Last week, the Ugandan social media was awash with the #UGBlooggers7days [collated by the dutiful and obsessive Joel] hashtag. A conversation that started with a one Raymond’s insatiable greed for Ugandan reading material thereby plummeting the whole blogosphere into a blogging frenzy. Suffice to say I’m glad I was there to suggest the 250 word limit because certain people were talking 600 and 400 words as a minimum. And that had its own deliciousness. Savour it
More interestingly, in the course of last week, I read a post by SamiraSalwani where she explained a phenomenon called white privilege and colonial mentality. From thought provoking to downright alarming at the state of affairs in my country. I couldn't believe my eyes as I read it. More, I couldnt believe the directness of it all. It was as if she was being fueled by that calculated methodical anger you get from serving a revenge ice cold. Under the surface but seething. Cold. Calculating. Then I realized that the ghosts I was imagining as racial anger was her razor sharp intellect.
Throw yourself upon it and die.
Die cut up in pieces from it.
Die with your ignorance bleeding from every crevice in your body.
It was not only sharp, it was steady and abiding. Diamond hard. Never goes blunt. So I looked up several of her other articles. Yeah, diamond hard intellect. But I digress.
“White privilege (or white skin privilege) is a term for societal privileges that benefit white people beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people in the same social, political, or economic circumstances.” - That is how Google describes it.
This is what Samira had been talking about. How Ugandans or Kenyans were more likely to treat people of Caucasian extraction in more privileged ways; quicker service at restaurants, more attention in service queues, etc because of the colour of their skin. Because of a perceived superiority.
No sooner had that storm subsided than Simon released the mother of all hailstorms. The blog post can be read here. At 11:00PM he was livid and frothing at the mouth. Imagine a bull mastiff with rabies and an itch. Tearing into the New Vision and its editors. Asking pointed questions and causing uneasiness all around. He was taking names and no prisoners.
But what he did do was raise once again the question of how a colonial sport for which every single element (riders’ kits, horses, saddles, jumping bars, etc) had been imported was able to get a page and a half of coverage in a country where our national netball team, which is going to the world cup by the way, couldn't even afford to buy water last week. I swear I think I saw a swear word in Luganda.
And as if the night would not end just like that. At one 1:00AM someone posted this scan from a newspaper advert yesterday. An advert for several jobs and an administrative assistant. The admin assistant had to be a foreigner!! What the f*** were they thinking? Can you be more disrespectful than that? How dare you?!! Is this your father's house?!!
Now I was frothing at the mouth. I wanted to say something. To write to these people. To say to them they couldn’t be so stupid. You can’t feel that untouchable and hope to get far ahead. Then I realized that it wasn't just me. Its like all the media I had been exposed to had riled me up, had made me think of all the opportunities that people had missed and all the mistreatment people suffered because of this stupid white privilege.
But also I felt a sense of relief as I dozed off.
Because my anger was a sign. A sign that there is a new wind sweeping across Africa. People were questioning these “practices”. And they won’t stop because the awakening was happening. Yes, the good jobs might continue going to the less educated less experienced white people and their lackeys. The projects will end and they will have to go back home, or not. But us here, we are building our country. One brick at a time. One step at a time. And hopefully through blogs like this, one story at a time.
I'm off to lunch