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Black on White: Manufactured Racism

I once again find myself beginning a piece by quoting the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela

“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for, and to see realised. But my Lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die,” Nelson Mandela.

I once again find myself beginning a piece by quoting the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela; and this time I use a quote many marvel at and sadly very few even get what it is all about.

While many marvel at the first phrase, “I have fought against white domination,” it is the words that follow that seem to have a blurred meaning in people’s interpretation. One can only wonder what the former president was referring to in detail.

Throughout the years, South Africa has had to deal with a nationalist rhetoric, and it is something that continues to engulf the minds of many. At first, the country had to go through the terrible torture of a colonial rule, followed by years of an unjust Apartheid government and now while it is most appealing to the majority, South Africa finds itself needing to shake off the animosity which feeds populism based on race.

South Africa finds itself needing to shake off the animosity which feeds populism based on race.

In this week alone, social media and mainstream media went ablaze at the news of the perceived racism at a primary school in North West. I say perceived racism because it is exactly that, perceived. No one can actually prove that the circumstance at which the learners were seated was motivated by racism. There could be a thousand reasons why they were seated the way they were seated, but the world around them chose to believe or perceive racism.

One person screams racism and the rest of us fuel the same rhetoric, without even taking a step back to ask, is it really racism or do we just assume it is? I am confident in saying more often than not, when we see something that we perceive as racism, we manufacture it as racism!

A few years back I wrote on the subject of racism as well, opting for an extreme caption by saying, ‘Racism doesn’t exist, it’s a lie’, in that article I alluded to the face that ‘it is nothing more than a self-inflicted parasite which has been allowed to rule our lives’.

I get it, this is the season to be ‘politically correct’ because all we are looking for is a chance at winning a popularity contests. However, while we do that we should always remember the long term implications of what we do and say.

Over the past two days, the media focused on a perceived racist scenario rather than the number of unplaced students after the first day of school. Now, to slightly contradict myself, this does not in any means say where there is racism we should keep quite; however, we should ask ourselves how does attacking what we perceive to be racist make the world a better place?