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Dear Black South Africans

01 June 2012, 11:08

This post is a direct response to Dear White South Africans by Thuletho, and something that needs to be said regardless.

First, let me congratulate Thuletho on an articulate piece. I don't agree with your view points, but you put them forward in a manner that was commendable.

Now to the meat and potatoes of this post.

Firstly, the time has come that South Africans need to be South Africans. Not white or black South Africans, just South Africans.

The ad nauseum differentiation between us, and the slavish devotion to 'our culture' whatever it may be is what is causing all the race nonsense in this country in the first place.

Most of us 'white South Africans' don't care that you're black. We don't judge you based on your blackness. We judge you on your behavior, your contributions to society, and your level of intelligence. Or the lack thereof. The same way we judge Piet down the street, and his neighbor Mohammed.

The good news is that all of those things are a choice - unlike colour. Judge us by the same measure, and we will have a free and fair country.

Let's agree to keep the goal posts, behaviourally speaking, the same for everyone?

Next, you bring up many issues from fifty, one hundred, three hundred or more years ago. Slavery, apartheid and colonialism.

Yes. They happened. Yes. They were a very bad thing.

The question is, can your moaning about it, or my feeling bad about it DO anything to change the fact that they happened?

No.

No amount of apologising on my part, and no amount of 'flogging a dead horse' on yours can change anything. There's an old saying about crying about spilled milk, and it applies very well to our situation.

Were your ancestors wronged? Yes. Is it my fault? No.

It is REALLY that simple. You can't blame me for something someone else did, any more than I can blame you for something someone else did. Build a bridge and get over it.

Then there's the issue of culture, and how it affects us in South Africa. You would like to slavishly follow an abstract culture that seems to change daily, based on the context. I'd like to apply the cultural norms that have been adopted by the world.

Whether we like it or not, South Africa is a part of the world, and globally, there's a shift from imposing personal culture on other people, to adopting a global cultural and societal standard that applies to everyone equally.

It's a part of my ancestor's culture to paint themselves blue, take up a sword and disembowel their enemies. It worked well hundreds of years ago, but it's slightly out of place in the modern world.

So, just like I carry those aspects of my culture around internally, and don't inflict them on people who don't share that culture, it's considered polite for everyone else to respond in kind.

Perhaps, instead of making excuses and finding reasons why 'that' painting should not exist, you should consider the underlying meaning. Metaphor is a powerful tool when it comes to social commentary, and as much as you want to label that a white construct, it really is universal.

If we spend ALL our time assigning blame for the past, and demanding reparations, we are never looking forward, and right now, things that happened in the past is not what South Africa should be worrying about. We should all be worrying about the future. Because at the rate things are deteriorating, white, black, and every other shade of South African are going to be in big trouble.

Stop defining yourself by your race. You are not a colour. Neither am I. You are a person, and you have a choice to be a good, or a bad person.

Good people build. Bad people break down. Which are you?

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