As seen on W24

After 20 years of democracy, racism and bitterness still hurt our country.

“Ebola is yet another curse brought upon us (blacks) by a self-proclaimed “superior” race to try and eliminate us…”
“… The African (black) population threatens their very existence, and that is why they continuously create these devices to try and abolish our race…”

“…Upon realizing that HIV/AIDS and poverty, which both have a black face, were proving to be ineffective, they scurried back to their labs to concoct a more malignant virus. As if the atrocities they’ve caused us in the past were not enough.”

He guzzled his cold beer, a gesture that was at that moment as maddening as Kermit and the ‘It’s none of my business’ fad.

He stared blankly at us, utterly oblivious to the implications of what he’d just said; considering we were joined by a group of white hipsters (the “self-proclaimed superior race” he spoke of).

They seemed just as mortified as we were, understandably so.

We however, were not as surprised by what he said as we were at the fact that one of the discussions we had amongst ourselves was now out in the open; our murky and racist laundry was paraded to be publicly denigrated and pointed at.

I don’t recall the last time I felt that uncomfortable and desperate to conceal my face. At that moment, there became a very blatant racial division between ‘us’ and ‘them’.

It was a division that had existed before we were even born; a division that presented itself again minutes prior to my friend’s drunken rant at that Greenside club when we were denied entry into another venue in the same neighbourhood.

The bouncer’s excuses ranged from “No sneakers and sweatpants allowed”, to “No under-23s”, despite the fact that none of us were under 24 and some of our Caucasian counterparts, who were staring at us from inside the venue, were donning the same Chucks and sweatpants we were being persecuted for.

Perhaps that was why we silently endorsed his rant, regardless of it being misdirected and primarily based on unproven conspiracies.

You see, our beloved democracy excuses his racism because it stems from decades of perpetual prejudices towards his kind at the hands of another race.

It’s given all sorts of labels like black consciousness despite its nonchalance to solidarity. Its intolerance serves as a cloak for its psychological scars; having fallen victim to racial slurs and degradation itself.

But unlike the subtle racism it encounters daily – the pretentious smile from a colleague in the corridor, the condescending remarks it’s expected to swallow like a “good black” ought to (“I’ve never had a problem with you people”, or my personal favourite, “You’re actually quite smart for your kind; your English is very good”) – its intolerance is more forthright.

I turn to our white acquaintances and feel sorry for them. I can’t imagine what it’s like to bear the brunt of something you are inadvertently guilty of. Having to constantly apologise for a Machiavellian legacy you didn’t ask for.

Onique

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