How racist are you?
Ryland Fisher at Thought Leader comments on the response to his recent comments on black and white racism:
The response to my last blog on black racists proves what I have known for a long time: South Africans are still heavily divided along racial grounds and they find it difficult to have a discussion on the issue without losing their tempers.I have never had so many white people agreeing with what I wrote. And I have never had so many black people disagreeing.
It seems to me that even to ask the question whether black people or white people are more racist is itself racist.
I think there is a quite simple test to see how racist one is. It’s a test to be used on yourself, not on other people.
Just ask yourself how frequently you use terms like “we” and “our people” in such a way that the primary criterion for inclusion or exclusion is race or colour.
Then ask yourself how frequently you use terms like “they” and “these people” is such a way that the primary criterion for exclusion or inclusion in those categories is race or colour.
It you do so several times a day, then you are probably a hard-core racist.
If you do so several times a week, then you are probably a common or garden racist.
If you do so several times a month, you probably have racist tendencies.
If you do so less than once a month, you are probably not a racist.
Of course one of the aims of the apartheid system was to teach us to think like that. The indoctrination can persist for a long time. Apartheid taught that race was the most important thing about us. It determined where we could work, where we could live, where we could go to school, who we could associate with.
It overrode all other human groupings. It had to be “we Whites” (with a capital W) or “we Blacks” (with a capital B), or Coloured or Asians. That was far more important than we chess players, or we soccer fans, or we Methodists, or we farmers.
Everything was built on “own affairs” and “own” was tied to the colour of your skin. Farmers did not have “own affairs”. Urban workers did not have “own affairs”. Methodists or Catholics or Muslims did not have “own affairs”. Skin pigment determined who your “own people” were and what your “own affairs” were. You had no say in what your “own affairs” were. The government told you what your “own” affairs were, and if you didn’t accept that, then you were guilty of “improper interference” or a “communist” or a “race traitor” (volksverraaier).
And if you’ve been indoctrinated with that outlook since you first went to school, then it sometimes needs conscious resistance to overcome it.
So ask yourself those questions, to see which “we” you really think you belong to. Do it once a year or so to see if you are becoming more or less racist as time passes.