By Dorcas S
As usual Kenyans on Social Media (an amalgam of Kenyans on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Buzzfeed etc.) have taken up arms against a (perceived) slight against “their own”.
Former NBA player Gilbert Arenas is said to have exposed his utter ignorance and self-hatred by denigrating (the beauty) of Lupita Nyong’o and Ajuma Nasenyana because of their dark skin tone. Said Arenas,
“How black are we talking??? Not to be funny can u name a beautiful black woman on the outside….When you say African features black then u have (#1 lupita n’yonga) and she’s cute when the lights are off second is (Ajuma nasenyana) sorry but ewww so the beautiful black women u try to boost up is technically light skinned or brown skinned…”
Social media came after Arenas with such vengeance that the baller ,whose career was at best, so-so, was forced to delete the offending post; a move that did not stop the hits from coming at him.
In reading some of the ensuing comments, I am amused at the self-righteous indignation of a society whose founding father (Jomo Kenyatta) used an act (oathing), that in part appealed to the phallial (physical) differences between ethnic groups, to further his hold on power shortly after his government was implicated in the assassination of a perceived political rival (Tom Mboya).
Fast-forward approximately fifty years later and Journalist Philip Ochieng, writing in the Daily Nation back in January 2015 offers the following regarding Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria’s penchant for popping off on circumcision and how it defines “manhood” hence a pre-requisite for “leadership” i.e. an underhanded nod at Uthamakism:
“Circumcision is the Mount Kenya form of initiation…..only in a strictly ethnic context does the Kikuyu traditionalist have a right to insist on male circumcision as a leadership qualification (within said tradition).”
Now replace a physical attribute “circumcision” with another physical attribute “skin tone” and “manhood/leadership”, a subjective and malleable construct with “beauty” also subjective and in the eye of the beholder and it’s my hope that Kenyans can see their hypocrisy when it comes to judging someone because of their physical attributes. And that’s not even touching on the country’s obsession with the so-called “yellow-yellows”, skin lightening creams and hair weaves – all physical/tangible qualities!
I, like all, have my personal preferences including those that are physical. Likewise, I respect people’s personal tastes including those based on physical appearances: It is, after all, to paraphrase the ever-erudite Bobby Brown, one’s prerogative.
However, until a tipping point of us come out against the likes of Moses Kuria, his ilk AND those who give their ethnocentric rants tacit acquiescence through silence and/or failure to come out forcefully against such puerility, I’d advise KOSM to get off their soapbox!