I was part of a panel discussion on Facebum last night, on the Im4theArts platform. the title of the discussion was Racism – the culprit that makes the visible invisible. It was a heated and charged conversation. You can watch the whole thing here. https://www.facebook.com/yvette.hardie/videos/10158566989862604
I was surrounded by some of the most extraordinary and powerful women, Firdoze Bulbulia, Veronica King, Sibongile Mngoma, and one man, Thandile Petshwa, and I think we raised some sparks.
The profoundest moments for me were when the panelists were able to burst out with things that sat heavily on their chests. I realise how seldom that happens; that cordiality and politeness are usually adhered to in these ‘conversations’ and this often disguises the raw emotions of anger and pain.
I was not in the mood to let things go today. So not the best day to get into a Facebum comments war.
I have just finished a frustrating and immature ‘conversation’ on a Facebum thread where my friend Ashley Brownlee raised a few uncomfortable points about the Senekal farm murder and the response to it. I was taken on by a white male ‘I don’t see colour’ ist, and ‘murder is murder’ and ‘you don’t know how I grew up’ ist when I suggested that white pain is individualised and black pain is generalised and minimised. This man went from telling me I didn’t know what I was talking about, in his opinion, to whitesplaining, then mansplaining, then telling me to fuck off and have a nice life.
There is nothing more violent and painful than a white man whitesplaining the equality of pain. This is racism waving its supremacist banner from the volks monument. It is rainbowism, get over it, all lives matter and it is brutally triggering and painful.
Apartheid, colonialism, slavery and the genocides and oppression they brought has meant that pain sits differently for victim and perpetrator. White pain is individualised and black pain is generalised. This must be understood, acknowledged and taken into consideration by white people, because skin is advantage and oppressor. Until that happens there can be no demand that black people be empathetic. It’s ridiculous and preposterous. The oppressor needs to move, acknowledge, shift first. And on rural farms there is no movement and there hasn’t been in 27 years.
And a last footnote for the Facebum white peanut gallery. Just because a white person was not personally responsible for Apartheid doesn’t mean they don’t still benefit from being white. All black people are historically disadvantaged and are expected to follow white rules of individualisation to ‘get ahead’. This may not shift in our lifetime, but I hope it does. And the noise of its success will drown out your whining.