Readability

Tribalism Watch

by baldilocks

Today, a friend of mine posted this Face­book exchange.

(I edited the names because I’m not inter­ested in get­ting any of these peo­ple trolled – even the one who deserves it.)

Maneesh, as many may have sur­mised, is an Amer­i­can of Indian descent.

Sadly, this kind of response is com­mon to those of us Amer­i­cans with brown faces and non-​European sur­names. Ask me how I know.

Well, I’m glad you asked.

[cap­tion id=“attachment_99047” align=“alignright” width=“150”] Actress Lupita Nyong’o – another famous mem­ber of the Luo tribe of Kenya. She’s not a Muslim.[/caption]

Got it mostly when I tried to tell con­ser­v­a­tives that the Luos of Kenya – my tribe and Obama’s alleged tribe–were 90% Chris­t­ian and that the tribe was not an Arab tribe, nor a “slaver tribe” of all the rest of the tribes in the region; that was the preva­lent Bravo Sierra. Also, I received the Muslim-​apologist treat­ment when I tried to tell peo­ple that Kenya’s 2008 Civil Con­flict was not some sort of epic bat­tle between Chris­tian­ity and Islam, but a mun­dane tribal war. These notions have been the Fake News of nearly a decade.

Funny, none of the peo­ple who pon­tif­i­cated as Kenya experts back then give a rat’s furry back­side about the coun­try now.

I’ve had a long time to pon­der the neg­a­tive reac­tions of the very few of my fel­low Amer­i­cans to my name and my her­itage. Most of it is fear of Islam. Jus­ti­fi­able, but peo­ple need to get a grip and stop push­ing away fel­low Amer­i­cans who are allies and whose “funny names” are not an indi­ca­tion of their reli­gious allegiance.

And here’s a notion that I don’t think I’ve ever put on screen. An online acquain­tance who, quite cor­rectly thinks that accu­sa­tions of racism are overblown, won­dered a few years ago which, if any, aspects of Amer­i­can slav­ery still affect Amer­i­cans who are black in this cen­tury. I didn’t get the chance to answer then, but I’ll answer now: most black Amer­i­cans have sur­names of Euro­pean ori­gin. It’s so nearly uni­ver­sal that we don’t notice it any­more, not even me. There­fore, when some black chick named Ochieng pops up, it’s a curios­ity and, some­times it instills uncon­scious fear in those who are already afraid. Think this through.

All I know is that the Spir­its of fear, vio­lence, and trib­al­ism are on the upswing in our coun­try. I, how­ever, think it’s up to those of us who refuse to let those spir­its mas­ter us to speak up, to under­stand, and, most of all, to pray with­out ceas­ing to the Lord of Hosts.

(Thanks to Christine)

Juli­ette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was pub­lished in 2012. Her sec­ond novel ten­ta­tively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Fol­low her on Twit­ter and on Gab​.ai.

Please con­tribute to Juliette’s JOB: Her new novel, her blog, her Inter­net to keep the lat­ter going and COF­FEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Inde­pen­dent Journalism!

by baldilocks

Today, a friend of mine posted this Facebook exchange.

(I edited the names because I’m not interested in getting any of these people trolled – even the one who deserves it.)

Maneesh, as many may have surmised, is an American of Indian descent.

Sadly, this kind of response is common to those of us Americans with brown faces and non-European surnames. Ask me how I know.

Well, I’m glad you asked.

Actress Lupita Nyong’o–another famous member of the Luo tribe of Kenya. She’s not a Muslim.

Got it mostly when I tried to tell conservatives that the Luos of Kenya–my tribe and Obama’s alleged tribe–were 90% Christian and that the tribe was not an Arab tribe, nor a “slaver tribe” of all the rest of the tribes in the region; that was the prevalent Bravo Sierra.  Also, I received the Muslim-apologist treatment when I tried to tell people that Kenya’s 2008 Civil Conflict was not some sort of epic battle between Christianity and Islam, but a mundane tribal war. These notions have been the Fake News of nearly a decade.

Funny, none of the people who pontificated as Kenya experts back then give a rat’s furry backside about the country now.

I’ve had a long time to ponder the negative reactions of the very few of my fellow Americans to my name and my heritage. Most of it is fear of Islam. Justifiable, but people need to get a grip and stop pushing away fellow Americans who are allies and whose “funny names” are not an indication of their religious allegiance.

And here’s a notion that I don’t think I’ve ever put on screen. An online acquaintance who, quite correctly thinks that accusations of racism are overblown, wondered a few years ago which, if any, aspects of American slavery still affect Americans who are black in this century. I didn’t get the chance to answer then, but I’ll answer now: most black Americans have surnames of European origin. It’s so nearly universal that we don’t notice it anymore, not even me. Therefore, when some black chick named Ochieng pops up, it’s a curiosity and, sometimes it instills unconscious fear in those who are already afraid. Think this through.

All I know is that the Spirits of fear, violence, and tribalism are on the upswing in our country. I, however,  think it’s up to those of us who refuse to let those spirits master us to speak up, to understand, and, most of all, to pray without ceasing to the Lord of Hosts.

(Thanks to Christine)

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!