A non-practising one. Probably best to make that clear right up front.
“You cannot teach a racist to change,” says Rusty Bedsprings on an online forum, “you can only show him that his bigotry holds no power”.
Wrong. You can and it does, big time. This is the whole point: Racism has South Africa by the short and curlies, and unless someone sorts it it’s going to be the ruin of our beloved country. It’s why I’ve joined the presidential race early, along with Nkosazana and Ramaphosa. I’m serious man. You can’t just ignore this stuff away. Or bully it away. Patronisation is a pain in the arse too, and just as fruitless.
I reply to Rusty. “You can teach a racist to put his racism down, same as you can teach an alcoholic to put his drinking down.” I add: “Sober, but still an alcoholic.” Change – get it? And I invite her to join my team.
I have been sober from racism for 9 131 days.
Like Obama I’m running my campaign heavily in the social media. Unlike Obama’s, mine’s not going particularly well. So far. But I’m optimistic things will pick up. My slogans are “Sober TF Up” and “Get Over It”.
Elsewhere JohnanSchoeman03 reaches out to Khanya Mathambo. “I say thank you,” he scribbles, “thank you for being brave enough for airing your thoughts — no matter how misguided I think they are”. Patronising much? Then: “It is easy to break something but infinitely more difficult to fix it.” WTF right? To be fair, I think Johan03 doesn’t “get” what he’s just said. To be fair, unconscious (read: dumbass) racism doesn’t make it any less unwelcome.
I join the thread and ask Johan03 to stretch himself. I think I can teach him to put down his dumbassness if I can just get him to see it first. I ask him to consider it is his thoughts that are misguided. And I invite him also to join my team.
But it’s too much of a reach. He ignores me.
So does Rusty Bedsprings, from earlier. And Rod unfriends me on FB. Rod? Rod Mackenzie. He’s the guy that triggered me into this.
Triggered? Let me take a step back.
A few weeks ago Khanya wrote a piece called “Why I can’t ‘get over’ apartheid”. A few days later Rod responded with “The problem with why I can’t ‘get over’ apartheid”. Khanya’s is golden. Rod’s not so much. Golden because it gives a first-hand account to the white vote of what the black vote is thinking, right here right now.
(At this point I have zero presidential ambition.)
But things begin to change when Khanya references Dr Martin Luther King’s observation of the white moderate’s preference for order over justice. This image of racism tugging at the nation’s pubic hair begins to settle over me. I consider the concomitant black moderate and its preference. And I suspect — for the time being at least — it is for political freedom over economic prosperity, explaining its Zuma-tolerance.
Politically there is an almighty stalemate brewing. One, there’s a tipping point coming and it’s being driven by the black moderate — because its Zuma-tolerance is wearing thin. Two, precisely when it tips (and where things land in its wake) is in the hands of the white moderate — because the black moderate sees through its lingering racism and doesn’t trust it an inch not to bring apartheid back given half the chance. And its Zuma-tolerance will probably hold out until it does.
This tension is the adhesive fortifying the corrupt elite and keeping the country as it is — halfway submerged. Releasing it is the game changer.
It is at this point that I decide to run for president.
Reaching out to the moderates becomes the crux of my campaign, obviously. The sooner the white moderate can sober TF up and completely put down the racism and “get over” apartheid, the sooner the black moderate can put down the mistrust and “get over” apartheid, the sooner the stalemate will be breached, the sooner the tipping point will be reached, the sooner South Africa will right herself.
Recovery is near. It just needs a catalyst. A sober leader. Another statesman. So I’m doing it. Running for president. A sober racist.
And now I will ask the same of you as I did of Johan03 and Rusty and Rod. Can you see how racism and mistrust is destroying our beloved country? Is it clear to you that South Africa absolutely, forever needs to “get over” apartheid? If so, bring your vote and join me now in the race to the Union Buildings.
* Disclaimer: Some of the things written here are true.