American woman steals candy from a blind baby

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In case you decided to read this post purely to find out why the hell an American woman stole candy from a blind baby, sorry to disappoint you. This post actually has nothing to do with that. But, if said woman had indeed stole candy from a blind baby…or any baby for that matter… would her nationality be relevant to the story? That’s what this post is about – the relevance or lack thereof of mentioning nationalities in news headlines. Check out these actual headlines from various papers here in South Africa:

 

Nigerian drug dealers released on bail

Zimbabwean in court for fraud

 

These are real headlines from real newspaper articles. I mention only South Africa articles simply because I live here but this is common practice worldwide. Every time I see a report like this, be it in print media, digital media, or on TV, it makes me cringe. Why is it necessary to mention people’s nationalities in such reports? What does the perpetrator being Zimbabwean have to do with the fraudulent act he committed? Am I the only one who finds this kind of reporting to be more harmful than it is helpful? And the thing is, it’s never the nationalities of locals that’s mentioned, it’s always the nationality of foreigners…as if to say “hey, look what they’re coming to our country to do.”

 

I’ve had this discussion with some friends in the past and their argument is usually that the report is mentioning nationality simply for descriptive purposes. But if you are mentioning the nationality as a mere description, why stop there? Why not mention religion, qualifications, height, or even sexual orientation? Why don’t the above headlines read:

“Tall, dark, Nigerian Muslim drug dealers released on bail” or “Short, gay Zimbabwean Christian in court for fraud”

 

Tall and gay are descriptive right? But they are never mentioned. Why? Because they are irrelevant to the story. I’m not saying let’s not mention nationality in news reports. I’m saying let’s stick to information that is relevant. If the article is talking about immigration, then nationality is very relevant. If the article is talking about athletes at the Olympic Games who have been busted for using performance enhancing drugs, then nationality is very relevant.

 

Maybe journalists have a good reason why they are so eager to mention nationalities of foreigners in their stories. Is it something that’s taught in journalism school? Is there some sort of journalistic or scientific reason for doing it? Do tell because, from where I’m sat, it just looks like subtle fodder for the xenophobic inclined folks among us.

 

**** Just scribbling my Zimbabwean thoughts ****

Know the age of consent…Better safe than statutory.

The news of Kwaito artist Sipho “Brickz” Ndlovu’s arrest for rape has reignited an always contentious debate on twitter; that of statutory rape. I know you didn’t ask for my two cents but I’m going to give it to you anyway, because I’m nice like that…and I have FOMO (that’s a Fear Of Missing Out…for the not so cool kids among us).

Whenever there’s a statutory rape case in the headlines, a war erupts between two schools of thought i.e. the “rape is rape” faction and their frenemies, the “it’s a different type of rape” faction. So I guess this begs the question, are there different types of rape OR is rape just that, RAPE?

In MY opinion, there are different types of rape….SAY WHAT??? Yeah, I said it. There are different types of rape. I don’t know their precise scientific names so I’ll make some up for the purposes of this post.

1. Forcible rape:

This category of rape is usually typified by the use of force and the rapist’s desire to hurt, humiliate, defile, and strip their victim of all dignity. It is illegal in every civilised society and encompasses such vile acts as gang rape, anger rape, sadistic rape, prison rape, corrective rape, etc.

2. Relationship rape:

This is rape between individuals in a relationship specifically in those times when one party isn’t in the mood for sex. For example, you come home tired and your partner wants to have sex. You’re not particularly in the mood but you do it anyway. There isn’t obvious force involved in relationship rape. Instead it may be replaced with “charm”, a “sense of duty”, a “okay, why not” type of feeling, etc.

3. Incontrovertible statutory rape:

This is a heinous transgression where an adult takes sexual advantage of a minor. The adult explicitly knows the minor is indeed a minor and uses either force or manipulation to sexually abuse the minor. Cases of a teacher and student having a sexual relationship fall under this category because the teacher is unambiguously aware that the student is a minor. Oh, for those who care, this is the category in which Brickz’s case falls. He best call Oscar Pistorius for some good lawyers’ numbers.

4. Moot Statutory rape:

I call this one “moot” statutory rape because it is this rape that causes all sorts of controversial debate. I’ll give you an example. You meet a girl in a club. It’s a “No Under 21’s” club. You share conversation, a few drinks and dances, and eventually end up back at your place. One thing leads to another and at about 10am the following morning, the police turn up at your door with an arrest warrant. Guess what? The lovely young lady you met last night was actually a lovely “very young” lady. She was 15.

You see, its situations like this where it becomes a bit grey for me. I find it hard to brand the guy in this example a rapist. Surely there are other factors to consider. For instance, “Did he know she was 15?”…“Did her coerce her to go home with him?”…”Did she consent to sex?”….”Does he have a history of sexual assault?”…etc. If the answer to all these questions is a genuine NO, is that not relevant? She was in a “No Under 21’s” night club, is it not reasonable to assume she was over 21? I mean, it’s not like she was in the club with her school uniform on, with her birth certificate in hand. Furthermore, I really think 15 year olds today are a little different from the 15 year olds of 30 years ago. Back then it was much easier to tell if someone was 15. Today, it’s not always as easy.

Some might reasonably argue that the categorisation of rape opens up various loopholes for perpetrators. This may be true but blanket laws that disregard the situational facts and instead lock up “innocent” individuals are not the solution either. I guess, as Oliver Holmes once said, “This is a court of law young man, not a court of justice.” That’s right, the law and justice are two different things.

When all’s said and done, the law is the law and must be obeyed as such. If you buy stolen goods, you are breaking the law whether or not you know they are stolen. If you have sex with a minor, you are breaking the law whether or not you know they are a minor. So probably best just asking her for some ID before offering her some D. Better safe than statutory.

*just scribbling my moot thoughts*

Ps: this post has been written in a lighthearted manner not because this is a jocular or blithe subject but simply because it is the nature of this blog to discuss serious issues in a lighthearted manner. It makes those issues more accessible to people and may thus (hopefully) lead to more open and much needed discussion on these matters. We don’t have enough open and honest discourse about rape because it is a sensitive subject that gets very emotionally charged, very quickly. Let’s talk about it not fight about it. Otherwise we all lose.

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

If I was a woman…

Women supporting women

Today is National Women’s Day here in South Africa; a day through which we honour the women who, in 1956, marched to petition against discriminatory apartheid legislation regarding the movement of Black people. On this day, we celebrate women.

As I woke up today, I, for the first time, really thought about what it would be like to be a woman…from birth, through life, and to death:

If I was a woman….

If I was born a woman, I may not have gone to the schools I went to. In fact, I may not have gone to school at all. Many families still raise their daughters differently from the way they raise their sons. In those families, my brothers would have had way better lives and opportunities than me.

If I was a woman, harassment in the streets by men is something I would have to suffer almost daily. From wolf-whistles and slaps on my backside, to pulling up my skirt, insults or even beatings for my choice of clothing.

If I was a woman, I would be more likely to be raped than learn how to read. After all, in South Africa, a woman is raped every four minutes.

If I was a woman, I may be dishonoured by my family for getting pregnant out of wedlock. Oh and whilst on the subject of marriage, I would probably be labelled a whore, bitter bitch, or directionless loser for not wanting to get married.

Still on marriage, in some countries I would have acid thrown in my face or have my genitals mutilated because I didn’t accept a marriage proposal arranged by my family to some man I have never met; a man probably older than my father.

And if I was married, there would a 33% chance (higher in other countries) that I would be a victim of domestic violence at the hands of my spouse.

Forget marriage, in some parts of the world, I would just be sold for money. After all, women and girls make up 80% of those trafficked for sex and slave labour.

If I was ever pregnant, in some families, I would be killed for not giving birth to a boy. If I’m one of those fortunate enough to be allowed to give birth and keep my child, there is a high chance I would be a single mum, what with so many men abandoning their children.

If I was a woman, I may be passed up for promotions at work simply because I’m a woman. I’d realise the glass ceiling was actually a solid lead opaque ceiling.

If I was a woman, political participation and economic empowerment would always be conveniently (for men) out of my reach. Sexist jokes, chauvinistic comments, gender based salary gaps; all of these would be daily obstacles for me.

If I was a woman, the so called “economy of care” would expect me to look after the children, the elderly, the husband, the home. When men are dedicated to their jobs, they are respected, but if I, as a woman, did the same thing, I’m a bad mother and/or selfish wife.

If I was a woman, in some parts of the world, I wouldn’t be allowed to drive a car, wear a pair of trousers, or even leave the house without a male companion.

If I was a woman, in some parts of the world, at the funeral of my spouse, I would be forced to drink water which has been used to wash his dead body. Others would jeer me, push me around, or even beat me if I failed to cry for him loud enough or for long enough.

If I was a woman, in some parts of the world, you wouldn’t be allowed to cry for me when I die. After all, I’m just a woman right?

*just scribbling my thoughts*

ps: We all have a duty to protect women. Especially us men; we need to protect women from us. Because everything I’ve written in this post is all a result of ancient patriarchal establishments that continue to destroy our societies today. It must stop now.

Soooo…can we spank our kids or what?

550px-Discipline-a-Child-Effectively-Without-Spanking-Step-1

 

An incident in a supermarket a few days ago had me thinking about that age old question every parent has to ask themselves at one point or another: “to spank, or not to spank?” Yes folks, that is the question.

 

Regarding this incident, a young lady was being terrorised by her son whilst she was doing their groceries. Let’s be clear here, I don’t use the term “terrorising” due to a mere lack of a better word. This kid was literally terrorising his mum. She would put an item into the trolley; he’d remove it and throw at his mum all whilst simultaneously screaming at her. Needless to say, after a while, she lost her patience (and a tub of mayonnaise) and resorted to whooping his little behind with a pack of spaghetti….which, I’ll admit, was kind of funny. But, I seem to be the only one who found it humorous as other folks around me appeared more mortified than tickled.

 

More than being tickled, the whole spanking episode (Spankisode? No?) had me thinking, will my kid be eligible for spanking? I mean, he’s 6 months old now so I guess it’s not too long before he reaches the age of the occasional “spankisode” (consider this term coined!). But here’s the thing, my partner was never once spanked throughout her childhood. Me, on the other hand, I was never not spanked (yes, I just spanked you with a double negative right there). So what becomes of our little putto? To be spanked or not to be spanked?

 

Over the years the arguments against spanking have grown exponentially and more and more parents are embracing this somewhat utopian (for the child) idea. My mum wasn’t one of those parents. I was spanked ALL THE TIME, both at home AND at school, and I turned out fine(ish). These days parents act like spanking is the equivalent of microwaving your child till he has a brain tumor. I disagree. In my opinion, spanking is just a tool, like many others, to help you discipline your child.

 

Remember the days when parents wouldn’t even mind other adults spanking you? If that ever happened, my mum would ask me what I did to deserve the spanking. I’d be like “Mum, Mrs Moyo from next door just hit me”…and my mum would be like “what did you do?” These days parents immediately call the neighbour/school to complain, sue, or press charges; ignoring the fact that their kid is a little nuisance.

 

Like I said, I was spanked all the time. But you know what? I was as naughty as American foreign policy. I deserved 99% of those ass whoopings. You know what the other 1% was for? Preventative spankings. Did you ever get those? When your mum would spank you for something you haven’t even done yet. Yep, my mum would sometimes go all ‘minority report’ on me and punish me for crimes I “might” commit. And all this whilst uttering what became her trademark catchphrase: “This hurts me more than it hurts you” 🙂 Oh that crazy woman, how I love her so.

 

*just scribbling my parental thoughts*

 

PS: just to be clear, when I’m talking about spanking, I’m not talking about those monstrous excuses of parents who beat their kids to a pulp. That’s not discipline, that’s just plain old inexcusable ill-treatment and abuse of the worst kind.

Dating Foreigners: What to expect

Intercultural

 

 

So I just learned my mate, a South African, last night got engaged to his girlfriend, a lovely Congolese lady. It got me thinking about the number of inter-cultural/racial/tribal/religion unions taking place nowadays. Taboo in years gone by, relationships with people from other ethnicities are now commonplace, thankfully.

 

Naturally, there any numerous negative stereotypes floating about as society pigeonholes those different from us. But hey, there are also loads of positive stereotypes that would entice one to date past international barriers. Stereotypes like “Zimbabweans are well endowed up stairs” or “Nigerians are well endowed downstairs”. 🙂

 

So to get you started on your cross-border love adventure, here are a few things to expect when dating a foreigner.

1. Language barrier – It’s all well and good when you’re together speaking in, say, English but when he’s with his mates/family, expect to hear a lot of this: “jibajaba, jabajiba, jibijibi, jabajaba…you okay sweety?”.

2. Culture shock – This is probably the best thing about picking a partner from a foreign pool. You think you’re the love of his life? Well guess what, his culture allows him to have multiple “loves of his life”. And may I remind you, polygamy is nothing like the ménage à trois you see on TV.

3. Deportation – Every time you go your separate ways, kiss him like you’ll never see him again…coz that might just be the case. For many immigrants, one minute you’re out shopping, next you’re in an immigration detention centre having a deportation farewell party.

4. Nuptials – While your friends may be struggling to find guys willing to pop the question, you won’t have to worry about that. Your immigrant boyfriend will be happy to marry you TODAY! Gotta get them papers fam.

5. Driving – You better get your chauffeur game on coz your immigrant hunk may not be able to get a local Driver’s Licence courtesy of his alien status.

6. Bambinos! – Oh, snap, he didn’t tell you he had kids…and a wife…back home? Forgive him, must have slipped his mind. After all, they are in another country. Out of sight, out of wedlock right?

7. Background checks – So you Googled his name, Peter Jones, and nothing came up? Not to worry, try Odawali Mutloto…that’s his birth name; the one he used before you met him. Oh, he forgot to mention that too? Ooops.

8. The Fuzz – Anytime your man sees the police, expect to hear this: “Oh shit. Lord please don’t let them stop us”…that’s coz, your man has no papers.

9. Romantic getaways – Speaking of papers, don’t expect any romantic international getaways for Valentine’s day. Your man can’t risk leaving the country. He may never be able to sneak back in.

10. Xenophobia – Now, we all know xenophobic/racist comments are everywhere right? So expect to hear some xenophobic commentary aimed at your man & his countrymen. Stuff like “Damn, those Nigerians are fraudsters” O_o. Yeah girl, they talking ’bout your boo.

11. The Parents – Don’t worry if your parents hate your man…his folks are probably always asking him why he can’t find a nice, well-mannered girl who’s…well, who’s not you.

 

12. Home Sweet Home (Affairs) – Yep, you’re going to spend more time at Home Affairs than you even knew was possible; filling in more forms than an insurance salesman. [Oh, Home Affairs is the “Home Office” for our UK friends or the “Immigration and Naturalization Service” for our American contingent.]

Jokes aside, dating someone of a differing nationality, race, tribe, or religion has its challenges but it’s also quite exciting. For comedic value, most of my “tips” of an expat are of an illegal immigrant. That’s obviously not always the case. Many are legal and in dating or befriending them, you can learn so much and experience diverse cultures and their congenial idiosyncrasies. So go ahead, embrace the other side.

*just scribbling my expat thoughts*

A great response to the “homosexuality is an abomination to God” argument

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by an east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? – Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted fan,
Jim