In secondary school, I had my first encounter with what I felt was some form of tribalism. It wasn’t that I was unaware that such feelings existed, after all my parents had rubbed into my ear how I shouldn’t consider marrying any woman that wasn’t from Imo or Abia state when the time for marriage came.
Many of my Yoruba teachers in school at first impression or would one time or the other assume I was rude and lacking in home training because I did not bow or tilt my head when I greeted them. They would call and scold me for it and I was always scared one of them would transfer it into my grades although that never happened. In some ways I saw it as “Un-Igbo” to do such when greeting elders, the words would suffice then often accompanied by a handshake in Igbo culture but not in Yoruba. So, overtime I just assumed all Yoruba’s especially women were superficial and degraded Igbos as illmanered, never mind I knew more rude Yoruba’s than Igbos.
They say when your in Rome, do like the Romans and so I did and that was okay. What wasn’t okay was people trashing my parents and my character for greeting them in a way that didn’t make them feel good.
Until my senior year in secondary school when some new teachers were employed. Teachers that were yoruba but didn’t judge me if I only greeted verbally and forgot to tilt my head. Teachers who extended their hands as part of greeting or who would not look at me awkward if I sheepishly extended mine first. It shattered my single story of the Yoruba’s.
So while there are still Yoruba people who judge me for forgetting to perform all the ceremony I know there are those who don’t.