Can I say I’m lavender? Then I don’t have to be labelled white. If you say you’re dusky, you don’t have to be labelled black. Or coloured. Or mixed-breed. Or any other label.
Why do I as a white, 50-something, South African get viewed with suspicion by left-leaning whites when we first meet; by the morally outraged (at everything that is a cause); and by younger blacks of any nationality. Why does my nationality get me labelled and brushed aside like a culprit of no worth whatsoever? Why do I even feel the need to justify myself and say that my children had black friends, and that some of my best friends & mentors were black? That my father was outraged at how blacks were treated? That he shared his outrage with me & was instrumental in me teaching my children to view blacks as no different from anyone else (yes, even though they were maligned and lived in designated areas and we had a black house maid). Why must I be made to feel guilty that I had a (black) housemaid? She happened to be black, because that is what many of the black women wanted, so they could help feed their families. And I needed the help because I suck at housekeeping. I was not trying to reinforce suppression. Why do I always feel compelled to add that very soon she was my best friend and I’m still hurt that we lost touch because of SA’s stupid housing system & lack of postal efficiency. (And that is not a racist remark because I’m white, and those running the postal service are black…it’s a fact.) She was not schooled and could not afford to learn how to use computers at her age, while trying to give her kids the promise of a new future. How sad I was because she was dying of AIDS, infected by a promiscuous, drunk, husband? I was sad, period.
Why is ‘black’ an issue? How sad that a thing like #blacklivesmatter even exists!
We’re all people, for crying out aloud! Why must I prove my anti-racism stance, to blacks and whites, because I’m a white South African. Why must I always answer for the stupid SA government re apartheid that I had no part in, until I could vote against it? Why when I say I’m sick of the political mess and corruption in SA today, am I cast as racist? If it were a ‘white’ gov I would say the same! Why is it that being black is viewed as pitiful and being white is viewed as triumphant & superior? So many whites are that toxic mix of arrogance mixed with ignorance, and so many blacks are racist and suppressive.
God help us if we can’t rise above these things, stand together, build each other up without being viewed with suspicion, and just be human.
Lets all stop viewing each other with suspicion! Black & white. Pink and yellow. Whatever shade inbetween. Can we not all stop feeling so bloody done-in, even if we were. Lets get on with building a humanity that goes forward and stops looking for retribution. Lets stop the desire to control those who are different from us.
I’m not saying we should eradicate the memories, the lost culture, the history, the sad events, the outrageous things done in the name of whatever. Crikey, I could be fedup that my French Huguenot ancestor had to flee France in the early 1700s and that he landed up in SA. But I love South Africa – the land, the people, its fragrances, its sounds, its people -it’s in my blood.
All I’m saying is, lets move forward with what we have and who we are, reaching out to reconcile. Working together to make the world a better place in our circle. Many circles eventually overlap. Change begins with ME. And with parents & grandparents…teaching their kids, from the time they can speak, BY EXAMPLE, that ALL HUMANS HAVE VALUE, are EQUAL.
To the #blacklivesmatter movement, peace. Is there a #guiltyforbeingwhite movement? Peace.
Lets work to stop this.