By Rethabile Makoanyane
(video at end of article)
I think this is the best time to share my thoughts on issues such as white supremacy, and politics of kumbaya and ‘lekker vibes’. Oh, but how can I leave out #WhereIsTheLove. I must say from the onset,I don’t go to Stellenbosch University. However, the pain my black brothers and sisters experience at Stellenbosch, I experience it too.
The experiences of black students across all South African universities are deeply painful. The white supremacy which exists in these spaces where we are meant to be acquiring knowledge from, is highly problematic and troubling. Therefore, it is imperative that we dismantle this oppressive and unjust system in order to acquire proper knowledge.
White supremacy works in many ways in which an unconscious mind is unable to realize. Many of us used to believe that white supremacy was a white male with a moustache and a swastika. Little did we know that we were wrong. We had no real knowledge that White supremacy was more than just a man with a moustache and a swastika.
It is only now, when solely gaining my consciousness do I realize that White supremacy is much more effectively harmful as an ideology than it is in it’s physical form. It is the thoughts of white supremacists that hurt more than their actions. Because it is only through those thoughts that white supremacists are able to implement and maintain a system of oppression and subjugation.
White supremacist ideas and systems manifest themselves into the being. A white person is not born with a DNA strand of white supremacy. However, it is only through the whitist social construct that white supremacy is able to bore holes into the susceptible minds of white children.
It is through this social construct that we find white kids, like Nathan Swart, Josh Swart and their #WhereIsTheLove squad, subconsciously encoded with the false belief that they are the champions of humanity, the saviours of racism and sexism. Their father, Steve Swart who is a Member of Parliament for the ACDP, has socialized them to believe that their work to this world immeasurably surpasses that of black people. This is the reason they believe that ‘lekker vibes’ and a Black Eyed Peas song can cure this country from white supremacy and white arrogance.
The white saviour complex is so real, whites don’t even see their own shit. They are caught up in their own delusions of grandiose that they don’t even realize they are the problem.
Funny enough, these #WhereIsTheLove kumbaya singing anti-racism pseudo-activists think that institutionalized racism can be fought by not having uncomfortable conversations about race, or by not recognizing the pain experienced by black students at Stellenbosch. According to them, quoting Luther King and parts of his ‘I have a dream’ speech allows them to negate the lived experiences of black students. Perhaps, they listened to Morgan Freeman too when he said: “The way to get rid of racism is to – Stop talking about it”. I suppose that is why #WhereIsTheLove wants us sing away our problems rather than talk about them. It might sound good, to not talk about racism and sing it away, but it does not work.
Let us not get it twisted. #WhereIsTheLove people do not only refuse to speak about racial issues, but it refuses to acknowledge the pain of black students. I wonder if they asked themselves why there were no security guards and police vehicles with police dogs when they were ‘spreading the love’ and sharing ‘lekker vibes’. If we are truly this ‘one human race’, why do we receive different treatment? Why were the #WhereIsTheLove marchers not criminalized when they were perpetuating institutional racism?
If you truly, as a white person, don’t see colour why did you not act against the criminalization of your ‘equal’ by your white supremacist system.
If whites truly believe in this “I don’t see colour I see you as a person just like myself” hogwash, which finds itself dominating the discourse of equality and justice, why do they never act against the system that oppresses people of colour. Oh, they don’t see colour, therefore they don’t recognize the injustice committed. These ‘I don’t see colour’ whites don’t realize that, them not seeing colour does not make racism go away.They perpetuate it.
It is a ridiculous narrative which patriarchal men as well as classists will soon adopt by saying things such as “I do not see you as a woman, I see you as a person” or “Once we stop seeing people as rich or poor everyone will have the same amount of money.”
I mean, how does that help? It doesn’t, it simply keeps patriarchy, classism and racism untouched while men, the rich and the white enjoy the unearned privileged and advantages of the system at the expense of the rest.
Sadly, the #WhereIsTheLove Kumbaya anti-racism does no good for black people who support it. They don’t seem to realize it though. It is perhaps their proximity to whiteness which blinds them and sadly leaves them wide open to internalized racism. This internalized racism manifests itself through acts of self-hatred and self-doubt. Black students at Stellenbosch, who support #WhereIsTheLove, do so because they have transcended race yet seek to become white.
The system has privileged them so much that they can’t see anything wrong with the system, but also want to benefit from the oppressive system. Forgetting that benefiting from whiteness does not change the fact that they are black. Whites, not choosing to #Luister right now does not mean we will wait for them. They just need to remember that “the future is moving a lot faster than their consciousness. The time for decolonization is now, and rightly so, “No one can resist an idea whose time has come”.
White supremacy will be dismantled.