David Moseley

Whites! You must save South Africa!

2012-09-18 09:26

David Moseley

I like the Daily Maverick. I particularly enjoy the thoughtful pieces of Simon Allison and Khadija Patel. Ivo Vegter is a hoot too, but it takes me half a day to read his stuff because I need to refer to the thesaurus every second word.

I go to their site for reasoned, intelligent and fact-based opinion. Not drivel. If I want that I’ll read my own back catalogue. But yesterday I got drivel, in the form of an advertising guru ranting on about whites not doing enough (this time the English-speaking whites) to help the beloved country.

Here’s the thing, Justin. If you’re going to waffle on for nearly 2000 words on the evils of English-speaking white apathy, you need to have the courage of your convictions.

Don’t start off your column by attempting to justify what’s about to come. Don’t declare up front that you’re, “not given to generalisations”, only to promptly pen a missive which is exactly that. Herschelle Gibbs once told me, “if you’re going to flash, flash hard.” In true Gibbs style, that means don’t hold anything back. Go for it, man. Go for it.

Say what you feel

Don’t write: “So when I refer to white English-speaking South Africans, for instance, I refer to them as a collective - which is, by definition, a generalisation, and therefore unfair. I admit upfront that my accusations are far from universal,” only to go on a tirade about the terrible Afrikaner who wanted you to join the army or the lunacy of Dan Roodt when your proposed subject matter is the white English-speaking South Africa (of whom you eventually only dedicate a small paragraph to, before reverting to pointing the finger at the entire white population of South Africa).

Go hard, man. Say what you really feel, because making excuses before you start leaves me to conclude that you don’t really know what you’re talking about.

Now Justin, here’s the real problem. Opinions like yours help no one. I understand that you work in the advertising industry and (generalisation alert!) therefore believe that your talent and opinion is of great importance to the world. But quite frankly, I wouldn’t trust the thoughts of a (generalisation alert!) modern snake-oil salesman further than I could throw him.

Further, I’m worried that you’ve confused twitter users with white English-speakers, and that a blow-out on a social networking platform based on the misinformed opinion of a blogger - gasp (generalisation alert!)  a blogger! They know nothing, Justin - has driven you to call on whites to “Learn some more skills, work that much harder, or go to the big school of entrepreneurism and take the hard road”.

Here’s where it gets real, Justin, so pay attention. Your peddling the myth that (generalisation alert!) all whites (because by now in your column you’ve dropped the ‘English’ part) sit around the stoep on sunny afternoons drinking G&Ts while ordering the natives to slice more cucumber is as dangerous as anything young Juju gets up to.

Causing a kerfuffle

Why, when you’re in a position to enlighten people and shape opinion, would you fall back to the easy target of white entitlement? You use some wonderful clichés, Justin (a personal favourite, “grotesque imbalance of access to the corridors of wealth creation”), but what does it all mean?

You’re obviously a bright kid, but you’ve picked the easy way of causing a kerfuffle, without giving your readers a real answer. Your wishy-washy summarising that, “If you’re a white parent of the produce of the new South Africa, then instead of griping along with them, you have a responsibility to instil a healthy respect for their good fortune.” Teach your kids, you go on to say, “(that) access to resources isn’t a god-given right, but a very lucky place to find oneself, for which they should show their gratitude by applying themselves to ways and means of improving the competitiveness of our economy though job creation, skills transfer, entrepreneurism and good old fashioned hard work.”

I dare say most parents instil these values into their children. Hard work is the universal key to success, Justin, not just for whites.

In a way, I understand that you’re really just disappointed in your fellow white man. I asked the same question when the twitter fell for that blogger’s mistaken and foolish bravado – “are we really that shallow?” Well, yes (generalisation alert!) some whiteys definitely are. Are we ALL that way inclined? No, Justin, we’re not. And this is where you let yourself down, brother. (See, I too have Celtic origins).

“Why white English speaking South Africans are failing our country,” is your claim. But are we? Are we really? This is the kind of piece where I’d like to see some facts, not just some “broad-based” opinion from an ad man who probably spends his weekends (generalisation alert!) with his nose stuck to the backseat of his Audi (generalisation alert! Come on, you drive an Audi. I know you do?), sniffing away the family fortune. (Okay, low blow. I know. But generalisations are like that, aren’t they?).

The problem with this country

What about wealthy black South Africans, Justin, are they not failing the country too? What about wealthy Indian South Africans, or prominent coloured South Africans? I notice that no one picks on them. Whitey is an easy target. So you nail them. But no one else.

And that’s the problem with this country, Justin. Breaking it down, over and over into colour. Any South African who still sees things in black and white is failing the country. Any South African who is apathetic is failing the country. Not just Whitey. Any South African who doesn’t understand that we are all in this together, that the future of the country depends on us putting aside our petty differences, and refraining from lop-sided opinion such as yours, is failing the country. Any South African who deals in generalisations, justified or not, is failing the country.

I live by your one line of advice, Justin. I left corporate South Africa. I work hard. I walk your line of “big school of entrepreneurism”. So I guess that entitles me (generalisation alert!) to say you’re full of hot air, and that by producing columns like the one you did, which only serves to divide people further, you are failing the country.

- Follow @david_moseley on Twitter.

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