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Nomfundo Makhathini WabeNtungwa
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South Africa, That's Racist!

01 June 2014, 11:12

Over the years I have watched and observed the pain and hurt plastered across the faces of a people uttering these dreadful words -that's racist, even worse when the words are 'he/she is racist'. I have sometimes seen equal pain on the recipients of these labels.

So being a rainbow nation that we are, 11 official languages and all, maybe, just maybe, the big Harvard dictionaries are failing us when it comes to the usage and interpretation of our favourite phrase 'that's racist!'. Perhaps it's time we defined this term for ourselves.

Before you attack me and label me using words like 'racist', 'coconut', 'clever black', 'idiot', 'wimp' , 'arrogant' or whatever, let me qualify my definitions – I am no 'clever black' who claims to speak on behalf of all black people, these are my views and mine alone, if you have better definitions write them in the comments and don't be racist or 'clever black'.

  1. Racist:inconsiderate (adj), this is an adjective used to indicate that you feel your needs or feelings were completely disregarded. In prioritising their needs the culprit completely ruined your chances of getting what you want. If the culprit is black and you are black, say 'that's inconsiderate' in your mother tongue, their mother tongue or some halfway house to get the message across. If they are black and you are white, say that's inconsiderate, no problems so far chances are they understand English. Now if the culprit is white and you are black just say 'that's racist' and prepare for a bigger racial fight at least you'll both forget about the original offence and have a really deep fight about serious racial issues.

  2. Racist:disrespectful (adj), the prick has no idea what respect is. Your mama taught you serious values like respect. Obviously these youngsters have missed this important lesson. They don't respect their elders and leaders. In a cross racial fight disrespectful and racist may be used interchangeably.

  3. Racist: what an a**hole, no need to elaborate here. I have to be honest I only came across the expression 'what an a**hole' in my teens when I started speaking English. Before this, I was aware of many equally graphic and suitable profanities for stinky behaviour. I imagine the late entry of the 'A 'word to my vocabulary reduces the chances of usage to describe the feelings I had long before it's arrival. So similarly to inconsiderate racist will do when my childhood profanities would not be understood.

  4. Racist: see Harvard dictionary for the original meaning.

Synonyms: rude, undermining, condescending, insensitive,mean, unfair

Basically all poor behaviour, tasteless action and misunderstandings, may be described as racist in a cross racial fight.

I hope that in the future we will not need to use our current favourite phrase. Hopefully because there will be no real racist behaviour in society. I believe that in South Africa we still have incidents of real racist behaviour and these are hurtful, however there are many incidents where the term simply means 'you are behaving poorly towards me and we are not in the same race group'.

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