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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Is The Nigerian Children's Chant "Oyinbo Pepper" Offensive?

This is Part II in a two part pancocojams series about the Nigerian referent "Oyinbo". 

Part II of this pancocojams series presents various online excerpts about what appears to be a widely known Nigerian chant/song "Oyinbo pepper" (also given as "Oyinbo pepe" or "Oyibo Pepe").

This is Part I in a two part pancocojams series about the Nigerian referent "Oyinbo". 

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2021/07/is-nigerian-word-oyinbo-oyibo-insulting.html  for Part I of this pancocojams series. Part I quotes a portion of a 1966 book by Dr. Fela Sowande entitled 
The Mind Of A Nation- The Yoruba Child. That portion of that book is from the chapter entitled Yoruba Names And Their Meanings" and refers to the Yoruba name "Fatoyinbo".

The second excerpt in that pancocojams post is from a Wikipedia page about the word "Oyinbo" and the third excerpt is from a 2009 article that was written by a Nigerian professor Kola Tubosun. Selected comments from that article's discussion thread are also  included in that pancocojams post.

The content of this post is presented for socio-cultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

****
EXCERPT #1
From 
http://naijalingo.com/words/oyinbo-pepper
"Oyinbo pepper

Definition:1. An expatriate or foreigner who is generally considered as having an untrained palate for eating spicy hot food. 2. Any white person.Example:

1. Oyinbo pepper. If you eat pepper you go yellow more more.
2. Why you dey do like oyinbo pepper sef?

Synonyms: Oyinbo, Omo white"
-snip-
“omo”, Yoruba word; English translation = “child”

****
EXCERPT #2
From https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Map_of_Me/D9IGswx-1VsC?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=oyinbo+pepper+chant&pg=PT11&printsec=frontcover

The Map of Me: True Tales of Mixed-Heritage Experience Penguin, 2008 · ‎Biography & Autobiography

[Pancocojams Editor's Note: This book is a collection of stories by British people of mixed racial ancestry.]

... “An anonymous horde of children of the market women began their familiar chant, directed at expatriates and their progeny

Oyinbo (white person) pehpeh (pepper)
If you eatee pehpeh
You go yellow moh (more) moh!
Oyinbo pehpeh,
if you eatee


Today I didn’t care. I was cool, calm, and collected. Nothing would dampen my mood.  Besides, as soon as my mother’s back was turned I planned to retaliate with a chant I’d recently honed to perfection with Danmola’s help.  It described the increase in flatulence in people who eat sugar, which was a rare treat for these children.”…

****
EXCERPT #3
From https://ktravula.wordpress.com/2009/08/27/is-oyinbo-a-derogatory-word-2/ Is "Oyinbo" A Derogatory Word? Posted by Kola Tubosun, August 27, 2009
…”So, when used in a civil, polite conversation, Oyinbo is mainly a harmless term of reference, but it is insulting only when it is yelled out loud, especially by a(n unaquainted, unfriendly) stranger.” How does one explain all of this easily in a class of an elementary course on language and culture without raising red flags and unnecessarily preconditioning the mind of impressionable students to a hostile, negative cultural experience? That was my dilemma on that beautiful Wednesday afternoon.

I resolved the situation in favour of common sense, and the concise explanation I gave before moving to the next topic was a “No please, that’s not a derogative word. It is a fun word of endearment used by the Yoruba to refer to those they perceive differently because of their skin colour.” But I left the class a little worried that I myself do not totally agree with that description for its lack of depth and breath to capture all that the word “oyinbo” entails, and for the way that definition might be wrongly construed as a racist/derogatory tag. Fact is, the image that flashed across my mind when I think about it is that of a cacophonous horde of dirty little stray children chanting “Oyinbo pepper” after a foreign pedestrian on a public Lagos park, and totally enjoying the embarassment on the face of that now despairing foreigner who curses under her breath, wonders what went wrong with this world, and wishes she had not taken up the invitation to come visit Nigeria. Yorubaland."
-snip-
Here are some of the comments from that article that refer to the "Oyinbo pepper" chant (with numbers added for referencing purposes only) 
Click Part I of this pancocojams series for Kola Tubosun's complete 2009 article as well as some additional comments from that article's readers.  

1. John says:

June 5, 2013 

"i don’t know what is meant by ‘dirty little stray children’. When i was a little boy in the early and mid 80’s, i used to join the chant of ‘oyinbo pepper! hipi hipi pepper!’ and I wasn’t a dirty stray child. I also day-dreamed of marrying an “oyinbo”. So, I can tell you categorically that the word was never used in a derogatory or racist context, rather it was more of fascination being expressed without discretion.

for older folks, calling a white person or one of part caucasian ancestry oyinbo was used as a statement of fact. oyinbo = white person."

**
2. BBC - That 9jabOi says:

September 20, 2013 

"Oyinbo is whatever you white folks thing its … we making fun of your piel skin, Hahaha, when i was little we sing behind any non-black person we see, giggle , clap and single “Oyinbo pepe chuku chuku pepe, bla bla bla you go yellow more more.. We know colors so we don’t calll you folks white.. You guys are yellow to us.. OYINBO OYIBO same meaning.. Still mean the same sh-t*… People that there skins look like someone that was just covered with Bee (Oyin) B’o (Cover)…You guys have name for us right."
-snip-
*This word is fully spelled out in this comment.

**
3. carmenmccain says:

April 21, 2015

"I understand that “oyinbo” is not meant to be derogatory and I don’t think you can call it racist–as foreigners/white people in Nigeria are usually privileged and not victims of structural racism. In the past, I have rolled my eyes at “oyinbos” who claimed that people saying “oyinbo” is racist. I am rarely bothered when children excitedly call out “oyinbo.” HOWEVER, having moved to a part of the country where I am hearing it a lot more, it can be extremely exhausting to have it called out to you hourly, by adults, as you are just walking around and trying to live your life. I have had students on a university campus yell it at me. I have had staff walk into a university office where I was filling a form and say “oyinbo” loudly. I have had a student even start singing “oyinbo pepe” behind my back as I walked out of a room. When I took offense, she protested that it was a “praise song,” and perhaps it is, although my 11 year old self who experienced this same song years ago did not feel like she was being praised but that she was being mocked. Perhaps my 11 year old self just didn’t understand, but… Inasmuch as no one enjoys constantly being singled out and reminded that they are different and “other” and foreign and a spectacle, I wish that the chorus of “oyinbo” would just stop, whether it is meant as a term of endearment or whether it is a jest or something worse. Whatever the etymology and whatever it “actually” means, it feels dehumanizing when it is constantly yelled at you."

**
4. carmenmccain says:

April 21, 2015 

"hahaha, this post is the second one that popped up when I googled “oyinbo pepe” to get the full lyrics to that most joyfully sung-most irritatingly received song. When it is said endearingly by people I know, I don’t mind it all. When strangers call it out or say it behind your back, it becomes very annoying."

**
5. Priya says:

August 30, 2017

"As an Indian who grew up in Lagos, I have been called Oyinbo innumerable times, and most times it was not meant to offend. Mostly it was just how people who didnt know our names referred to us. I can’t say what the children chanting “Oyinbo Pepper might have been thinking, but I am guessing it was not meant to offend either and was just a silly rhyme to them. It is not racist to acknowledge that people are different. However, the word could be used to bully someone for being different and that would be racist."

****
EXCERPT #4
From https://www.nairaland.com/480272/oyebo-pepper-get-yellow-yellow Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word - Family – Nairaland

[Pancocojams Editors Note: I've added numbers for these selected comments for referencing purposes only.]

 1. Re: Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word by Nobody: 9:54pm On Jul 16, 2010

^^^ I guess you're asking if the term "Oyinbo "Pepper" has the same racist meaning as the word "N__"?* If that's your question, then the answer's no. "Oyinbo Pepper" referred more to light-complexioned black people.
-snip-
*This is a substitution for the way the "n word" was spelled in this comment.

**
2. 
Re: Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word by LadyDee1(f): 10:01pm On Jul 16, 2010
"oyinbo pepper if e eat pepper you go yellow more more [grin symbol]

Yep for light skinned nigerians, [wink symbol]

**
3. 
Re: Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word by WhiteOne(f): 11:13pm On Jul 16, 2010

If i recall my first visted to Nigerian right there were a special song for the westerns if they went to a bear paller or ristorante and pepper soupe where ordered.

And i heard stories where children in Nigerian running behind westerns and sing this specail song, too.

My sister in law is very light and complecor in her colour nobody never sang this song for her.

And when i went to a market in Lagos with my other sister in law a woman came to her and said something like 'thank you for bringing the omo oyebo the children of the whiteone home to Nigeria.'

No one say 'Thank you to my sister in law for bringing her children home from the UK or to my other sister thank you for bringing them for the USA'

**
4. 
Re: Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word by Nobody: 11:15pm On Jul 16, 2010

"If you don't mid me asking, where are you from?

I'm only asking, because your English is a bit difficult to decipher. undecided

**
5. Re: Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word by WhiteOne(f): 11:22pm On Jul 16, 2010

"Germany"

**
6. Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word by honeric01(m): 11:39pm On Jul 16, 2010

"I got confused with your english, but then now i understand.

No, oyinbo pepper is for white skinned Nigerians, especially the abinos"

**
7. Re: Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word by mutter(f): 7:12am On Jul 17, 2010

white one why do you give yourself that nick  When you have problems with it. I can as well say you are being racist by using that nick here. Trying to show "ich bin was besseres- nicht wahr" I`m something better.

You know what is amazing- most white are so racist it never occurred to them that blacks are racist too. So you finally came closer by having a black husband or bf and guess what - you found out that blacks do have their pride.

Why should one not say thanks for bringing the kids home. They know it is not easy to go to another country with your children. That is not bad but shows respect and appreciation.

Learn our way of life [grin symbol]

**
8. 
Re: Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word by WhiteOne(f): 8:41am On Jul 17, 2010

WhiteOne is my nick name bec. i like to take the mickey out of this all.

And we where three ladies caming to Lagos. My sister in law from London, my sister in law from USA and me, all your children where brought up together. I did not hear any one saying 'Thank you' at the market to them. The tickets from the USA where more expensive.

Oh, perhaps someboby might have say take you for teach the whiteone the nigerian costums and teacher her a bit of yoruba.

If we are all the same why we still see coloure and please do not missunderstand me wrong now there was a big hapy around the current US president regarding this mattter.

 When we are truly free?
-snip-
The word “where” in this comment means “were”.

**
9. 
Re: Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word by iice(f): 5:26pm On Jul 17, 2010

"It just means white person.

As for kids saying it behind the back. . .it's because they are shy or not disrespectful. . .unlike some people who like to get all up in the face and be like 'N*gga' ish.

Is your sister in law white? Have you asked her about her own experience? Does she seem 'more' nigerian than you are?

 What free are you dreaming about?"
-snip-
This is the way this comment was written in this discussion thread.

**
10. Re: Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word by WhiteOne(f): 6:12pm On Jul 17, 2010

"My sister in law here in london is a real yoruba big mama from Ogun State.

 My other sister in law is a yoruba/ us american.

 And i am a white german.

 Our children where born in the USA or England.

 Which free I am dreaming about?

 Everbody is coloure blind. The kind of free Martin Luther King speaks about in 'i have a dream!'

 And the kind of free Jesus Christ speaks about when he said ' blessed are the peace maker ect.

Are we not all created in the image of god our father? And did not Jesus set us all free or at least gave us some wunderfull teachings?”

**
11. Re: Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word by Selena586: 8:01pm On Jul 17, 2010

Oh, that is very sad whiteone.

But I think this will happen in every country when you come as a foreigner."

**
12. Re: Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word by iice(f): 10:56am On Jul 18, 2010

"Your sisters in law are not white. Oyinbo pepper means white person. What do you germans call black people? Or do you go around breaking into english to translate 'black' anytime? Since your children were born and raised abroad, you can understand what the woman meant about you taking the kids home. If you haven't learnt from your husband, you will learn from this site, that culture and heritage is important to us.

There is a difference between dreams/visions and reality."

**
13. Re: Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word by WhiteOne(f): 12:54pm On Jul 18, 2010

Iice - What is about may niece and nevus.

They where rased in the UK and USA, therefore abroad, too.

What is the reality for mixed rase children?

Everboby make a fus out of them.

Are they something special?

Are they something outstanding now are days?

Learning from my husband, his sisters, his brothers, his uncles ect to which point?

If you married a Nigerian you marry the hole family!?

And in Africa it is not only the parterns, which train/rase a child it is the hole village ?!

In Africa the hole family support each other and a african should not forget the people back home, his/hers sister and brothers need to go to school, mama und baba might need a new house or help to repair there one. Sister might have a baby or Brother is getting married.

And one explained the you get yellow yellow more bit to me.

Yes, we call black people 'schwarz'

Everboby here know what Oyinbo pepper stands for and what does it means and why chrildren are singing it and some adults use this name and 'make there mouth', but no one have the guts to admit Africa/Nigeria is well equipped in name calling, too. ect

**
14. Re: Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word by iice(f): 1:58pm On Jul 18, 2010

"Your niece and nephew have nigerian parents. It's understandable that culture is taught to them being as their parents are nigerian. Logical conclusion. Mixed kids are not always made a fuss about. But yes it happens around the world for different reasons.

You seem to understand our culture but refuse to understand it. Just because it doesn't sit well with you doesn't make it wrong. You weren't born there, you didn't grow up there and it seems very alien to you because of where and how you grew up. Logical conclusion.

Yellow yellow means because you are light skinned, you can see the effect of pepper on your skin, when you go red.

People always make mouth, whether it's because you are white, a woman, rich, speak different language, married a nigerian man, traveled around, studied who knows where, able to do this and that. . .my point is, people will discriminate you because of different things, but because you are comfortable with the 'skin color' choice, you chose to believe that it's only your skin color people will make mouth about.

Lol no guts to name Nigeria? You really don't know us. When we crucify our people over slight and major issues. And our words cut to the bone. . .not something like oyinbo."

**
15. 
Re: Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word by WhiteOne(f): 3:48pm On Jul 18, 2010

"The effect pepper had on me was none.

I did not turn yellow when I ate it.

When my stepfather cooked stew and people from my shool, where around everboby went 'crazy' for fufu and stew and it was specy. On my 'sweet six teen' we had a big party and Germanys from my school dance to ju ju misic and this song back in the 90 tys 'Nigeria is my fatherland, nigeria is my county, oh' Some guy went home and changed there jackets, they where bomber jakets in Green and on of those guy lerned to make fu fu some days later by himself. Therefore pepper had a good effect cool

And 'yes,oh' i know how Nigerian can make mouth, if they are not pleased with something or someboby. The senior onces specially! Have see it! Have heard it and had it on my phone bill!

However my mothers neighbors in German or my mother brother or my oma (grand ma) would never say 'thank you' to my husband for bringen our children to Germany, this is simply something what they would expected of him and me. They can say thing s like 'good to see you again', 'how was your journey' and 'we hope to see you again' and no one would this at the market or at the 'butchers'.

Your niece and nephew have nigerian parents. It's understandable that culture is taught to them being as their parents are nigerian. Logical conclusion. Mixed kids are not always made a fuss about. But yes it happens around the world for different reasons.

Why is was taught of them or expected and not of me? or my partner? Is he not an Nigerian, too? Or am i the first white woman in Nigeria, who send her kids 'back home'? It is so often assumed 'mixed rase' children are lost and it was not worth fighting for them or put them in 'consideration'.

My husband was seen as my husband and as the father of my children, not more not less.

It was only unrespect strangers how asked him a big bunch of strange questions about 'Africa' aka 'do you have more multi-story buildings there ect. My husband reply where 'no we do not, we still live on threes and the German ambassador is living on the biggest of all the threes and he has his visa not on a passport it where on a leaf. And when ask if he speaks english he said no only yoruba and German. People soon stop to ask him things like this."

**
15. Re: Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word by Damysa(f): 9:52am On Jul 19, 2010

@whiteone people calling u yellow yellow/Oyinbo pepper is not so discriminating neither is it an insult of a kind.

 I have never travelled out of Nigeria but people still call me Oyinbo pepper just cos am a light in complexion

 Nigerians generally refer to fair ladies as SISI, YELLOW, OYINBO PEPPER. To us here there is nothing bad attached to it."

**
16. Re
: Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word by WhiteOne(f): 1:32pm On Jul 19, 2010

"Ok. I will call my big mummy here in London Oyebo bec. she is very light in complexion. wink

Better than i take the omorogo with me, i surely will get pepper from her! And perhaps i have to raise my hand in the corner and think about what i have done wrong. embarassed

P.S. I am sure she will make mouth and call me disrespectful girl ect. shocked"

**
17. Re: Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word by iice(f): 1:35pm On Jul 19, 2010

The woman no gree hear.  What she's going in a round about way is to say Nigerians are racists. 

Not that it's not true but it's not as bad as some other places.  Whites get more leeway in Nigeria than blacks in other places.

 

I see a hint of racism in the posts. . ."
-snip-
This is the way this comment was written in that discussion thread. 

**
18. Re: Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word by WhiteOne(f): 1:46pm On Jul 19, 2010

"I was just joking cool

If i do this everyboby might just laugh.

Only she might not feel to happy about it.

People make jokes about Nigerian ladies which use to much cream as well to get lighter."

**
19. Re: Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word by boy1(m): 1:51pm On Jul 19, 2010

"^^u talk too much. . .Damysa have said it all. . oyinbo pepper is not derogatory. .end of topic."

**
20. Re: Oyebo Pepper Get S Yellow Yellow More More. And The Other N Word by WhiteOne(f): 2:24pm On Jul 19, 2010

I d talk to much shocked !!!!

LOL and of topic cheesy

No worries"

****
EXCERPT #5
From https://www.nairaland.com/2175361/hey-easy-name-calling Hey, Easy With The Name-calling! by distinkt(f): 6:03pm On Mar 02, 2015
"I once gave a glimpse of people's reactions to albinos in [url][url]Ko K’Aye[/url[/url]]. What I did not say is, that scenario only accounts for less than 5 minutes of the average day of an albino; you cannot even begin to imagine how tough it can be.

The point-blank staring and name-calling can be very quiet unsettling and upsetting most times (if you let it). Here are a few of the names I have been called over the years, “Afin”, “Oyinbo”, “Unfortunate European”, “Whitey”, “Snow White”, “igo Oju”, “Four Eyes”, “Bat Eyes”, “Orisa”, “NEPA”, “Ebora”, “BonfrereJo”, “Afin o reran osan”, “Onyiocha”, “Ostrich”, “Yellow fowl”, etc.

Now, as you walk by, kids will chant, “Oyinbo pepper, if you eati pepper…” I do not blame the kids though, they are simply amused but every now and again, you see an adult who should know better, tap their kids and say, “Look, See Afin!”

Then the popular questions, “Why does your head shake?” “You are holding your phone so close, can you see?” They wave their hands in front of your face, “Can you see my hand, how many fingers?”. “Can you see in the dark?

Experience has thought me that most people feel no guilt in making crude remarks either because they are unaware of the effects of their words, because they simply do not care, or worse, because they actually set out to demean. I have often wondered why…

It may be fear which stems from an unconscious belief that to name something is to control it. People truly are likely to be controlled by repetitious name-calling when they begin to believe the name and act accordingly. This is the reason why albinos must never subject themselves to name-calling and most rise above.

Another reason may be lack of knowledge, curiosity or a genuine desire to learn. However, most people are faced with a frustrating inability to express questions constructively or with emotional intelligence. Albinos must therefore learn to excuse unknowing name-callers on this premise. Some people tease in order to get to know others better or to express affection. This kind of teasing usually does not hurt. However, if the person being teased does not have a positive self-image, and is uncomfortable with albinism, even affectionate teasing will hurt.

As part of society, we all hold a responsibility to educate the people around us; do not condone any form of name-calling. As for my white-nation brethren, you owe it to yourself to be happy and confident; it is handwork in this kind of environment but you are worth the handwork….

Ultimately, both sides of the divide must work to ensure that the albinos in the society can enjoy a measure of psychological health.

#SayNoToNameCalling

#LightSkinAfrica" 

****
EXCERPT #6
From https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/your-racist-brain-we-all-born-racists-maria-katsarou-psy-d-

Your Racist Brain – Are we all born racists?

February 7, 2017  

Maria Katsarou-Makin
“1970s:

“Oyibo pepe, chuku chuku pepe. if you eat i pepe, you go yellow ma ma”. I can still hear this song from my childhood in Nigeria…. No matter where you would go in any corner of Nigeria you were serenaded with this song by children singing – sometimes shyly, nudged by their parents, or else boldly, accompanied by dancing, jumping or hysterical laughter. Oyibo means ‘white man (or woman)’. Pepe refers to the color of a white person’s skin after tasting the stomach scalding heat of Nigerian pepper (pepe in Pidgin English). …and back then through the eyes of a 6-year old that I was, we were all just having fun… colour did not matter…”

[…]

Apparently, we are hardwired to be ‘racist’ or to spot the people who are not the same as we are. There are many parts of the brain involved, one of which is the amygdala, which is the most primitive part of our brain, and acts like the alarm of a house. Whether someone breaks in, or the wind shakes the windows, or a cat accidentally jumps on your balcony, the alarm goes off. It does NOT have the capacity to go into rational thinking mode and say ‘oh, that’s only a cat’. That’s exactly what happens in the brain. It’s the mechanism that answers the fundamental question to our survival ‘am I safe or not?’. Many neuroscientists have been able to show these movements in our brain in relation to spotting ‘outgroup’ (people that are NOT like us) versus ‘ingroup’ (individuals that ARE us) faces in fMRI (one of them is Dr. Elizabeth Phelps, NY University). This automatic activity may not represent inbuilt racism, instead it may simply reflect heightened awareness and deeper thought when assessing faces from another racial group. However, one thing it does highlight is the obvious differences in processing of ‘outgroup’ faces. “…
-snip-
The author is a White woman who lived in Nigeria as a child. This is how that excerpt was written on tht website. 

****
EXCERPT #7
From https://anesii.wordpress.com/2017/08/14/mary-amaka/
POSTED ON AUGUST 14, 2017

BY ANESII

POSTED IN FAITH, POETRY

"She wasn’t like the rest of them.

Always went to church

With that particular green skirt that swept the crooked roads as she walked by

Or was it the black one with yellow flower prints?

In her hand, she held a black book

When asked, she would tell us,

”It’s the goose-pel, Father say it’s one man in the sky that write it.”

She obviously wasn’t like the rest of them cause they made fun of her

Oyinbo pepper, yellow paw-paw, slap me I change colour’

They would chant after her when she came out to play

Soon, the rhythm was changed as they danced to a different song behind her

Making fun of her faith.

She then made it to the city, making her peers jealous

But she came home after some years with a belly bump

And the girls went around saying, ‘Mary Amaka don get belle.’"
-snip-
This is how this poem was published on that website.

****

 





EXCERPT #3
From https://komodokamadoforum.com/topic/9039-nigerian-suya/ "Nigerian Suya"
By tekobo, June 30, 2018 in KK Cooking
"As an emigrant from my home country and an immigrant here in the UK, I find that street food is one of the things I miss the most and love to eat when I get to go back to Nigeria.  Cooking suya on my KK has been a dream cook for a while but I have been nervous about not getting it right.  Thanks to you all pushing and encouraging and trying it out yourselves, I finally got around to making my own suya tonight.”…

Tekobo, July 1, 2018
Location: England, United Kingdom
…"There is a children's chant from colonial times which goes: "Oyinbo pepper, if you eatee pepper, you go yellow more more".  I think we thought white people going red (or yellow) after eating hot stuff was an interesting design flaw.  As it stands my (white) husband and my father are both fine after eating a load of hot suya last night but I am feeling less good.  Go figure. "

 


From https://sylviawohlfarth.medium.com/this-is-a-beautifully-inspiring-poem-breanna-ad070b83b75b?p=2b5d94a4c690

[by] Sylvia Wohlfarth

An Irish-Nigerian soul living in Ireland after 40 years in Germany….

[…]

Lovin(g) These Days
A Haiku

published in Literary Impulse, Sept 5, 2020

Reminiscing On My Childhood…

A Poem On Longing And Belonging

….And though I suffered no need and thrived

on a culture of colour and dance, I was

never blind to the surrounding miseria.

Oyibo pepe, Oyibo pepe, if you eat i pepe,

you go yellow maw maw” a children’s song

rendered to us Oyibos, meaning white,

though I was brown — and urging us

to eat pepper to darken our skin

— a melodic obbligato sans sting.

Beaming faces of the impoverished young,

waving for my friendly attention —

their delight and laughter at my timid reaction,

were all facets of my early foundation."...

****
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Is The Nigerian Word "Oyinbo" ("Oyibo") An Insulting Referent?

This is Part I in a two part pancocojams series about the Nigerian referent "Oyinbo". 

Part I quotes a portion of a 1966 book by Dr. Fela Sowande entitled 
The Mind Of A Nation- The Yoruba Child. That portion of that book is from the chapter entitled Yoruba Names And Their Meanings" and refers to the Yoruba name "Fatoyinbo".

The second excerpt in that pancocojams post is from a Wikipedia page about the word "Oyinbo" and the third excerpt is from a 2009 article that was written by a Nigerian professor Kola Tubosun. Selected comments from that article's discussion thread are also  included in this pancocojams post.

Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2021/07/is-nigerian-childrens-chant-oyinbo.html for Part II of this pancocojams series. Part II presents various online excerpts about what appears to be a widely known Nigerian children's chant/song called "Oyinbo pepper" (also given as "Oyinbo pepe" or "Oyibo Pepe".)

The content of this post is presented for socio-cultural purposes and onomastic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

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EXCERPT #1
[Pancocojams Editor's Note]
This is an excerpt from a chapter of Fela Sowande's 1966 book The Mind Of A Nation- The Yoruba Child (Ibadan: Ibadan University). This portion of that chapter entitled "Yoruba Names And Their Meanings" gives the meaning of and an explanation for the Yoruba skin color name "Fatoyinbo". Dr. Sowande (b. Abeokuta, Nigeria, May 1905; d. Ravenna, Ohio, United States, 13 March 1987) was a Nigerian musician, composer, and scholar. 

I met Dr. Sowande when he lectured for a brief time at the University of Pittsburgh somewhere around 1973.  Dr. Sowande gifted a friend of my with the manuscript for his book and that friend lent it to me because he was aware of my interest in Nigerian culture and my interest in naming traditions. I published this chapter on Yoruba names around 2010 on my no longer active cocojams.com cultural blog, and later on this pancocojams blog because of my interest in Nigerian culture and because of my interest in names. 

Click 
http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/11/yoruba-names-and-their-meeanings-by.html to read that entire chapter. Everything except the words given in brackets are quoted from that chapter.
-end of Pancocojams Editor's Note-   

The Mind Of A Nation- The Yoruba Child" by Fela Sowande
Page 39 "Yoruba Names And Their Meanings"
...“Yoruba names are therefore much more than mere identification tags, much more than mere "luggage labels"; each has a reason (a) for being just what it is; and (b) for being given to a particular individual. Yoruba names embody circumstances of birth, history, family, religion, or some other equally pertinent facts relevant to that particular individual bearing the name. Yoruba names are, in fact, in most cases contractions of whole sentences....

Page 46
[name given as #41]. "Fatoyinbo"
= Ifa to Oyinbo = Ifa is to be equated with Oyinbo. Here, "Oyinbo" is not [Note "not" is underlined] the white man," but the Yoruba child of Yoruba parents who at birth is light-skinned, and is held to bring good fortune to himself and to all connected with him.

Note on "Fatoyinbo"
This Yoruba name is salutary reminder that the most obvious-and seemingly correct amplification of Yoruba compound words is just as likely as not to lead us astray, and give us the most incorrect derivation of meanings. It pinpoints the fact that "derivation by amplification" could well be the very thing that guides us, not to, but away from the proper meaning of a compound word. With nothing else but the name to go on, "Fatoyinbo" would naturally be simplified into "Ifa to Oyinbo," and since the Yoruba word for "the white man" is "Oyinbo," the amplification would almost be bound to be understood as "Ifa is to be equated with the white man," and this might well be held to imply that Ifa is as important, or as great, or as powerful as "the white man," who is (supposedly) all these things, on account of his very considerable scientific and artistic achievements. If we remembered to ask: "How did traditional Ifa come to take note of the white man is such a direct manner?" we would certainly not lack those-including those Yorubas who see no good in Ifa anyway-who would readily, if not anxiously advance the theory that this is proof positive that Ifa is of fairly recent growth, or that this is but one instance of those adulterations of which they have complained, perpetrated by unscrupulous Ifa Priests whose sole aim is to extort money from their unsuspecting and innocent victims. If we had to depend solely on the Yoruba name, and on the supposed infallibility of derivation through amplification, there would be no answer to the above, or any similar, theory.

Page 47
We have, however, two ways of approach open to us. One is to be found in the legend concerning Orunmila, which is qute relevant and interesting enough, but deals with the light-skinned Yoruba man-the 'Oyinbo' or Ebo-as a general type. The other deals with the Primordial Ebo, the Oyinbo who is in every sense a Yoruba man born and bred, and who is apparently the "archetype for all the subsequent Ebos; for this Primordial Ebo, we turn to a Stanza of Ifa, from the Odu "Ogunda-meji."

The legend relates that, one day, a hunter went out to hunt, and climbed a tree; there he saw someone walking backwards and forwards on the same spot; this hunter captured the person, and found that it was a woman; the hunter took her home; he offered her meat, but she would not eat; yam, but she would not eat. Then, one day, as this hunter was coming back from the forest, he came upon Orunmila, who was offering hen's eggs to Esu. Orunmila gave one egg to the hunter; this woman began to pick up the egg-shells tp eat. Orunmila thereupon offered her an egg, which she accepted and ate. The hunter was suprised, and told Orunmila that since he had captured this woman, she had not eaten anything; he offered to sell her to Orunmila, and Orunmila bought the woman for 20,000 cowries. Orunmila asked the hunter for the name of the woman, to which the hunter replied that when he first found her, she was apprently suffered from giddiness, so they named her "Oyi" [Giddiness].

Orunmila now enquired from Ifa whether this woman-the daughter of Olokun-would bear him children. She was told to sacrifice twenty chickens and two thousand cowries in twenty places; she did, and gave birth to twenty children; then she offered sacrifice a second time, thirty chickens and two thousand cowries in thirty places, and she gave birth to thirty children. Then she conceived again. This time, she and Orunmila decided to pay a visit to her father, the Olukun [the Sea-God]. Olokun received them with great joy, and gave Oyi some hot liquor to drink; which she did.

Page 48
When her baby arrived, it was white-skinned, and it was said that it was the hot liquor that had peeled off its dark skin; and so the baby was called "Ebo," literally, eyiti o bo" that which has been peeled.This child was born in the house of Olokun. Orunmila then told the child to make his home with Olokun.

Here the Stanza of Ifa ends, but Olokun has always been recognized as a fabulously wealthy god. This grandchild of his, Ebo, is therefore like the grandchild of a multimillionaire, who is the apple of his grandfather's eye, and who attracts incredible good fortune to himself, and to all with whom he is connected.

With the foregoing as a background, and bearing in mind that, in some places in Yorubaland, Fatoyinbo is pronounced "Fatoyibo," we may [Note: "may" is underlined] also amplify this name into "Ifa ti Oyi bo," and-as the traditionalist say that "ifa is Oro" [Oro ni Ifa]- we may suggest that "Ifa ti Oyi bo" is really doing duty for "Oro ti Oyi bo-the Spirit child whose dark skin was peeled by Oyi," thorugh the hot liquor she drank while carrying the baby. All this may mean exactly nothing, and the usefulness of it warns us against being too fully committed to the very obvious, and being too fully dependent on the Yoruba Dictionary. It is likely, however, that the Stanza from "Ogunda-meji" just quoted may have supplied the origin of the Yourba term "Oyinbo" for the white man, who may have been thought to have his natural skined 'peeled' somewhere, sometime, for some mysterious reason. Or perhaps he was thought to be the descendant of the first "Ebo," the child of Oyi and Orunmila?

Not all Yorubas (or Africans) are dark-skinned. Some are fair-skinned, and some are light-skinned-the albinos. It is said that the traditional Yoruba believed that Orisanla does the moulding of the individual person when the sun is below the horizon. Orisanla moulds the head only, but within the head is the complete man, in embryo. In those individual cases where Orisanla does not complete his job before dawn, the person is consequently light-skinned; where Orisanla does not complete his job until after dawn, the person is consequently an albino.

Page 49
Inability to complete the moulding of the person while the sun is still below the horizon is said to be due either to available material proving refractory, or to mistakes having been made which need to be corrected, time being thus lost.

According to this view, man is not mass-produced. Each individual is given specific attention on specific lines indicated by his "case-history," by which the "Oke" child is born completely covered by his amniotic sac, and an "Olugbodi" has six toes, etcetera. But the albino is one thing, the European is quite another matter altogether."
-snip-
This quote is the complete section of Dr. Fela Sowande's writing on the name "Fatoyinbo".

Read comment #9 in Excerpt #3 below for the name "Ifatoyinbo". That is the same name as "Fatoyinbo".
 
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EXCERPT #2
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oyinbo
"Oyinbo is a Nigerian word used to refer to Caucasians.[1][2][3] In Nigeria, it is generally used to refer to a person of European descent or people perceived to not be culturally African. The word is pronounced oyinbo in Yoruba language and oyibo in Igbo speaking areas. Both terms are valid in Pidgin English.

Etymology

The word may be coined from the Yoruba translation of “peeled skin” or “skinless,” which, in Yoruba, translates to “yin” – scratch “bo” – off/peel; the "O" starting the word "Oyinbo" is a pronoun. Hence, "Oyinbo" literally translates to "the man with a peeled off skin".[4][5] Other variations of the term in Yoruba language include Eyinbo, which is usually shorted as "Eebo".[6]

Oyinbo is also used in reference to nonwhite people who are foreign, Westernised, or otherwise perceived to not be culturally African, such as liberated black slaves from the Americas (known as Saros) who resettled in Nigeria during the late 19th and early 20th century and were called Oyibo ocha ("African Europeans") by the local population.[7] Sierra Leonean missionaries, according to Ajayi Crowther, a Yoruba, and John Taylor, an Igbo, descendants of resettled slaves, were referred to as oyibo ojii (Igbo: black foreigners) or "native foreigners" by the people of Onitsha in the late 19th century.[8][9]

[…]

Related

In Central and West Africa the name for a person of European descent is Toubab.

In Ghana the word used for a 'white' person or foreigner is 'Obroni' in the local languages, those of the Akan family."...:

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EXCERPT #3 
From 
https://ktravula.wordpress.com/2009/08/27/is-oyinbo-a-derogatory-word-2/  "Is "Oyinbo" A Derogatory Word?" Posted by Kola Tubosun, August 27, 2009
"While teaching my second Yoruba class on Wednesday, I had mentioned the word “Oyinbo” to my students in passing, within a conversation, when I didn’t intend to, and when the topic of discussion at the moment could have proceeded a bit smoothier had I not committed the second unforgivable error of subsequently attempting to explain its usage in Nigeria. I have had cause to think about the word usage for quite a while now and I have mostly questioned its use, so I might have been a little too enthusiastic in responding when the questioner took cue from my explanation on a totally different matter and asked whether when I said that children called foreigners “Oyinbo” in my country, I meant that they used the word to make jest of them.

….Now, let’s examine the word, “Oyinbo”, which is supposed to refer to “(a) White Person/Caucasian/Non Black-African”. The etymology has never been agreed on, and even though a famous scholar once wrote that it is derived from “Oyin + bo” which roughly means “(Someone) peeled by the honeybee,” the word still doesn’t make much sense on its own. The word is used today both in urban, rural, and in educated circles to refer to the foreigner, most especially those with fairer skin colour (African Americans included). Those excluded from the authentic list of Oyinbos and are often called into the list mostly in jest are the really fairskinned Africans, and the Albinos. Every other person with European/Caucasian blood in them are Oyinbos, and they are called by that name both in public and in private, which brings a huge question on whether the users of the word ever mean it as a derogatory expression. The answer of course would be a NO. However, I personally have never considered it a compliment of any sort when while walking with a white/caucasian person (even within a campus environment), passers-by most of whom are complete and unwelcome strangers yell “Oyinbo!” while pointing and giggling excitely at the now totally embarrased stranger. …”So, when used in a civil, polite conversation, Oyinbo is mainly a harmless term of reference, but it is insulting only when it is yelled out loud, especially by a(n unaquainted, unfriendly) stranger.” How does one explain all of this easily in a class of an elementary course on language and culture without raising red flags and unnecessarily preconditioning the mind of impressionable students to a hostile, negative cultural experience? That was my dilemma on that beautiful Wednesday afternoon.

I resolved the situation in favour of common sense, and the concise explanation I gave before moving to the next topic was a “No please, that’s not a derogative word. It is a fun word of endearment used by the Yoruba to refer to those they perceive differently because of their skin colour.” But I left the class a little worried that I myself do not totally agree with that description for its lack of depth and breath to capture all that the word “oyinbo” entails, and for the way that definition might be wrongly construed as a racist/derogatory tag. Fact is, the image that flashed across my mind when I think about it is that of a cacophonous horde of dirty little stray children chanting “Oyinbo pepper” after a foreign pedestrian on a public Lagos park, and totally enjoying the embarassment on the face of that now despairing foreigner who curses under her breath, wonders what went wrong with this world, and wishes she had not taken up the invitation to come visit Nigeria. Yorubaland.

What do you think?"
-snip-
Selected comments from this article's discussion thread (with numbers added for referencing purposes only).

1.
rayo says:

August 27, 2009

"i think on its own, oyinbo is not a derogatory word, but i suppose like most words, its meaning depends on the context in which it is being used, that’s what determines whether its derogatory or not. or is there anor word to describe a white man in yoruba coz i seem to kno of none.

p.s i’d forgotten the phrase ‘oyinbo peper’ till u used it here, made me smyl nd remember being young…"
-snip-
Some other comments that mention the chant "Oyinbo pepper" are included in Part II of this pancocojams series.

**
2. adeleke says:

August 27, 2009 

"I think of names like Oguntoyinbo, Sangotoyinbo, Adetoyinbo, Oladoyinbo,Ifatoyinbo and agree that Oyinbo is both a descriptive name and a term of endearment. Indeed, to call a light complexioned African, an “oyinbo “is mostly a compliment. Indeed, an educated, well spoken person may also be called so. I recall the phrase “afinju oyinbo”, for instance.

As for the root of the word, more research needs to be done."

**
3.  Doyinbo says:

July 27, 2010 

"Most people do not know the true origin but it is not a derogatory word but actually is a word of superiority, reverence, greatness. pardon me but I cannot remember the yoruba scholar since this dates back to my childhood and the search for the meaning of my name. Oyinbo is a youruba word used for someone you lift high, superior and revere for example the yoruba surnames aladetoyinbo, odetoyinbo, oguntoyinbo. When the white man came they were originally thought as spirits ( superior beings) and they worshiped them hence they gave them the name “oyinbo” . The name or word precedes the whiteman"

**
4. Kola Tubosun says:

January 21, 2011 

"Thank you everyone for the interesting comments. This article was written over a year ago, and little did I know while writing it that it would generate this much attention more than a year later. Like you would see in the content of the post, I did not posit that the word was derogatory and I wrote it so as to bring out perspectives many of which have been enlightening.

I know that the word is inherently harmless – as could be seen in the many names that we give ourselves – Oguntoyinbo (“The god of Iron is just like the white man”), Adetoyinbo (“Royalty equates one to the white man”) etc. I also know that it is usually hard to explain it to a foreigner without sounding awkward. The difference between this word as the other one used in a more offensive way in American English is that while one carries the burden of history of segregation, prejudice and violence, one carries a kind of awe and friendliness. Both however describe people different from us because of their skin colour and race, and that’s where the similarity ends.

There are a few racially offensive words in Yoruba, but Oyinbo is not one of them. Thanks again, everyone."

**
5. The dude says:

July 8, 2011 

"It is not derogatory as some scamm baiters would have you believe. It has been used long before the white man came along"

**
6. Oladipo says:

November 29, 2011 

"As an Ogbomoso-born oyinbo who spent his childhood in Yorubaland and has enjoyed several return visits as an adult, I must say that I have NEVER heard the term “oyinbo” used in a derogatory way. In fact, as one on the receiving end of the term, I always knew it as a respectful term of greeting and reference. Whenever I heard the term, I knew I was being welcomed. I would be delighted to be hearing a crowd of children screaming that term right now, because it would mean that I was back home."

**
7. Caroline Gurney (@cmgurney) says:

December 22, 2011 

"Hi Kola. Thanks for this interesting post. I came across it whilst trying to research the origin of the word “oyinbo”. I’m an English woman who lived in Lagos for over three years during the 1980s. We were told that the word originally meant “ghost” or “spirit” and was applied to white people when they first appeared in Yorubaland because their pale skins looked ghostly. I don’t know whether this is true but it seems to tie in with what Doyinbo has written above.

During my time in Lagos I was called Oyinbo in two ways. The first was by small children who would shout it at me cheerfully. I think that was because white people were still not a common sight in some areas. It also drew attention to the small, cheerful, sweet looking little child who had shouted and sometimes led to a Naira or a packet of sweets coming their way. A good reason for them to continue the practice of shouting cheerfully at all white people 🙂

The second usage was by grown-ups, in anger, as in “you Oyinbos think you can come over here and …”. That usage was derogatory, and technically racist, but totally understandable given the colonial history and the huge wealth disparity between white expatriates in Nigeria and most of the local population. It never offended me and was not a common occurence. As a guest in Nigeria, I was generally treated well and the most common word used towards me was the polite “Madam”.

What saddens me now is the way “Oyinbo” is used in a derogatory way by young Nigerians living here in the UK. Do a Twitter search and you’ll see how it is used for put downs and insults. Today I saw, “Oyinbo ppl age so disgustingly”, “My dad goes oyinbo’s have bad skin there bodies crumple loool” and “These oyinbo toddlers on the bus need a beating”.
-snip-
This is the way this comment was published in that discussion.

**
Reply
8. Kola Tubosun says:

December 22, 2011 

"Thank you Caroline for the insightful comment. Since I made this post over a year ago it has received one of the most robust commentary by readers from around the world. I agree with your assessment. I guess it is easy to explain it to other foreigners now by simply referring them to your reply. Thank you again."

**
9. Abayomi says:

March 12, 2012 

"Haba!!!! Yoruba that posted here do not understand Yoruba language very well. Yoruba is a tonal language and we love to contract words. “Toyinbo” as described above has nothing to do with a white man, green man or blue man. Rather, Toyinbo is a contraction of ” to yin bo ni ete” where “ni” and “li” are interchangeable i.e “ni” becomes “li” as in Ifatoyinbolete, Oguntoyinbolete, Shangotoyinbolete, Odetoyinbolete, Olatoyinbolete, Adetoyinbolete, Omotoyinbolete, et al

Ifatoyinbo means IFA (GOD of Wisdom, the wisdom energy of the Great Spirit, Olodumare) is of high esteem, you ‘ll praise it till your lips come off.

Oguntoyinbo means Ogun (Deity of iron/metal/technology/civilization, the creative energy of the Great Spirit) is of high esteem, you ‘ll praise it till your lips come off.

Shangotoyinbo means Shango (Deity of Justice, the retributive energy of the Great Spirit) is of high esteem, you ‘ll praise it till your lips come off.

Odetoyinbo means Ode (Hunter, a prized hunter) is of high esteem, you ‘ll praise it till your lips come off.

Olatoyinbo means Ola (Wealth/Blessings from the Great Spirit) is of high esteem, you ‘ll praise it till your lips come off.

Adetoyinbo means Ade (Kingship/Royalty) is of high esteem, you ‘ll praise it till your lips come off.

Omotoyinbo means Omo (Child, a blessed child) is of high esteem, you ‘ll praise it till your lips come off.

Thus, it means the respective family is appreciative of the circumstances that gave birth to the named person.

**
10. Abayomi says:

March 12, 2012 
"So why do we call Europeans “oyinbo”? White in Yoruba language is “funfun” or “ala”. However, Funfun or Ala is never used to refer to a person but the pureness of a spirit. In Yoruba, “oyinbo” is used to refer to a person that lacks melanin. In addition, the Mediterranean type like the Lebanese and the Israeli are called “kora”.

The English calls an african “black”, the Germans say “schwarz”, the Spanish and the Portuguese will say “negro”, the Italian says “nero” and the French will say “noir”. They all describe the dark skin complexion (melanin). Is that a derogatory word?

Thus, why are we making a mountain out of a molehill?"

**
11.  Gbolabo Obasa says:

July 6, 2012 

"In fact one of the “Odus” (meaning Chapters) in Ifa, the Yoruba traditional religion links the African, the yoruba in particular to the Caucasian as children of a mother called “Oyin” not pronunced as “Oyin” meaning honey. That Oyin is the same root word for Oyinbo. Now i don’t think one would want to insult what is concieved to be part of your root."

**
12. Tunde says:

August 30, 2012 

"To be holy is great. To be holier than thou is nasty. That is how a word, no matter or sacred, takes its meaning from its context. I am fair in complexion and i am often esteemed as oyinbo. The very root of the word is my concern. The word consits of two morphemes: Oyin – bee or honey and ibo – a yellowish sweet sour fruit. Perhaps the juice or bee of ibo is whiter than other bees. Yorubas usually decribe people by what they look like or behave like or speak like. I dare say Oyibos are so called because they are whitish like the juice or bee of ibo."

**
13. Chantay says:

January 30, 2013 

"Please explain to me this. I am African American, so i am of african descent. I have a friend who is Nigerian, but born in America. Wouldnt that person be considered and Oyinbo also? Why would I be called an Oyinbo and not her when technically we are the same? And I am the same complexion as she is. CHOCOLATE. Even if it is not a word that is “considered” derogatory. To me, I would take it as such, especially considering the fact we are technically the same, but my nigerian friend just so happen to be blessed NOT to be taken through slavery. Why would we be any different? To me, I consider myself african, just uneducated on where my family is from. Not something that is my fault or most african americans fault for that matter. So to be called an Oyinbo, a foriegner, light skinned, white and whatever other reasons to be called it. I would be offended. For an african american who is very passionate about her family history and wanting to know where her family is from. It would be a sensative situation to be called a such word.

I agree with TED, JUST STOP USING IT.

**
Reply
14. 
SelahSelah says:

March 7, 2013

"I am a Nigerian but I was born and have lived in London for all my life. When I go back home, as I like to call Nigeria, my mother-land, I am called ‘oyinbo’ by the kids, teens, and elderly. It is not in any way a derogatory term, rather it is more of a “look, another ‘foreigner'” statement. Obviously they do not call me oyinbo because of the colour of my skin, rather it is the fact that I do not live in Nigeria, and they can tell by my dress, accent, and mannerisms. I could see where the difficulty was in explaining this to your students, Prof, but any person who proclaims on this page that it is a negative term only need visit Nigeria and see that this is not the case. As stated above, the Europeans have words like ‘negro’ and ‘nero’ to describe so-called Blacks. It is those words, which are directed only at Blacks and, unlike the word ‘oyinbo’ do not include foreigners, which should be under scrutiny. The word ‘oyinbo’ existed before the White man came to Africa and stripped her of her wealth and pride and it shall remain there as long as Nigerians remain in Nigeria."

**
Reply
15. 
Obasa Gbolabo says:

February 11, 2014 

"Chantay, please i beg of you to kindly get the right concept of the word and the attitude of the native users of the word before discarding it all together. The Yorubas who coined it use it not to insult but to praise! It is considered a good thing to be fair skinned by a lot of them. Not in terms of the fair person being superior however. It is also not used to mean you are an outcast or an outsider, being a bit different may be. It often suggests that one is sophisticated too. You can only tell anyone who misuses it stop it! It’s just like saying that calling someone “black” is bad! Nothing is wrong with being black except the wrong thinking people who think wrongly of it!"

**
Reply
16. 
keletheardentfangirl says:

August 4, 2014 

"You are of African descent, yes. Are you actually African? No. Your’e friend is Nigerian, so therefore, she is not a foreigner. YOU are a foreigner. Therefore, you can be called an oyinbo. That is what you are, that is what you will always be called. That is just how it is. How can you even claim there not to be a difference between you and her? You are seen as oyinbo to Africans, and YOU CANNOT DICTATE WHAT A WHOLE PEOPLE CALL YOU."

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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

2021 Article Excerpt: "A Brief History of Black Names, from Perlie to Latasha" by Trevon Logan

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post presents a quote from the Jan. 23, 2021 article by Trevon Logan entitled  "A brief history of black names, from Perlie to Latasha". 

The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, and onomastic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Trevon Logan for this article.

****
ARTICLE EXCERPT: "A BRIEF HISTORY OF BLACK NAMES, FROM PERLIE TO LATASHA"
https://theconversation.com/a-brief-history-of-black-names-from-perlie-to-latasha-130102
"Most people recognize that there are first names given almost exclusively by black Americans to their children, such as Jamal and Latasha.

While fodder for comedians and social commentary, many have assumed that these distinctively black names are a modern phenomenon. My research shows that’s not true.

Long before there was Jamal and Latasha, there was Booker and Perlie. The names have changed, but my colleagues and I traced the use of distinctive black names to the earliest history of the United States.

As scholars of history, demographics and economics, we found that there is nothing new about black names.

Black names aren’t new

Many scholars believe that distinctively black names emerged from the civil rights movement, perhaps attributable to the Black Power movement and the later black cultural movement of the 1990s as a way to affirm and embrace black culture. Before this time, the argument goes, blacks and whites had similar naming patterns.

Historical evidence does not support this belief.

Until a few years ago, the story of black names depended almost exclusively on data from the 1960s onward. New data, such as the digitization of census and newly available birth and death records from historical periods, allows us to analyze the history of black names in more detail.

We used federal census records and death certificates from the late 1800s in Illinois, Alabama and North Carolina to see if there were names that were held almost exclusively by blacks and not whites in the past. We found that there were indeed.

For example, in the 1920 census, 99% of all men with the first name of Booker were black, as were 80% of all men named Perlie or its variations. We found that the fraction of blacks holding a distinctively black name in the early 1900s is comparable to the fraction holding a distinctively black name at the end of the 20th century, around 3%.

What were the black names back then?

We were interested to learn that the black names of the late 1800s and early 1900s are not the same black names that we recognize today.

The historical names that stand out are largely biblical such as Elijah, Isaac, Isaiah, Moses and Abraham, and names that seem to designate empowerment such as Prince, King and Freeman.

These names are quite different from black names today such as Tyrone, Darnell and Kareem, which grew in popularity during the civil rights movement.

Once we knew black names were used long before the civil rights era, we wondered how black names emerged and what they represented. To find out, we turned to the antebellum era – the time before the Civil War – to see if the historical black names existed before the emancipation of slaves.

Since the census didn’t record the names of enslaved Africans, this led to a search of records of names from slave markets and ship manifests.

Using these new data sources, we found that names like Alonzo, Israel, Presley and Titus were popular both before and after emancipation among blacks. We also learned found that roughly 3% of black Americans had black names in the antebellum period – about the same percentage as did in the period after the Civil War.

But what was most striking is the trend over time during enslavement. We found that the share of black Americans with black names increased over the antebellum era while the share of white Americans with these same names declined, from more than 3% at the time of the American Revolution to less than 1% by 1860.

By the eve of the Civil War, the racial naming pattern we found for the late 1800s was an entrenched feature in the U.S."...

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Sunday, July 18, 2021

An Example Of "I Will Call Upon The Lord", The 1981 American Hymn That Inspired The Gospel Songs Entitled "Oh Magnify The Lord (For He Is Worthy To Be Praised)"



Cedarmont Kids, Sept. 23, 2015

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Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post showcases a YouTube sound file of the 1981 praise hymn by Michael O'Shields entitled "I Will Call Upon The Lord". 

This post also showcases YouTube videos of two arrangements of the African American gospelized hymn "Oh Magnify The Lord (For He Is Worthy To Be Praised". Those arrangements and other arrangements of "Oh Magnify The Lord (For He Is Worthy To Be Praised) are based on Michael O'Shield's 1981 hymn. 

Information about Michael O'Shields is included in this post along with The lyrics for "I Will Call Upon The Lord" are included in this post. The basic lyrics for "Oh Magnify The Lord (For He His Worthy To Be Praised" are also included in this post. The tunes for these two songs are quite similar and some of their basic words are the same or vey similar.

The content of this post is presented for religious, cultural, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to 
Michael O'Shields, the composer of "I Will Call Upon The Lord", the source for or inspiration for the Gospel song "Oh Magnify The Lord (For He Is Worthy To Be Praised". 

Thanks to all those who are showcased in these videos and thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to the publishers of these videos on YouTube. 

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INFORMATION ABOUT THE HYMN "I WILL CALL UPON THE LORD"
From 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGfSEqIjWps&ab_channel=RixTillman (summary)

I Will Call Upon the Lord by Michael O'Shields (Tune: O'SHIELDS), published by Rix Tillman, June 14, 2019


"Written by Michael O'Shields in 1981 and this round/praise hymn is published in 16 hymnals. Michael O’Shields (1948- ) was a young minister traveling in Oklahoma and Texas in the 1970s. He was struggling to make ends meet, and it was especially tough when the contribution was pretty meager, so he was calling upon the Lord for very tangible, felt needs when he wrote “I Will Call Upon the Lord”. The song’s pace might make you think he was in a joyful, upbeat mood, but he was likely feeling the opposite deep down. Yet, O’Shields knew what to do – he used the words David wrote in Psalm 18 centuries earlier as praise to God when he had been saved from enemies."...
-snip-
My guess is that Michael O'Shields is a White American because there's no information about his race in the few online write-ups that I've found and "White" is usually considered to be the default for race in the USA and in other Western nations. (Needless to say, I believe that there shouldn't be any default races online or offline in multicultural societies.)
-snip- 
The hymn "I Will Call Upon The Lord" is based on three Biblical scriptures:
- Psalms 34:3 - "O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt HIS Name together." and
- 2 Samuel 22:4 - "I will call on the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies." Here's lyrics for this song from https://www.hymnlyrics.org/newlyrics_i/i_will_call_upon_the_lord.php "I will call upon the Lord, (I will call upon the Lord,)

Who is worthy to be praised, (Who is worthy to be praised)

So shall I be saved from mine enemies (So shall I be saved from mine enemies).

 
The Lord liveth, and blessed be the rock!

And may the God of my salvation be exalted!

The Lord liveth, and blessed be the rock!

And may the God of my salvation be exalted!"

-snip- Other lyrics are included in different arrangements of this song. -snip- Update: July 19, 2021: Here's some additional informtion about the song "I Will Call On The Lord" from https://thescottspot.wordpress.com/2016/11/12/i-will-call-upon-the-lord-written-in-1981/ "I WILL CALL UPON THE LORD"                                                    written in 1981

"The Story

Michael O’Shields (1948 – ) was a traveling Bible teacher in West Texas and Oklahoma. That is a lot of territory to cover, but the need to make a living and the meager offerings from his ministry required him to travel a lot.

His Bible studies were often conducted in homes, quite often in farmhouses in rural areas. People seemed to be hungry for good Bible teaching, and Michael was thrilled to be used by the Lord in this way, but he was newly married and he needed to bring home some money for groceries....

The long trips, though, gave Michael time to write some songs, which he sometimes introduced to those attending Bible studies. This song was one of those songs.

[...]

But this song served another purpose. It was intended to be sung with the men singing a line, and the women echoing that line. Some of the farmers to whom Michael introduced this song didn’t great singing voices, but Michael didn’t care. By having the men begin the song, they were taking leadership in worship. Soon this song became a favorite."...

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INFORMATION ABOUT THE GOSPEL SONG "O MAGNIFY THE LORD (FOR HE IS WORTHY TO BE PRAISED"
The song "O Magnify The Lord ("For He Is Worthy To Be Praised)" is an African American gospelized hymn that is based on (inspired by) Michael O'Shield's song "I Will Call Upon The Lord".  There are multiple arrangements of the Gospel song "O Magnify The Lord (For He Is Worthy To Be Praised". Many arrangements of this Gospel song include additional lyrics.

The basic lyrics for this Gospel song are:

"O magnify the Lord 
For He is worthy to be praised
O magnify the Lord
For He is worthy to be praised.

Hosannah! blessed be the Rock
Blessed be the Rock
Of my salvation.

Hosannah! blessed be the Rock
Blessed be the Rock
Of my salvation"
-snip-
All of these lyrics are sung in unison and are usually repeated in full a number of times. Additional lyrics may be added as verses.

I don't know which Gospel singer or Gospel group was the first to perform this song and to record this song. However, I believe those performers were African American because that song has always been most closely associated with African Americans.

If you have information about this subject, please share it in the comment section below. 

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VIDEO #2: Ushers Day Celebration...and they Marched for Jesus


Brian Baker, May 3, 2010 Anointed One Ministries Ushers Day Celebration ... as the Ushers Strutted during offering. Services were held at Bethel AME Church in Cambridge, MD -snip- This video of an African American "Ushers Day" service shows ushers in a church procession during an "offering" (i.e. a collection of money to support the church and/or to support the usher's church ministry.) Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-history-and-purposes-of-african.html for a 2021 pancocojams post entitled "The History And Purposes Of African American Church Ushers (Video & Article Excerpts)". Other pancocojams post about African American church processions can be found by clicking that tag below.
**** VIDEO #3: "Oh Magnify the Lord Medley", Trinity Choir
Alfred Street Baptist Church, July 31, 2015 **** Thanks for visiting pancocojams. Visitor comments are welcome.