Thursday, 28 February 2008
For the last two weeks I have been watching the news (I rarely watch the news) and the usual has been happening in South Africa; people being killed, power cuts and corruption in politics. What did catch my attention, though, was how much people are blaming stuff on racism. Some kid walked into an informal settlement (inhabited by black people) some time ago and went on a shooting spree. Now there's something on the news about some university video showing white students urinating in the black staff members' food. In the midst of all of this someone made an interesting comment. If a black guy shoots a white guy it's a crime and if a white guy shoots a black guy it's a racially motivated attack. Obviously there are many instances of racism in the country. There are racist people from all races in South Africa. I know this because I have met black people who are racist towards white people or Indian people or coloured people and so on.
Throughout the world there's a perception that Caucasian people are always the racist party in any situation. Asian people, black people, Arab people and so on all seem to have been discriminated against by Caucasians in some way or the other. What I want to focus on, though, is the inferiority complex some black South Africans have. In the South African context I can only comment on the behaviour I notice in black people (as I am black myself). There's a subconscious belief amongst black people that they are inferior to white people. They'll never admit to it but it's there. I always hear black people speaking about other black people "who think they're white" and by "white" they mean the other guy thinks he's better than they are. When a white man makes an offensive comment, that's in no way racist, to a black man it will be interpreted as "black people are stupid" instead of "you are stupid". I find this inferiority complex to be juvenile but it's responsible for many of the issues we face in South Africa. Some black people will not even bother uplifting themselves because they believe that they can't function in a white man's world. Criminals have no qualms about robbing a white person because they think white people are filthy rich and it's in their genes to be rich. So a black guy can kill a white dude and still feel like the victim of some unfair law of the universe when he gets arrested. The dangerous thing is that there are people in power who think like this.
I say look, a whole lot of stuff has been done wrong in the past by all parties concerned. We are in the present now and we can either move forward and let go of ridiculous beliefs or have a reversal of apartheid where the black government is the tyrant. We can all go in 100-year cycles taking turns being the oppressor.