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African Call for Violence in Brussels Airport – Cultural Ignorance.
I witnessed this in the Brussels airport. I believe it is a perfect example of ignorance
and why people need to be educated about context and respect for your host environment. Within
reason, of course.
We learned in university that uneducated people in certain cultures follow a primitive process
leading to violence that resembles dog pack behavior. African culture, as do others, definitely
use this pattern. The pattern and evidence are overwhelming documented and routinely
Here is the mechanism. The agitator begins verbalizing his complaint in a normal voice
with a normal argument. The same person then slowly begins raising his voice to attract
others. As the others become more attentive, the agitator increases the use of aggressive
vocabulary concerning the enemy person or group. This, in turn, agitates the new listeners.
This process of gathering mobilizing a group continues until the agitator launches the
group violently against the enemy. Mob violence is easily activated in many countries. It
is routinely documented.
Back to the Brussels airport. Africans and Europeans are waiting for their flight to
Africa. Behind the counter agents is a rope barrier with signs asking people not to cross
the rope line. The Europeans (white people) are respecting this request. It is quite normal
for them because they inhabit a “sign culture”. The Africans, ignoring their seat assignments
and airport organization begin pushing and gathering behind the rope. The Brussels staff
repeated ask the Africans (black people) to return to the waiting area while pointing
to the signed barrier with the explanation that they are not allowed back there.
One black man begins complaining that the white women are racist and acting so. It begins
as a whispered conversation and begins to increase in volume and language texture. I
am observing this man and a white man who is sitting on the floor next to them observing
them. Eventually, the agitating black man is told by his black female interlocutor to
quiet down. She knows exactly what he is trying to do.
The white man on the floor begins to speak to the man. He basically tells the man that
he is acting offensively and ignorantly. He explains that he is in a European airport
that clearly regulates passenger behavior. The signs do not say instructions for black
people only. They are for everyone. The Europeans are accustomed to this sign communicate because
their cultures use it everywhere. They are taught to obey.
The Africans do not come from the same type of sign culture. This African man is not obeying
the sign. Nor is the African man acknowledging that he is in a foreign culture. The white
man continues to berate him and adds that if he continues his actions, he will find
himself taking to a back room by the airport police. The Brussels airport will not tolerate
aggressive behavior. And, it would all be his fault and his creation because of his
ignorant behavior and not because of his skin color.
I observed the other passengers waiting while the white man on the floor told the man pedagogically
to shut up and respect his surrounds. There was obvious agreement in the faces of many
people. The African man kept his silence until the plane boarded.
My professor in sociology found this story highly instructive. We then spent the next
two hours analyzing similar stories by others in the class.
Imagine being called a racist because you ask the person to respect the “Do Not Enter”