Sunday, April 27, 2008

I've Been Had!

Yesterday was somewhat of a reflective day for me. It began achingly with an anonymous comment posted to my ANTar: Racism Makes me Sick post.

The comment described a severe incident that left a mother murdered and the writer severely injured:
"I agree that racism makes me sick, very very sick. It does so almost on a daily basis.

The racist's bullet that shattered against my T12 vertebra also destroyed a section of my lung and diaphragm that has seen me in and out of hospital for three years now with lung aliments and chronic infections being the least of them. But, I'm told I'm "lucky" to be alive and walking. I could have been tortured, raped and burnt with a clothes iron and murdered like my mother was. I was "lucky" that the second bullet that skimmed my head spared me as they thought I was dead."

In the aftermath of Bryan's brutal murder earlier this month, I read these words very carefully and with an intent appreciation for the violent crime that affects us all in South Africa.

I showed the comment to several people here and they were skeptical to say the least. Skeptical because they said the comment is so stereotypically constructed that it lacked a nuanced authenticity.

I could see the stereotypical elements but my concern sought a humane balance despite the typical white-victim mentality that nagged at my consciousness.

My response was careful. And the reply came soon enough with further white-victim elements that made me increasingly weary:
"It would be easier for me, and I guess your readers as well, to understand if I was white.

No Ridwan, I'm not white. The beasts kept reminding us of our race as they destroyed my family and I.

I use the term beast, as I have great difficulty in labelling them robbers, rapists, torturers, animals, "victims of povety" or whatever is more acceptable.

I'm told I must forgive and move on, "for my own good". I am too scared to do this as I see the beast staring back at me from every face in the street and it makes me physically sick.

Your blog is serving a good purpose, but you do us all a disfavour by jumping on every "there must be a white involved" when deep down in your heart you know where the real racism lies."

I responded carefully again but I wondered aloud why the writer, who claimed not to be white, was so interested in defending whites.

Those around me said that it was because s/he was a white racist who was having me on.

I decided to pursue the balance I originally sought by arguing gently that whiteness is responsible for the system of racism in South Africa. I was determined to move the level of analysis from the individual to the system of racism.

This morning I received this comment from someone called "Ryder":
"I do not "know" that there is a "real" racism outside of the system that whiteness created i South Africa."

Oh come on. That is so comfortable to be able to say that. Be honest with yourself if you don't have the balls to admit it here. I cringe at the way my brown brothers and sisters talk about blacks. It it venom of the worst kind. With all your academic grandeur that you spout, you cannot tell me that there is a white in sight when we lay into this verbal black bash. I hear it all around me. Your denial will sentence us to a slow slide into oblivion. You are inherently racist, but I guess you will blame a white or history for this. You forgot to add the Somalis to your list of genocide victims in South Africa. Or doesn't this fit your nice little racism story too well. You are a dying breed. The days of us wallowing in the coloured victim, white agressor, comfort zone are over. Get out there and earn the respect of the world. This is what your “brothers” are doing.

You embarrass me."

Immediately after reading this comment I knew that I was caught in a racist web of deceit and deception. I had been had by a spitefull troll who constructed this unrelated (to the post) discussion of white victimization.

My eyes were wide open as I read words and racist ideas that lay together too closely to be from the hands of different commentators.

All of a sudden I was laughing at me when I remembered that no-one around me refers to themselves as "brown" or will put words like "verbal black bash" together.

"Ryder", and what kind of name is that for a 'coloured' anyway :0), went fishing and I got caught on the cheap.

So let me tell you what I know for a fact. "Ryder" is the author of all three posts above. His/her IP address, which I checked, is exactly the same.

Also, I have spent enough years reading and grading undergraduate and graduate papers (theses) to pick up on writing styles.

Despite the varying tones between the first two comments and the last one, the writing style is the same.

Also, all three comments call on me to be "honest" about the "real" racists while positing the unmentioned, though blatant, assumption that criminals (beasts) are Black.

I want to laugh this off but it is vicious and it recalls the brutal deceptive tactics that was used by apartheid captains to sow disunity among racialized "Others".

This is not the first time that this tactic has been used here or elsewhere in my life.

I should have known immediately. Or I should have, at the very least, listened to the wise council who recognized the racist ruse immediately.

But I did not.

I really wanted to engage in decency and deal honestly with a considered humanity.

But even as I write here I remember that no-one blamed Blacks for Bryan's murder. I have not heard one word about beastial Black faces on the streets that colluded to kill Bryan.

To do so takes a very peculiar mindset that is brought forth from a racist history that characterizes Blacks as unfeeling "beasts" who affront the normality and sanctity of whiteness.

But even though I can hardly hide the fact that crime kills innocent white people in South Africa, I can't just forward the self-serving mythology that whites are systematically victimized in these horrific instances.

Violent crime is an equal-opportunity slayer of innocents. Still, if we must count numbers by race then it must be said that the data indicates that Blacks suffer the vast majority of assaults and murders at the hands of violent criminals.

Furthermore, data on murders show that being white is a significant deterrent to being murdered by a violent Black criminal.

Though most white bigots will want to violently disagree with the data I reference here as has been the case in the past, the truth is that a white man is more likely to commit suicide than to be murdered by a Black person.

Still, I am not making nonsense of those white people who have suffered at the hands of violent crime. How can I be so heartless?

What I am rubbishing here is the whiteness pathology and ploy that wants to construct a relevance to the mythology that whites are systematically oppressed by the ANC-led government and Black citizens.

This is a blatant lie and deserves to be repudiated with corrective disdain.

What the likes of "Ryder" want to front is that South Africa is a mess of racial dysfunction and deviance that is seated in the genetics of Blacks. It is the usual nonsense that places white superiority over the brutal history of whiteness.

It is, therefore, hardly surprising that "Ryder" would want to stoop to reference what s/he calls a "genocide" against Somalis in South Africa.

This is another blatant lie that is drawn from real xenophobic attacks that have been directed at other Africans who live here.

"Ryder" is hardly concerned with the well-being of anyone outside of whiteness.

Still, "Ryder" caught me for a moment. But in the grand scheme of struggle what has s/he achieved other than to show-off the pathological duplicity of his/her ilk?

Be sure that I won't allow the ruse to continue. "Ryder" will not be given any more space to sow hatred and apartheid style race-mongering on this blog.

In closing I want to say that "Ryder" has no right to be embarrassed by me. S/he is not part of me or the politics that I represent to claim the honour of being embarrassed by me.

Though I can't speak for white people by any stretch, I expect that there are quite a few of them who are embarassed by the pathetic likes of "Ryder".

Onward!

5 comments:

Tom said...

Though I can't speak for white people by any stretch, I expect that there are quite a few of them who are embarassed by the pathetic likes of "Ryder".

Ridwan,

Yes, I'm embarrassed and disgusted by this person and his deception.

One of the pathological things about this whole whiteness business is exactly that pattern: we've traded on everyone's common humanity, we expect everybody else to show compassion for us. And they do. Then we turn around and abuse it.

Ridwan said...

Tom thank you for saying this here. Your words bring the insight and wisdom to move beyond the racist nonsense that this episode dredged up.

I trust you are well brother.

Peace and struggle,
Ridwan

Dade said...

Very interesting, Ridwan. How odd that this "Ryder" would go to so much effort. And, what did s/he hope to accomplish?

Keep blogging, Ridwan, my friend. You're obviously getting through to people, if someone went to all this effort to try to contradict you.

Keep the faith!

Dade

Ridwan said...

Yeah it is "odd" my brother but most folks of color here will hardly be shaking their heads.

There is a very bitter section of the white community that will not accept the changes that came about after the transition from apartheid in 1994.

We live separated lives like it was still the apartheid days. You will hardly come across large sections of integrated associations or communities.

Like the apartheid days, people mix in the economy and that is where it stays.

I was thinking about this today while I was working out.

Even in the gym group of people hardly interact.

What is different for us is that we can enter places without worrying about apartheid laws.

Still, this is not a country where whites and folks of color mix easily.

And today is Freedom Day, a public holiday to celebrate the transition from apartheid.

Apartheid may be gone, but the legacy it created is firmly in place.

Part of that legacy is people like "Ryder" who are nothing short of desperate.

If their is some hope in this blog incident it is that "Ryder" is living abroad according to his IP address.

Damn shame that another country must suffer his mentality too.

But even as I say this I can hear fair and committed folks here say, "good riddance" ...

I can understand that brother.

Folks who live here should be committed to making South Africa more than the racism that still characterizes us.

And by folks I mean all of us.

Peace Dade,
Ridwan

Ridwan said...

Yeah it is "odd" my brother but most folks of color here will hardly be shaking their heads.

There is a very bitter section of the white community that will not accept the changes that came about after the transition from apartheid in 1994.

We live separated lives like it was still the apartheid days. You will hardly come across large sections of integrated associations or communities.

Like the apartheid days, people mix in the economy and that is where it stays.

I was thinking about this today while I was working out.

Even in the gym racialized groups of people hardly interact.

What is different for us now is that we can enter places without worrying about apartheid laws.

Still, this is not a country where whites and folks of color mix easily.

And today is Freedom Day, a public holiday to celebrate the transition from apartheid.

Apartheid may be gone, but the legacy it created is firmly in place.

Part of that legacy is people like "Ryder" who are nothing short of desperate.

If there is some 'hope' in this blog incident it is that "Ryder" lives outside of South Africa according to his IP address.

But I recognize that it is a damn shame that another country must suffer his racist mentality too.

But even as I say this I can hear fair and committed folks here say, "good riddance" ...

I can understand that brother.

Folks who live here should be committed to making South Africa more than the racism that still characterizes us.

And by folks I mean all of us.

But you should know that folks of color are still waiting patiently for the majority of whites to join in building a more fair country.

Peace Dade,
Ridwan