Koketso Moeti
Koketso Moeti

What are vile white practices? Really?

I was most perplexed to read fellow Thought Leader Sarah Britten’s “What are vile white practices?” written in response to Gillian Schutte’s “Dear White People”.

Let me begin by pointing out that Britten was correct to say Schutte showed no sense of humour in the post. As a person who has actually experienced racism, there is absolutely nothing funny about it and the endless black bashings we regularly come across.

So to answer Britten’s question about what vile white practices are, please find a few here:

— To naively believe that more than 350 years of oppression can be undone in less than two decades and that Nelson Mandela’s election in 1994 magically made what happened prior to then ”okay” or even worse, expect it to be erased from our minds.

— Want us believe the rainbow nation is in fact real, as if 1994 on its own somehow changed what was in people’s hearts prior to that.

— Want us believe that apartheid was merely about slegs vir blankes signs. It is a vile white practice to point out how every place in South Africa is now open to blacks when black people can still not access certain spaces as a direct result of apartheid. You see, apartheid was a system, a system that was deeply entrenched into every facet of everyday life in South Africa. It was not merely about signs.

— To feign shock and disgust, condemning the use of words like k****r yet protect their privilege by entrenching institutionalised racism. It is not enough to rant and rave about the racism happening over there and overlook that which is happening right on your doorstep and even that which you perpetuate.

— Daring to speak about how “we are all humans/South Africans” when race is brought up, as if black people were suddenly humanised in 1994. Weren’t we always humans? And if so, why weren’t we treated as humans then. It smacks too much of a humanity recognised only when it benefits a certain side.

— The sudden case of colour-blindness so many claim to have developed. They seem very eager to ignore that to be colour-blind is to deny very real experiences of racism and even render us unable to address racial problems and inequalities. Apart from that, it seems rather opportunistic to miraculously ignore race when not too long ago many of the same people were (and still are) enjoying the benefits of their race, which came at a high cost to some of us.

— Calling affirmative action (AA) reverse racism when in fact it should shame the white community that we live in a country where the majority of its citizens need AA to ensure they access certain opportunities.

— The naturalisation of whiteness, which makes many white people think “that’s just the way it is” — rendering our history and its role in the present invisible.

The post itself was a vile white practice. It fulfilled what all vile white practices aim to do — trivialise black experience. Considering the topic and context of Schutte’s post, I believe these are but a few of the vile white practices she was alluding to, Ms Britten. She was right to be concerned about the black middle class adopting these practices, because it isn’t about white people — but whiteness. Meaning that even black people who identify with whiteness and white culture contribute to not only perpetuating but also entrenching the oppression experienced because of it. But I do thank you for the post, it proved the need for the likes of Schutte.

Tags: , , , ,

  • Kingsolver’s narrative indictment of colonisation: The Poisonwood Bible
  • The Place of Sara Baartman at UCT
  • Are South Africans really all capitalists at heart?
  • #ScienceMustFall in retrospect: Three lessons to help us move on
    • -Sterling Ferguson

      @Enough Said, that picture was about an American on a TV show with her dog and it has nothing to do with SA. In the US people of all colors have dogs and this is not a vile practice in the US. The debate should be on how to jump start the economy in SA where over fifty percent of the people are unemployed instead of about a white American with her dog. What will happen when Obama’s daughter appears her dog that she keeps in the WH? Speaking of pet ownership, the ancient Egyptians had pets and many of them were buried their pets. This debate shows how far the people in SA are behind by the rest of the world. These people should go up to Alaska and see how the Eskimos love their dogs. By the way, I love your comment you posted about the economy.

    • -Sterling Ferguson

      @Ntozakhona, was that a vile black practice of trading off their people for four hundred years to the Europeans and Arabs? You should be careful what you say because, we all have our shares of evil.

    • -Sterling Ferguson

      @Ntozakhona, the vile black practices of the slave trade was a black African thing and most of them have refused to accept it.

    • -Sterling Ferguson

      @Moeti, when writing about the vile white practices, you shouldn’t forget about the vile black practices of the slave trade that went on for four hundred years. The black Africans traded off their people to the Europeans and Arabs for cheap goods and sent a million of Africans to the new world. Millions of these people died on the voyage shackle to the bottom of a ship for three months without any fresh air or sunlight.

    • cyberdog

      Dear Koketso Moeti,

      You are being completely dishonest.

      “endless black bashing” – Please give me an example of this. I call out bullshit on this.

      “350 years of oppression” You are either completely confused or just a plain liar.

      Apartheid has not been around that long, much shorter in fact. Before that there was very little if any single group organization in South Africa. t mostly consisted of in fighting between all the groups, the boars, the British, and the blacks sided intermittently between those groups.The blacks were no more victims than anyone else, the Afrikaans ere also in concentration camps, and carelessly ignoring that does nothing help your argument. And if you want to talk about oppression then, you have to include the Afrikaners as victims as well, which leaves you in a rather silly predicament. Spewing out racial drivel constantly is not helping the current disastrous situation that South Africa is finding itself in. Why don’t you rather grow up and start writing about finding solutions, instead of engaging in kindergarten tit-for-tat antics.

    • Noob

      Vile white practice # 132: satire

    • Free us from the ANC

      It’s very convenient to ignore the fact that in the early 90’s over 65% of the white tribe instructed the Nats to dismantle the apartheid machine. This was not the action of those who wish to cling to privilage, but rather the action of those who believed that we could be accepted as fellow Africans.

      I still believe in the rainbow nation concept – it is an ideal which is worth aiming at. As long as some portions of the majority group believe that white bashing is an acceptable passtime though, this ideal remains hard to achieve.

      Your sweeping generalisations about ‘whiteness’ are no better than some people’s generalisations about ‘blackness’. Both are silly concepts. There is no such thing as either. Continued finger pointing by either group is not helpful in any way.

      If certain commentators and politicians think that perpetuating this antagonistic attitude towards the (volunterily) politically dispossed minority is going to lead to anything good; then they are mistaken. When a people has nothing left to lose, then they will do what it takes to survive. Please don’t put us in this position. We want nothing more than to participate without being continually insulted. We do not expect to call the shots, but we would like to be able to exist without this ongoing analysis of our ‘whiteness’ – whatever that is.

      I will continue to identify as an African, and not stoop to such retaliatory childishness as analizing anybodys ‘blackness’, ‘brownness’ or any…

    • Tofolux

      @cyberdog, there is a view that some amongst us have been brainwashed muchlike some germans claim that they were brainwashed. Your ignorance and arrogance around our history suggests that this brainwashing had some success. To remedy this I suggest a good dose of reading of South African history. Instead of hurling senseless insults and exposing sheer stupidity, I would urge you humble yourself and succumb to a sensible suggestion.

    • Africa4Africans

      Well put Koketso, pity that our fellow caucasians do not like to hear the truth

    • The Critical Cynic

      Vile practices by human beings towards other human beings of all colours and tribes. Perhaps best just to stop at one adjective – vile.

    • Alistair McMillan

      A very well-written piece, but, even though (or because) I am on the ‘white’ side of the ‘divide’ (hate to use the term because it does exist, as you rightly point out, mainly in people’s minds or hearts). Yes – there are still racists, black AND white. Yes, legislation takes time to filter down to reality, sometimes decades. But I would beg to know which places blacks legally cannot enter simply because they’re black. Sorry – I don’t know of any – except certain people’s private properties, in which case the reverse argument also holds – whites wouldn’t be welcome in certain black people’s private properties. My take on your article is basically that the abolishment of Apartheid hasn’t erased the feeling of being oppressed by whites – even if you are no longer oppressed by whites. Yes again, certain whites hold more wealth and power, simply because it was not forcefully taken from them after the advent of democracy. And if it had, for sure, all of us would have been poorer. What happened to Zim after the forced expatriation of white farmers from farms? (Please be honest.) Food shortages, loss of jobs, wasted land and mass poverty (I am speaking generally). Thanks to the ‘war veterans’. When , oh when, will we acknowledge each other’s genuine feelings, stop pointing fingers, arguing over who did what, who is more guilty than who, and get on with nation-building and just being a good neighbor, whether you come from Transkei or Bloemfontein and are pink, blue,…

    • Momma Cyndi

      Noob #
      ‘Vile white practice # 132: satire”

      Pretty much :-)

    • Tofolux

      @Fufanc, I think that empty warnings and accusations are just that, empty. If I remember how you scampered and begged the ruling party to ”respect” your minority rights, it clearly exposed a certain amount of cowardness amongst some amongst us. The difference between those who have and those who do-not-have is the loss of what you have. You have our land, our towns, our jobs, our homes, our mines etc. You have a mighty lot to lose, so be careful for what you wish.

    • Aidan Prinsloo

      Thanks for this. You know, it’s silly, but many white South Africans live in a rather constant paranoia that other South Africans see the rather stupid things mentioned in Britten’s post as what really characterise whiteness. I think it’s the main reason we are so touchy about the subject. Remember, the real mark of whiteness is blindness to what it really is.

      I hope most people don’t see dog-ownership as a mark of whiteness, at least…

    • http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/koketsomoeti Koketso Moeti

      @Max: To challenge racism without understanding whiteness is futile, as it assumes that racism happens in isolated incidents and is done by a certain kind. It fails to take into consideration at how white culture/identity plays a part in racial oppression that still occurs.

    • http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/koketsomoeti Koketso Moeti

      @Whoever it was who dared tell me that whites are oppressed in current SA, please get your facts straight. Black people make up the majority of crime victims daily (including murder); black people continue to earn less than white people (an average white family makes 6x more than an average black family in SA); who are those without toilets, houses, water and other services. In a country of 52mil, with 79% of those being black- doesn’t let the few blind you to the reality of the majority. The Census 2011 report would be a good place to start with you- right along with household surveys conducted and SAIRR reports.

    • http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/koketsomoeti Koketso Moeti

      @Noob, satire is not a vile white practice- but reducing something of this nature in such a callous way is…

    • http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/koketsomoeti Koketso Moeti

      About my age though, is there an age restriction for acknowledging and calling out what is/was wrong. Does my age mean I should be blinded to the monstrosity that was apartheid. Does it mean that I should ignore the experiences of my mother and granny and many others I loved? Apartheid is a real part of our history and irrespective of age, it’s a history every South Africa should know…

    • Jerome

      @Koketso Moeti

      “To challenge racism without understanding whiteness is futile…”

      Say what?

      The racism of Whites pales into insignificance as compared to:
      The racism of Blacks.
      The racism of the Japanese.
      The racism of any one of the ethnic groupings in China – take your pick.
      The racism of any one of the ethnic groupings in India – take your pick.
      The racism of Jews.
      The racism of Arabs.
      The racism of native Americans.
      The racism of …

      It is only and exclusively when a white person behaves in a way that hints a preference for things white that it becomes a crime?!

      Dream on. It’s an old and sordid bigotry, and its shelf-life has now expired.

    • Stuff

      @Koketso Moeti

      Its very convenient talking about white racism which is on the wane when there is major class conflict in our society about to boil over that are facilitated by the policies of the neo-liberal ANC government and a new black elite since 1994. They are nothing more than a legitimate Mafia.

    • ntozakhona

      Amandla ku leyo ndawo Koketso, bokamoso of South Africa is in safe hands.

    • Noob

      Sorry, Koketso, but I respectfully disagree.

      I don’t belive in sacred cows.

      But I do understand your sensitivity….

    • Nigger

      Afrikaaners are not victims of anything, except senseless sense of self importance which was even legalized by the National Party in 1948 for purpose of dehumanising any human being. The Afrikaaners sense of self importance and the silly view that they are better people in fact started long before the apartheid policy was practice and enforced through laws.
      I personally experienced racism and I know it hurts, and I know Nelson Mandela’s broad smiles and Rainbowism is remarkably utter nonsense. I know his smiles has brought total injustice to a lot of South Africans in that the majority of black South Africans still live in similar conditions as they had/lived during the legalised apartheid. 1980 towards 1990 effectively Afrikaaner leaders were negotiating for the status quo with Nelson at the expense of his people. South Africa is a divided nation and especially a lot of white people (Exceedingly Afrikaaners) are terribly racist-effectively spiting on our faces for excercising mercy over them after 1990. In fact we (the people) should have demanded justice and call for the terms of measure for measure. That’s not done because we sought to progress as human beings despite the barbarity and brutality of white people.
      So Mr/Mrs Cyberdog all I sensed from your post was a terrible stench, one like rotten cabbage.

    • Owen

      Koketso, One should never start an argument with a basic untruth. It makes the rest of your statements useless.

      350 years of oppression – wow … are we talking about the 1652 Van Riebeck’s Cape landing?

      1994 – 1652 = 342 years BUT forget the arithmetic …. What you are saying is that Van Riebeck was way more powerful than Jesus Christ. He set foot in the Cape and some poor sod in the Limpopo Valley was instantly oppressed. Surely you don’t believe that indeginous africans were that weak?

      You over exaggerate and your credibility and cause is lost.

    • Graham

      I am very happy that people can come on here, list all the things you dislike about people in general, and then somehow attach all of them to a specific race group.

      Nice. Whatever helps you all sleep at night…