Now that I am back I can recount some of my adventures.On the 3rd a friend invited me to hang out with her and her other pals.This pal aka J was one of the first people I got to know when I got here and even though she has a lot of drama, she can be nice and know lots of people.But there is one thing about her way of thinking that irritates me and is prevalant in many people, Kenyan and otherwise.The Stereotype Disease!Here are some of her jewels:
1. All African American Men (akataas) are lazy, good for nothings who want to get women to take care of them.We once passed through an area of Atlanta downtown and in one area the homeless were being fed, they all happened to be black and male; so she used that to punctuate her point.I wanted to counter that yes some of those men there are lazy good for nothings but that is a minority, there are some of them who had the bad luck of committing felonies so they can't get steady paying work as a felony is a kiss of death to most careers here, the death of manufacturing in the states is slowly killing employment opportunities for the uneducated who are mostly members of minorities,immigrants from South America are willing to work for less pay then Americans; and the list goes on.It is tempting to come up with quick conclusions but there is a reason for everything!
2.White European men are more generous then White American men - Well you see when this mama was in Kenya, she used to date middle aged European men ie Germans,Swiss etc.And with the good exchange rate for their currencies they used to shower her with money, pay her bills etc.So when she came to the States she thought she had hit the jackpot.All the white men she could have.But alas it was not to be!She was no longer the cream of the crop.So now she attributes it to American men being cheap skates.Let's look at it from another point of view.Could it be that American men have less discretionary income due to the economy?Could it be that she has been dating the wrong white men?Could it be that there is no exchange to boost the dollar power as there was back home when it was the franc or pound vs the shilling?Could it be that the tastes in women of American men and European men differ as black women are all over in the states while in Europe they are somewhat harder to come by?I am not even
3.When it comes to hiring White people are racist - She believes that when it comes to office jobs that more often then not white folk look after their own and won't hire a black person unless it is completely neccesary.Well I do agree that there are some companies that are racist in terms of hiring and retention but I also do know that there are a whole lot of companies that are more willing to give you a chance if you are well qualified.So this doesn't apply to all companies here.
4.Tribal Stereotypes - There are so many of these and I am sure you all know some of them.Let's just say if someone is related in a money related issue and they happen to be Kikuyu she wont fail to point out the connection or if someone is busted lying and they happen to be from the coastal area she will point that out.I do admit that I found it rather shocking the tribal division present here but I won't say that I am free from the stereotyping.I often attribute my room mates bullish manner to the fact that he comes from Meru and not his youth, I also have a major distrust of West Africans esp Nigerians but I dont take it to the levels of preventing me from interacting with my roomie and other merus or hanging out and chatting with the Nigerian students here.
Fact is, that it's tempting to tar people with one brush as the human mind loves to categorise people into groups but let's not let it obscure reality and the truth.I can admit that I am trying my best, but are you?
The Change Merry-Go-Round
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