It can be huge fun to talk about things we know nothing about. Play “what if “ games. To give the imagination free reign.
I am sure many of us tried this within the boundaries of the natural sciences and found out to our dismay that we mostly get stumped. We then go back to the drawing board: Find out what we are talking about. Define concepts, laws and processes. Test them.
Lately, there has been a lot to say about the concept of racism. Because this does not fall within the area of natural sciences, it assumes the fuzzy, amorphous, and mercurial character of “political science”. Consequently, the views, perceptions and definitions surrounding this issue are highly subjective and tend to follow the “politically correct” trajectory.
I recently read an article in which the author addresses the issue of racism based on his honest pursuit of understanding, with some loose definitions as a starting point. One must understand though, that the “myth” is merely the author’s own opinion – as the concept of “reverse racism” is an opinion of others. All these things are clouded and covered by the mists of politics and personal opinions. My own opinion on the concept of “reverse racism” is that anyone expressing this as a concept, is by “definition” a racist, as racism is not a relativity. It is absolute.
Which brings us to the definition the author was talking about where “perceived superiority” is the qualifying factor. This concept somehow magically empowers people to believe that black people cannot be racist. Do I detect an element of “perceived superiority” within this very attitude? We can see into your psyche, but you cannot see into ours. But that aside, for now.
So, let us test a few real cases of popularly stamped “racism”:
When she saw all those people littering the beaches, what do you think her thoughts were? Was she disgusted about the actions of the people or did she rant about how superior her own race was? I dare say, if there was a crowd of white youths littering the beaches, she would also have called them monkeys – as they dropped papers and bags and things all around them. But – guess what – the “monkey” thing is a politically designed tool of polarisation (what is a politician without an enemy or a victim?) and therefore it requires so much less effort from anyone to objectively analyse the situation. It is so much easier to revert to the prescribed default.
A respected economist who, through the discipline of his profession applies objective analysis on a daily basis, was crucified by overwhelming subjective opinions when he gave his objective view of certain factors hampering the South African economy. My guess is that, if he criticised anything that had to do with “whiteness”, he would have gained a lot of “likes” and retained his job.
Compare the above with the many documented cases of blacks calling for action against whites – even extermination – as well as the actual torturing and murdering of white people. But this is not racism, they say. Black people doing these things do not see the black race as being superior to the whites. They are merely reacting to the racism of the whites. You must never question this premise – just accept it as fact, if you want to be seen as politically correct.
So all the race based prejudice and discrimination against whites are actually the whites’ own fault. And it does not matter if white people are actually also South Africans.
They may be discriminated against, even when our Constitution guarantees them freedom and equality.
Clearly, under the current “designer definition” of racism, with its selective and subjective one-way qualification of “perceived superiority”, the white race is fair game.
I firmly believe that the elements of intent and effect should also be brought in as a consideration when arriving at a definition of racism – to broaden and to balance. I am not saying that we should completely discard current philosophies, but something like the following should be included :
“Any attempt to discriminate or polarise on the basis of race, with the intention of – or with the effect of – harming, disadvantaging, humiliating, insulting, demonising, persecuting, subjugating or oppressing.”
This article was first published in City Press