Masters Of The Land, Like The Dinosaur Of Old: An Unscientific And Ethically Questionable Study Of A White South African

19 Feb


This study was posthumously endorsed by Dr HF Verwoerd as he did somersaults in his grave.

Masters Of The Land, Like The Dinosaur Of Old: An Unscientific and Ethically Questionable Study Of The White South African
Watch some tv with me. National Geographic…Discovery- knock yourself out.
Scene: prehistoric landscape against a glorious sunset. Cut to a flurry of activity on jungle floor as all manner of Jurassic creatures scamper away in lightning speed bewilderingly disproportionate to their bulk.
Doof…doof…doof- thunderous steps that shake the very ground. . A giant bat-like creature screeches a warning from the sky above…or is it a lament…or is it a cruel taunt? A general sense of fear pervades the air.
A family of dinosaurs saunters on screen. Not a care in the world as they graze on, towering past a baobab. Majestic in silhouette.
Snooty narrator voice(nasal twang optional extra at selected networks while stocks last): They roamed freely and all about quaked in their wake(more scurrying and harassed looking miniatures in comparison to the advancing giants) Masters and rulers of the world. Theirs was a terrible majesty…until(cut to single snowflake as it floats lazily to the ground. Dim. A frantic symphony of strings)….

White South Africans(WSA’s), for me, are a fascinating study of privilege, entitlement and birthright.
Oh chill! I’m not about to launch a full scale attack on white peeps(Mugaybe and Juliarse have done the groundwork); and some of my best friends are white. S’tru!
There is a seemingly congenital air of privilege and dare I say self-importance that comes with white people- and I would like to believe this has nothing to do with racism – or does it?
It is quite possible, as it may be for anybody else who agrees with me or at the very least relates to the following experiences, that in view of my context(historically and to a large sum presently even) it would be natural to view those who seem better off as having a sense of privilege and entitlement.
Nothing could be further from the truth. This observation is devoid of passion and sentiment.

White assumed air of imagined supremacy is to be understood as a natural stance and not an act of conceit. Once that has been understood we can forge an awkward-moment free way to better race relations. This is best illustrated in a conversation with my mother a couple of years ago. Given my age at the time and to a large degree still in awe of white people I was excitedly telling my mother about this white couple that had adopted two black children. A girl and a boy. Cute. I didn’t tell her it was a gay daddy and a lesbian mommy.
My mother was not moved. “Oh?”she said, “so they’re collecting exotic pets?”(Dear Editor: I’m not too sure of the relevance of this particular anecdote but it just jumped in front of me-random flashback).
Observe with me if you will,
The Conversation
Generally a conversation between a white person and a person of any other race is fascinating to watch. Little and almost unnoticed nuances in conversation tell quite a story. From tone of voice to body language to the sometimes elaborate and if not subconsciously choreographed hair toss- it all screams domination. I have come to understand that an initial conversation with a white person is fraught with patronizing, talking-down and the likes. An example of this is, though silly, is when the usually rhetorical question “you know when….?” pops up in conversation it’s almost as if one is expected to say “no”. This is always followed by an eager if not ever so slightly weary “ok” after which one can be assured an explanation in a tone strictly reserved for five year olds and first graders on Retalin. Only once mutual respect has been established does a “normal” conversation begin.
It is fascinating how this aristocratic air is evident even in the poorest of the poor.

From the first day white people settled in South Africa there has always been an air of supremacy. WSA are the embodiment of the old adage “I think therefore I am” Mind over matter. It is this thinking(and black people have much to learn) that has carried a handful of settlers through pillaging, theft and eventual domination of an entire nation. Apartheid was only a piece de resistance to a status quo that had been in existence for a few hundred years.
I suspect by now you are wondering what does this have to do with the modern day liberal ultra-left vuvuzela blowing and shosholoza singing white South African.
I guess there’s some Social Dawirnism of sorts at play here I just don’t know but this imagined supremacy has persisted to this very day.

There are black people who are in tune and very much in touch with this bizarre brand of reality. Some have embraced it with the kind of vigor and enthusiasm that led to a gruesome “necklace” death.
It is easier for a black man to abuse another black person but does not so much as glance at a white person in a similar context. Striking workers(and being South African(of any colour) “workers” has probably conjured up images of angry overall clad black workers brandishing wood and plastci rifles) would sooner beat a black scab worker to death. This seems to apply to fellow black workers only. Violence perpetrated against anyone is viewed contemptuously but this selective treatment and justice is interesting nevertheless.
Black people seem to understand it so much a good part of the armed struggle was largely against self. Talks of third force notwithstanding.

Language, I suspect has perpetuated this status quo. The fact that black people have had to learn a whole new language already puts them at a disadvantage. By teaching the African “speaking” all over again the WSA (and many other white nationalities for that matter) assumed a pedagogical role which he has held through out history.

The WSA will do and say a lot of things that might leave one cringing; take heart, it is not always intentional racism. With this in mind the WSA would do well to remember the following:
•your boss does not speak to you like a child. You would do well to remember that when speaking to your housekeeper or gardener.
•when you end each sentence with “alright?” or “Ok?” you give the impression that I’m a few seconds behind
•conversations on apartheid, past injustices and race issues are not personal attacks therefore you should not feel the need to defend a system so diabolical it can only be the quintessence of evil unless you truly believe yours are ill gotten gains in which case you should do something about it and make it snappy my friend.

It is a source of comfort and hope for the future that many WSA’s strive towards reconciliation and there are those who genuinely “do not see colour”- I know a few.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.


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