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.