Weah’s Racism Speech

Weah’s Racism Speech: An Indictment of Liberia’s Educational System

These are my thoughts on Weah’s “racism against footballers” speech. I believe it is an indictment of Liberia’s educational system, and its failure to educate every child regardless of family finances and status.

I saw the video where Senator Weah referred to discrimination against him as a footballer, and termed it racism. Following that statement many of his surrogates came out to defend him, claiming racism applies to football, religion etc. I even understand that the Minister of Education George Werner and others tried to justify what Senator Weah said; and someone even presented a philosophical paper on “the various types of racism, as opposed to the anti-racist”. Of note is that none of those papers talked about discriminating against footballers as being another form of racism, but instead the writer mused about the fact that beyond race, one can discriminate against cultures within different races.

Now let’s move to my thoughts on the issue.

I realized that those who found the statement to be used in the wrong context, found it funny and chose to use it as another opportunity to laugh at Senator Weah and presented as a reason why he shouldn’t be President. Well the reality is that you can only be as good as the sample size you are taken out off. I believe those laughing at Weah are laughing at their nation, like an observer looking in would do. However, the reality is that the joke is not on Weah alone, but instead the joke is on Liberia, Liberians, our educational system, our Ministers of Education over the years; and our society which is divided along the lines of rich and poor, haves and have nots, with no middle class, or anything in between.

Former international football star George Manneh Weah waves to supporters – the man wanting to lead Liberia come January 2018.  The CDC’s presidential candidate said calling someone a footballer is “racism”

We have a system where the level of how well you read, speak and write a foreign language which has been adopted as our official language; is based on who your father or mother happens to be, and what kind of school they can afford.

Our government officials keep their kids and wives in America, because they understand this simple fact, “that your ability to succeed in the USA, is limited only by your IQ, not who you know, or what your last name is”. The Public-school system in the US is free from K-12 grade, standardized to ensure that all children throughout the United States should read at grade level and pass standardized tests to be accepted into colleges and Universities; as opposed to going into the military, Technical and Trade schools or Allied health care training programs.

Ours is a sad commentary! I feel sorry for Weah, but I feel sorrier for the nation of Liberia. After 170 years you still have a society stuck in the 1800s antebellum South slavery mentality of the “house nigger”, and the “field niggar”. Senator Weah just happens to be a “field niggar” whose country thought was only good enough to play football for Wells Hairston’s varsity team, I.E. and Barolle club teams and the Lonestar national team. Whether he got an education or not, was not their concern. He was supposed to go from office to office or home to home begging for rent, school fees and hospital bills. As fate would have it, his talents took him far and made him millions. Now the chickens have come home to roost.

The moral of the story is, “educate all of our kids on the level of CWA, St Patrick’s, JJ Robert UMS, Cathedral, ACS and BWI etc.”. Any schools below the standards of the high performing schools, need to be phased out; or have MOE ensure that faculty and staff of the good schools bring the poorer performing schools up to speed. The reason being, a democracy presupposes an educated and knowledgeable group of citizens. In addition, it ensures that anyone, or as we say in Liberia “Any Joe Blow or Tom Dick or Harry can be President, Representative or Senator. Therefore, it’s left with us as a nation to educate our citizenry with top notch education at the Primary, Secondary and Undergrad as well as the Graduate level. If not, we will continue to get the jokers that we have in our Legislative branch, and guys like Senator Weah will continue to “pose a concern” for our democracy.

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Bartum Kulah, MD, MBA

Bartum Kulah, MD, MBA is a Liberian citizen, physician and administrator educated and trained in the United States.
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