Monday, 11 April 2005

Hoesit Rassie

Comment on the previous post by Pollen.

What is most evident for me is that I agree with what I assume is his underlying concern: that rascism is still a tangible and fatally dangerous element in South African society. Perhaps, as whites who have distanced ourselves from practicing rascism, and who are the bearers of a few centuries of shame for that perpetrated by us and our ancestors, we have some responsibility to filter out what we perceive to be negative towards us from his side of the discourse, and apply ourselves rather more productively to what is, clearly, an undeniable truth.

Very long and prosaic way to say: we should take responsibility for our stereotype and in so doing confound it. Where rascism exists it should be uprooted and demolished, and if the "race card" is not mentioned in connection with the terrible incidents he describes, then it should be.

I am still frequently shocked at how ingrained rascism is amongst most white people, and how the social system still favours us of a lighter complexion, and how very little responsibility we, as a (somewhat non-heterogenous) group take for this. When all is said and done, for example, I have still not heard a single, heartfelt and unproblematic apology for Apartheid from anyone. That remains one of the first steps in correcting the wrongs done by it.

So, let me declare myself, at the conclusion: I am a rascist. I make assumptions about people based on their appearance, religion, background, history, you name it. I don't feel too bad about this, since I know that I consciously reconstruct my assumptions on a daily, hourly, minute-ly basis, to find ballance between what I think and what I feel. Rascism is something I have to work on, continuously guard against, be aware of... Where I disagree with Mr. Qwelane is that I suspect all people are rascist in this way. Why? Well, I believe all people are basically the same. And since I have such propensity for assumptions and stereotyping, then I won't deny anyone else that ability.

Perhaps, if he means, black people cannot be _ideologically_ rascist, he might have a platform for discussion. (Although still only arguably.)

But that aside: South African politics and society demand of us whites a certain tolerance for the "race card". We have some responsibility not to react out of pride and defensiveness, but to attempt to look through the rhetoric and find the essence, which, in this case, I'm sure we actually agree with.

Also, everyone has a responsibility to avoid making accusations that can be thought generalised towards any specific group or identity. Blood being thicker than water, it's kinda easy to push people's buttons if you want them to show their dark side. Ha.

Amandla, baby.

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