Whites with no hearts are ignorant

2012-07-28 10:14

Siyabonga M Tyali reponds to Alistair McKay’s plea to whites to openly confront their own racial demons

Is it possible that the full democracy of ­people of colour (black, coloured, Indian and other) in South Africa is seen as a threat to white dominance, hence the attitudes of some white South Africans?

Admission to the crimes of apartheid should not be seen as some peril to whiteness.

Unfortunately, only a few will ever see a need to reflect and admit to the benefit that has been attained only through skin colour.

Recently I read an amazing piece in this paper by a fellow South African, who captures the attitude so beautifully about the supremacy and dismissiveness of some white people in South Africa.

But my joy was short-lived.

I scrolled down to the comments, where the full-blown racial mudslinging was in full swing.

 The following quotes capture the attitudes and thinking of some people out there:

» “Separate Development was above all an ­attempt to provide black South Africans with an opportunity to their own identity and control over their own forms of government.”

» “Fact is also that blacks had a fair chance developing their own communities and that they were supported in this by the then white government.”

» “It seems black people with their apologetic, self-loathing white friends will ride this victimhood horse for the next thousand years.”

What struck me was the sheer ignorance of how people communicate about these things.

This is the same ignorance that continues to question all forms of nation-building and ­equality programmes attempted since 1994.

Instead of fixing the loopholes in nation-building programmes, they have used every trick, including ridiculing the government, to maintain their privilege.

I asked myself: what kind of people don’t see the structural privilege that has been acquired mostly through the pro-white policies of the time?

The only answer that came to mind was: the kind of people who have big, gaping holes where their hearts should be.

It is rare to encounter people who reflect and talk about the unjustness of some of their ­privilege, especially in the “get-over-you ­victimhood” era.

But those who do, their ­admissions to truth are welcome.

» Tyali is a writer and a Ford Scholar at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He is currently a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University in the US

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