Friday, May 09, 2008

Leftover Whiteness in South Africa

Max du Preez is an outspoken Afrikaner columnist who has spent a large part of his professional and personal life as a critic of apartheid and the apartheid mindset that still persists 14 years after Mandela proclaimed "us" free in South Africa.

From time to time Du Preez gets his analytical teeth into the shortcomings of the African National Congress led government but he is at his best when he takes on white bigots and naysayers who think that white South Africa was the right South Africa.

A few days ago he wrote a column that had him confessing that he and all whites, even those born after apartheid, benefitted from that horrible system of white abuse and privilege.

Du Preez knew that many whites would come out of the denialist woodwork and protest by claiming that Blacks practice reverse racism via Affirmative Action and, of course, crime, among other spurious laments.

You can read the Du Preez's column here and please do venture down and see some of the comments.

While we think through the structural weight that apartheid has bequeathed it may be helpful to look at employment and earnings data among the races.

Economist, Mike Schüssler, has just completed a report that sheds some important light in this regard. He comments:

"The white population group had the highest income which is about 450% more than black income and 400% more than coloured income.

Indian people earned 70% of what white people did."

Schüssler also says that white workers earn 5.5 times more than black workers.

The point here is not to deny that Blacks, coloureds, and Indians, are not making advances in employment and earning power. They are, and Schüssler's report shows this movement.

His report also references a growing number of whites who are becoming poorer.

The point is to contest the prejudicial argument among many whites that Blacks are the new high earners and that white life is characterized by a backward slide in terms of wealth and access to wealth and its structures.

The truth is that the vast majority of people in South Africa who are poor, and destitute in all life-indices terms, are exactly the same people who were so created and sustained under apartheid.

I also fully expect that if we weighed in data on unemployment, and underemployment, Blacks would be the most affected, and grossly so.

Nothing has changed in these terms. The economy may have aspects that illustrate the penetration of a Black economic and political elite but that hardly detracts from the truth that 14 years on we are the same country that apartheid created.

What is also the same is the fact that most white South Africans are hardly ready to recognize the brutality that apartheid created to ensure that white life was the right life under apartheid.

It is for these reasons that I am not impressed or intimidated by white South Africans who scream and shout about their new found oppression 14 years after Mandela let them get away with their inhumane deeds.

I am also not impressed by whites who tell me they never voted for the apartheid government or that they were just children when apartheid 'ended' in 1994.

Apartheid is not over and neither are the racial disparities that it created.

Du Preez is too quick to point out that he hears this argument only from uppity Blacks and not poor Blacks.

This is patronizing to say the least.

My suggestion to Du Preez, whom I respect, as well as the apartheid trolls who keep sending racist comments to this blog, is to engage our post-apatheid condition with nuance and not to speak on behalf of Black, coloureds, and Indians in South Africa.

I don't expect that too many whites will see sense in my point. For most, it is more comforting to see themselves victimized by an irrational Black onslaught.

For this reason, I expect that many whites will want to call me a racist and a hate monger (again) for pointing out that they mostly live in the lap of luxury in Black South Africa.

I am used to this kind of abusive nonsense. There has not been a day in my entire life when I have not had to deal with the weight of whiteness.

I am, therefore, very aware that most whites find it easier to deny their historical and structural relationship to apartheid, still.



Anonymous said...

Dear Ridwan

I understand your frustration. You have devoted your life to portraying the White race as spawn of Satan and yourself belonging to an elite, invite-only, group of perpetual victims of this Satanic hoard.

It must be terrible, when at every turn, you are faced with the evidence of the wonderful achievements of these racists that you constantly lash out at.

It must fill you with envy. You well know that nothing you have done equals or exceeds such achievements. This envy has led to anger and hatred. You cannot stand these reminders of achievement and excellence that continuously surround you. Even the minuscule transistors displaying this message to you on your monitor and the internet that will later carry your venom filled racist responses were brought to you courtesy of these very "racists" that you so enthusiastically attack as a collective group.

No amount of "academia" or well rehearsed, decades old retorts will dull this ache inside you, that has now led you to clasify the spawn of Satan's spawn as "apartheid" demons.

I can only imagine what it must be like having to spin this convoluted logic that blames the world, or some ethnic minority, or their children, or whomever, for this dismal failure to achieve.

Imagine, in the 21st century, having to define your identity by hunting the globe for some crack in the White race to shove your frustration and rotting hatred into, to be noticed.

I challenge you to point that magnifying glass of yours at your mirror, even if you do so very quietly without telling the world. I guess you have already confronted the mirror god of envy that rules you and lost.

Ridwan said...

Anonymous I feel no such remorse. You make me laugh with your shallow responses here.

Over the last few weeks you have reappeared here in many guises.

You are a pathetic troll who cannot be known so you write racist nonsense to keep your delusions relevant.

Nice try on the episode a few weeks ago where you claimed to be a victim of Black racist violence in SA, and then a "non-white", and in the last two days you tried some pathetic analysis of radicalism and the people who appear on the right of my blog.

If you are so superior what you doing trolling my blog and putting so much effort into keeping yourself hidden?

What is your racist being ashamed of inside of all that superiority?

All that genocide and racist hatred that is your identity.

You may want to delude yourself that you hold all the civilizational and other cards of superiority, but your actions here betray you.

I am known and hardly hidden here and I do not spend my time collectively demonizing white people.

It is more complex than that, but how would you know?

You can hardly engage any of the discussion here.

Your superiority complex has relegated you to playing deviant games on a blog dedicated to human rights issues.

In a sense you exist here to prove that racists like you are an ongoing cancer.

You should be ashamed of the games you play here and the lengths you will go to for no other reason than to be noticed.

You are a dirty coward and not worth the space here.

I am indeed very sad this morning to think that you and your racist kind exist inside of humanity.


ps. It is so tiresome that race cowards like this never voice their race hatred in public?

alleman said...

Having read Max's piece I cannot agree that he is speaking 'on behalf of' wealthy blacks. He is criticising them directly, and you seem to be saying a white person may not be doing that.
I would have thought you might agree with his criticism, as the wealthy in SA (all races), could certainly be more modest with their wealth, especially as a lot of it has not been earned.

Erica said...

Oh, that's easy's because they're afraid. That's what cowards do, they hide from the truth.

Be well!

Ridwan said...

Erica thanks kindly for your comment. I know you feel me on this.

I am so done with the back and forth with anonymous.

And, I have only posted a few of his/her comments.

Peace to you,

Ridwan said...

Alleman thanks for your comment.

I am saying that Du Preez speaks on behalf of Blacks when he says that elite Blacks are the only ones who use the referenced argument about apartheid and apartheid leftovers.

I am not saying that he speaks for Blacks in general.

Nor am I saying that Blacks cannot be critiqued for whatever reason.

But critiquing a position and speaking on behalf of Blacks are two separate positions.

Whites do not have the right to speak on behalf of Blacks.

I know first hand, from inside, that poor and working Black folk point to white excesses in the post-apartheid era.

It is not uncommon.

Du Preez is overstating what he knows on this point and consequently he is speaking on behalf of millions of poor and working Blacks.

That position is patronizing because it assumes that elite Blacks are knowingly and purposively manipulative, and that poor Blacks know more about a 'reality' that is removed from the critique (a version of the enabling the beast doctrine that is developed in academic race discourse).

This is nonsense.

I think if he was more careful he would hear the critique from all economic levels.

Most poor Blacks, coloureds, and Indians know the substance of the post-apartheid reality ... and so do elite Blacks.

I do not agree with everything that Du Preez writes, of course.

But I think he is on point and that he offers a valuable critique of whiteness from the inside.

Best wishes,

Dione said...

Anonymous is a very common and fitting name for people who have problems. Here are some examples:

Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, over eaters Anonymous.... These people at some point, come to admit to themselves that they have a problem.

The point is, Anonymous, YOU have a problem. You are extremely racist, self riotous, confused and ignorant.

Black people living on every continent have been deeply oppressed, and have endured the kind of racism that only another Black person can fully appreciate.

White people especially, but those of other races- other than Black can only come to an appreciation over time, of what this kind of discrimination really means, not a fully comprehensible understanding.

Do yourself a favor, read this blog and or similar sites. They are written by real people, who live their lives within the kind of oppression and discrimination I speak of. This media is considerably less censored. It tells the truth, so listen to it. If this is something you do not want to believe, because you are a racist then do not waste your time telling all of us whom you presume are stupid based upon skin color- all about yourself, and join a new group Racist-JackAss-Ignorant -ANONYMOUS!


Thank you

Ridwan said...

Thank you for your comment Dione. I appreciate your words and the wisdom you are laying down here.

Peace to you,

Ebby said...

I am absolutely LOVING your blog and am going to link it to my various blogs.. I see that you say that what you know is not proving to be enough.. I have a tasty intellectual treat for you.. A SHOW WITH OVER 170 archived shows on the system of Racism (White Supremacy) and how it functions. It is educational and constructive. There are interviews with admitted racists (white supremacists) and dialogue on counter racism and how white supremacy functions in all nine areas of people activity.

YOu can even download the shows and burn them on CD/DVD and share them. The information needs to be widely disseminated so that more victims of white supremacy will be lessed confused and can counter this system to end it.
Check it out; The C.O.W.S. show.

I will be digging through your posts with glee!

Ridwan said...

Thank you kindly Ebby. I will be "digging through" your blogs with "glee" too :0)

I have already started to.

Thanks for the comment.