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Opinions of Saturday, 6 June 2009

Columnist: Sarfo, Kenneth K

Letter to Obama-Ato Dadzie and the Black Race

RE: AMERICA COMES TO GHANA: Letter to Obama-Ato Kwamena Dadzie and the Black Race.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read Ato kwamena Dadzie’s take on US President Obama’s impending visit to Ghana. As I read through his piece, I kept asking myself, “is this guy serious”? He goes off wildly and makes the most outrageous remarks that I have ever heard -“if only you (Obama) were white, I’d lay down for you to walk on me”. Ato is widely known to be full of crap, but this one most definitely tops the list of his misguided-statements, hands down!
He makes such obnoxious comments as “Don’t get me wrong, man. You are a very impressive guy. I think God invested too much talent in you. I admire you... if only you were white; I’d lay down for you to walk on me. But you are not white and that’s the one thing I don’t like about you. Just the idea of a black man becoming the president of the most powerful nation on earth filled me with dread and consternation”.
It’s shameful and regrettable in the wake of so much knowledge and information, for anybody to be despised by the sheer color of their skin. What’s worst, when those disgraceful acts are committed by people who should know better; the likes of Ato Kwamena Dadzie. Incidentally, Ato’s dislike for President Obama is based solely on the color of his skin-President Obama is black! Ato in his wildest dreams can’t see anything good out of the black man, and so he writes “whiles I didn’t support you because you were black, an overwhelming majority of my compatriots gave you their backing simply because of the fact that you are black. Mr. Obama, I don’t know how you manage to keep your black mind sparkling white but I’d like you to bring us some scouring powder, which we will use to scrub the skulls of our politicians”. Somebody please tell me that this is only a bad dream. Correct me if I’m wrong, but do I get the impression that Ato sees black people as being dumb, and that President Obama is the only exception to the rule? I mean, to the outrageous extent that he sees the color black as vague and needs scrubbing with scouring powder to become white? Come on!
Ato Kwamena Dadzie is sick! Obviously he has no sense of identity. I bet he wakes up every day and curses God for making him black. He is not smart enough to appreciate the wisdom of God in creating him a unique skin color called black. Instead, he vents venom on anyone who cares to listen and litters both the electronic and print media with a lot of garbage. If I felt the same way about black people as he does, I would’ve ceased to exist by committing suicide. But then again we are talking about two totally different entities. One who is absolutely proud of who he is and thanks God every single day for making him black and another, who would rather bleach the color of his skin to become as white as snow, if he could-how sad!
Soon after reading his first and second paragraphs, I could not contain my disdain for him, so I quickly enquired about him and found to my surprise many interesting things. From my source, I was informed that Ato kwamena Dadzie was a good student at the Ghana Institute of Journalism. He was voted the best Journalism student in his program when he graduated from the Ghana Institute of Journalism in 1999. I find it challenging to accept Ato as being the best student of his graduating class. I’m sorry, but I don’t see what his classmates and lecturers might have seen in him. He is yet to master the basics of the English language. Don’t get me wrong, one does not necessarily have to be a dab hand at the Queens language to write or express their opinions, but for somebody of his status (a Journalist), and also somebody who makes it a personal responsibility of making mockery of people’s shortcomings, you would expect him to get his foundations well covered. He is a Journalist for Christ sake; it’s only fair to ask him to check his grammar before he posts his articles. The last time I checked, English/Linguistics was an integral part of the Journalism program. A cursory glance through his numerous articles and you’re bound to find yourself in a quagmire of grammatical errors. Let’s take a tour through this very one which is the subject of this rejoinder, shall we?
He writes “We are the longsuffering ones who have decided that even though we are yet to reap the democratic dividends, we would not hack each other with machetes to settle our political differences. Time and again, we’ve been tempted, the politicians have often almost taken to the abyss, but we always resolved to take the path of peace”. Only God knows what he intended to say. The best Journalism student of his class can’t put his ideas together in a simple and meaningful way; we are in trouble, folks.
Some of us were not privileged enough to have gone to the schools of Journalism and amassed all the degrees of this world. As a result, when the likes of Ato, being the best Journalism Student of his class coins an expression, we looked it up for accuracy. Fortunately, we bumped into this one- “just the idea of a black man becoming the President of the most powerful nation on earth filled me with dread and consternation”. Wow, brofo! The word CONSTERNATION has the following synonyms-alarm, amazement, anxiety, awe, bewilderment, confusion, distraction, dread, fear, fright, horror, etc. DREAD on the other hand has almost the same synonyms- alarm, apprehension, fearfulness, fright, funk, horror, panic, trepidation, amaze, amazement, etc. From the above, let’s try and put Mr. Best Journalism Student’s expression together and replace CONSTERNATION and DREAD with any of their respective synonyms. “Just the idea of a black man becoming the President of the most powerful nation on earth filled me with (dread and dread: alarm and alarm: amazement and amazement: fright and fright, etc).What do you call that folks? I wasn’t one of the smartest students of my class, but I do know that whenever there is a repetition of meaning, using different words to say the same thing twice, especially where the additional words fail to provide additional clarity, you will find Tautology boldly written. Sad day for Journalism in Ghana wouldn’t you say? If Ato Kwamena Dadzie is mentioned among Ghana’s best, I shudder to think of the grammatical disposition of the last students of his class. It’s unfathomable to say the very least, that this guy passed communication skills 101 and proceeded to graduate. I can’t even imagine him passing WAEC English!
Ato would have gotten away with many of his punctuation goofs and spelling gaffes if he were to be me-a Science and an Engineering student. But as fate would have it, he doesn’t have that luxury. My advice to him therefore is this, take your time and write, research, consult and above all humble yourself.
Kenneth K Sarfo (Egwe Kafadama!)
NB: I would be waiting patiently for you on the other side-see you soon.