When students at the University of Cape Town began protesting for the removal of the Cecil John Rhodes statue from their campus, a collective breath was held in anticipation of what action Rhodes University students would take. And although the Rhodent front was quiet for a minute, a solidarity march held by the Black Students Movement this past Tuesday would spark a conversation that would lead to the #RhodesSoWhite hashtag and debates about white privilege (and the legitimacy thereof).
Well, I am going to come across as cynical here, but I do not buy into the “new South Africa” narrative our country has going on. In fact, I believe this whole “Rainbow Nation” feel-good slogan to be a complete and utter farce and, as such, have grown to detest it as well other terminology related to it (think “reconciliation”, “ubuntu” and so forth).
These terms, particularly “reconciliation”, imply the coming together of and compromising between two or more previously opposed factions. South African reality does not reflect this, though; rather, we see more concession on the part of black people while white people get to keep their apartheid spoils guilt-free. Instead of being institutionalised, “the new South Africa” is an idea used by happy-clappy, usually “colour-blind” (haha!) people to try and silence the grievances of the less-than-happy. Continue reading “A New South Africa?”
The ideology of respectability politics is one which has been sold to black people as a solution to curbing the negative stereotyping and racism they face. Prominent figures such as Bill Cosby and, more recently, Piers Morgan, have essentially argued: “Hey, black people! If you stop sagging your pants and using slang/African-American Vernacular English (including the subverted use of the word “nigger”), then white people will respect you more.”
For the longest time, I internalised this message. Continue reading “On Black Respectability (and the Moment I Realised It To Be a Lie)”