Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A topic for discussion perhaps – or just insults ??

WARNING: Brace yourselves people, this post is likely to create a small storm .....

My cyber friend ‘Reluctant Memsahib’ wrote a post the other day with regards to the anonymity (or NOT), of being a ‘blogger’.

It seems a friend of hers was concerned that she was not as anonymous as perhaps she should be because of the abuse that I’ve been receiving over here about being white, and therefore ‘obviously racist, elitist, Euro trash,'…and the rest ?

Anyway, back to the point, I, like many other bloggers out there I’m sure, started out on the ‘anonymous’ route – I even gave an interview on CNN and another on BBC Radio 4 all under the moniker ‘Mzungu Chick’ and ‘The Lost White Kenyan’, back in January. Then I met a fellow who challenged my anonymity and persuaded me to creep out of said closet, and what I realized was he, and others I have since met through this common link, are incredibly interesting, diverse characters that I would probably never have had a chance to meet in ‘my other life’, and so for that I am grateful.

Since then a couple of very close friends and a couple of my family have also been let into the shenanigans that I get up to in cyberspace. And the Reluctant Memsahib is right, you do need to think of these people and their feelings and identities before and as you write;

“The thing is: it’s not what other people think about me that I mind. (I stopped caring about that sometime in 2001, when most of the people I knew had a view on an action I had taken and most felt at liberty to vocalize their disappointment and disgust vociferously). No. I don’t care what anybody thinks of me. But I’d hate anything I said about the lives of any of those I love most in the world to impinge upon them. I can spill my own secrets, that’s my prerogative and I’m big enough to cope with the fallout. But not theirs. Never theirs. Because then they won’t be secret anymore. They won’t be secret enough.”

I also would never want to do or say anything that would hurt those I have let into my little secret, or our relationships. Since getting all those nasty comments on free flow, I’ve even felt guilty for the links to fellow bloggers sites that I have on my side bar – lest they have these anonymous idiots divert their way and start their nonsense somewhere else on one of those innocent sites that I just linked to because I thought they were fab.

But then, I had an idea (not dissimilar to Janelle it seems); “a cheerful two fingers up to stuffy conformity” is most definitely the way to go. This blog is just my thoughts and feelings, it is not the way anyone else needs to see the world, but the last time I looked, it was not against the law to say what you think, and basically we are all very different and between us ALL, the world goes round.

I am not advocating that we should all write hate messages because that is how we feel about the world, but I’m not sure that all those comments were thrown at me because of what I had to say, but because of the fact that I have given more information than they wanted, in other words, I have said I am ‘white’ – god forbid, and that, naturally, makes me an elitist racist. If I said I was a shade of brown from the Middle East – would that have made me an Arab extremist? And if perhaps I’d have said I was black from Illinois – would that make me an Obama supporter??

The only reason I ever called my blog ‘The Lost White Kenyan Chick’ is because that was exactly how I felt at the time. Lost because I am a single white girl from an African country (who has roots in no other place in this world), living in a black Kenyan male dominated society (- although please peeps, before you blast me here – this is changing as we speak I do agree, but it is still the majority – have a look at those seats in Parliament right now), and I that is exactly how I felt – LOST; where do I fit in to the bigger picture?

The fact that this name has caused so much controversy was totally unintentional, although I’m not really sure that I should be apologizing for it.

I am WHITE, KENYAN, A CHICK and totally LOST in life, and if you don’t like it, I’m really, really sorry but, *said in my most polite voice*,

“Bugger OFF!”

I shall do an ‘Uncle Bob’ on you and skip into the distance care free;

“La, la, la, la, la” ……


Dad Mzungu said...

Well said, Mzungu Chick.
As you are probably aware, I have also been the butt of invective and came to the conclusion that it is attracted by the blog name.
In my case, I use Dad Mzungu or Baba Mzungu because that is what people call me in Kenya.
But I have been accused of setting myself up as an offensive, white foreigner interfering in the affairs of Kenya, of putting myself on a white supremacy pedestal.
Like you, I write what I see and what I feel. They are my personal views and feelings. If they offend, I am sorry.
No, I'm not! I am just as entitled to write what I see and feel as the Anons of this world are to object.
Keep it up. Your blog is a breath of sanity [?] in an insane world.

belle said...

Good for you, MC, and well said :o)

beth♥ said...

Bravo love!

Anonymous said...

You can not please all the people.I read your blog because it is the only one without a tribal,political slant.keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Mzungu Chick, ignore the haters... Keep blogging. Being Kenyan is in the heart not your skin.

Joe said...


I've never been on your blog before. But I can somehow relate to the sense of frustration that you feel because my circumstance is almost the opposite of yours. I am an African man living in North America (12 years now) and no matter how well everything works, that deep-seated sense of being an outsider and somewhat a square peg in a round hole never goes away (hopefully I'm not projecting my feelings onto your circumstances).
In any case, my long sojourn is about to end. God-willing I'll be returning to Kenya this fall. Came out here as a 25 year old single guy and going back with a wife and 2 kids in tow.
I can sense my brain starting to try and debrief this cross-cultural experience I've had and it occurs to me that it would be very interesting to compare notes with someone in the exact opposite circumstances . Anyway, I don't know what you said or who got p**sed of by it. Just wanted you to know that I felt I could somehow relate to the feelings that come through the words

Anonymous said...

some interesting article on the uncle ""formerly known as Sir Bob""

Anonymous said...

Good on you I say! Its YOUR blog- write what you want. The rest of us will just pop by regularly for a bit of a chat and some chai.


DM - Sorry you also got some stick. They probably think you're my father because you know all mzungus must be somehow related!!

Belle & Beth - Thanks lots to you both. x

Anonymous 1 - too true, pleasing everyone will always be impossible

Anonymous 2 - Kenya is most definitely in my heart and always will be.

Joe - Welcome here and Karibu Nyumbani!

Anonymous 3 - good article, thanks

Wildeyearings - careful honey what chai you're looking for here because I can tell you I'm soooo broke!! :)

nuttycow said...

MC - if I *don't* know who you are does that make me not part of the gang :(

Don't worry about the comments. I always question people who spend their time peddling hate on websites.

If you fancy a chat, you know where to find me (and what my email address is!)

Emil said...

I would not worry. This is you space, like I have mine - and many other bloggers. If people don't like it, they can just blogger off.

I am close to finishing my book. A few more edits and final chapter and "I am African ... I am white" will soon appear. Need to, otherwise I must give money back - and I hate that. This racists, Eurocentric, immigrant, foreigner no longer bothers me.

Dad Mzungu said...

I doubt that I was the object of invective because of you - just the blog name is enough for some.
I am white, I love Kenya - that's enough to be a target. I am told it is condesending. Fine, tell the kids that!
If you don't let the buggas get you down, neither will I.

Anonymous said... about kismet... i'm struggling with the same anonymity issue for different reasons (contemplating major life changes which will piss off various family members).

So how does one get to the place of not feeling guilty flipping everyone else off to do what makes you happy?

Even at my tender age of *mumble mumble*, i am still a student of human nature (especially my own).

Good post that makes me think much. Thank you...

Baba W&M said...

All I can say is Kuddos !! LOST WHITE KENYAN CHICK.


Nuttycow - don't worry, you're not missing anything!

Emil - well done and good luck with the book.

DM - ok

Gnukid - glad to make you think! Hope it helps.

Baba W&M - Thanks for your support!

Roland Hulme said...

Good for you! That's totally the right attitude to take. Don't accept any crap from people for just being yourself.

Kinyanjui said...

Keep yer chin up girl! Haters are to be expected. But it's understandable if personal attacks get to you. See, as Kenyans we seem to have perfected the fine art of blaming others in any and indeed all situations (refer to recent election fiasco). The fact that some random jamaa, knowing barely nothing about you, would go in like that is hardly surprising. What can be a prick though in your case would be the racial aspect of it what with the historical baggage and other perceived silly-isms. In a sense then, its easier to not only defend but retaliate against tribal or religious bigotry than it is the racial. But whatever, i say an eye for an eye... the gloves ought to come off if someone gets outta line. Period.

Otherwise, i love your blog. It provides a personal yet honest view on issues of national importance, and as a Kenyan abroad i can't tell you how important that is -- long live citizen journalism!!! Keep doing you. And just because some of us don't comment does not mean your work isn't appreciated.

aims said...

Girl - don't let the little minds get you down.

Your blog - your name of choice - your words - your thoughts.

All Yours.

Keep it that way.

Expatmum said...

I read R Memsahib's post, and while I agree that you can never be anonymous, and that you should keep in mind who you are writing about, there's far too much political correctness in the world. I've never read anything of yours that has been offensive. Some might disagree with you but they could never accuse you of being offensive.
Just do your thing and shake off the negative stuff. Most of them have far too much time on their hands anyway.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog . . . knock off those haters from your shoulder and keep blogging for those of us who think you are just virtually (never seen you) adorable :)

William Deed said...

Well said.

I've seen this type of troll behaviour on a few other blogs and must say that the outcome is always far more interesting and positive than the trolls could ever have hoped for.

I love calling them trolls. Such an amusing and belittling term.

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