I followed the #CapeTownIsRacist hooha on twitter. I watched it with the usual dismay. Nothing like a sweeping statement to draw the lines between, around and through the general masses and get tail feathers ruffled. And then it got personal, and people started name calling, and dredging up articles that proved their point and rallied to make sure #CapeTownIsAmazing became the toppest trend.
And, I have to say, I got so completely sad; particularly from the most common white response, which was the usual absolute denial and defensiveness. “Cape Town is Not Racist! Eva!” “Not us! You!” “How dare you generalise?” And more, and worse.
This got me thinking. Why would anyone say Cape Town is racist if it wasn’t? What would be the point of that? Surely, it is safe to assume that if someone said it, that was what they felt. And how could any single white Capetonian get all high and mighty and declare it ain’t so? How the hell would they know? Now I am not claiming that it is or isn’t true. I just think that the decent thing to do would be to shut up and listen, take notice and care deeply that a black person would feel that. Then, I would try my hardest not to try and convince the world on twitter that it wasn’t true, but to understand, care and change things. It is our problem, whether it is a perception or an action. And shouting about it being not true doesn’t make it so. I am deeply afraid that the defensive bleating might end up proving the opposite; since that’s what it sounds like. It sounds racist to me.
There is a better way of making friends and influencing people, white Capetonians. Know yourself.