If you doubt me tell me how come they collectively can not come up with one institution to save the millions of our people dying on hunger? Is that ethnic politics too?

That said; let me start with the question of “Does racism exist in Ethiopia?” and your reply of ‘to ask those on the receiving end’, implying I am from the giving end and did not receive it, so much for your moderation.

Let me ask it differently; Is there any place where there is no racism? Then why ask? Your preconceived idea of victim and victimizer kicked in before you ask me to explain what I meant and went on to say ‘ask those in the receiving end’?

In answering your first question to elaborate in what I meant by “In a typical Ethiopian tradition you failed to admit you were wrong, and learned from your mistakes" on your other posting you said “But now I feel that the Ethiopian ideas market place has matured sufficiently enough for Enset blog to forgo to advertise itself as merely "southern" and, so, I have changed the caption to "A Moderate Perspective on Ethiopian Current Affairs". (Sorry for putting it in the wrong posting, but I was trying to make a point, in my opinion it is not good enough explanation, thus a typical Ethiopian tradition not to admit wrongs)

Let me go further and ask what was a southern perspective in the first place and moderate perspective now? Short of identifying yourself by your ethnicity, a southern perspective only tells us the geographical area of Ethiopian proper. Is there a western, northern and eastern perspective too? Are you suggesting the people of Ethiopia in the south are homogeneous and you could speak on their perspective?

If that is not the case, then you are wrong, if not tell me what you meant by southern perspective? I hope you do not mean the region Woyane drew as southern people and nationalities?

Wondem, I never said racism does not exist, I never said we should not address it, and I surly never said I am a victimizer, your implication is unwarranted. I simply want to make a point we are every where when we have many work ahead to be tended first and here before we talk about solving racism with a remote control. I might add, who ever you choice to identify yourself with there is racism there too.

With Woyane at the helm let us, as our people say “mejemeria yemkmechaign” that is all.

I said enough and done; God save us

enset said...


Your question: " come they collectively can not come up with one institution to save the millions of our people dying on hunger?" is a valid question, and I do not know the answer to it. But this question should also be addressed to you and me, all of us collectively, not just the intellectuals.

Yes, I assumed, for the sake of argument, that you are not on the receiving end of Ethiopian racism. Let's suppose that you are on the recieving end of it. Would it make sense to tell you as some one who has to endure Ethiopian racism that there are other bigger issues (your words) we need to deal with right now and that you should wait until the Woyanes are out of power (I guess this is what you mean by "mejemeria yemkmechaign") for us as a society to begin the dialogue to confront the injustice of racism?

Regarding my arguments for a "southern perspective", please see my article the North-South Divide from a couple of years ago.


Anonymous said...

Enset, I am not in a position to have a dialogue with an individual like you who are fixated in a theory of on one problem or another. If you have an issue on any problem, be it racism or what ever, create the institution necessary and guide us how to solve it.

If you are an intellectual saying ‘Collectively’ is a coup out, if you are a layman like me, then we are wasting our time, lets move on until half way decent intellectual comes around to guide us and create the institution necessary to solve problems.

The reason I ask why our intellectuals cannot create an institution and lead us to deal the immediate issues with our people dying in millions and solve it once and for all is to show you how useless they are. But you keep on splitting hair to win an argument.

You assume too much, ‘for argument reason’? you called me a victimizer, “bigger issue’ putting word in my mouth as lets wait until woyane leaves, (it is good you did not call me Woyane) "mejemeria yemkmechaign" split words as in to lets wait until we deal with the other problems.

Why me and you ‘argue’ when we have three meals a day and leave in a country of laws. The only reason we even exchange any thing is because we where born in unfortunate country and left to save our lives, now we want to see if we can help solve some of the problem of our people we left behind.

If we can not help start save their lives first are you suggesting we can save them from racism?

Please spare me the anguish, I will say it again, if you are an intellectual and capable of forming an institution to solve any problem go ahead and ask us to join you solve at least some of the problem starting with saving our people lives and the country first ("mejemeria yemkmechaign) do so. Otherwise dialog time, writing problems, conferences, complaint, accusation, splitting words etc. is over but do something. Do your part and leave the rest for others.

Good lack

enset said...


I am not fixated on anything. I just happen to have well formed views. We said that there is no valid argument to delay a discussion on the topic of racism in Ethiopia. You said no, country first ("mejemeria yemkmechaign"). I said tell this to those who are victims of racism and see if they would agree with you. And that is where we stand. As far as I am concerned, you have failed to present a persuasive argument to convince me that this issue should not be discussed.


Anonymous said...

I never attempted to convince you nor capable to do so as you put it “failed to present a persuasive argument to convince me that this issue should not be discussed” didn’t I ask you to do something than talking about it. You said we should do it “collectively”. Since I offer you two choices, lead us as an intellectual or wait for a leader as a lay man, you could not do either, but ‘discuses’? If you can not lead or be lead then what is left.
You skipped saving our people lives and jumped to ‘country first’, I guess the country thing must have a different meaning to you than to me, I understand.

Do not worry I would not take away discussion of racism away from you; make sure you are not one yourself before you accuse others. It is always wise to speak for yourself than others. If you agree with the saving lives first and skip the ‘country first’ we are half way there, And doing something about racism than ‘discussing’ get us on the right direction. We will worry about country last.

As to your having a well informed view of racism, it is simply a view when you do something about it then I will say God bless you until then noting new. As I said, view, write ups, discussion etc. is enough we need a doer. Mind you we may disagree about the methods but goals should be the same.

Thank you, I am moving on, hopefully when I see you do something about it I will say here comes one more leader. Until then, I am not convince about discussing something to death.

God bless

Unknown said...

Here in South Africa the Ethiopians tried to play that card of being superior but we showed them the way. Why would they run away from their country and come here and pretend to be white. Here they have lent to respect us they know what we can do to them

enset said...

What is it that you do to Ethiopians in South Africa which makes them respect you? I hope you are not violent towards them.

If we had not made it clear in the article or the comments section, Ethiopian racism is not centered on power relationship. Therefore, it should not be compared with the racism that one may find in South Africa or other countries where power-based racism exists.

Unknown said...

Ethiopian racism is nothing new. Right up to 1974 slave trade was common and people from Oromo ethnic background were called “Gala” until 1994. In fact it is common for people from Amhara background to slur other Ethiopians with their background by calling them names like “walamo". Mind you that “walamo” is ethnic background but it is used to insult someone.

Anonymous said...

Regrettably racism in any form whether its within the same racial group (Africans) or aimed at another elsewhere is cruel and destructive.

I am very hurt and disappointed that Ethiopians participate in such an outrage. From the outside they appear very rational and gentle. They may have been referring to me as a baria all along.

I am also surprised that slavery was alive and well until the 90's. It's shocking to me how a person can call themselves ethical or just when they deprive somebody else of their freedom.

I strongly believe that all this nonsense originates from the foreign religions that we Africans adapted.

In Bantuism or Ubuntu (Humanity in Bantu) the individual's heart is the highest temple God can reside on this earth. Therefore there cannot be anyone inferior since God also resides in their hearts.

I think the best way to describe a religion is by how it describes its unbelivers. Christianity is heathen, Arab or Islam is Kafir, Hindu is untouchable and unfortunately Ethiopian religion is "Baria"

enset said...

Slavery was officially ended in Ethiopia in 1942, not in the 90s.

It would be wrong for you to besmirch the reputation of the Ethiopians with whom you have had a friendly association based on what you may have learned from this article. That would be stereotyping them, and that is unfair. If the Ethiopians whom you had met thought of you as someone inferior, you would have noticed it. If you are unsure, go back to them and discuss this issue with them.

Filius Mauri said...

Surprise and besmirching or stereotyping are mutually exclusive. As far as I know surprise is when information given is unexpected.

In which case it may have been helpful to put things in perspective instead of accusing inquirer of stereotyping or besmirching.

Anonymous said...

Betam ameseganalehu. Thank you for your well thought out, patient, and self-anthropological incite of your culture.

I am a black American. The spirits of my dead slave African ancestors have been with inside of me with a yearning to go to Africa all of my life. I have always had an affinity for blacks and have wondered how they arrived where ever they were in the world outside of the African continent. I have visited only one country in Africa. Ethiopia (technically 2; on the way to Ethiopia I had a lay-over at Cairo, Egypt airport --- I never left the terminal (just had a sandwich or a pastry and a coffee and looked at a magazine of the popular culture night life in the the city...I saw mostly white looking people in the magazines. [I knew I wasn't missing much from a hierarchical racial class lesson point of view]). I did not know anyone in Ethiopia when I visited the first time. I went back 6 months later and married my wife. She was 26 and I was 40. I went back another time before going to Korea for my job and I sent for her to go to the U.S. and then join me in Korea and we now live in the U.S. with a 1 yr old daughter.

The racism and ethnic slurs exist amongst black Americans in the U.S. also and your blog would be equally fitting for ALL BLACK all over the world.

Anonymous said...

What I continue to struggle with is why do many Habesha people tend to not acknowledge what you so eloquently explained. On my three trips to Ethiopia I picked up on the racism and classicism based on the different colored, classes, and locations of where your family was from, Eritrea, Oromo, Gurage etc. I was familiar to this because I am a darker browned skinned man and have experienced seeing the more desirable light skinned guy / woman experience (and have even participated in this myself due to the bombardment of the portraying of a majority of lighter skinned actresses in videos and on the movie and T.V. screens.---And to some point, I guess that was one of the deciding factors of what lead me to Ethiopia vs any of the other 51 contries on the continent.... I tend to use the (also true) excuse that I was looking for black people in the Bible and in the book of Genesis it spoke of the 3 rivers going out of Eden and one went to Ethiopia. I tend to tell this story as the reasoning of what lead me to Ethiopia. But I did conduct internet research to see what different women looked like from different countries. (this was shallow of me, I apologize; and wish I was exercised more discipline and had the wealth and time to go to and visit every African country to see how beautiful each country and people are. But that is all in hind sight.) I now am married and have a healthy, intelligent, and beautiful, strong-willed daughter. To me she is the "bridge" that Re-ties my slave ancestors from the African continent back to Africa. I am fortunate to have married into a loving Ethiopian family. The culture has embraced me, although, things like the internal racism, slavery, child marrying, sexual genital mutilations, and girls under 18 being forced to marry men 20/30/40/50 & 60 years older than them I do not embrace. Why is it taboo to talk about these things and for most to deny that these practices exist. My wife hates to hear about any negative news regarding Ethiopia. I understand. But she REALLY believes that there is NO truth to many stories, i.e. There is NO people without food, drought, jobs, etc. It has not been an easy transition to American lifestyle. She refuses to admit when she does not know or understand how to do something. I am patient and show her everything when she allows me. She will only listen other Habesha people but the learning curve for her is long because there are not many Habiesh people in the U.S. that she trust 100% and she need advice on some personal and intimate things and or medical things or girl-talk things. I am aware of these kind of things but I am not supposed to know these kind of things. There are men roles and women roles. I can say that I have learned A LOT from her and the differences of U.S. living and what others who come from other countries must be going through. The vegatables in the U.S. are not as fresh, the meat is not as fresh, family culture is not as close. Thanks for letting me vent. God bless you

Anonymous said...

"Slavery was officially abolished in Ethiopia only in 1942!It was even used by the Italians as a justification for their invasion in 1935".
Can you show me your historical sources?

enset said...

Did you try to google? Here is one source:

Anonymous said...

I see that Ethiopians and others with recent ties to Africa are just as likely as "black" people in the Americas to deflect/derail conversations that address color, hair, and feature-sickenss. "We have other problem of corrruption, famine, poverty. etc." Yada. yada. (((SMH)))
Nonetheless, I salute the author for addressing it. Anti-blackness is a world-wide phenomenon/system. I am convinced that it fuels white supremacy and not vice versa.

Anonymous said...

I think the biggest problem with racism in Ethiopia is that most Ethiopians don't even realize that its happening. Or if they do they think of it as more of a joke or fun than actual racism. I am a high school student and I am currently doing an assignment on this topic. I was asking many of my classmates what they thought about Ethiopian racism and I found out that most of them didn't consider their comments and remarks to be racist, but rather the norm and correct. So I think creating awareness will probably go a long way in solving this issue.

Unknown said...

thank you for taking the courage to adress this issue, religion has also contributed to this in an indirect way, especialy orthodox christianity which focuses on icons(images), this fortifies the idea that light skinned, and certain physical traits are Superior because these images are being attributed with concept of divinity, islam abolishes this falsehood

fatima, from neighbouring sudan
contact email (

Unknown said...

it is truly ignorance of value of humanbeing what is keeping ethiopia from progressing

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

We people of mixed ethnic ancestry living in the Caribbean know prejudice in a way that few others do. Many of us describe ourselves as "African" (despite whatever other ethnicities course through our veins) principally as a declaration of our humanity and an assertion of our being; as an acknowledgement of our Bantu heritage, which we understand is the most despised even by some who look like us. When I am in Trinidad I may refer to myself as an African; it is a statement of solidarity, a political construct. When I am in the region and outside Trinidad, I am a Trinidadian - - a fact. When I am abroad outside the region, I am a Caribbean person; a statement of fact and solidarity and a political construct. As a child sixty years ago the environment taught you to despise yourself, unless you could excel in one of the higher professions or in government and assume the mantle that racist South Africa would have described as "honoury White". The plantation system is one that used percentage of European ancestry to grade our forefathers like determining pedigree in animals and of course there are retentions of this barbarous practise. The fact that this could prevail even in Africa (especially in Ethiopia) even to this day to the extent described is deeply hurtful to those of us from the Caribbean that look to your civilization as a validation of our worth as human beings. If I wanted to, I could "play" my European heritage to gain an ontoward advantage at times but I despise that, even in myself. If I can use it as a bridge to enable people to come together collaborate and respect one another, I find it valid.

Kandimba said...

Islam what? What a joker!

"Dr. Azumah in his book: The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa provides several examples of Islam’s hatred of Blacks. There is the example in the hadith in which an Ethiopian woman laments her racial inferiority to Muhammad, who consoles her by saying, "In Paradise, the whiteness of the Ethiopian will be seen over the stretch of a thousand years."

Another hadith quotes Muhammad thus: "Do not bring black into your pedigree."

In fact, the Arabic word for slave, “Abd,” became equated with Africans and Blacks with the advent of Islam.
Muhammad owned and sold Black slaves. In fact, he ordered and built the pulpit of his mosque with African slave labour. The Qur'an encourages sex with female slaves in several places. Classical Islamic law allows a light-skinned Muslim man to marry a Black woman, but a Black Muslim man is restricted from marrying a light-skinned woman.

As the literature of the time put it, "only a whore prefers blacks; the good woman will welcome death rather than being touched by a black man.”

So interwoven is slavery with Islam that Islams’ holiest city, Mecca (site of the Haj pilgrimage), was a slave trading capital."

Unknown said...

I am from Kenya. I can't believe the

Unknown said...

I am From Kenya. I can't believe there is racism in Ethiopia.