There is a good reason why I choose not to follow the news regularly. It’s also the reason I choose to live my life in a bubble. The reason being that nothing ever happens in our country without the racism tag.
Just because it doesn’t affect me directly at the time of writing this, I’m not saying that it doesn’t exist. I do believe that it does. It’s sad (as in pathetic-sad, so we’re clear) that 2 decades into a supposed democracy we still find ways to incorporate it into our daily lives. It just sickens me that everything is centred around colour schemes. In this year alone the major stories that’s grabbed my attention was the Curro and Cecil John Rhodes debacles.
While I do have very strong opinions about the matters, it can’t be based on actual events. I will also go as far as saying that the ‘oppressed’ (those who choose to wear the ‘victim’ accessory) should really think about why many South African citizens support international rugby teams like New Zealand.
Let me explain why I’m using this as example. In the old regime South African sports teams were not allowed to participate in international matches, thus the All Black team was a popular team to support. By the time our Bokke took the world stage, those All Black supporters didn’t automatically make a switch. No sirree. Instead they criticize our ‘boys’ in their green and gold jerseys because by that time the support was passed down to a few generations. Another classic example is in our home. The hubster is a Liverpool fan and my son automatically followed suit. Lo and behold when my 6yo cheered for Manchester United a while back, both the hubster and son told her that she’s cheering for the wrong team. Just like that she became a Liverpool supporter by default. Or like I prefer to say; she’s been indoctrinated and conditioned to support Liverpool. I’m compelled to think that the same goes for racism and many of the people fighting over it now.
My kids are young and impressionable and any misdirection from me can turn them into a hateful generation. They could end up demanding Nelson Mandela’s statue be removed from Parliament one day. I pray they don’t cause such a ruckus, not because of Nelson Mandela, but because I really wouldn’t like them to be part of a self inflicted struggle.
I may be getting this all wrong but I think that we are handling this all wrong. It’s become perfectly acceptable for ‘white’ people to be called ‘boere’ and coloured people to be treated like second rate citizens (not feeling sorry for myself, you’ll note why in a moment) the K-word is heavily frowned upon. You could go to jail for that or worse, beaten to death. FYI I’m a South African citizen and do not feel defined by my skin colour. The only relevance my ethnicity holds to me will be the determining factor when I have the opportunity to change and save someone’s life by donating an organ or bone marrow. Matching is likely to be closer when the ethnicity of both donor and recipient are the same.
What I’d really like to know from those busy with the age old struggle is this:
Does anyone really care about HPV? Riiiight… I’m assuming that while they’re fighting their racist battles they haven’t had time to think about other factors that is influencing our lives. As long as the Ebola virus holds no immediate threat to South Africa they can go on and have their racial disputes.
What about girls who miss plenty of days from school every month because their families can’t afford sanitary towels or they haven’t been educated about menstruation? How many kids won’t be able to get a tertiary education because their parents won’t be able to afford it?
Do they even know that kids of about 8 years old are having consensual sex? YES! EIGHT years old.
What about gangsterism in Cape Town and the drug problems? Many of our youth won’t live to see their 21st birthdays. Don’t even get me started on the drug problem.
These are but a few of the concerns I’ll list but there are so much more we can focus our attention on than discrimination about elite schools and age old statues.
So I’m saying: Take down the damn statue or don’t take it down, I really couldn’t care less. But be quick about it because there are more important things to focus on here SA! Nelson Mandela and some other important people (whose names I don’t even know or remember) fought that fight for years and what you’re trying to do is not something new or original. It’s been done before so chances of anything of that nature going in the history books anytime soon are very slim.
PS: I’d like to emphasize that I’m not downplaying racist acts. It happens. I too have been the victim of racism at the hand of various cultural groups but that hasn’t made me feel any less about myself than I do.
SA please cry a river (over racism), build a bridge and get over it. Let’s be a proactive nation for a change and focus our energy on the positive.