Israel Adesanya, Nigerian MMA fighter and ‘New Zealand’ Sports Person of the Year, is, like many sportsmen, a symbol of the omnipresent globalisation going on in New Zealand. His relatively unknown presence among New Zealanders and in New Zealand’s culture typifies the meaninglessness of globalised, individual citizens.
In a recent article published on Radio New Zealand Adesanya was quoted as saying that “he didn’t realise being black was a problem” until, Adesanya said, “he got to New Zealand”. This reality, if taken with all the gusto the lower end of the bell curve offers a Nigerian, provides one with the opportunity to learn something about ingroup preference and outgroup biases. Put bluntly, the truth which Adesanya faces is one that most animals face: we like being around those like us and dislike being around others who are not like us. One need not go into the intricate details about group differences between us and them in this instances because, even in the superficial way that Adesanya comprehends it, the truth is as clear as day. Adesanya is not a New Zealander.
This article’s example provides one with the chance to emphasise the way in which many appendages of the media machine force unnatural ways of thinking and being, like believing and acting as if it’s normal to live with 200 different races and ethnicities in a massive concrete city and expect everyone to get along despite the drastic biological, cultural and spiritual disparities between them all. It may not be a problem in and of itself, as Adesanya suggests, being black, but when an African finds himself among an entirely divergent race in a wholly different environment, each of which come with their own cultural idiosyncrasies and spiritual ethos, it is unsurprising that Adesanya found himself out of place — because he was, and is. And it is true to say that the case would be the same if roles were reversed between Adesanya and the supposed ‘bully’ outlined in the article.
Unfortunately, as is normal in a world of global individuals, rather than using glimmers of the natural world that shine through into the void to educate others, RNZ has instead used Adesanya’s naivety to promote his career in the form of a rivalry between the Nigerian and New Zealand Rugby. Something which, of course, is bound to stir the masses into excitement over a perceived slight to their sporting distraction of choice. RNZ’s sleight of hand in this instance does not go unnoticed: a trivial nod to the tedious anti-nationalistic dogma that pervades New Zealand media platforms mixed in with a sporting ‘rivalry’ to capture the emotions of sports fans and direct their attention away from a learning opportunity.
One supposes that it may be optimistic to suggest that Adesanya’s naive comments are anything other than an attempt by the Nigerian to highlight his participation in the Black Lives Matter social media campaign in order to bolster support and perhaps garner him further attention. And the same can be said for the media machine. The largest propagators of globalist dogmas such as anti-nationalism and pro-equality never fail to miss an opportunity to push their tired agenda. However, in the era of the coronavirus, more and more New Zealanders are coming, or have come, to realise the shallowness of globalism and its individual-based existence. With that, people are seeing the absolute necessity of supporting their community and nation in order to maintain group health and wellbeing going upward and onward.
The individual is nothing without his group, and despite Adesanya’s social media fame, the Nigerian is not exempt from experiencing the realities of ingroup preference. Although it may be that the mechanised and commercialised nature of global capitalism allows individual Nigerians to feel as though they can fit in anywhere in the world, they can’t. In a natural world, Adesanya would be best suited to be with his own kind in the environment which made him what he is. The global citizen is a transient individual who will not be remembered as great nations and empires are remembered.