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Khomotšo mabelane
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Racism Misunderstood

18 April 2013, 12:01

So a friend of mine and I were walking to the tuck shop to grab a bite, and we were having an argument about Bruno Mars. She was adamant that Bruno is a white man. In fact, despite claiming Bruno Mars is her favorite musician presently, she referred to him as ‘that short white guy’ whose name she can’t remember.  So to settle the argument we decided to ask the white lady helping us what she thinks. And her response was “I’m not racist or anything, but I think he’s mixed”. Then I thought to myself, why would that be racist?

I realised that as much as she’s cautious about coming off as a racist, it just makes her sound even more racist. She was uncomfortable talking race related issues with black people because she did not want to offend them. This reminded me of a few times when a white person would spend a considerable amount of time trying to describe another person. They would describe the clothes the person was wearing and even what jewellery items he was wearing before they mention he was black. They waste time trying to describe a man by his jewellery, time that could have been saved by just saying two words ‘black man’.

This raises the question, do black people make such a big deal out of this racism thing to a point where white people are even cautious about saying words like ’black man’ and ‘mixed’. Or do these particular white people not understand what racism is? I don’t believe not being a racist means you must be colour blind, but acknowledging our differences and talking freely about them. For the so called rainbow nation, we like tip toeing around our diversity instead of embracing it.

A few months back one of my black Facebook friends posted a status about how she saw a black man and a white man having an argument in a supermarket. She was rambling about how racism is not over. When asked if there were any racial slurs thrown around, she said no. In fact, all she saw was a white man and a black man having an argument. She didn't know what the argument was about.

If anything, I believe my Facebook friend is the person who behaved in a racist manner in this situation because she saw two men of different races arguing and her immediate reaction was that it must be a racism issue. Why couldn't it just be two men fighting?

But I agree with her on one thing, racism is not over. But I believe the end of racism is not the day when a white man and a black man no longer fight, but a day when a white man and a black man can fight freely without their fight being perceived as a racial fight. A day when the difference in our skin colours is not the reason we fight.

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