Occasionally, one stereotype (out of the many) will be true about members of a particular community. This can be put down to factors like tradition and the similarity in value systems that they are brought up in. That said, a stereotype is the haziest and shallowest lens through which to view and relate with
the many new people you meet.
It’s impossible for everybody in a group to fit into a particular behavioral box, because people are constantly learning and growing and watching TV and rubbing off on each other and trolling the internet. This means that the amount of new information that a person consumes everyday is immense, and so is their capacity to change and move on from what undesirable traits they may have picked from the people who brought them up.
So when you judge somebody by the stereotype attached to their tribe, you are wiping off the face of the individual and replacing it with a placard written in indelible ink. You’re saying that every person from the east is a thief and everybody from the west a whore and everybody from the north a paragon of aggression and everybody from the central a two faced sneak. Disgusting. When you brand somebody without the backing of experience/ interaction, they’re going to endeavor to prove you right, if only to annoy you. Give people the chance to prove themselves.
Even more terrible, the most popularized stereotypes are never positive. You won’t hear about honesty, energy, generosity, etc. It’s like people are always looking for a reason to build us-them boundaries and such division is what’s going to stagnate us (even more).
Did you know that, in Uganda, hailing from a particular region of the country is a status symbol?
Two years ago, I was sitting outside my grandmother’s house in Kiswa, watching children play. All of a sudden, one of them began to cry, to the amusement of the others. He was saying, “Naawe ndi Muganda! Naawe! Ndi Muganda! and his friends were laughingly assuring him that his mother was a “muteso” so he didn’t qualify. The things we’ve been taught to value are ridiculous.
Tribalism and colorism are two other cancers that are eating our society up. Just how stupid are we going to look in our descendants’ history books? When my family first moved to Komamboga, our neighbors were openly disdainful of the fact that we were Luo speakers. “Mulugwara” was the term that they threw at us at every opportunity and Chandiru! not because they thought we hailed from Arua but because of because of our dark skin.
Another time I experienced colorism was when I took my phone to a highly recommended repair shop at Mutasa Kafeero. The place didn’t live up to my expectations. Service was bad, attendants were sulky and everybody had shifty eyes. When I asked for a receipt indicating the deposit I’d just paid, everybody became indignant. Finally, one guy was like, “This gu black chick, what does she want? Let her take her blackness away if she doesn’t want us to repair her phone” at which point I grabbed my money out of the moneybox and stalked out.
Clearly, we’ve failed at humanity. We score zero out of infinity. The aliens should do us a favor and wipe us out. On to you, Nibiru.