There’s this phenomenon that I call ‘self-induced stupidity’ and it seems to me to be very pronounced and almost predictable when you discuss socials ills, particularly the racist socialisation of Afrika (mostly South Africa), racist history and reality with many people racialised as white.
You are met with some really odd and profoundly anti-intellectual responses when you discuss these issues with someone invested in the status quo and order of things as they are.
Here are a few counter arguments that such people use to attempt to silence you:
1. I don’t see color
Face palm! They even go on and say something along the lines of, “I don’t care if you’re pink, red, blue or black”. I find this insensitive because there are no pink, red or blue people. And, I reckon it’s a way of refusing to engage with what it means to be black and the parts of that ‘black experience’ that are really uncomfortable for them.
2. It’s not about race
Nothing is ever about race and you should know it by now. Race has profoundly shaped most Afrikans’ lives. Race has been one of the most important ideas in the modern world – It has underpinned centuries of colonialism, slavery, justified genocide, etc.
To refuse to discuss and deal with an idea that has been so impactful reveals a tangible lack of interest in humanity.
3. Stop making excuses
I once asked an old friend of mine, Alexei Fulchernokov, why East London is poorer than West London, and he gave me historical, political and economic reasons why that’s the case.
It seems to me, and it should be obvious to everyone that the ‘stop making excuses’ clause is there to suggest that black people are not permitted to make use of the same tools available to the rest of humanity to understand the shape of their communities today. This is because their skin and supposed inferior culture are sufficient to explain whatever situation they find themselves in. Appalling.
4. You’re obsessed with identity politics
Identity politics is not something new. Can someone explain to me how all politics is not part of ‘identity’ politics? Are not the ‘working class’, ‘Christians,’, Ugandan’, ‘British’ etc not all identities?! How can humans be organised into any group identity have identity-less politics?
5. You’re blaming me for what my ancestors did
Ah well, when the Springbok won the Rugby World Cup I heard many South Africans saying, “We won the World Cup.” People naturally take pride in positive national events they had no direct role in.
People also say things like, “our economy”, yet they seem less willing to associate with the negative and uncomfortable aspects of their history.
6. Stop playing the race card.
This one gets me every damn time. Racism is apparently a card to play. Like the 8 of diamonds, and only non-white people ever play this card. Thinking about it makes me wonder whether the human race is still worth saving anymore.
Well, those are some of my thoughts when it comes to counter arguments regarding race or colour. What are your thoughts on the subject and do you think its time we moved past this play talk and begin to take matters more seriously?
Also read: What is Blackness?
Author: The Broken Native
The Broken Native is a social runner, a budding poet, loves football, and basketball, reading, music (all things Indie and flirts with a bit of Jazz), and Philosophy.
And, er…ahem…he appreciates a glass of cold gin and tonic.