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THE disheartening part of being a racist in recovery is that you don’t get supportive meetings like other addicts.
If you’re kicking booze, narcotics, gambling or sex one day at a time, you get to huddle in a cosy group and, once you’ve announced your name, anonymously bitch about how much you miss booze, narcotics, gambling or sex.
Plus you meet several like-minded souls with the perfect temperaments to make your next relapse a blast.
There’s even coffee and biscuits afterwards (and some ferocious tobacco consumption, in my experience).
Still, one addiction at a time, eh? Let’s not overburden our higher power, whomever we conceive it to be.
However, if you’re trying to kick the habit of stereotyping people according to ethnicity, a habit bred into your bones by a warped society, you’re on your own. There are no meetings where people in the same boat boost your morale with shameful anecdotes about hitting racist rock-bottom, no sponsors to keep you clean just for today.
In fact, the opposite is true – there are plenty of anti-sponsors. Acquaintances who’d never dream of telling an alcoholic, “come on, one drink can’t hurt” will feel not the slightest compunction telling you it’s right and proper to judge people via an ethnic prism.
In the end, you have only your own intellect to fall back on, along with other intangibles like fair play, right and wrong, or trying to see the other fellow’s point of view.
The smug thrill of knowing that you at least have enough of an intellect to fight your conditioning is cold comfort; even coffee and biscuits would be more rewarding.
Which is why I’m awarding myself a pat on the back for overcoming my engrained orientalism; well done, me.
Orientalism, for those who have a vague suspicion it involves rally driving, is that peculiar subdivision of racism that regards anyone whose forebears originated east of Suez as inherently exotic and untrustworthy.
“Oh, they have a civilisation of a sort; they can even learn to ape their betters (usually the pasty European doing the orientalising), but they’re just not like us. Morally speaking.
“They tend to have too many wives. And the muck they eat! It’s nothing like our good old-fashioned minced organs in intestines, or unfertilised embryos.
“Plus, of course, they’re ridiculously sharp in their business dealings; cunning as weasels.
“That’s one thing we learnt while we were taking over their continent via cynical treaties, trade monopolies and ‘protectorates’ – you can’t trust ’em to deal straight with you.”
Happily, I’ve managed to reject such odious attitudes for the hypocritical flim-flam they are, even though they were passed down from my Eurocentric ancestors almost with my mother’s milk.
And it was Schabir Shaik who helped me do it.
No wonder he protested his innocence from the start – when it was announced that the entire arms deal scandal was purely a political attack on Jacob Zuma, it was obvious what was going on.
Naked orientalism, nothing else.
I mean, if an English gentleman had lent large sums of money to a friend in need, there would have been no outcry about corruption.
Just because the debtor might end up in a position of influence and the lender happened to get the cash from rich companies that might benefit from said influence is no reason to infer that skulduggery is afoot.
It was a racist stitch-up, pure and simple. That’s why I was so glad when doctors discovered that long walks on the golf course were the only treatment for the unjustly convicted philanthropist’s dreadful illness and he was granted a merciful parole.
Of course, now that President Zuma has reopened the political conspiracy against himself and Mr Shaik is threatening to write a tell-all book about where all the bodies are buried, so to speak, I’m somewhat confused.
He’s spent almost a decade assuring us there were no bodies in the first place – and I was happy to believe him – so the about-face is playing merry hell with my attempts at personal re-education.
It takes a brave man to make accusations that could well accelerate his terminal illness. I’m no medical boffin, but I suspect golf is safer.