Pedagogy of racism

2016-02-17 06:00

IN Steve Biko’s renowned collection of essays titled I Write What I Like, one of the troubles he notes is that a lot is said so often about us (blacks), but very seldom by us.

This has of course, taken away from us the guts to articulate our problems as black people. We have been made amateurs of our own predicaments. Racism is such a topic less blacks know a thing or two about, and as such, we (blacks) have misguided conjectures.

These conjectures have led to unnecessary deaths. I could think of the Sharpeville Massacre, the women’s march against pass laws, etc. In as much as we like to commemorate those who fought for our civil liberties, all those rights they fought for were nothing more than just a plea for integration. Put differently, we wanted to be welcomed by strangers in our own country of birth.

At international level we observed equally misguided proponents of civil rights, including, but not limited to, Martin Luther King Junior and Malcolm X, and more so locally, Dr Nelson Mandela. All these leaders and their followers misconstrued racism as a social construct not realising its true base, which is economics.

At this point I wish to invoke the services of Dr Anderson, who defends that racism has a very strong economic base. This is where a group of people (whites) competes to accrue so much wealth, resources, power and influence to use it against the other group(s).

For instance, they tell the other group(s) where they can afford to eat, buy property, go to school, etc.

Racism, being a competitive posture between groups, means there can only be one winner. It does not take a rocket scientist to see who the winners are (whites).

This equivocal relationship is sponsored by the white system. The 12 years we (blacks and whites) spend for basic education is a (race) during which a white child is taught and assisted to accumulate wealth, resources and power so that by the time they both finish school, a white child is in a position to enslave and discriminate against a black child (racism).

Conversely, these 12 years of basic education are nothing but a nightmare to a black child. By the time we begin to participate in mainstream commerce, social standing through our small businesses, we are already out of the equation.

Our leaders and/or freedom fighters got the wrong end of the stick.

• Zipho Makhoba, author, political philosopher, social commentator and research consultant, writes in his personal capacity.

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