Why Being White and Racist in South Africa is Stupid

Firstly let me say that I think it is stupid to be racist period regardless of one’s race. Racism is by its very nature a way to avoid thinking. It is a way to think in generalizations and stereotypes rather than specifics. The racist, instead of considering an individual’s merits or character, simply judges them according to their own preconceived opinions. In most cases, these opinions are formed not through interaction with people of other races but through lack of meaningful interaction with people of other races. Ignorance is at the heart of racism.

Sadly, I recently heard somebody make a fool of himself by using the word, “kaffer”.

I had engaged in a number of race related arguments with this fellow before, so I knew that the usual arguments of why racism is wrong wouldn’t work on him. I knew I had to appeal to his own self interest.

“The only thing that word does,” I said, “is make the people who we are surrounded by, outnumbered by and outgunned by hate us, or in some cases hate us even more. It makes them think: what are we doing letting these white people stay here?” That is why being a white racist in South Africa is not only immoral and ignorant but stupid. It is the road to self destruction.

Hate creates hate. Our racism towards people of colour fuels their racism towards us. The only difference is that they are in a position to destroy us. To the credit of our black brothers and sisters, they have chosen so far not to do that even after the horrors of apartheid. Sure, there are some people of colour who hate white people but being racist towards them only makes them hate white people even more.

Sure it would be better if people turned away from racism because it is immoral, discriminatory and can lead to oppression and genocide. The darkest chapters in history (slavery, the holocaust, apartheid ect) are those times when racism prevailed. If, however, white some people are unwilling to discard racism for the reasons mentioned above, then they should discard it to because it makes the very things they fear (black domination, land grabs, white genocide ect) more likely.

More than ever South Africans of all races need to communicate, respect each other and work together. If we do that, we will get to know each other and see that there is no us and them only we; that we are all human beings who simply want what is best for ourselves and our families. This is the knowledge which can prove the ignorance of racism, with all its generalizations and stereotypes, false.

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Troydon Wainwright is a philosopher and Reiki Master based in Cape Town. Born with mild cerebral palsy and dyslexia, Toydon learnt to write as a way to overcome the barriers his dyslexia placed in front of him. “I wrote my way out of dyslexia,” said Troydon, “or at least to the point where reading and writing aren’t a problem anymore.” During the day he works as an educational facilitator (someone who helps special needs students cope academically and become more independent). At night he dedicates his time to writing. He has won a Nova award for his short story, The Sangoma’s Storm, and been a feature poet at the Off the Wall poetry readings in Cape Town and at Cape Town Central Library. Three of his poems were also included in the anthology Africa’s Best New Poets. He has also been published in the South African Literary journal, New Contrast. One of his Facebook posts, in which he took a stand against racism, has gone viral (http://www.troydonwainwright.com/when-love-went-viral/).

2 thoughts on “Why Being White and Racist in South Africa is Stupid”

  1. Racism is indeed stupid. The latest from the leader of the red band is the most disturbing of all. The damages following his utmost hatred towards the minority can hardly be undone.

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