Blacks can be racists

2011-03-19 13:22

I read with utter disdain Andile Mngxitama’s opinion that Blacks can’t be racist (City Press, March 6 2011).

It’s common knowledge that Jimmy Manyi’s controversial interview on kykNET has become a weapon in the arsenal of the Democratic Alliance’s politicking ahead of the municipal elections later this year.

This fact gets advanced by many who claim to be objective on the issue.

This is a false attempt to absolve Manyi and all those who support his utterances, and to divert attention from the real issue.

We must not get lost in the periphery. The real issue here is what Manyi said – not when he said it, where he said it, or even who made it public.

Those who focus on the 2011 elections miss the point.

Manyi’s words were “there is an overconcentration of coloureds in the Western Cape”.

This statement was racist. Some claim it was a gaffe, others claim he was quoted out of context, but this statement reveals a psyche that dares to advance a view to which he subscribes.

A view he would never dare impose on any other racial group in the proverbial rainbow nation.

Would he dare to suggest that there is an overconcentration of Xhosas in the Eastern Cape, or of Zulus in KwaZulu-Natal?

If anyone else had said it, it would have been called racist and it would have been condemned – and rightly so.Manyi’s statement is racist because it shows clear disdain for a group of people defined wrongfully or rightfully as coloured.

Refusing to recognise this as racist means running the risk of committing the same grave error committed by Mngxitama, who argues that racism is solely a practice of white people towards blacks.

Mngxitama errs in blaming “extreme right-wingers” and Solidarity as those responsible for digging up this tape. One can’t help but wonder if Mngxitama would have preferred the tape to stay buried.

Mngxitama, like Paul Ngobeni, criticises Trevor Manuel for gaining the support and praise of the Broederbond for his open letter to Manyi. Floyd Shivambu even went as far as to question who Trevor Manuel represents.

This is laughable.Ngobeni accuses Manuel of “gangster” behaviour, a clear and derogatory association with gangsterism in the Cape Flats.

Manuel in speaking out did so as a recognised senior leader of the governing party and one who ascribes to non-racism – one of the very ideals of the ANC.Mngxitama, in stating that blacks can’t be racist because racism was created by whites to oppress blacks, reveals a very myopic view of racism.Racism has little to do with skin colour.

It has lots to do with a false sense of superiority in relation to other groups.It is absurd to argue that blacks can’t be racist. Blacks can certainly be racist for they now have the power to be racist.

Blacks can be racist because they know the pain of racism.

Blacks can be racist when they believe their freedom is more important than the freedom of others.

This is what former president Nelson Mandela was speaking of when he said: “I fought against white domination and, if need be, I shall fight against black domination.”

Let us move away from the periphery and deal with the core issue.

If the ANC loses the coloured vote, it will do so because it has not fully understood the challenges faced by coloureds in the post-apartheid era.

I thank whomever was responsible for making Manyi’s comments public.

I also thank Manyi for having the audacity to share his deep-seated racist views.

I equally wish to thank Kuli Roberts for having had the nerve to share her stupid views.

And I thank Manuel for finally speaking up in defence of the constitutional franchise for which coloureds equally laid down their lives.

It finally puts the focus where it needs to be – on racism – and proves that blacks can be unequivocally racist.

» Ramalaine is a bishop in the Confirmed World Faith Church and writes in his personal capacity

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