Racism and White Supremacy: Defined, Discussed and Dismantled
White people are sticking to their privileged, ignorant bubbles and are not seeing the social evils and problems that reside within them.
For the last few years, there have been countless racial incidents that have taken place in South Africa, and around the world, of course. These incidents ranged from racial slurs and comments on online social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to actual horrific, abhorrent events. South Africans immediately grabbed their cellular devices and used their slacktivism abilities to condemn the acts committed by various individuals.
This year marks 23 years since Apartheid ended. As a white, 19 year old who has only read about our horrific past and has seen particular documentaries and interviews, I can conclude, from my perspective and my understanding that racism was not seen as a diabolical, social evil but was rather encouraged as a part of the National Party’s scheme to segregate the people of our nation according to race. However, after observing events and social discomforts that have taken place in our society over the last few years, I have to admit that racism is just as present in South Africa if not more!
A major issue that we as a society need to deal with is white people who continue to perpetuate, endorse and promote a white supremacist agenda. In South Africa, it is no different and we often witness the prejudicial, discriminatory nature of many white individuals who continue to be racist and dehumanise people of colour.
This may sound rather odd and alarming to you, the reader, but I was glad when Penny Sparrow and her ilk went public about their racist views. I was happy. Why? Because there are white people in South Africa today who are secretly racist in public but in their private, comfortable spaces, they reveal their true, racist colours to their family and friends. There is still a belief among many conservative white people that they are superior to other races and as such, this belief enforces and encourages the racist mindset. Even if they don’t overtly express this view, they do express it in subliminal or subtle ways that just come across as “problematic”. The problem now is that these racists are trying to hide their racial beliefs whereas during Apartheid, they would clearly publicise their viewpoint. If white people are caught being racist, they would immediately change to their “white guilt mode”, a new term that I have conjured, whereby they would point fingers at other races and try to direct our attention to other races that are apparently being “racist”. However, I completely disagree with their poor tactics. Regardless, white racists are alive and well in our nation and we need to take action against them now before we allow their vulgar beliefs to continue.
Black People Can’t Be Racist
Yes. I just stated that! Whether white people like it or not, black people cannot be racist. Before you start throwing a tantrum and attack me, let me refer you to the Oxford Dictionary, a dictionary that was originally made by our, white forefathers in the United Kingdom.
Racism (noun) — is the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
As the above definition states, racism involves using particular characteristics to distinguish a race as inferior or superior to another race. I have never, in my entire 19 years of living on this planet, found a black person doing, proclaiming or being in a position superior to white people in order to do this. However, I have seen white people doing this. They treat black people as lesser, unintelligent individuals by posting online, verbally stating it etc.
Black people aren’t racist because they are simply defending themselves from racism and from an unfair, unjust society. Black people are frustrated in South Africa and in many more countries because they’re still seen as “lower class” and inferior to white individuals who continuously perpetuate that idea. They’re still not being treated equally nor do they have the same opportunities as most privileged white people in our country. People of colour suffer many injustices including cultural appropriation, unfair treatment from institutions and discrimination in various forms. Black people are not distinguishing white people as more superior or inferior than black people. Therefore, this fictional idea that black people are just as racist as white people is absurd.
The point of this piece is to deal with the issues of racism in our society and identify where it is mainly originating from and to put to rest the hoax that black people can be racist too. What we need to do is to accept the fact that there are racists amidst us instead of pointing fingers or disregarding the notion. We must condemn racists. I strongly encourage this. However, I honestly believe that South Africans’ slacktivism should not be the only method when tackling racism. I believe that a public forum should be created where people can attend this public forum where people from different political parties, religions, races, cultures and backgrounds can unite and discuss what we should do to tackle racism and eradicate it from our country. Therefore, let us set the “blame game” aside, recognise the racial issues in our society and work together to find the solutions. At the same time, we need to ensure that the active spaces we are in are empowering ones for people of colour so that every single person, regardless of race, is given a chance to be treated fairly, be equal and receive the justice that they truly deserve.