Dear DA supporters,
I've read a lot of articles and blog entries about Agang's Ramphele finally and not surprisingly joining ranks with the DA, and all your unsurprising 'non-racial' reactions to this event. I've been meaning to respond to comments individually, but since they are all so monotonous, I decided to write you a letter instead.
Seriously people, is there only one person voting for the DA with multiple fake profiles on the web, or is there a DA clipboard online where you can cut and paste your comments from? What you need to start understanding, dear DA groupies, is that there is more than one opinion in South Africa. As individuals we are all allowed to think differently and be proud of it. We are entitled to add layers to a debate, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Our opinions are shaped based on our experiences, be it cultural, racial (yes we have a racial past, it's a factor!), circumstantial or geographical.
But let's talk about culture and race (and racial experiences). Being a multicultural society predominantly grouped within racial lines, isn't professing colour blindness a very blatant denial of other people's cultures and individual experiences? Because to me, the way most of you talk about both 'colour blindness' and 'the rainbow nation' is a paradox. Why all these whiney comments about focussing on our similarities and ignoring the rest? A rainbow is not only blue, people, a rainbow is diverse! Flamboyantly so! Please tell me what's wrong with embracing our diversity? Why, in your opinion, should we ignore race?
Having voted for the DA in the past, I guess I understand some of the psychology behind this. See, in South Africa, there is a dark side to the rainbow. Literally. Whereas race can be positive if dividing us horizontally, it is currently dividing us vertically. Standing out like a sore eye is inequality in our country, of which the bottom margin is overwhelmingly non-white. Admitting to this would mean admitting that our society is racist. Admitting that you're not at the bottom of this racial abyss would mean admitting that you might also be somewhat racist. Rainbow-ish at the top might be enough to console a DA supporter that his/her colour blindness is justified, but unfortunately this attitude is not doing South Africans still trying to shake off the shackles created by Apartheid any favours.
Back in the day when I was still proud to support the DA, there was this campaign poster of a mixed race couple and the slogan: 'In OUR future, you wouldn't look twice'. I used to love this campaign, because I interpreted it as admitting that racial inequality and bias is something that still exists, and something we need to work at. Only now when googeling to find the exact quote did I realise that 'OUR' is capitalised instead of 'future'. That sort of changes the meaning, and I truly regret not seeing it earlier for the political opportunism that it really was. Because that is the ultimate thing lacking in the DA's collective psyche: 'A willingness to WORK towards a FUTURE where races compliment instead of dominate each other. See DA supporters, even in such a society, race will still exits. It will not eliminate people's racialised pasts, cultures and how it shaped who they have become. Difference is, in this FUTURE people will not JUDGE or be JUDGED by race.
What I find most astounding about many of your members' race denialism, is how they end up verbally abusing people that differ from them, without even noticing. Especially black people pointing out how opportunistic the Zille-Ramphele thing is. Be honest. The DA is regarded by a significant amount of potential voters as a 'white' party. For practically a year your leader has been begging a black woman to join your party. She's even offered to step down should this woman accept. Now with Ramphele finally joining the DA, and being the presidential candidate, you're telling me that the DA doesn't see race? Prominent non-white members in your party are ALSO talking about race, haven't you noticed?
I can't say I care enough about either Ramphele or Zille to comment about the significance this (opportunistic, racialised move) holds for the DA's future, but I do feel it is time that you, the supporters of our official opposition are being called to do some introspection regarding your non-racial views. The DA could get 20% of the vote, meaning 1 million of you. That's 1 million people (non-whites included) telling non-white people to stop thinking along racial lines.
Well, get REAL! Race matters. People talk about it and they WANT to! Many are being held back as a result of their race.Many abuse the power that comes with their race. Many distrust or fear their past oppressors based on their race. Many can spot tokenism and insincerity. Most people look in the mirror thinking, 'I'm black', 'I'm white', 'I'm Indian'! Some are proud of it. That doesn't make you racist. Denying that it exists makes you a racial oppressor though. You want to continue oppressing others in YOUR future?
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