An Opinion Piece
By Xola Stemele
The matter of Racism has produced beautiful orientations, essays, and narratives through films, books, and songs. However, struggles towards uncovering racial difference have always border lined on the obvious of what is already known. The black man starves, and the white man eats, irrespective of surrounding or context. Through media, this is now an established norm, a South African model of life. A fabricated reality acknowledged through repetition. We have seen it too many times for it not to be the truth. But what is hardly discussed are the reasons behind the effects, a million causes have led the black man where he is today. Even today, this essay is to be read by those advantaged enough to be able to read words assembled onto a page. The others cannot, which is where this essay’s weight lies, in-between the contradiction of literacy and the condition of the illiterate in Fighting Racism.
The black margin is a stutter compared to the white resonance that constantly rings throughout one’s mind. Reminders of the present, awareness of imbalanced surroundings, and the findings that lead us backwards as a nation. The past has shaped our present. Racism has never left the room; its manifestation has been there even when we have feigned its absence to the rest of the world. Imagining to be a nation undivided, uMoja, Unity is a language yet to be spoken. English is not our language. English is spiritually confining; black people are spiritual people. The correctness of the Whiteman’s language is not only limiting in its conveying but also in its difficulty.
The hindrance of not being able to master this language results in condemning your intellect and ability by the broader society. Communication in its objectivity is not only through speech. In African culture and tradition, communication is beyond speech. There lies the difficult PROBLEM of accurately dealing with Racism. Racial campaigns dominantly object to those deemed as “civilised” and able to receive the Western portrayal of messaging. What about those who cannot understand? They are directly affected by racism and represent its effects. Racism is an action that is not adequately detailed by its label. It’s much deeper than the word suggests. Racism was defined by the same people who introduced it. This is not through ignorance but through Racism. The deprivation of knowledge held by the white man has set several obstacles in front of black people who now face larger demands such as basic sanitation, food, water, and even shelter. No poverty tormented individual can afford to be racing after the English language while having nothing to fill his stomach. Which ultimately, he has to do to compete for stability in the working sector.
This not only limits a person in academic communication but also in the opportunity of making something out of your life. Without the ability to talk or write English, a Matric certificate, or schooling, no employer can hire you. This is not the black man’s doing. It is Racism, the deliberate action of putting down someone who does not share the same complexion as you. That is only the surface. This does not reveal how the person puts you down, it only suggests why. White people have been oppressing black people based solely on the fact that they are black? To accept this is to accept portions and not Racism in its entirety.
Racism is not just petty conflicts at the mall between different races, or a white person saying “Kaffir” to a black man. This is not targeting racism, this is the superficial portrait of what racism is. Prosperity is only possible in the equal contribution to development and the equal possession of power, making it possible for the expression and understanding of different Cultures. Black and White. Anything else is either aesthetic or synthetic. Plastic labours that will decline easily whenever the winds of Race blow. The state is in a period where Racism should be tackled in a manner that does not cloud or censor the ‘how’ of Racism.
The inequality between the white race and other races residing in South Africa is not by chance. It has been calculated by men who made the cognizant conclusion of crippling the non-white man in this country. In various forms that have ultimately led up to the immense struggle those people continue to fight. In arguing Racism, we should not pretend as if our reference is only on the occurrences of the past. That is to be in denial of an obvious truth. The truth is that there are schools who are unable to compete with ‘white’ dominance due to constraints that are seen as being part of reality. The schools in the township are seen as being of lower educational class when compared with those in upper-class surroundings. The township schools are low-priced, the more developed schools are expensive. This is an acknowledged model that laments the consistency in unequal class based on education’s different qualities. This too is Racism even though it is only labelled as merely a shortcoming from our present government.
To further explain the prolonging of Racism through the English language, I want to point out the differences in mind-set that results from the contrasts in education between the schools in the townships and those in well-established areas. This inevitably results in different perspectives regarding Race and the actual Democratic condition of this country. Perception is moulded by surroundings as well as those that are influential in your life. Meaning that as a child studying in town, you can adapt to the strains of western institutionalism, which is more apparent when you reach University and then the workplace. The child who completes his education in the township is often lost when having to grip onto things that are seen as mandatory by western educational standards. This is also reflected through ideas the two students will have in seeing and explaining the world and this country. One child sees the world as being healthier than the one who faces a more challenging reality. This is now a problem to the black child who receives a “white education” and then neglects the black hardships in order to become a competent professional which ultimately maintains a system that is evidently unremorseful to his people. In further highlighting this, the constructs that maintain systematic racism like a wheel, are kept spinning through black labour and ideas. An example would be the amount of black creatives working at international companies used to appeal to the nature and fabric of their cultures. Purely for profit rather than development. If it were so, I couldn’t possibly write this.
In true ritualistic fashion, under this current democracy, the youth is sacrificed and then fashioned into believing they are the only ones who can make things happen.