Letters to The Editor: Responses to Tokelo Nhlapo
- Daily Maverick
- South Africa
- 09 Feb 2016 03:21 (South Africa)
An Open Letter from a Pink South African and one other in response to the “F*** white people” t-shirt controversy as well as Tokelo Nhlapo's Daily Maverick column about the issue.
An Open Letter from a Pink South African
When will people learn that rich people don't make poor people poor?
Or has resentment of those who are financially successful become the last resort of those who are not? Let's examine some facts:
I hear people talking about "white capital" as if it were a disease which is impoverishing the masses of South Africa. Well if it is, there are two ways that people can deal with white capital. They can chase it away, or they can lay claim to it.
If they chase it away, they will wake up the next day to find that their lives haven't changed a bit. In fact, for those who are working for white capital, life would be considerably worse, because they would no longer have jobs.
If they lay claim to it, it will be like one of those Coca Cola trucks which spills its entire load on the highway. Suddenly there would be a lot of free Coke available, but there would be far more thirsty people than Coke, and it would soon run out. And once again, the people's lives won't have changed a bit.
The other thing I hear people talking about is "economic freedom". What do they mean? South Africa is already a free economy because everyone in the country has the right to participate freely in the economy. South Africa is a capitalist state, and capitalism is defined as "an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state."
So why call for economic freedom when we are all economically free anyway? Have been for 22 years. Every single person in this country is free to work hard and make money. There are no exceptions. But unfortunately, disparity between the very rich and the very poor is a component of Capitalism
Then the other thing I hear about is "white supremacy". Surely white supremacy died along with apartheid back in 1994? And how can white supremacy possibly exist in a country which has an almost entirely black government, and where white people are only 8.9 percent of the whole population. How can 8,9 percent possibly take supremacy over 91.1 percent? Furthermore, while the black population is exploding, the white population is on the decline. Or do they actually mean "white capital supremacy"? If so, refer to point 1 above.
The way I see it, the time has come to stop blaming whites for everything that is wrong with this country. I will freely concede that there were many wrongs perpetrated by whites in the past, but the past is GONE. And if, after a full 22 years the pain of the past is still felt by some, then I would suggest they are treating this pain with the wrong muti. A muti called white bashing. Because you can stand on the highest mountain and scream obscenities at the white man till the sun goes down. You can steal everything that the white man owns and chase him into the sea, but I promise you, it will not heal your pain.
The only thing that will heal your pain is to look forward, not backwards. Only when you look forward will you realise that your own people now control the country, and you have exactly the same opportunities that ANY white person ever had. You can tell me that your people are not properly educated because of Apartheid, and I will tell you that 22 years covers not only a full cycle of school education, but a full cycle of tertiary education as well. So there has been plenty of time for your people to become educated on equal terms.
I'm a white man who is starting to feel very small in your world. Yet I'm still being called a bully. How can I possibly be a bully when I'm by far the smallest guy in the room? And if you think I have a better bicycle than you, well take it. But that will not solve your problem, because you are acting only out of bitterness and frustration. Which you think I am responsible for. But I'm not. If you are frustrated because you don't have a job, a car or a house, look to your own government, not me. Your government contains very few white people yet it has failed you miserably. Your government now owns most of the farms, but they don't know how to farm it properly yet. Don't blame me for that.
All there is left for me to do is to reach out my pink hands to you and say please, come and stand beside me, stop, breathe deeply, and think.
Am I REALLY the cause of all your problems?
(Ed's note; this letter has been shortened)
I have a huge huge problem with the article called ‘F*** white people’ is an appropriate expression of black pain'. It is inaccurate, biased and so close to defending hate speech.
For example: "It is important to explain what racism is. Racism is the violent process of black people’s subjugation which requires institutional power to continue the subjugating, something black people never had, even post-1994."
Dictionary: “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”
So, believing that you are a morally superior black person and going around saying "F*** white people" and claiming that the same can not be done to you is pretty much racism. Isn't it?
By your columnist's own justification if I was robbed and shot by a black man I should be able to hate all blacks and run around with "F*** all black people" on my T-shirt. No No No I do not judge him on the actions of his race I do not judge him on the actions of his father or forefathers. I judge him on his merits, his actions and his words.
Yes there are problems with inequality, education, social injustices. But he should be tackling these issues. “F*** white people” and the defense of such a statement solves f*** all. I am actually very angry and I realise that this column does nothing but make me not like any race that thinks like that or any people that think like that. It was not constructive or made me think or analyse the situation in anyway. It was just a lot of hate speech. And the defense of hate speech.
Photo by Herbstrose via Flickr.