A few weeks ago, I posted a picture of myself wearing a shirt that read, “Bless Black People”. The message was in direct response to a message doing the rounds on Facebook. The message, which was also on a t-shirt read, ‘Fuck White People,” and was worn by a black university student. I don’t know how many shares that post got but my “Bless Black People,” post got shared over 4400, times reaching thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people. I got a lot of support for my message along with some hate.
Either way while the post was trending I received over 300 friend request (before I had only had about 180 Facebook friends) from people not only all over South Africa and Africa but all over the world, including people from China, Italy and USA and South America. At least half of my new Facebook friends are black. I even got one friend request from someone in the Middle East, I think. I say I think the Middle East because all of the writing on his page and posts are in Arabic. He seems like a cool guy though. Anyway, the point is that I am now chatting to a lot of people whose races and cultures are different from my own.
Isn’t that the problem with the world, and South Africa in particular? That people of different races, cultures and views don’t interact with each other in any meaningful way? I have learnt a lot from my new Facebook friends. Although I’ve got a long way to go, I feel like I understand my fellow South Africans better. We have spoken about the blight of racism and our dreams for this wonderful country that we live in. Of course, there have been differences of opinion. We have disagreed but always we have listened to what the other person was saying. Racism thrives when people of different races fail to communicate with each other. When I posted my t-shirt post, I hoped it would show people that not all whites are racist and that there is a better way to deal with each other. At the very least I hoped my it would get people of different races talking to each other. I am glad that it has done that albeit in a small way. It is a good beginning.
Speaking of beginnings, this is my first blog entry. In the past, I have posted a lot of my poems and other writings on this website but from now on I will also blog, gulp, once a week. I intend to blog a lot about racism and how to erase it. I also, however, want my blog to address other social issues that effect South Africa and world. Always, though, I want my message to be one that brings people together.