Saturday, March 19, 2005

just me!

Part of my job working with the ambulance service is calling the volunteer drivers up and confirming they have received their runs that I fax them. Sometimes they havent and so I have to read out their routes to them over the phone. On Thursday, this happened, and I read a drivers route out to him. When I finished, he thanked me and asked me if I was from wales because I sounded welsh!…I’v never even been to wales. Don’t even know what their accent sounds like. But ok, kindly replied no, far from, I am actually from kenya. That ended there, then I was filling in at the clothing shop and a lady came in, looked around and as she was leaving, asked if I was from the states, I said no, she replied ..”canada?”, again I replied no, actually kenya. To which she replied, “oh, must be the south-african influence in your accent that im hearing!”…I wondered to myself which south african influence? Been to south africa once for like two weeks, hardly enough to pick up the accent. But anyway.
I’m mixed race….I still think that sounds really crude. I don’t like the word race, but till I come up with a better term which people get, I guess I will just have to stick to that. I grew up with people calling me yellow, a pointy, point 5 and half caste. I put a yellow colour swatch next to my skin and there is no resemblance. Point five? I just don’t get it. Half caste is what really gets to me. It’s the most derogatory term you could ever call me. Caste refers to social order, class and all the other synonyms. So what does one mean by calling me half caste??? What, I’m half upper class and half lower class, maybe half middle class and half lower class? I’m simply me! I don’t have a tribe, a race, an ethnic group. I cannot belong to one. I can only belong to a nation. I look indian to some people, ethiopian to others, black to others, but im simply me. I tried for 8 months to get my kenyan i.d. The corrupt lady at the d.o’s office took me round and about. Why? In her words, I don’t look kenyan enough! My hair was too long, my features were’nt correct and neither was the colour of my skin. And when I truthfully told her that I cannot fill in the part in the form asking for my tribe, because she had previously stated that that refers to my fathers tribe, she rudely replied…”everyone has a tribe!” I sometimes like to have that bit of anonymity. To have my hair braided and listen to the woman doing my hair gossip about me, then turn around and thank them in the language they were conversing in and watch as they melt in shame. I like to be able to look at things from both a white and black percpective. To compare my different backgrounds and still think that the people of africa are wealthy in joy and culture, something the europeans lack. To live in europe to study, but know that I’m going back to africa. Not for all the amazing varied reasons people give, but simply because that is where my heart is. Once there, I will find a way to leave my mark and make a difference however little it may be, but I will.


Blogger nehanda said...

thanks for passing by my ka -space.. your ka-profile reminds me of ME sooooooo much... i sooo love butterfliesssss

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Mama JunkYard said...

You are spot on with your analysis of the terms Point 5 and half caste. They are offensive and outdated. Yet people still seem keen to use them.

How on earth do you refer to another human being as Point 5 or pointy?

7:39 AM  
Blogger kipepeo said...

nehanda, i looooove butterflies!!! i wont even go there coz i get over excited!!!good to know there's someone like me!!! mama junkyard, yes, it really really really...i clearly cannot emphasize on the really gets to me that people still use these terms!

7:11 PM  

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