Inconvenient truth for the rainbow nation

2016-09-04 09:44
Gugulethu Mhlungu

Gugulethu Mhlungu

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Why are we so committed to misunderstanding the genuine concerns raised by the marginalised in this country?

What is it about our discourse that is unable to deal with nuance?

Especially since South Africa is full of it – this is not a country of simple problems.

By not considering the nuance in issues, we have allowed discrimination to continue unchallenged.

For years, many codes of conduct have simply been normalised forms of direct or indirect discrimination, because many of us don’t know our rights, and also because so much discriminatory and racist behaviour is really the status quo (and thus masquerades as “normal” behaviour).

Many of us, black people included, have even internalised the idea that discrimination and attacks on our dignity are the “price” we must pay for integration, when this is simply not true and shifts the blame on to the very victims of racist discrimination.

And when the status quo is challenged, as we’ve seen young people try to do this week, we see massive backlash and attempts to diminish or confuse the issues.

Perhaps making complex issues seem “simple” is the point of dominant discourse.

Whatever the reason, it is deeply exasperating.

It was exasperating seeing the numerous issues of access, institutionalised racism, transphobia and sexism at the core of #FeesMustFall and #RhodesMustFall movements become simply a matter of free education (and even then still be misunderstood).

And even if it were simply “just about hair”, it is also true that words such as ‘neat’ and ‘tidy’ – that cannot accommodate the most common hair type in this country – are inextricably linked to a long and still present history of anti-blackness, which also manifests in others ways, such as banning mother tongue in schools and workplaces, and even making speaking one’s mother tongue a punishable offence, like policing the movement and gathering of black bodies, including black children.

Attempting to “simplify” the complicated, violent and hurtful experiences of being black, because it is inconvenient for the kumbaya rainbow nation, is itself an act of violence towards so many South Africans who still cannot fully enjoy the rights that are theirs.

Follow me on Twitter @GugsM

Read more on:    discrimination

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham

Here are just ten of our favourite plus-sized models:

 
 

You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
How to open a beer bottle without an opener
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.