Hope In Love

Posts Tagged ‘racism

I am a South African, born and raised.
This is my home.

Sometimes though, my home doesn’t feel very homey.

South Africa has had quite a history. Intolerance, racism, blood shed.

We are rebuilding. We are building something new.

Others aren’t quite on board though…enter Red October.

Apparently, according to a certain group of people, white people are being killed off in South Africa.

I’m a big fan of human rights, and if I truly believed that a minority group was being killed off, I’d be in the trenches with them fighting against their oppressors.

White people are NOT being killed off in SA. There is no white genocide. All this movement is doing is causing further divisions and scratching scabs off wounds we are trying to heal.

It scares me sometimes when such happens…I start thinking, what if Apartheid did come back?

I’d like to believe it can’t. That people grown past racist bullshit…we’ve fought too hard for too long to ever let our country go back there…

Anyway, I’ll leave you with this link to this video that displays what most South Africans believe regarding White Genocide in SA.

 [this post is written as part of the Blog Action Day 2013 - visit the site to check out more posts on the theme of Human Rights]

Continuation…read part 1 here

3. Why I believe the term was racist:

The fighting in Grabouw was between black people and coloured people. The DA says it is caused by too many people moving from the Eastern Cape and using up the resources of the Western Capers…now which people do you think those are? I’m pretty sure she wasn’t talking about white people. Because let’s face it, when white people move to the western cape, they generally move into the suburbs where schools are not overcrowded, and no one is going to accuse them of using up western cape’s resources.

When black people move to the WC they move into the already overcrowded townships, and their kids enroll in the already overcrowded schools, which is why people were fighting for lack of service delivery. Cape Town is flippin expensive to live in, and the average South African person cannot afford to live in the surburbs.

4. Why I’m angry with white people:

“I don’t see why it’s a racist remark” “I don’t see why black people are offended by it” “Cape Town is not racist, Cape Town is a city – a city can’t be racist, people are racist”

Of course you don’t understand why a black person would be offended because YOU ARE NOT BLACK! Go live in a country that restricts your movements to only certain places because of your race then come and tell me you are ok with the new “democratic” government doing the same thing. For years, black people were told where they can and can’t go and where they can and can’t live, and now that we live in a new democratic country we are still being told to stay in our designated province? And y’all don’t see a problem with that. Ok.

A city is not a city without the people in it. If the majority of people in the city are racist, then I deem that city to be racist. Also, I believe the City of Cape Town enables racism. When the majority of white people live in comfy houses in the surburbs and the majority of black people live in overcrowded squalor in the townships, I deem that city to be racist. When the lovely surburbs get better service delivery than the poor people, I deem that city to be racist.

I should also add, I think most racist Cape Tonians aren’t intentionally racist. They honestly don’t realise that they things they say/do are offensive to black people. So we tend to cut them some slack…but then when does it end?

In conclusion: No one, not even people in the Eastern Cape – not one South African citizen that I know of, disagrees that the Eastern Cape education system is in disarray and something needs to be done about it. The province is known for it’s corruption, and the government can’t afford to sit back and do nothing about it. However, pretending Cape Town is a republic unto it’s own, and telling Eastern Cape people to stay where they belong, is wrong…it is definitely not the solution.

And to be honest, if the DA had just apologised for the use of the word, or better yet, thought about the implicatiions of using that word and selected a different word to use, they would have had a lot more support for their cause, but they didn’t. They just tried to justify it.

As the twitter famous Khaya Dlanga said, Helen Zille (and I would add the rest of the DA, and those unintentionally racist Cape Tonians I was talking about), aren’t necessarily racist, they are just really insensitive towards black people.

This comment on yesterday’s post was long enough to be a post on it’s own, as was the response to the comment. So decided to make it an actual post.

And thanks, Sterrekind, for the comment. Dialogue is always good, even when we disagree.

The comment:

“Hey, I have read a little bit about this now, because, as usual, I came in at the backside of the news…

I usually agree with your blog and we think the same a lot of the time. However, not this time, and that is why I feel the need to comment and voice my opinion, even if we disagree. Maybe we just misunderstand each other, but I feel the need to give my two cents.

As a white, South African woman, spending a bunch of time in the community, openly debating issues, defending people when others are being openly racist ect. I see my self a quite open-minded. But this time I am on the “white” side of things. Firstly, I think the race-card is just being over-played. Why do people not debate the issue, debate why using the term “refugee” is wrong, but immediately call race? Only when it is said by a white politician. But when the ANC retaliates by saying the DA is a “white, racist party” or that the DA uses blacks as “window dressing” (both statements from the Jackson Mthembu, spokesperson of the ANC, no-one claims their statements as racist.

History shows that black politicians can say pretty much what they want, but when Zille makes a comment about a term that is inherently non-racial, everyone is up in arms. Basically, the eastern cape has crap services and people come to the western cape to get those services. What on earth is wrong with saying that? Zille has proven herself time and again as being a strong leader who works hard to make a positive change in the western cape, and now people crucify her for making this statement, which was pulled entirely out of context. Frankly, I am tired of racial debates, tired of people blame-shifting, finger-pointing and voicing one-sided opinions only when they benefit. Not saying this blog, talking about politicians and the media.

I was at the Cape Town carnival on saturday and it was amazing to see the integration of different races and cultures. There were very little white people in the carnival, but that’s fine, as we are the minority. I don’t see anyone pointing out racism there. It was great to see how we can work together to celebrate our different heritages, learn by seeing each others dances, clothes, languages, music ect. I really was so proud.

I feel we should celebrate what we have, rather than reverting to name-calling and finger-pointing in every situation. This whole drama has lead to articles in international news like this one:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/23/world/africa/in-cape-town-many-black-south-africans-feel-unwelcome.html?_r=3&pagewanted=all

The article is biased, only quotes one-sided sources and is being sensationalistic. Often issues that are to do with education, community development, financial inequality ect immediately get turned into race. Somewhere we have to look to the future and start to change things, not go back and keep looking for excuses why things don’t get better.

Turned into a long comment, but hey, that’s my opinion.”

The response:

I have never claimed that the remarks the ANC makes aren’t racist. In fact, most of the time they are FULLY racist…and, unlike Zille’s faux pas, intentionally so.

I did not disagree with the Zille’s message. The Eastern Cape is in disarray, and something needs to be done about it. I, however, am offended by the use of the term “refugee”…educational or otherwise.

Here’s the thing: Zille is seeking black votes…that’s not a secret. South Africa is still a black majority country, and in order for her to get the power/resources/whatever to make the changes she wants to make in this country, she’s gonna need black people to vote for her. The ANC has the black vote. The race thing is their “Ace of Spades”…their trump card. They will always use the race card where they think it benefits them. Zille keeps giving them ammo to use against her in that regard.

Black people say they’re offended by a term – not her message, just the term – and instead of her apologizing for the offence she takes to twitter and blogs and such to defend the use of the term…(the second part of the post goes up next tuesday and speaks more on this.)

And about that article you linked: I’m pretty sure most black people would agree that they see cape town as a “white” province and the DA a “white” party – not saying they’re right, but that is how they perceive it. And as much as apartheid is over, the effects are still very visible, and we cannot run away from that. The economic divide in SA is a direct result of apartheid, and until the divide is eradicated, unfortunately it will always be tied back to race

Having said all this: I am not a member of the ANC, never been a member of any political party…I try to vote on merit and the issues at hand (service delivery, etc) as much as possible, so I am not justifying the ANC’s racist remarks, I am simply saying that I, as an individual, am offended by being called a refugee. And I am also offended when, instead of being asked how I feel or why I feel that way, I am told that I shouldn’t feel a certain way and am told how I should feel instead.

And now I’m even more offended by Zille implying that by being offended by the term refugee I am xenophobic.

This blog was supposed to be about my Christian journey. But recently, it has started to become about my journey into what is referred to on twitter as “bad blacks.” Yea, I was fully against that term as well when I first read it…and I still think it’s a bad term, but the more I move to that side of South African twitterville, the more I find myself identifying myself with it.

What is a bad black? you ask. From what I’ve read (and I could be wrong on this), a bad black is a black South African who lives in the surburbs, got a good (private/model-c school) education, most often than not speaks with a twang, but is still more likely to vote ANC than the DA, and will call Helen Zille racist and be offended by terms such as “Professional Black” and “Refugees” and add to the CapeTownIsRacist twitter hashtag.

The reason I decided to write this post is because I found myself infuriated by the majority of white people in Cape Town this past week. A whole lot of them were saying that Black people are overeacting with this refugees thing. They justified the use of term. They defended Zille’s use of the term. They said that they don’t see why that term is racist. And they felt that the outcry over the use of term was just taking the attention off the real problem – ie the education system in the ANC-run Eastern Cape.

I am not from the Eastern Cape, but I was offended by the term. Let me tell you why:

1. The use of the word refugee:

Some definitions from the web: a. “A person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.” b. “One who flees in search of refuge, as in times of war, political oppression, or religious persecution.”

White people across twitterville said that Zille was using the second definition, and that makes it ok. No it doesn’t. As a South African citizen I have the right to live anywhere in South Africa without having my reasons questioned. There is a huge difference between relocating, and fleeing. Last I checked, the Western Cape, while run by DA, is still part of the Republic of South Africa, and any South African citizen had the right to move for whatever reason they see fit.

Are black people who leave Cape Town to move to Joburg to find jobs also refugees? Cos I know a lot of them. They moved, not because they didn’t like Cape Town, but because they couldn’t find work in Cape Town. Joburg isn’t crying foul and calling them refugees. Why? Because they have a constitutional right to do so.

2. Context of the use of the term:

As I mentioned, a lot of white people felt the outcry was diverting attention from the Eastern Cape’s educational system. A lot of black people, however, felt that the term had been used to divert attention from what was happening in Grabouw. People take to the streets because of lack of service delivery, and the DA claims that it’s because people moved there from the Eastern Cape…really???

So, this post is becoming a little too long, so I’ve decided to make it a 2-part-post.

This is a follow-up on the post I wrote last week concerning the DASO poster.

One of the comments I read on twitter after the poster became twitter-famous, was something along the lines of “the DA has lost the plot. the fight against racism is not about who you can or can’t date but about equality” – can’t remember who it was by.

Which is the truth. Mandela et al didn’t fight and spend time in prison for interracial dating. They did it so that I’m not forced to live in Kasi because I’m black, so that I can choose the career I want, I can go to the university I want to, I can get that job ahead of others if I’m the most qualified…so that I have the choice to live the life I want to…or at least that I have the opportunity to strive for that life.

Get rid of shacks and give people proper housing, get employment to a point where BEE is no longer necessary (which I think starts with basic education – get those kasi/rural schools up to scratch), make sure race is no longer a determining factor in where I work, what position I hold in the company, where I live, where my kids go to school, how a person is seen/treated…and that will be good enough for me.

I couldn’t care less if people take a second look when I walk by with my white/asian/coloured/indian/etc boyfriend, as long as I know that at the end of the day my basic needs and those of my loved ones are taken care of.

…by focusing on race.

I can’t speak for everyone of course, but I think that’s my issue with the DASO poster below. Ok, there’s also the fact that they are unnecessarily naked, but…yea.

There was once this TV ad for that train – think it’s called shosholoza meyl – and it had this black chick and this white guy and they met on the train and by the end of the train ride they were…uhm…a little too familiar, if you catch my drift. That ad, in my opinion, said what this poster was trying to say, without actually saying so. It sent the same message without having to say it, and without having the focus be on race. Yes, they were of different racial backgrounds, and yes I noticed the interracial-ness, but that wasn’t the focus. Of course they weren’t advertising interracial dating but a train, so it was a different situation. (wait, am i saying the DA is advertising interracial dating?)

Focusing on someone race can never stamp out racism, I think. At the end of the day, because the poster is ABOUT race, whe you look at the poster you see a BLACK girl and a WHITE guy, not just a couple.

I don’t know how they could have made it better – I’m not in advertising, I’m not a graphic designer – just sharing what I felt/saw concerning the poster.

in our future, interracial dating will be ok.

i read a couple of blogs recently on the issue of diversity and unity in the church. basically, if everyone in your church looks like you, you’re doing something wrong. i agree with that statement for the most part. if everyone in your church is of the same social class, education level, and economic status as you, then you’re doing something wrong. it’s probably not intentional, but…

one time, while my family was still living in North Carolina, we were snowed in in Kinston and couldn’t get to our church in Jacksonville. so then we decided to visit one of the churches in Kinston. upon arriving there we noticed that all the cars in the parking lot, excluding ours, were very nice cars – mercedes, bm’s, etc. then we went inside and everyone was so very dressed up. everyone looked so nice and clean and smiling and white. and we just felt like we didn’t belong in this church. and just to clarify, it was not a race thing – we were the only black family in our Jacksonville church as well. it was just that, we felt different, not good enough to be in this pristine church. i’m sure that the people in that church didn’t mean to make us feel that way, but we did. so maybe churches should take a closer look at the message they send out to newcomers.

the one part of it i don’t always agree with is the race thing. martin luther king jr once said “It is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is 11 o’clock on Sunday morning…,”…i’m not sure i agree with him on that one. don’t get me wrong, i’m DEFINITELY NOT saying we should have different churches/services based on race. but from my observations, there are very clear and distinct differences between white and black churches.

when we were in reno, we attended a 95% white church. there was this other black church that our church had “partnered” with even though they were baptist and we were nazarene. they had their own church and we had ours, and then once in a while, when they had something big happening at their church (like a revival week, or some kind of special service) we’d cancel our service and join them. and vice versa. so we had our separate churches, but we were still united as the Church. i think that strategy works better than churches actively trying to recruit (is that the right word?) members of different races.

from personal experience, i tend to prefer the music in black churches and the preaching in white churches. they are very different. and i’m sorry, but a white church singing an african song doesn’t sound quite the same as when a black church does. each one has their strong points. each one caters to a different…culture. for instance, in stellenbosch, most churches preach in afrikaans and english. in kayamandi, they preach in xhosa. i don’t expect a bunch of white people to start attending church in kayamandi where they are not going to understand anything, and i don’t expect a bunch of xhosas from kayamandi to come to stellies for an english service when they don’t understand english. each of those churches are serving the community they are in.

this post might totally make me sound racist, but that is not my intention. i’m not advocating segregation, i think churches should welcome any and everyone who walks through their doors. i’m just saying that maybe churches which are separated by cultural differences are ok as long as they can work together as The Church.

don’t know if any of this makes sense, but i was just thinking about it and thought, as scattered and unclear as they are, i should write my thoughts down.

i think i’m gonna think more on this subject. would be cool if you could leave me your thoughts on it.

part 1 can be found here

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ok, so the 1994 elections happened…and there was calm and peace…who knew – none of the tension and violence people expected. anyway, halfway through 1995 until halfway through 2001 i lived in the US. in my elementary school there were 3 black students…seriously, in the whole school, there were 3 of us: me, my sister, and another girl in my class. then in middle school i was the only black students in ALL my classes. there were other black students in the school, i just was not in classes with any of them. needless to say, around that time most of my friends were white. and therefore i learned to see past colour, forgot about race, etc. and judge people by who they were – personalities and such.

end of 9th grade we moved to north carolina – one of the southern states…eek. this school was more racially mixed – i think cos it was the only high school in the town so you didn’t have a choice of where to send your kids. however the races didn’t really mix outside of class. even at lunch or whatever, the blacks sat with the blacks, the whites with the whites, and the handful of hispanics sat together. i really didn’t like that. fortunately, i found a group of like-minded people who also felt the same way. and so our table at lunch was pretty mixed.

so yea, race didn’t really affect me personally all that much…until i came back to south africa. the school i went to in grade 12 was the total opposite of the elementary school in the states – there were 3 white kids in the school. and being back here, i felt black…i don’t know how to explain it. like, you were forced to acknowledge your race and pick sides or something. like you have your place, that’s where you belong, stay there. i was seriously surprised to see that after all those years, race seemed to matter even more. whites were afraid of blacks taking over their jobs, homes, etc and blacks were still so mentally enslaved that they were tightly holding on to racism. even now i still see it. i know soooo many black people who still believe that white people are better…and that’s why apartheid worked, i think. the laws were created to convince black people that they were inferior and so when blacks people felt inferior they were willing to do whatever it is that the “superior” people in power wanted them too. and that manifests itself in black people being racist among each other still. for instance, sometimes you go into a restaurant and the black people would treat the white patrons better than the black patrons because in their minds the white people deserve more or something. i really don’t get it.

oh, and of course there’s the whole me being a coconut thing. people have always called me a coconut, even before i knew what they meant by it. so because i listen to a certain type of music and dress a certain way and live in a certain neighbourhood people think i hate my own race…but i don’t – i love being black (whatever that means), i couldn’t picture myself being any other race. i just choose to not let my race dictate who i am and what i like. i like what i like, and i really can’t help that.

anyway, the reason i wrote these posts is to try to explain why i don’t understand racism. i’ve never been in a position where i’ve disliked a whole race of people, and so i really don’t understand the people who do. i don’t understand how you could dislike a person because they have different physical features from you. i mean, isn’t the inside that counts.

yesterday was freedom day – the commemoration of the day the first democratic elections were held in south affrica. so it got me thinking about that day, and what i remember about the events that led up to it. so here goes…

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i was about 10 yrs old when i first found out about apartheid. never mind that i was born in 1984 in south africa and had been surrounded by apartheid all my life up to that point, the concept of racism was totally foreign to me. i have been called naive in the past, but i don’t think that had anything to do with it then. i think it was mostly due to the fact that i was brought up in thaba nchu, which was then part of a bantustan called Bophuthatswana (which i think is translated into ‘the gathering of the tswanas’…i think).

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A bantustan (also known as black African homeland or simply homeland) was a territory set aside for black inhabitants of South Africa and South West Africa (now Namibia), as part of the policy of apartheid. Ten bantustans were established in South Africa, and ten in neighbouring South-West Africa (then under South African administration), for the purpose of concentrating the members of designated ethnic groups, thus making each of those territories ethnically homogeneous as the basis for creating “autonomous” nation states for South Africa’s different black ethnic groups.
The term was first used in the late 1940s, and was coined from ‘Bantu’ (meaning ‘people’ in some of the Bantu languages) and ‘-stan’ (a suffix meaning ‘land of’ in Persian). It was regarded as a disparaging term by some critics of the apartheid-era government’s ‘homelands’ (from Afrikaans tuisland). The word ‘bantustan’, today, is often used in a pejorative sense when describing a region that lacks any real legitimacy, consists of several unconnected enclaves, and/or emerges from national or international gerrymandering.
Some of the bantustans received independence. In South Africa, Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda, and Ciskei (the so-called TBVC states) were declared independent, while others (like KwaZulu, Lebowa, and QwaQwa), received partial autonomy, but were never granted independence.

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so basically i was surrounded by all black people. i knew very few white people up to that point – about 3 teachers and the pricipal at school, my drama/dance/gymnastics/swimming/music instructors at the cultural center i went to afterschool, my doctor, and the local butcher who also spoke fluent tswana/sotho. that was all the interaction i had with whites. and in a town that small, there really wasn’t any room for racism…cos really, there wasn’t enough space to have separate things for whites and blacks.

anyway, in 1994 i had an irish teacher named mrs walker. around march of that year (if i remember correctly) she got married and left teaching cos she and her husband decided to move back to ireland or something. we then got a new teacher who came from johannesburg, where all the action was. that was how we learnt about apartheid. imagine that scene from the movie “Sarafina” where the teacher is teaching stuff that’s not in the syllabus and the police are keeping an eye on her and blah blah blah…that was us, except in this case it wasn’t the police keeping an eye out, it was the other teachers who thought the new jo’burg teacher was just bringing trouble. and i guess in a sense she was, cos all of a sudden our perfect cosy worlds were shuttered and suddenly we knew things we didn’t need to know. not to mention about a month after she arrived the first democratic elections in south africa were to be held and there was already unease and racial tensions as it were…and people thought she was just making things worse.

so that’s how i learned about apartheid. that was my first encounter with racism. that is my memory of April 27th, 1994 – which we now celebrate as freedom day.

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this post is already kinda long so i think i’ll save the rest for a follow up post.


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