I watched a snippet of the video that has been circulating all over social media. The video is about an interview with newly emigrated, self-acclaimed YouTube immigration influencer named Emdee Tiamiyu had with the BBC. In that interview, Tiamiyu practically threw Nigerian International students studying in the UK under the bus, when he said, that most Nigerians going to the UK for studies are going with the idea of relocating and are not really interested in the degrees they apply for. He compounded the woes of the international students by adding that most of them have an arranged marriage so as to take advantage of the family visa given the fact that foreign students in the UK are limited to working 20 hours a week during the term and need the support of their spouses who can work full time to make ends meet.
Understandably, most Nigerians have carpeted him, especially in the wake of the recent UK policy that aims to stop a majority of international students from emigrating with their families, noting that it is a common malaise of the black man to benefit from advantage and then seek to close the door against others coming after him. From the little I have learned, Tiamiyu himself a recent immigrant to the United Kingdom will most likely be caught by the latest policy which he has clearly and inadvertently given evidential backing.
Tiamiyu’s savagery may catch up with him
There is a label for people who shoot themselves in the foot in the manner that Tiamiyu has done and it is called putting down syndrome. A lot of us are guilty of it. It stems from selfishness which is natural to every human being as it is one of the cardinal truths of self-preservation and there is such a thing as positive selfishness where we look out for ourselves without harming others. However, many of us in a bid to preserve ourselves end up overdoing it and unwittingly sabotage ourselves by closing the door on others behind us and ourselves in the long run.
The most pressing reason behind this kind of behavior is fear. The fear that we are not enough or that we would lose favor. It’s the kind of fear that the black supervisors on a slave plantation had, that made them tell the slave master stuff he need not know about the slaves, in a bid to curry favors for themselves. They are forgetting that the knowledge they gave out will one day be used against them. This fear comes from wanting acceptance and validation as can be seen in Tiamiyu’s elation that he was interviewed by a “whole” BBC . Imagine and the number of views and interests that his interview generated around the world.
Sometimes it’s the fear even though we are accomplished in our field and command respect, that the people that come after us are better than us, achieve more than us and will be more valued. The fear that what stands us out will be seen as commonplace and that our faults and flaws will be exposed.
“Selfish behaviour, therefore, is not a lack of concern for others, but heightened anxiety for your own self. Driven by insecurity, a selfish person is forever grasping at more and more, in a desperate attempt to get close to their ideal version of themselves”. Dhawal Sharma
People that put others down have a scarcity mindset. They believe that there is never enough to go around and in order to ensure that they get the best or continue to get what they have been getting, they terminate anyone who may want to whittle their “scarce” resources.
They are self-absorbed, more concerned about their own needs and that of their approved tribe who are in the minority than the wellbeing of the majority of others. These people are manipulative using the fear and ignorance of their benefactor and intimidation of those below them to get what they want.
Often, they take advantage of others, earning their trust, promising them much but sabotaging them. They are big on self-promotion always wanting to be in the spotlight forgetting that no matter how much they may try to avoid their past they still belong to a certain demography, exhibit some of their traits and in the minds of those they seek to please, will always remain the outsiders.
Usually, they don’t care much about the consequences of their behavior and can be reckless and impulsive when trying to get their personal benefits. They suffer from an inferiority complex and have a compulsion to be recognized and affirmed. They feel a need to be in charge and control the narrative but really it’s all about them feeling better about themselves.
Bad behavior starts in childhood
Many of us have learned how to put down others from childhood when we discovered that tattling on our siblings or pandering to our superiors and elders will benefit us. We use it to maintain the status quo when our position or esteem is threatened. The truth however is that most times we end up sabotaging the very person we seek to protect- ourselves. I am sure that Tiamiyu could not have envisaged that his statements will be used as evidence to back up the policy of the UK government nor could he have thought that the policy will affect either himself or his loved ones as it surely will.
The panacea to putting others down is the realization that it’s not all about oneself. There are many stars in the heavens and none of them complain that the other is holding on to their space, they shine and allow other stars to shine and they understand that some stars will shine brighter than them.
Being content with who we are and where we are at is a gift that very few of us possess but it is a gift worth embracing. Learning to celebrate ourselves and others and eschewing envy and jealousy of others is key.
Sometimes it’s difficult for us to know if we have been the subject of belittling behavior because the facts are true. As Tiamiyu said, some people will use their student visas as a means of immigration. Belittling people takes several forms like non -constructive criticism, insults, undermining, manipulation, trivializing one’s achievements, etc, but no matter the form it takes we should not hesitate to counter it by speaking up and denouncing people who rubbish us to boost themselves and that’s just what Nigerians did in response to that Interview.