A few weeks ago, we were out at a restaurant. There are many expats in Kilifi, though we don't know any of them. There happened to be a family at the restaurant that night who were a mzungu (white) mom with a black Kenyan dad. Their son was about Nate's size. Nate was so excited to see them, even though we didn't talk to them. He said, "Mama! That boy looks like me!" All of our friends here are black. All of his classmates are black. In the US, our friends are a bit more varied, but mostly white. Nate doesn't know any other kids who are half black and half white. It was kind of cool to see him find out that he and Ben aren't the only tan kids with curly hair.
Of course, he knows he's different from the majority of the kids here. Everywhere we go, kids run after us calling out, "Mzungu! Mzungu!" (And they aren't just talking about me.) But he still thinks that someone being black or white means they are wearing that color clothes.
This morning, I saw this posted on Facebook [click]. I think it's a cute commercial. I didn't see any of this hate speech myself, but I don't understand why people even care. But anyway, I mentioned this ad to Rodgers, and it started a conversation with Nate about our ethnicities and skin colors.
Rodgers asked Nate, "Are you mgiryama-mzungu?" (Which our boys are.)
Nate said, "No. I'm Mr. McQueen." (As in Lightning.)
Rodgers, "Are you mgiryama?"
Me, "Are you mzungu?"
It looks like we don't talk enough about being mgiryama. He has been told a lot that he is mzungu.
I asked Nate what color his skin is. He said his is red. He went on to tell me that mine is orange. Ben's is pink. These are his favorite colors, by the way, in order. Rodgers' skin is brown. And Gigi's is peach. Later, I realized he was holding these crayons in his hand, so his answers may have been influenced.
|note Ben's teeth marks on the end of the peach|
We'll keep talking.