THINKING OUT LOUD
Is it a crime to be in Mathare? Or should I say being in ghetto or living in ghetto is a crime, I was born and raised in ghetto, it has not been easy being raised in ghetto now that I grew up its not easy either. We struggle to make our ends meet, we hustle as much as we can to build our future. No one wishes his or her children to suffer the same as we do. Most youths of my age wishes that one day one time they will change the ghetto condition due to the hardships along the way to make this dream come to reality sometimes it whispers to be invalid or just a dream. The stereotypes and beliefs in our community in relation to lifestyle poses as a challenges and instills fear and loss of self esteem which makes the environment unfavorable for us and makes us feel that we are not accepted in our own home. We live in a situation where everyone thinks he/she is the best and that people should be like them, which is a hard goal to achieve.
This beliefs and way of thinking gives roots to other stereotypes that lads to criminalization of young men and women. Firstly, its believed or many people believe when ladies dresses in mini dresses or skirts, their aim is to expose their body to attract men’s attention which is not true. On the other hand young men with dreadlocks are believed to criminals especially those in informal settlement which is also a belief because that’s just a lifestyle that one chooses and it is an African culture too. The case changes when it comes to young men with dreadlocks from uptown or ‘deep state’ in layman’s language because to them is fashion or ‘swag’.
Its due to this and many more stereotypes that harmful cultures are still embraced which contributes to rise in gender based violence cases since some believe they have power over the others. This stereotypes also contributes to many young men being profiled as criminal and suspects of a crime. We need to raise an alarm to protect our brothers by trying to change the mindset of local administrations, police officers and the community at large because we are losing our brothers in EJEs, and also in depressions since the environment is not accepting them and they end up engaging in drug and substance abuse.
Equality sounds so simple pronouncing it but we have not achieved it yet if boychild can be criminalized because he has dreadlocks and a girlchild with the same hairstyle poses no image. I don’t mean we should also criminalize the girl child too but if girls with dreadlocks poses no image so is our brother (boychild). We are born of the same mothers brought up with the same virtues. We are Africans and Africa is our motherland and embracing African culture is not a crime.
written by @wakihika