Saturday, October 02, 2010

The Existential Lifespan of White Victimisation in South Africa

It should hardly come as a surprise to anyone living in South Africa that the myth of a racially reconciled nation is a lot of insidious hogwash.

The truth is that South Africa is a racist cesspool replete with the usual historical aggressors and victims that characterise the binary of racialised oppression.

If you doubt the veracity of my opinion please take a casual gander at what goes for reader commentary underneath articles that are racially contentious, or even just suggestive of race/racism, on sites like News24 or the Times Online.

This morning I began reading an article on News24 knowing that the race commentary to follow would be painful but mostly annoying to read.

The article is entitled "We won't rent to blacks - landlady" and it tells of a black woman who was turned away from renting a cottage because the white landlady claims her white neighbours might object.

The comments that followed describe the general idiocy that is at root in race relations in South Africa but it also captures, again, the manner in which white South Africans posture themselves as race victims in the post-apartheid era.

Here are a few definitive gems to chew on: 
  • Sam (2010/10/01 12:40:16 PM).  Its her property, she may have whoever she wants staying there.  
  • Joe (2010/10/01 12:41:15 PM). Errm. If I apply for a job I get told sorry you cannot get the job because you are not black! How is that any different?   
  • OB1 (2010/10/01 12:57:39 PM). "sorry, we're not going to hire you cos you're white." "Sorry you cannot study medicine at this university cos you're white" "Sorry, you can't play for/coach/manage this sports team cos you're white"  Cry me a river, white ppl are discriminated to every day in every sphere!  Besides black ppl in general (not all) are notoriously bad tenants, I've had personal experience...missed rental payments, they don't look after the place, they make noise, and bring all sorts of hangers on, then you struggle to evict them when the situation becomes intolerable. 
  • vaughn (2010/10/01 01:01:38 PM) Just imagine how whites feel everyday when they are told they cannot get a particualr (sic) job because of the color of their skin. It must feel even worse because that means they cannot even earn money to pay rent with.
What amazes me is the denial at play in these four selections.  And be sure there are many more that illustrate my overall point.

Sixteen years into the post era and many whites have conveniently forgotten that their very place here is stamped by the Affirmative Action of apartheid.

Most whites, it seems, are more comfortable critiquing current Affirmative Action policies than questioning their past and its relationship, in structural terms, to the 'new' country.

If we take a sober look at white life in the post era it is easy to recognize that it is the most privileged of all other so called population groups.

White men are still overrepresented in the employment tables across the board.

White women are an Affirmative Action category in South Africa and their presence in employment tables rivals that of their male counterparts.

So what to make of all this white victimisation then?

To start we must contextualise white victimisation in its arrogance to press a unique place for whites among others in South Africa and beyond.

Inside this complex blacks are inferior and cast as incompetent and out to steal the fruits whites have cultivated anywhere and throughout time.

This delusion is at the base of white identity and serves the purpose of framing whiteness as a survival agenda against the "onslaught" of the bestial black/Other.

Nothing new here.

Apartheid rationalised white privilege and the place of whites in the induced hierarchy of race and, white victimisation is the outgrowth of that thinking and strategy.

White victimisation cannot disappear because the fault-lines of whiteness are permanent in these terms.

In consequence then, whites are victims of whiteness and not any contrived onslaught by the generalised Other be it black, blue or red.

Please do not read beyond my intention here.

Unlike Tom at the University of the Free State, I am not a race denialist.  My aim is not to plea that the category of race be discarded or conveniently blended into politicised multiculturalism.

What to do about race as a concept of rule and identity is a related conversation but not the purpose here.

Race and racism won't just disappear because some good folk among the delusional want to construct a place of grey.

Life is more complicated than that liberal nonsense even though Tom and I may even agree that the concept of race has no relevance in biology.

Still, as it stands now and until that momentous event that will change race conceptualisations, white victimisation is a manner of expressing white superiority if even couched in the doom and gloom of now being oppressed by blacks.

And strikingly, it is here to stay in large part thanks to the non-racial nonsense of St. Mandela and his nationalist hitmen.

What an existential continuum hey?


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