Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Tag: racists

White 2

These last few days have, since the discovery of vile racist judge Mabel Jansen’s Facebook rant,  been particularly challenging for those of us who are trying very hard to negotiate this stuff. Twice today I had to physically turn off the radio because I couldn’t listen to first Redi Tlhabi and then John Maytham deal with the tempered voices of white racists who had absolutely no self awareness or even idea that they were that.

And what I am struggling with is the boldness of the declarations of these racists. Somehow, suddenly they are out there, proudly spewing this stuff, as if something has changed, and they are allowed to. Something has definitely shifted, and all those closet racists that were more private and careful, and got themselves into trouble accidentally, and were told off by family members at dinner tables, those racists have become louder, more shameless, more visible. They are all over social media like a cancer. They are on talk shows of every subject, tediously spewing their twisted vision of what needs to happen to whom, and demanding that they should be agreed with by the exhausted and desperate hosts.

It feels like we have tipped over. I had no idea that there were so many of them out there. So, so many that it makes the voices of likeminded friends a piss in the ocean. More than anything I realise how little we have achieved and how unsuccessful any transformation has been. Whites (in the main) are not budging, and worse, don’t see why they should.

And this terrifies me beyond imagining. I don’t know what to do. I am sick and shocked and scared.

Refections on the racism inherent in ‘reasonable’ folk

Nothing could have prepared me for the backlash I received from my last deeply personal post, my account of how had experienced the #ZumaMustFallMarch. For those of you who haven’t seen it and want to, it is the one before this post. Yes, I put it on Facebook and Twitter, and even on Reddit (my worst mistake of them all, since I was testing out that small, white and it turns out, conservative tech community). Nothing could have prepared me for the ‘reasonable argument’ from white people I call my friends.

It is important to spell out here, before I go any further, that I took none of the vitriol, rage, self righteous justification, excuses and rhetoric personally. I did take some of the name calling a little bit personally, but, who wouldn’t cringe, with a certain amount of self acknowledgement, at ‘whining bitch’ and ‘those tears were too much’.

But, after reading time and time again how I must get over my white guilt, and how it wasn’t the white people’s fault that black people didn’t take up the cause, and that it made no difference what colour the marchers were (what? what?) , suddenly I am in very, very deep water, with only a handful of likeminded white allies and white people who understand white privilege and how it differs from white guilt. And, to be perfectly honest, I am shocked. I am shocked to my core, and I am only now beginning to understand the trouble we are in. It is far, far worse than I could have imagined.

See, I understand for the very first time that most white people, even some of my friends and family, not understand at all what apartheid was, what it did, and what the consequences of it were, and are. For the first time I am beginning to see what black people see when they look at whites in general, and it is not a pretty picture at all. I am beginning to understand how it has gone beyond black people trying to explain, and that is probably why they don’t even try. Certainly, when they do there is a backlash as well. I take Siya Khumalo’s fantastic, simple and well penned article How Mainstream Media Unknowingly Helps The #ANC Use #Zuma As Its Racial Jesus as an example. White people got upset, angry and full of words, instead of hearing the article. It seems to me that #ZumaMustFall has given closet racists (remember, you only need to be a teeny, weeny little bit racist, deep in your little soul to be a racist) a wonderful opportunity to regurgitate the “I’m not racist but..” slogan, alongside the “why do you have to bring race into it?” whine. I am done with those apologists, now and forever.

I have no idea what my next step is. I have no idea how to take myself to a place where I can do good, be true and properly helpful. I am naive when I wake up deeply grateful for what I have and how I got it, and at what expense. I am as afraid of losing what little I have as the next person, but I know how relative that ‘little I have’ is. A great example is how much I happily spend on my second loves, my animals. And let me double explain, while you breathe in for the outrage, I am not for a moment suggesting I shouldn’t, I am just giving it all a bit of perspective.

I am nervous. I am panicking about how much listening I am going to have to do (I am much better at talking, and shouting) and how much extra work I am going to have to do to prove I really mean what I say. It is vitally important that the few black people I know and love can trust me. I am going to be gathering like minded people like precious jewels since I am discovering how few there are.

PS. I suddenly realised I wasn’t completely done with this post. I hope you don’t mind this post script. And it is aimed directly at white people. What have you done since the end of apartheid to make things right? What have you actually done?

War and the Swing to Conservatism

What happened? What happened to turn the passionately committed anti-apartheid children and youth that I was part of into fearful, hating racists who want all Arabs dead?

This new flare-up of war between Israel and the Palestinians has once again brought into sharp focus the disease that has swept through Jews in South Africa and many of my old classmates, and I do not understand it one bit.

I went to King David High School in the late 70s and early 80s. Yes, I was always considered to be an outspoken rebel, but my thoughts about apartheid were shared by all of my friends and many more who weren’t. Some of us went on to be even more outspoken, committed and involved in the struggle once we went to ‘varsity. We all knew that apartheid was evil and wrong, and even though we were white and had moments of fear about the future, the fear was never enough to turn us away from what we knew was the absolute truth. I certainly remember thinking how I couldn’t imagine what it was like to be black, disenfranchised, without power, without access and absolutely oppressed. We all did.

And now, these same friends have turned into paranoid, hysterical, ranting racists and Arab haters who believe, from South Africa (FFS), that their people are threatened and that Palestinians; refugees contained in virtual prisons, are what threaten Israel’s existence. How? How did this happen to those people I knew?

I am devastated by this. I know it isn’t everybody. I have friends and family in Israel who are deeply opposed to the war and are desperate (and vocal) protestors for peace. Just like we were in those days. But I am scared and shocked by how few of us there are, and that most of those old friends have turned into the oppressors we feared and hated and fought against.

 

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