Costly to deny that racism hurts

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IOL ST_Leader poverty0 INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS One only need take a drive through any township or village to get a glimpse of the destructive effects of white racism, says the writer. Picture: Leon Lestrade

Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya says racism could raise a radicalised black majority.

 Pretoria - Only in South Africa do historic beneficiaries of racism demand that their victims change their ways. The absurdity of it all boggles.

I generally do not like repeating column topics. South Africa is awash with interesting stories crying out for comment.

Take for example ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe’s preposterous argument for why Parliament ought to be moved from Cape Town to Tshwane.

He said the failure of the police to act against EFF MPs showed that the police in the Western Cape “had a divided loyalty” and Parliament was therefore “vulnerable”.

The argument is nonsensical.

It assumes that the DA will always control the Western Cape and Gauteng the ANC. One wonders whether Mantashe would want the national legislature to move each time “the wrong” party wins the province in which Parliament is based.

Perhaps old Gwede was trying to divert attention from the #PayBackOurMoney craze that dominated the discourse last week.

But it is to the racism topic that I wrote about last week that I feel the urge to return.

The response to the column left me certain that some white South Africans simply do not get what apartheid was about. Their condescending attitude of “get over it” suggests that they think it was just an inconvenient political system rather than a structured dehumanising and impoverishment project based on the sandy foundation of people of a certain skin colour being more human than others.

That is why so many of them feel like it is a discussion best left unattended to.

Seems to me that some assume that black people raise the racism topic to make them feel guilty about the past when the reality is that this is done to recognise the elephant in the room.

Many of those who responded to my column repeated the same lies of political parties founded on and sustained by the idea of whites being an endangered species, such as that whites are targeted as crime victims.

Their insulated lives made them think that unemployment among white men in particular is the highest of all population groups when it is in fact the lowest.

Post-1994 society has not asked white South Africans for much.

Standards of life are exactly as they were when the country was white-ruled. In many other ways, the white standards of life and wealth have improved.

Even the rugby that some whites foolishly believe is their exclusive possession has benefited from the new South Africa project. The Springboks have been world champions twice when in the past they could only play against mercenary types who would do anything for a buck, if you will excuse the pun.

Carrying a South African passport is no longer like the carrying of a skunk it used to be.

Why then do so many whites who make time and effort to comment online and heaven knows how many others in their private spaces, emit such bitterness and naked racism?

Black South Africans did not create racism. They suffered under it and many continue to suffer its effects even though it is no longer legislated. If anyone needs to “get over themselves” it is the racists and racism denialists.

Whether it is arrogance, ignorance or both, racism continues to grow in spaces such as online comment sections. There all sorts of idiots suddenly find boldness they know they do not have in real life.

Many comments betray a people who have absolutely no grasp of South African reality and carry on as if this was 1982.

Almost without exception, online commentators do not fail to mention how they cannot believe that the writer they are responding to holds the position of authority or is as qualified as they are. This is no different from how black talent is questioned in the workplace, the political corridors or the sports field.

It is remarkably ignorant to equate employment equity and economic empowerment with reverse racism.

Not only are statistics showing that newly graduated young whites stand a better chance of finding employment, but also that it would take decades to achieve the desired fair representation of all South Africans in the workplace.

One only need take a drive through any township or village to get a glimpse of the destructive effects of white racism in the form of apartheid and its chief intent of impoverishing a people on the whimsical reason of being born with the wrong colour.

The streets of black South Africa have a phrase: Akho bari ezongcengwa – (We will beg nobody).

Those whites who continue to deny the reality of racism must internalise it and its long-term effects or hope that they will not live long enough to see the fruit of their indifference – a radicalised black majority that will find a leader who will make Julius Malema look like a Desmond Tutu.

Pretoria News

* Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya is executive editor of the Pretoria News.

** The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Independent Newspapers.



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