So, I moved back to Melbourne about 7 weeks ago and being back here, although absolutely amazing, has reminded me about a lot of crazy shit people say to me. Things that I just would not be asked back home. I’m going to split this blog post in to 2 different parts. One with my own experiences and one with experiences of my friends from all over the world! So here’s some of the crazy conversations I’ve had living in Australia.
- When I landed at the Melbourne airport 7 weeks ago and straight away was hit with some discrimination. When I got to the passport control line, there was an officer asking people what passport they had and directing those with Australian passports to a different line. The officer asked every white person in the line what passport they had and completely ignored any black, Asian or hispanic person. Soooo, because we are not white we couldn’t POSSIBLY be Australian passport holders? cool cool cool.
- “You speak such good English” is a statement I hear all the time and I AM OVER IT. When I tell people I’m from Kenya, a wave of confusion usually hits their face. The question that usually follows is “Oh, how long have you been in Australia”. When I say I haven’t been here very long, I get asked how I speak such good English. How about you ask the British why they came to my country uninvited and brought their language with them…? Stop asking people why they speak such good English because its lowkey (high-key) pretty rude.
- I had a lecturer look completely baffled that I am from Kenya and I am attending Monash University without a scholarship. She then went on to ask me why I came to Australia instead of just going to South Africa and was very shocked that I knew who Michelle Wolf (the comedian) was when more than half of the class didn’t. Yes, we do have the internet in Africa too, babe. The 3 white international students in my class did not get asked any of these questions so……what’s up with that?!
- “You speak like a white girl. You don’t have an African accent”. Someone please explain to me what an African accent is? I’ll wait. This one really infuriates me because it stems from the fact that people do not associate any person of colour with being able to speak clearly and articulately.
“If ignorance is bliss, there should be more happy people”Victor Cousin
- “Do you speak African?”. Seeing as Africa is a continent with 54 different countries in it, please explain how it would be possible that we all speak one language?
- “Why did you come to study in Australia? Oh that’s right, your degree from a Kenyan university probably doesn’t mean anything anywhere else in the world”. Um…. yeah I’m just going to leave this one right here to sink in.
- I constantly have people asking if they can touch my hair, which is fine (a little odd, but fine), but there are the odd few who think it’s ok to just reach out and touch my hair without asking. I would really like to understand what makes people think it’s acceptable to touch someone without asking them first.
There you go. Just a few rather problematic/hilarious things people have told me over the years. I mean, this is not to throw shade at white Australians BUT people really do ask me some dumb shit and I wanted to share that to show people that their words do hold weight. Also because if one more person asks me why I speak such good English I’m going to fucking lose it.
There are definitely people who ask me questions about things they have no clue about, the same way I do when I don’t understand something about someone else’s culture. There are, however, those annoying few who just like to bask in the glow of their own ignorance and rely solely on stereotypes to form opinions about me. Those people can show themselves to the door because they are cancelled.
Sending you all good vibes,