It’s easy to be colour blind when you’re white

I’m gonna make this one short because I don’t have much time, but I think it needs to be written.

Recently I read a disturbing statistic, that the majority of white people here in South Africa agree with former president FW De Klerk’s statement that apartheid wasn’t a crime against humanity.

What the fuck, people? We white people grew up privileged. We were never barred from any public places because of the colour of our skin. We were never denied a decent education because of the colour of our skin. I never knew of anyone among my family or friends who was incarcerated, beaten or killed, because of the colour of their skin. And why is that? Simple… we were never denied basic human rights and treated as subhuman because of the colour of our skin.

I’ve barely touched the surface describing how bad it was here in South Africa. I don’t really know, because I’m white. What I do know of the lives of people of colour, I have learned from people of colour. We, white people, have no business claiming racism wasn’t so bad, or that people were better off in the old days (or apartheid). Sure, we were better off, but it was absolutely wrong and it was absolutely a crime against humanity. To suggest otherwise is an insult to millions of people.

What we can do is try to at least call other other white people who say things like De Klerk did, and what we can also do is call out other disturbingly racist white supremacist rhetoric in other countries when we see history repeating itself… Donald Trump – I’m looking at you.

South Africa’s very own Uncle Tom shows us how “far” white South Africans have really come

Recently I noticed something strange in my Facebook feed. A friend named “Dumisa Mbuwa” who writes long statuses that at first glance are critical of the ANC, each of which has dozens or more reactions and comments from white people agreeing with him. Then yesterday I looked a little closer.

I commented the obvious observation… this guy is saying exactly what privileged white people want to hear. It did not go well. Instead of rising to the criticism and stating a more nuanced position on politics, or anything really, he suggested that I would perhaps feel better if I unfriended him. In other words, he made it about me. That’s what narcissists do, or people who are not being honest. It’s a red flag. And this was followed by many of his white friends defending him or attacking me. One person even implied my profile is fake because of the avatar I now use (it’s used here as well) that a friend created for me. Another suggested that I am race baiting and asked why I made it about race. Hello, his profile is most probably fake, a persona that exists exclusively for race baiting, and because I pointed it out, I get called the race baiter?

Anyway, I can’t link to him because the reactions from his white fans were enough to prompt me to block and unfriend. But he writes articles online and they are easy to find. Examples:

There are many more but I don’t think I need to link them.

From that last one… the title of which itself seeks to dehumanize black people. (Not to mention fear mongering about violently taking land reminiscent of the far right American “THEY WANT ARE GUNS” type of fear mongering.) The opening paragraph:

Blacks have proven themselves for 24 years to be completely useless at doing anything that is worthy of taking our beloved South Africa forward.

And it closes with:

A New Beginning will only emerge the day Black South Africans openly Denounce the ANC for Sodomizing our beautiful Country. And turning it into a Malnutritioned Crack-smoking, pregnant 24-year-old broke, deranged Black girl; who stands barefoot, aimlessly on filthy township street corners looking for depraved male customers.

She’s already a dead, walking zombie and she knows it. Unless she admits her Folly and Turns Away from her Evil Master (the vile, Satanic ANC). Only then will she begin to walk towards Life!

That’s a metaphor for the country… a crack-addicted prostitute. But note the hatred towards black people, the ANC, and sex workers, plus the hint of unhealthy religious beliefs.

His choice of words often refers to black people as “blacks”, making the word black itself a pejorative the way he uses it in sweeping generalizations to dismiss millions of people, telling the racists exactly what they want to hear. (That black people are stupid, incompetent and have messed up the country. It says everything except the word ‘inferior’ but is close enough, surely?) I’m not going to quote any more because it’s really quite sick. So much vitriol…

It’s unclear whether he really is a self-hating black man or a white man writing under a pseudonym, but whoever wrote it clearly does hate black people. But one thing is clear: The hundreds of white people liking and commenting on his posts reveals that we have not come so far from apartheid after all. While the reasons for those vile Facebook statuses and articles may be unclear, they do serve as an accidental social experiment to reveal how deep the racism and hatred still lies here.

If you are one of those people agreeing with him, shame on you.

“Islam is not a race” is code for “I don’t like brown people”

islamnotaraceFor real. Don’t use it.

The statement is technically true. So what? Almost every time I’ve seen it used, it’s been by someone who is just making an excuse to dismiss brown-skinned people.

So yeah… Islam is not a race, but paradoxically the phrase “Islam is not a race” often is racist.

If you mean to criticize the religion of Islam, then by all means, do so. (I do.) But every single time I’ve seen someone make the conversation about race, it’s been because that someone is a racist. The pattern often goes like this:

  1. Make some generalizations about immigrants who happen to be Muslims. Some hateful immigrant denigrating rhetoric.
  2. Get called out for it.
  3. Respond with “Islam is not a race”.

Obviously there are valid cases for making the mentioned statement, and if the context you’re thinking of isn’t the one described above, this isn’t about you. I generated the meme above after seeing the statement online yet again, and posted it to Facebook before writing this… and within ten seconds had to defend my meme. (Hours later I see someone called me retarded. I stand by my words.)

There’s a fine line between criticizing a religion and hating on people who practice that religion. Sometimes I cross it too. It’s an easy mistake to make. Even worse, religious beliefs can be so strongly held that when we question the beliefs (and not the believers), some people take offense anyway, because the belief is held strongly enough to be conflated with the person’s sense of identity.

So let’s not make things worse by hating on the people themselves, OK? You can criticize a religion like Islam without hating Muslims, and if they then accuse you of racism, you can still point out effectively that they are wrong and that you criticized the religion and not the people who believe in it, and you can do so without even stating “Islam is not a race”. In today’s post, Islam was the religion featured, in part because the phrase applies to that one, and it has become trendy to hate asylum seekers who mostly are Muslim. But the principle applies to other religions too.

There’s a deplorable non profit organization called FORSA who are fighting for their right to discriminate against others, in the name of “freedom of religion”.

I kid you not. Taking the cue from deplorable white trash Americans like Kim Davis who became infamous for refusing to grant marriage licenses to same sex couples because of personal religious objections, these people, whose group stands for Freedom of Religion South Africa, are fighting for the same thing.

Here’s their Facebook page. Their main purpose seems to be opposing a civil union amendment bill which would not allow state employed civil servants to opt out of approving same sex unions. In other words, they believe that freedom of religion means that they can impose their homophobia, which they use religion to justify, on others. So they are fighting for the right to discriminate against others based on “religious” beliefs, exactly the opposite of what freedom of religion is actually about. And as such bigots always do, they are crying Christian persecution, playing the victim while they fight for the right to victimize others.

15-10-2018 08-47-18

Note the wording of their status above. They make it about themselves, as if their rights are being suppressed. (They aren’t.) Incidentally, I only managed two perfectly reasonable comments there before being blocked.

My second comment was a reply on my comment thread (My screenshot above was immediately after posting it and doesn’t show the reactions and replies), to clarify what this is, as I see it, to someone who claimed that asking them to approve such unions is the same as forcing a Muslim to serve bacon. (A false equivalence anyway. In reality, them refusing to do their jobs is more like Muslims and Jews forcing everyone not to eat bacon because their religions oppose it.)

Here’s the thing: Freedom of religion is about the freedom to practice your religion, and the same goes for all other religions or lack of religion. (Nobody is stopping these people from practicing Christianity.) It does not mean you can impose your beliefs on everyone else. Anyone refusing to do their job is committing a fireable offense. It is misconduct, and I know how I would handle such people. It’s quite simple: Final written warning the first time, and if they do it again, immediate termination of employment.

This is not new to South Africa. Under apartheid, I heard several Christians arguing that racial segregation was backed by the Bible. That’s what bigots do – they use their religion to justify their oppression, and they will find ways of reading their prejudices into their religious texts, regardless of which religion they practice.

There’s a bigger picture here… Emboldened by the openly fascist, racist, homophobic, misogynistic, tyrannical US president Donald Trump and the wave of white is right straight male evangelical Christian repugnance that he extolls, this flood of bigotry is spreading worldwide. Anti immigrant, anti feminist, anti black, anti LGBT… it’s everywhere.

What is a skeptic anyway? In the context of claims of a white genocide in South Africa.

This white genocide in South Africa must be the poorest example of a genocide ever! The area where I live is so safe, I can go for a stroll in the street outside the complex at 11PM, and not be killed. Not only that, but the majority of my neighbours, who are black, are friendly and polite. What kind of genocide is this? I mean… like… isn’t there some sort of genocide committee I can complain to about the lack of white people being killed? (It’s sarcasm, you stupid racist bastards.)

For those late to the party, there are people here who insist that a white genocide is going on. Before that, they used to post pictures of poor whites online and refer to white squatter camps. Recently one of them took offense to a comment I made here that pointed out this move forward by the racists. He claimed that this white genocide is very real. In between the rest of his ad hominem comment he claimed I should not call myself a skeptic, presumably because I don’t believe in the bullshit he believes in.

Nobody knows
The trouble you feel
Nobody cares
The feelin’ is real

We’re sorry,
Won’t you come on home
We worry,
Won’t you come on

(With apologies to Fine Young Cannibals)

Here’s the thing… If life is going on normally, and most white people here have never even heard of this so called white genocide, simply because white people aren’t being killed, it is clear that no such genocide is happening.

But even if we look at their previous claims about white squatter camps, we see something interesting… When you search the internet for white squatter camp, you are limiting your search results by two key phrases:

  1. White: So you’re only interested in white people.
  2. Squatter camp: That was the phrase used in apartheid, when black people were discriminated against by law. Many had to live in abject poverty, and so they lived in informal makeshift shanty towns, which were derisively called squatter camps. They are now called informal settlements, so when you search for the old name, you get results in line with the SEO keywords as used by white supremacists who have hijacked that term for their appeals to pity online, and filter out the majority of poor people here who… (Guess what?)… are not white.

What this means, is they have a victim mentality. While longing with nostalgia for the “good old days” of apartheid when their privilege was written into the law, these people push this fiction claiming that black people are now discriminating against them and persecuting them just as they used to persecute black people. When you search with such a filter, you get right wing propaganda in the results, where these racists like to make themselves victims, as they fight for their right to go back to apartheid. (Obviously that’s not gonna happen.) It’s madness. And it should be quite transparent to anybody with more than half a brain.

Unicellular brained Johnny also claimed that those people in the “white squatter camps” are just “taking care of their own” in response to my original comment pointing out how odd it is all these years after apartheid that those camps are for whites only. “Taking care of their own” says more about you, Johnny-boy, than it does me. I don’t see any reason to care only about people who have the same tone skin as myself. But maybe because I’m not a racist who believes white people are superior and only cares about white people.

So what is a skeptic?

A skeptic is someone who doubts claims for which there is no supporting evidence. It is quite sensible to be skeptical of this so called white genocide because it isn’t fucking happening.

Don’t call yourself a skeptic if you make outrageous claims, and don’t pretend that those who doubt those outrageous claims are not being skeptical. It’s stupid.

Mainstream news isn’t perfect, but it is mostly neutral. So the reason mainstream news doesn’t cover this supposed genocide is because no such genocide is taking place.

Sorry Johnny-boy, but you don’t get to accept propaganda claims at face value and then claim that someone who doubts it is not a skeptic. Kudos to Johnny for commenting outside of his little racist echo chamber though.

I had a lot more to write here, but it will have to wait until another time as I have work to do…

There is no white genocide going on in South Africa

So a white supremacist found one of my old posts about the so-called white squatter camps, and took offense to my most recent comments there, which point out that online racists have since moved on… No longer satisfied by their emotional appeals to pity, their current claims are that there is some kind of “white genocide” going on in South Africa.

Let’s just be crystal clear: There is no white genocide happening here. If there were, I couldn’t walk outside or safely go to work. By the way, my employer is not white, and the staff where I work is 50/50 white and black.

If you claim there is a white genocide going on, you are racist white trash scum and that is a fact.

The tactic used by white supremacists here to play victim is not new. Americans on the alt-right do that too. Bigots everywhere love to play victims while they fight for their right to discriminate against others.

Don’t come comment your bullshit here if you are one of them. I’m tired of being polite to white trash. Just fuck off.

My condolences to the USA.

There really isn’t much to say. Donald Trump has won the 2016 US presidential elections, and this says plenty about the whole world.

The US were world leaders… They put sanctions in place against this country, South Africa, in the era of apartheid. Now they have elected an obvious racist and misogynist (among other things) for president. The locals here who support Trump are the same people who believed in apartheid. Let that sink in.

How the fuck did this happen?

How is it that an email scandal could be falsely equated with the horror of Donald Trump? But I have seen this coming… Even in the atheist groups that I belong to, a wave of anti-immigrant hatred has been washing over everyone for a long time. This election result says more about the sentiments of the people who cast their votes than it does about the vile man they have elected.

Make no mistake though… America, you fucked up!

I hate writing about racism

A friend in the US shared this.

Damn. That’s harsh. I hate racism. I hate how deplorable it is. I hate that so many people I know and grew up with are racists. I hate most of all that racists don’t know they are racists. They think they’re good people. They share posts and articles that are inherently and implicitly anti-black, and they don’t see how anti-black they are. Their posts are demeaning to millions of people worldwide, and they unwittingly share sentiments that frequently make a vast number of people out to be less than human. If it were just words shared, it would be bad enough, but the effects on the lives of so many people are widespread – people whose fight for equality is often ridiculed as it is portrayed as an “attack” on white people, by people too blind to see their own privilege. It sickens me.

I don’t even want to write about it. (Really, I commented to a reader earlier that I should avoid this subject entirely.) It isn’t generally a subject I focus on, at least as far as my usual subject matter on this blog is concerned, and writing about it risks alienating some of the white people struggling with addiction that I normally try to reach. But write about it, I must. If you can read the article I linked in the first line and not feel empathy, then you’re not the kind of person I would want to associate with.

Here’s something only tangentially related to the issue, that happened to me… I have this friend in the UK, an expatriate of South Africa. That friend shares links (on Facebook) to right-wing, racist, white supremacy web pages all the time. It drives me nuts. The stuff he shares is misinformation, but not only that, the agenda of all the sites that he shares from is sickeningly and blatantly obviously racist. One day I had enough, so I wrote a (Facebook) post on the subject, tagging his name and pointing out how horrible his years of shares had been. The result of all this?… I was accused of bullying him online, by a family member. That family member spoke to the guy’s sister, and then made a big deal of it, much like he made a big deal of my atheism posts. As a result, I lost a lot of friends and was made to look bad, by my family member.

It’s not the first time he did that, yet somehow he made it appear that I was at fault. I’m wrong for pointing out that somebody shared racist bullshit… I’m wrong because I tagged his name. (OK, it was unnecessary to tag his name.) But it’s OK for him to post hateful bullshit about millions of people? Here’s the thing: Unlike some people, what I say about you, whether it is in public or private, never changes. I didn’t call my friend an idiot or make statements about his looks… I merely pointed out his racism. And racism is something you can change. As a result of that and my atheism posts, I lost friends and got blocked by that family member (thank the gods for small mercies)… I experienced online bullying and manipulation by that family member more than once. So thanks to sharing my views against racism (and theism), I experienced harassment, bullying and prejudice first-hand. (The point of this anecdote? My family member totally missed the racism that I was writing about. It doesn’t exist as far as he’s concerned. He only saw that I wrote something negative about my friend publicly. The racism part of it doesn’t exist to him because racism and white privilege are invisible to racists themselves.)

Truth be told though, the unfair treatment of myself was nothing compared to those who are treated poorly by certain people for their entire lives, just because they happened to be born with the “wrong” colour skin.

The intention of this post, which will probably be lost on racists because they are too focused on their denial, or in the case of family members, claiming that I took this out of context, is simply to expose what racism actually is. It is the belief that black people are inferior, and then by extension the denial of equality to those people, and the prejudice against those people. It isn’t based on anything logical. There is no reason to assume that black people are inferior. It’s about as logical as believing that people with small noses are less than human, or maybe people with big feet. (Nasty Hobbitses!) It’s rooted in fear of those who are different, a childish and ignorant reason to hold anything against anyone. It’s something that we should all grow out of.

In this country, racism is more than just that though… If, like another friend of mine, you can share a meme that states we should all just get along (and pretend that suffering and poverty as a result of years of oppression just doesn’t exist?), or you complain about the “sense of entitlement” of the protesting students fighting for affordable fees… while you sip wine beside the swimming pool at your mansion behind your security gate with your BMW parked in the garage, you are no better than my expat friend. If you ever compliment a black man or woman for being able to do their job (that they do for a living) or that they are well-spoken, or you clutch your wallet ever tighter when you see a black man walking past you in the shopping mall, you are no better than my expat friend. Racism can be subtle and implicit. I’m not saying that white people ought to feel guilty or responsible for the actions of the past. But we can care about other people. We can do our bit to make a difference and to make things better. We can and should give a fuck about black people.

I won’t be writing about racism often. But I’m probably not done with it yet. This post hardly scratched the surface of the subject, beyond acknowledging that racism exists.

So I pissed off some people when suggesting that the so-called white squatter camps don’t exist

A while back I wrote about the so-called white squatter camps, and some people were angry, mostly because I referred to people as trash. Specifically, because I referred to people as white trash. Yes, that was crass. It was also a generalization and was uncalled for.

Let’s get this straight… In South Africa, 12 million people live in extreme poverty. That’s bad, and it needs to be addressed. Here, you can find some statistics about poverty in this country.

Notice anything in there about white squatter camps? Poverty in general is a problem here, but why should it be important what colour the poor people’s skin is? Why is it that some people care so much about white poverty specifically? Shouldn’t we care about all poverty, especially when only a handful of the poor people here are white?

The point of my previous post was not to denigrate poor whites – it was to draw attention to the fact that the information shared on social media about white squatter camps, by my racist expat friend, cannot be trusted. I have one friend who shares that kind of nonsense over and over again, and it is annoying. And when I say nonsense, let me clarify… There are many websites that publish information with an agenda, racist websites run by white supremacists, who will tell you all about the oppression of white people in South Africa, gruesome tales of white farmers murdered in their hundreds, and these supposed white squatter camps. It’s a despicable message, not at all in line with reality, that confirms the fears of the white racists who ran away left the country. These sites tell you that you were right, apartheid is now in reverse, and that whites are being persecuted. White squatter camps are just one part of the narrative of nonsense presented by those sites.

But think about it… How can a settlement consist of only white people? A fraction of the millions of poor people in this country are white, yet somehow we read reports of communities of poor white people? It doesn’t make sense. I was a junkie years ago, and at my lowest point, I lived in a shelter for a few days. But it wasn’t only white people living there. For a community to consist of only white people in this day and age, it must be run by white people, who only allow white people to live there. Those places do exist, but they are not what those web sites claim. They’re more like trailer camps, run by white supremacists, exploiting poor whites. They are not what those websites make them out to be, because if they were, it would be covered by local media, not some right-wing conservatives with an agenda.

The people publishing those sites are the South African equivalent of Donald Trump supporters. (Morons.) The fact that they only write about white poverty indicates that they are racist. Make no mistake, this is not similar to Black Lives Matter, but for white people. This is not about equality. Much of the property and the money of this country is still in the hands of white people. White people here are still privileged. This is about white supremacist propaganda and an attempt to get support for their delusional cause, via pity.

I have never seen one of those camps. Give me the GPS coordinates of some of them in the Johannesburg area, and if they are real, I will go there myself and write about it. Until I see them for myself and have evidence that they are what some claim them to be, I will assume otherwise.

White people are not being persecuted in South Africa

Recently I pissed somebody off, when writing about the so-called white squatter camps in South Africa. Maybe I shouldn’t have referred to poor white people as white trash. That wasn’t nice, but it doesn’t change the fact that white squatter camps are not what they appear to be.

Ask yourself:

  1. Why is it that the only place you hear about those camps is via social media, linking to dubious sites that ask for donations?
  2. How is it that 20 years after the fall of apartheid, we have “whites only” societies?

I’m not saying that those places don’t exist. They do. But they are not what they seem.

Currently there are many articles being shared that claim white people are being persecuted, raped, murdered and so on here on a grand scale. These articles about white squatter camps fall into that category. They’re shared by racists – by white supremacists, who would like to have us believe that the situation of apartheid has been reversed. They’re shared by right-wingers who for whatever reason, seem to enjoy the fear-mongering. They prey on the confirmation bias of white racists and also expats, who are only too keen to believe that their fears have come to pass.

The fact is, this persecution of white people is not happening. See this article on AfriCheck about it.

The situation in South Africa is bad… we are approaching junk status financially, and our government is more corrupt than it ever was, but let’s stick to reality, not irrational, racist fears.

And white poverty is on the increase, but that is expected. I remember about 25 years ago… There were many unskilled white people who worked for the railway or in local government administration, people who had government subsidies and “nice” housing at the expense not only of us taxpayers, but also the vast majority of the populace. Those unskilled white people don’t get such benefits any more, and so it should be. This is Africa.

And to Eugene: I’m white. I can’t be a racist against white people. That doesn’t make sense. You have valid points, in that it was unfair of me to refer to any people as trash. And I wrote about those squatter camps without knowing all the facts. (I don’t need all the facts. When I recognize that something is shared to appeal to the emotions of white racists, and to get their money, facts don’t matter.) It’s fair to criticize me for not having the facts, but cut out the ad hominem. You didn’t provide any factual information either, and contributed nothing other than contradiction and some trolling. This is my blog. I don’t have to allow your hateful comments. I can delete them, or edit them if I want to. If you have something useful to write, do so, otherwise you’re just being annoying.