Let me start from the beginning.
A few months ago, after experiencing outages with my Google Chrome browser, (I still experience them, especially on slow connections), I opted to use Internet Explorer 9. It worked. In fact, it worked way better than previous Internet Explorer browsers had worked, and, it worked better than Chrome was working.
So I decided to tweet about it. This is what I tweeted in lower case. “I think I am starting to have trouble with Google Chrome. And for the first time, I am finding IE a better browser. IE9, that is.”
A fellow who operates Internet Explorer’s twitter account picked it up and retweeted it. Weeks or months later, Internet Explorer used my tweet in a marketing campaign for its browser. And that is when all hell broke loose.
Users who find Internet Explorer to be irredeemably so bad (and they are quite many), wondered just who on earth could endorse the browser like I did. They rushed to a social news website, called reddit.com, and proceeded to tear me into pieces, bit by bit.
So they did a search for my tweet and finally landed on my account.
I had 666 followers on twitter by then. So one quipped. “The only person who approves of IE is Satan.”
That was funny. I even laughed when I read it. But other comments were not so nice. No. Actually, I withdraw that statement. Other comments were a little more colourful.
I rarely use sentence case when posting on social media. So I do not capitalise sentence beginnings and Is. It is a personal choice. It is a personal style. I know grammar rules probably better than those snickering Americans do. Social media is not an English grammar examination. But some Americans wanted it so. And commented to the effect that I do not have a proper grip of English grammar.
Another looked at my profile picture – which is of a half-dressed boy from Paidha District, near the Congo border. He simply could not resist the temptation to comment. “Dude, he has an impoverished kid as a background. You can’t start criticising him!” as if I am some poverty stricken, aid-seeking 25-year-old who spends my time writing proposals to Americans for financial support.
Another, probably thinking I am so poorly paid (which is not itself a lie), said I must have taken a bribe from Microsoft (which owns Internet Explorer). “He was probably paid a year’s wages to tweet that,” read the comment.
Another took the opportunity to say I make scam email and pages, which would thus be the reason why I hated Chrome, simply because it prevented me from doing exactly that. “It keeps trying to block him from making 419 emails/scam pages, what an asshole chrome is!” he commented.
Another said that when they searched for my comments in Bing, “it brought up a ton of porn.”
Another said I was a computer pirate because I made this tweet. “It feels funny when a website blocks you access to a movie, song or book, and another gives you the entire thing...for free.” As if that in itself means I pirated a book or movie or song or whatever.
And then there was the winner. It got 40 points (or should I say likes) from the readers of the blog. “Dude is in Africa. That shit doesn’t count.”
Yes. I am born, bred, and living and working in Africa. And because of that, my views on what browser works for me, just don’t count.
I found a very strong rotten sense of prejudice in the comments that were made about me by those egoistical contemptuous Americans. It is deeply embedded in the view of some people in the West about what Africa, and Africans are. The idea is probably one of broke destitute people, roaming around in the savannah, sharing lunch with monkeys and running away from the big cats for survival, as Americans go about the more important things in life like landing on mars or shooting cinemagoers dead. I am actually surprised no one commented that they are surprised someone in Africa knows an internet browser.
Just so those guys know, I am not destitute. I am lucky enough to be employed by the very best newspaper that journalism has given this country. At my level, I am one of the best in my industry; I graduated, to use a language Americans understand, magna cum laude at university. I do not spend the night awake, wondering how I will pay my college loans like many Americans my age do. Yes I am African, but I am happy and proud to be one.
I have absolutely no problem with someone disagreeing, and saying Internet Explorer is actually not a great browser. I do not think it is a great browser myself. But hell, at that very moment, it was better than Chrome...by far.
But you see, when someone chooses to look away from the content of my views, to my origins, and decides to use those as a basis of dismissing what I say, it is not just plain simple disagreement anymore. It is the false feeling of superiority. It is even racist. It is stupid. It is where you stop and ask god for forgiveness because the only other beings who have a thinking like that are the very scum of the earth and deserve to dine alongside Lucipher at the feast of the wicked.
But no, I am better than getting angry at these comments. If my shit didn’t really count, they would never have commented. But alas; they did.