If you are a white South African…


If you are a white South African, please read this”

by Lisa Golden, freelance journalist based in Johannesburg.
This was first published on Medium.com

(Read also the responses to this article – one of which I have posted in full below – thank you Warren G!

Warren G, February 25, 2016 at 4:03 pm

“It seems many people still don’t understand the concept of ‘White Privilege’ thinking that it implies some guilt on the part of the individual. It does not. You are not guilty of white privilege, you are merely a recipient of it. What it means is simply the other side of the coin of ‘Black Disadvantage’ and you’d have to be insane to try and deny that to this day, and pretty much everywhere in the world, black people are at a disadvantage. Their disadvantage is your privilege. That does not mean you are racist, or nasty, or evil, or even responsible. The system of white privilege has its roots in countless facts of history. Colonialism, slavery, apartheid, imperialism. These were devastating to so many communities around the world and are the processes that built the world we live in today. A white man’s world. No you did not actively contribute or support slavery, colonialism or apartheid. You did not directly build this white man’s world that rides roughshod over the rights and basic humanity of ‘non-whites.’ As such, no you don’t have to feel guilty about it. However, you SHOULD at the very least RECOGNIZE it. Accept that the world was built on the backs of other races, under the watchful gaze of white masters, for the white masters. Recognize the fact that black people in South Africa are still struggling in abject poverty, in communities that were absolutely devastated by colonialism, by apartheid. At least admit that in America even today white police officers are murdering innocent black men and getting away with it! How can you deny white privilege when there are videos showing the blatant murders all over the Internet & still they get away with it? You don’t have to feel guilty, but just for the love of God admit that the game is rigged in your favor. You don’t have to worry about security guards interrogating you when you try to enter a gated community. You’re not the one people immediately suspect when something goes missing. You don’t have to wake up at 3am to catch a taxi into the city so you can get to your job which is cleaning someone else’s house. You don’t have to feel guilty about white privilege, just recognize it. In fact, own it! It’s great to be white. Admit it. If you can see how lucky you are, maybe you can stop being such a miserable idiot so focused on yourself and recognize that the privilege you were born into just might be used to do some good in the world!”

One thought on “If you are a white South African…

  1. Why do I always come away from a letter like the one above with a sense of disquiet? I want to gather the world in my arms, black and white, brothers and sisters, but the gesture is a futile one as long as the systemic, historical, interpersonal and societal wrongs persist – neither recognized nor addressed. The early church attempted this gesture of reconciliation – for all were one in Christ, there was neither slave nor free man, male nor female, master nor servant, Jew nor Greek. Yet this incursion of divine light into human relations quickly deteriorated into new schisms, new hierarchies and prejudices. I think the letters above are right, and yet so much anguish is brushed aside with any such generalizations: I am saddened when I think of poor whites and jobless whites, the white Afrikaner families of the Great Depression years or the victims of the British scorched earth policies and Boer War concentration camps, the present-day children in squatter camps – children who will be labeled “privileged”. What is true in the broad stroke may be false in the stories of individual lives. The micronarratives. And in this sense Christ still walks among us, black and white, friend of the poor, despised, brokenhearted and humiliated of mankind.


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