When I read that headline I thought, “Have we completely run out of news” and “Guess The Post is officially a tabloid now”. After reading Diary of a Frustrated Brotha’s take, I figured I would add my own spin on this. Oh, and I will respect this woman’s choices even if I don’t agree with them.
On Friday 12th September, one of our national papers (arguably the most popular one) decided to go with this headline: “I am a virgin and my dream is to marry a white man”. Now I’d just roll my eyes and move on but on reading the article I discovered a few “inconsistencies” with this young woman’s aspirations.
Firstly, attraction is its own beast. You like what you like and its based on some gut instinct you have no control over mixed in with a heavy dose of life experience. This is a 21 year old’s dream, and most 21 year olds are heady with youthful optimism and not enough life experience to know any better… unless life hasnt been particularly kind in which case that’s a different story. But her experiences are the dreams she believes will come true and teen boys affections.
Last year I think I had a conversation with a friend from South Africa and she asked me why Zambian women are “so into white guys”, and I have had a few conversations with Zambian women (and men) on why this apparent attraction exists and I’m not sure its about liking white guys but about what those white dudes represent.
Historically, Zambian society was segregated along racial lines (as with most African populations) and white societies lived better and had better experiences than indigenous ones which is in line with most African countries in general but where the Zambian experience deviates from, for example, the South African scenario is that there was not enough blood shed to want us to “own” our own wealth. We migrated from a society of servants to a society of envy but without enough “muster” to make it work for ourselves.
Of course there are exceptions of Zambian owned business and Zambian execs that defy this general mentality but in general, while most Zambians may aspire for more they lack the tools to believe they are capable of attaining more unless it is given to them and I think that is our greatest societal flaw. You cant “earn” something, it has to be “given” and I think that foundation could be “guiding” this woman’s views.
I am not a historian or psychologist and do not know why we have the belief sets we do but our response to independence was to become more “English” (former British colony). So we aspired to live in “white” houses and have children that sounded “educated”… read spoke with an accent. Perhaps the dream was if we sounded “white” we could have white lives? But here’s the thing, on the whole, we did not sit around and talk about what life was like for indigenous Zambians pre independence and actually make plans to empower the indigenous population to attain a better quality of life unless they were involved in politics. The white populations remained so small and localised around their economic interests that segregation continued after independence and we continued to romanticise what “living white” was like.
When my family moved to South Africa (in 2000 I think), I remember my mum telling me not to get a black South African boyfriend because “they can kill you”… I haven’t reminded her of that in light of the Pistorious trial but our experiences cloud how we experience life and when we were moving, headlines were about jealous boyfriend kidnappings and killings and baby rapes and murders.
When you grow up in one society and lack exposure to how other societies REALLY live, hearsay and romanticisation colours any judgements you may make. As a 21 year old, chances are the guys she is surrounded by are not mentally mature and that goes across all races but the stories she is exposed to in her society aren’t about love or guys with interests that dont involve alcohol or sex. Dudes can be a shallow lot, cant they? However, this speaks more to the kind of society we are that in and the experiences our young people have than anything else. Interstingly, the only (other) published response to this article was:
I totally agree with Buumba, the virgin in search of a white man to marry.
Most zambian men are not only violent and difficult to ‘manage’ but also promiscuous and unreliable. I however advise her to be cautious in her search. There are many whites out there involved in human trafficking and she could end up regretting for the rest of her life.
What this girl wants is the kind of love she sees in the movies, romantic, sweeping sacrificing love and she thinks black men are incapable of it because sadly Zambian society does not value loving marriages that highly. Marriage seems to be a transaction, woman gets “shelter”, man gets a maid with bangable benefits. Or its a marriage that “fixes” an unplanned pregnancy… but we have no love stories of our own. Fidelity is not guaranteed from a husband and if you find that he has been “wandering” then you have to forgive because you are better off married than not and “all men do it”.
Plus our society is still segregated enough that unless you happen to be in “affluent” areas, you can go ages without seeing a non-person of colour (or is it person of non colour?) and if they are coming into a non affluent section of society then its either a backpacker, an NGO worker or someone involved in some kind of missionary work… all of these attest to a better life somewhere else.
So, I refuse to judge this young woman who doesn’t know any better but choose to question our society as a whole, we have problems on what we choose to glorify and that needs way more attention than one girl who thinks the worst a white fellow will do to her is traffic her.
There is no question in today’s post but should you have an experience or insight you’d like to share, comments down below!