Viewpoints | Apr 30,2022
Jan 7 , 2022
By Eden Sahle
I lived in Tanzania some time ago, working on a project. I met new people who came from around the world. Just like me, they were new to the country. They were kind, supportive and friendly. We all quickly became close as we worked and explored the country together.
Among us was a white man who spoke about his wife and children nonstop. He met his wife in an African country when he volunteered for humanitarian work. He stayed behind for good as he found love. There was hardly any day that went by without him mentioning his family.
The man had looks that would qualify him as a model. He has big blue eyes, smooth skin, blond fluffy thick hair, and tall and fit stature. The man who often described himself as very private did not have his wife’s and children’s pictures on his digital gadgets. He never showed us their picture throughout our stay in Tanzania but spoke about them with strong affection and care.
When the project ended and before we all flew back to our respective countries, we created a private social media group to keep in touch and update each other on how we were doing in life. Along with his safe arrival notice, he sent a picture of him with his wife and children. All of us have finally seen his wife and children. We were connected on social media and got a chance to view more pictures of his family.
His wife did not look as many had imagined. She is very short, full-figured, dark-skinned, with short wavy hair and without makeup. Her husband never mentioned his wife was of African descent. I was glad he did not because that was irrelevant; their love and connection was everything I was keen to know.
Shortly after that, a few fellow Africans who were with us in East Africa reached out to me by direct message ridiculing the man’s family. They said the blue-eyed man, wife and children are “ugly.” They thought he was not lucky because both his children looked like his wife.
The comment coming from fellow Africans wearing very long fake hair and layers of makeup on their face and skin to conceal their natural dark skin left me utterly speechless. Those who proudly proclaim to avoid eating to have skinny figures were attacking the full-figured woman they believed is undeserving of the blue-eyed man.
“What is wrong with his wife and children?” I asked.
They started with the wife. She should have worn a wig to cover her natural hair and makeup to cover her dark skin. She should go on intermittent fasting to bring down her weight. The children should also worry about turning out like their mother when they grow up, they claimed.
They were idolising what they were not. They fall prey to a wrongful understanding of different natures and the beauty that comes with them. Their judgment said more about themselves and how they perceive themselves. It is bad enough to see races looking down on one another but worse when people detest those resembling them. They have deeper insecurities and internalised personal prejudice that they take out on others.
Prejudice comes in many forms and from every direction. Wrong attitudes manifest themselves in the countless divisions we hear about in the world. At times it comes from the people who hate those who have similar ties with them racially, culturally and in many other ways simply because they do not like themselves. They have distorted images about themselves and others. They get agitated to discover people and couples from different races and backgrounds adore one another despite what anyone is saying about them.
While many, like my former colleagues, lose themselves trying to fit into stereotypes that are damaging them in many ways, people like the blue-eyed man are fascinated with those who are confident, proud of themselves and focused on the real things in life. Everyone is beautiful irrespective of anyone trying to negate it. When we accept ourselves fully and embrace our uniqueness, it is possible to see the incredible beauty that also lies in others.
PUBLISHED ON Jan 07,2022 [ VOL 22 , NO 1132]
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