A nation built on double standards

2012-11-19 06:08

{a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?lang=en&search_source=search_form&version=llv1&anyorall=all&safesearch=1&searchterm=racism&search_group=#id=102504455&src=5c85b28a77252704bd1c55e213d977cc-1-0"}Nobody is born a racist (Shutterstock.com){/a}

She is the most beautiful woman on the outside, a flawless beauty to those who don’t know her, she gives you glimpses of her beauty and smiles, but when you stop looking on the outside and start analyzing who she is on the inside, you start to realize just how damaged, broken and bitter she is on the inside, this is my South Africa.

A nation with a history of pain, that post-apartheid is still healing from the devastation that it went through, and yet she is incapable of talking about the many things that bother her. She is at war with herself.

My beautiful South Africa, you are torn. A racial divide has you questioning all that you’ve been through, all that you suffered, all that you’ve had to deal with. You question your worth; you question your standing in this world, and you second-guess your ideals.

A South Africa toiling with the fear of the past, strained with the fear that history might repeat itself once more.

Our beautiful nation, our great people separated only by the manner of fear that drives us within.

So it saddens me, that even after years, the core of hatred from one race to another continues to divide the beautiful diverse nation that walks on this soil. A nation built on double standards.

This equality that we bled and cried for, equality in its very essence lost to us as we feed hatred into a malnourished South Africa. As we claim that racism is only racism when committed by certain races. We have no equality because we make no room for equality.

We find ourselves, old and young alike, walking amongst each other and pretending that we’re not racist. We justify our feelings of anger and hatred and yet still expect to progress, from the people in informal settlements to those in the posh suburbs of South Africa, we will always find racism. Racism has no race; racism has no color, yet racism has many voices, racism in itself as a concept has no power till we empower the concept into a reality. We teach our kids not to trust people of other races. We teach our kids that people of other races are outsiders and liken them to barbaric predators. Are we truly equal in your eyes? Are we truly free?

Black people are prejudice towards their own race - whether or not they approve of this statement is up to them, but the "light skin" versus "dark skin" debate is a constant reminder of this. We, my fellow black people, are the very reason why we cannot come together to agree on various, we continuously divide ourselves and expect everyone else to treat us with respect. If we don't respect each other, and treat each other well, without dividing each other based solely on the shade of our skin colour, how can we expect everyone else to? We have other Africans coming to our country, and are quick to label them a "kwere-kwere". I don't hear white people calling other white people from foreign countries "kwere-kwere". Are we not all part of the human race? Why do we continuously allow people to tear each other down with the racial justification? Have we not evolved enough?

Does being prejudice fall into a racism category? Or do we completely pretend that we're not at all racist.

I find myself questioning what racism really is? Is it only racism when a white person “demeans” a black person?

Are black people incapable of being racist?

Or is it a case that black people feel entitled to be angry and thus our justifications of hatred for another race stems deeper than our love for this beautiful nation.

Is it not the anger we have from past injustices that drives us to feed the hate? Is it the memory of our elders' pain that causes us to lash out in a manner so very much resembling the very cause of our elders' pain? Are we truly as justified and righteous in our actions as we believe?

To this day, do we still blame rural areas, unemployment, informal settlements, and crime on apartheid? Do we rectify past imbalances of the past by constantly refreshing our memories of apartheid? Do we build a future for our youth on a foundation of past hatred?

We focus on the negative so much, and walk around under false pretense behaving as though racism doesn’t really exist and thus are shocked when people reveal their true nature.

This country of ours is comparable to an ocean and racism the dangers that lurk there within.. We swim about freely, and forget about the current constantly pulling at our feet, pulling us deeper and further from the safety of the shore.. We swim about and forget about the sharks out there ready to strike at us and tear us apart. We are a great nation but we have forgotten what we cried for. Equality. We are a great nation but we have lost sight of our vision.

December 2011 presented a side of South Africa that many had said didn’t exist; it brought forth the low tolerance of racism amongst South Africans.

I wonder what it must be like to be white in South Africa sometimes, not because I have anything against my race, but because there are so many double standards that occur in South Africa.

Who can ever forget Jessica Leandra’s “k-word” tweet that lead to an uproar with countless people running to the Human Rights Commission filing reports about her tweet; or the infamous statement made by DA leader, Helen Zille about “professional blacks” that had Capetonians defending their city about how not racist Cape Town is.

There was such an uproar of anger and hurt that was brought forth by those two racist statements, but I wondered, was it racist because of what was said, or was it a case of it being racist because it came from white people.

Tshidi Thamana’s response to Jessica Leandra was just as racist as Jessica’s statement, but Tshidi didn’t get the amount of backlash from her tweet as Jessica did.

A few weeks ago, our dear president, Mr Jacob Zuma went and made a statement about “clever blacks”; nobody said anything.

Black people were offended by Zille and Leandra’s statement, but very few said something about the offensive statements made by Thamana and our president.

Just last week on twitter, I saw two young South Africans get into an online debate about the ANC, what I thought was going to be a good healthy debate, turned very nasty very quickly.

I saw a black guy, calling a white guy a “racist k****r”, I then proceeded to retweet the comment and not ONE person said anything.

Instead I found myself staring at a comment that was made “the K word is like n***r, if a black person is like my n***r it’s cool, kodwa umlungu (white person) nah that’s just racist”.


A black person calls a white person a k****r and it’s acceptable, but if a white person calls a black person a k****r, everyone gets upset? Why?

I question the things we accept in South Africa, a lot of what is said is only one sided, which is unfair. I wish we’d stop being afraid to say what’s on our minds, we’re holding each other back by pretending we’re one big happy country when all I’m seeing is a racial divide that continues to cut us deeper.

A colleague of mine made this statement during one of our conversations,

"Nobody is born racist, it is our upbringing that lay the foundation for how we feel about others; and equality? it's exactly the same as B.E.E - it's nonsense that there has to be this law to bring black people into play, especially when the majority it's meant for aren't gaining that much from it - what ever happened to hiring the best person for the job? Why is it that when a company interviews people and is required to use a point system, that as long as a black person or a person considered 'more black' can meet minimum requirements and get hired, and yet those who excel and go beyond the requirements will be out of a job purely because they are not 'black enough?' Where is the equality?

The idea behind B.E.E was to help create equal opportunities for those who were part of the apartheid struggle or for those who did not previously have opportunities, and yet in South Africa it is becoming a reverse type of apartheid.

We have so many laws put into place to help the previously less fortunate, yet government feels we need more to push people further ahead. What about age exemption? South Africa has this amazing rule which has been put into place for those that never had a chance to study further and get a degree, and yet it is not enough? All the opportunities are there, but they are not being taken and often the mentality is that 'we deserve these things' instead of, 'let's work hard to empower ourselves and brighten our futures'. Who do we blame? It's not really the government is it? It is those who taught us, it is our freedom of choice that is to blame - we have the power to affect change as a nation, yet we elect the very government destroying our beautiful country."

I cannot disagree with her opinion, it is hers and she this is based on what she has experienced while living in South Africa, but one thing i have realized is that there is a new generation who are finally coming out and challenging the views and mentally engraved issues of the older generation in South Africa, the very generation that has to ensure that they protect South Africa's great historic past, but at the same time, they too are correct in their thought process. This is the evolution of generations. Something we should stop trying to hinder. Nobody's idea's of their reality is incorrect, we all perceive things differently, we all think differently, we are all very much alike yet different, should we really crucify those whose thought processes do not align with ours if it's their reality?

At some point it needs to stop being about race and start being about the actions of the people committing those acts.

I for one was offended on all accounts of those statements made, but I realize not everyone feel's the way I do.

South Africans choose which parts of history they remember, and use that as a justification instead of analyzing all the content. If you choose to believe that me saying you must "move forward" means I'm telling you to forget then maybe you need to analyze why that is your conclusion. As an ANC legacy baby, I base my opinions on what I'm seeing, you forget that the words quoted in the biased newspapers you so dearly hated are quoted from the men you so dearly defend. It is up to you to decide what information you accept. There's two sides to every story, so don't fail to remember their part in all of this.

Lest we forget, equality for ALL - I thought all meant everyone regardless of race, gender and religious beliefs. Maybe I'm wrong.

Taken from Mamphela Ramphele's book - 'Conversations with my sons and daughter' - "Not even the memories of the inspirational leadership of the iconic Nelson Mandela can hide the growing sense of disappointment that the dream of freedom has yet to be reflected in the everyday lives of the majority of the population. After more than a decade and a half of transition to democracy cracks are showing in the system of governance that threaten the idealism on which the society reinvented itself.

If those are the words uttered by people who were along side the Mandela's, Biko's, Thambo's, Maxeke's, Ngoyi's, Joseph's and Sisulu's of our great nations history, and they question the direction South Africa is heading in, why do you fail to ask yourself why they're questioning South Africa's direction. It's not about race, it's about questioning the actions of the individual, and if one cannot understand that minor concept, then there's nothing I can do to help you.

We’re a nation built on double standards, a nation afraid to talk about things that bother them, yet we expect change. How can you expect change from a nation so divided?

I’m expecting slander with this article, but in the midst of slandering me please remember one thing. No child is born a racist; they are taught that by the people they’re raised by and surrounded by.

Nobody ever changed the world by standing on the sidelines and commenting. Our own history can attest to that. You want change, then get involved and be the change.

We're all one opinion away from changing our opinion. An opinion influenced by what we've seen, but we need to realize one thing; opinion is not fact.

But hey what would I know; I’m nothing but a “ professional clever black”.

You can follow me on twitter: @LeratoMannya


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