A few days ago I read an article entitled “The Woolworths Boycott Brigade” and thought I could not let it go without a response. In a time where large companies such as SAA and Woolworths are actively discriminating against a minority population (white males) and now even career networking websites such as www.ukuduma.com are not accepting membership from white males something has got to give!
Valid academic progress only comes about through scrutiny and peer review. Here is my attempt at reviewing the above-mentioned article:
The author claims she did not answer questions in lecture theatres as a result of “internalised inferiority” . This would imply a lack of self-confidence; something that could be brought about through any number of causes. When I was at university few people answered questions because few wanted to attract attention to themselves and certainly not if they were overweight. I imagine because overweight people are often treated differently because of the way they look. A form of discrimination...?
After reading about good teeth and not having a car I came upon a thought which I would like to share:
White males have it good
The author seems to claim that I, as a white South African male, enjoy certain privileges such as good teeth, a driving license, a trust fund, social networks and, best of all, “the easy navigation of the halls of power” (whatever that may mean). I can assure her my teeth are not that great (dental work is expensive without medical aid), I have a driving licence but no car…a little incongruous, I do not have a trust fund unfortunately and have also never navigated through any “halls of power”. Again, unfortunately.
The author says that to make South Africa successful we have to play the long game and this is something I do agree with. But 18 years is already a life time for some (or life sentence for others) and there are still no signs of improvement.
The long game?
I mean, in 18 years time (or less) when and if she has adult children will she be saying that they have benefited from a good, middle-class upbringing and should therefore receive less opportunities in life than other less fortunate South Africans from a poorer socio-economic background? Will she say that they are now on a level playing field to white South Africans - having good teeth, a driving licence, access to halls of power, a good education, and the confidence of a middle-class upbringing? I doubt it. Most likely she will still propagate AA and say that they still deserve to be considered above white males.
Is it fair?
I put to her the example of two people I may know (names changed to protect privacy), for her comment:
Matthew (18 years of age, born 1994) - Matthew’s parents were both in their late thirties when he was born and worked in the government as they had done throughout their lives. All their friends had too and are now in the same situation. They both don’t have much family left. Both were made redundant 18 years ago and both have battled to make ends meet ever since. Matthew has never been on holiday anywhere, went to a poorly run state school and will probably not go to university (scholarships are hard to come by for white males these days and he never did quite get his maths right). Matthew is already dreading having to look for a job next year. He hopes to start in a garage as a mechanic’s helper where he could possibly get some on-the-job skills to help him through life. He has no hope of ever working in an office and he knows it. Matthew is still working hard at his Maths nevertheless and is also taking an extra science class.
Sipho (18 years old, born 1994): Sipho’s parents both got promoted quickly through the ranks of government from 1994 onwards and now command very large salaries each. Sipho went to an expensive private school, was tutored by an ex university professor (a white male) and his parents are looking to send him to an overseas university in either the UK or the US. Sipho, however, doesn’t want to leave SA as he has already travelled extensively and misses the good SA weather. He is looking to enter the work force straight away to receive an on-the-job qualification through a professional services firm such as PWC or Deloitte SA. He has already had offers from both but can‘t decide where he wants to live. His parents have just bought him a flat in Cape Town.
Please tell me where the fairness is in the above! Who can possibly explain to me why Sipho should be considered for a job above Matthew - assuming they reached a level playing field in terms of their education.
Join me in boycotting SAA, Woolworths and ukuduma.com until they learn!
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