This is one of the most excellent posts I’ve read on the befuddled and confusticated issue of race in our beautiful country.
Champers is a rather fabulous blogger, not only because she drinks lots of bubbles, but also because she devotes a fekkin’ load of her time to HIV/AIDS work. Makes me feel all ikky about my commercial crack whore life.
But onwards. Seriously. I often think about what my South African socalisation has resulted in, in subconscious ways. About how much of what I think is tangled up in the paternalistic liberatism of my parents and the bald fact that I had a lily white childhood. As Champers says;
I do not believe I have to defend myself to anybody else. Bugger that. But I do want to know how my own mind is shaped and how it operates.
And then she turns the spotlight onto something I know guilty of;
The same way that people hold the idea that poverty means lawlessness. Bullshite. I have met and worked with many destitute people who do not turn to crime. Who work their asses off, in principled manners. How more derogatory can you get than saying, “Oh, it’s ok if you steal from me, I understand you have so little”.
You take value and respect away from a person by holding onto such stereotypes. With your interactions occurring though such ideas, so is your learning of the world immediately shadowed and limited. And the longer you try not to recognize that such stereotypes do exist in your head, cause it’s not “PC’ to think that way, so the longer and harder do you hold onto them.
Ha! It makes me think of all the other preconceptions I have that keep me from living a life fully connected to my heartland; townships are dangerous, the poor are uneducated etc. And how hard it is to work out what’s about realism, racism, idealism and what’s just my own internal PC jargon.
I can completely relate when black people say they are still disadvantaged by Apartheid. In some small way, so is every South African. We all struggle still to understand each other through the myriad nuances of many cultures, languages, beliefs and prejudices.
But I do believe, like Champs, that our way forward is to look at ourselves as honestly as we can and to believe that we can change our own futures. That with patience and an open heart we can begin to unravel what it is to be a human. That we can find similarities instead of differences.
Ag. This has been said before. It’ll be debated for another 60, or 600 years. Whether it’s about religion, gender or any of the other contentious little dividers we nit pick over. But it’s good to know we can. And that I’m not the only one who believes we’re only held back by what we believe about ourselves; that we are always able to choose a different future.