I have largely rewritten this grim meditation on the Economic Freedom Front Commander-in-chief’s dangerous words. Earlier this year he stated,
“We are not calling for the slaughtering of white people. At least for now.”
A definition of slaughter from Merriam-Webster:
The act of killing; specifically: the butchering of livestock for marketing. Killing of great numbers of human beings (as in battle or a massacre)
One definition of holocaust is “destruction or slaughter on a mass scale… a thorough destruction involving extensive loss of life”. These definitions point to the criminal irresponsibility of public statements of this kind: In Rwanda we have a recent example of how “loose talk costs lives”.
So either Malema hasn’t a clue what he’s talking about – in which case his reckless words are the words of an idiot; or he is using them knowing full well what he means by them, in which case he is an evil knave indeed. If there is a bleak part of hell, set aside for racists, he may find himself there in the eternal company of Verwoerd.
BUT: BLACKS CANT BE RACIST
Well not according to Andile Mngxitama anyway. (http://mg.co.za/article/2016-02-04-racist-rants-expose-mngxitama) By this logic he could pretty much endorse any evil and never need to examine his own conscience. Apparently his statement cannot be construed as racist, because his vitriolic is directed at whites, whom he has de facto defined as ‘the problem’. There are close parallels in the atrophied thinking of both Malema and Mngxitama. Ebrahim Harvey wrote in The Mail & Guardian earlier this year,
“He (Mngxitama) is a vociferous black nationalist with, I argue, increasingly apparent racist overtones in how he regards white people. He is locked into a dogmatic, binary blindness that literally treats a very complex topic as simply black and white. The irony is that, in post-apartheid South Africa, significant class formation among blacks and an equally significant loss of economic power by whites makes references to homogenous “black people” or “white society” mythical, at best.”
For Malema, the thinly veiled threat of a temporarily deferred future slaughter is somehow justifiable – even desirable – some 20 years after the end of Apartheid. Its supporters, bar a few pockets of neanderthals, are long gone and their ideas consigned to the rubbish tip of history. And yet, irrespective of the pre-’94 referendum, Codesa, the Mandela rainbow years and twenty years of majority rule, in Malema’s sinister equation, there are no good whites, just as for Hitler the only ‘good’ Jew was a dead Jew, or for the Hutus, a dead Tutsi. Whether an individual has any redeeming qualities appears to be beside the point for Malema: as long as the pariah people has been identified – or marked for slaughter as it were – any virtue or value is erased by and subsumed into an imputed group guilt. A loving wife, a musician husband, a compassionate priest, a selfless social worker, a scientist, a doctor, a schoolgirl, a mentally retarded youth: all are fair game for the man set on slaughter, as long as they are white. How pray tell me can this preclude one from the definition “racist”?
I am not the first to see parallels between Malema’s populist and fascist rants and that other pathetic fascist who came to power on the back of racial hatred in ’30’s Germany.
The fascist with a bone to pick cannot conceive of redemption for anyone within the group identified for eradication: all must go to the ovens for their indelible racial guilt. Fascists, never known for original or enlightened thinking, reduce everything to a set of brutal tropes. Everything must be taken from the perceived enemy, their apparently ill-gotten possessions, their identities, their lives. This is scapegoating at its most banal: “We are not calling for the slaughtering of white people. At least for now.” When will this man’s off-hand threat of an arbitrarily deferred slaughter, be implemented? When will his “for now” switch to the evil of a genocidal now?
It is banal: there is no subtlety or nuance in the reasoning of fascists: all despots and murderers feel justified in calling for the death of those they dislike, and consider themselves good chaps in delaying – for some vaguely defined “now” – the call for execution. But such words should not surprise us: the perverse words of populist leaders like Malema, excreted as they are from the bowels of ressentiment, envy and an obsession with the revenge of the emasculated indigenous people upon the “settlers”, are the defining characteristic of the tragically deformed soul. Apartheid created many such monstrosities on all sides of the racial divide.
At the website RaceBaitR, which describes itself as “a platform created to explore the various ways race is expressed and defined with the goal of creating a world without racism and all of its intersecting oppressions“, I found words worth pondering by By Kevin Rigby and Hari Ziyad:
“Perhaps the only action white folks can take—barring physical disappearance—in the struggle for Black liberation, for them to successfully put an end to their own whiteness, is the absolute absolving of their places and power.”
Yiannis Gabriel wrote, “Othering is the process of casting a group, an individual or an object into the role of the ‘other’ and establishing one’s own identity through opposition to and, frequently, vilification of this Other.” Surely this “Othering” is not limited to the white race? Rigby and Ziyad’s wish for the ” physical disappearance” of “white folks” (which sounds ominously like genocide) and their call to an “absolute absolving of (“white folks”) places and power” is simply another manifestation of “Othering”?
Blackness, whiteness and the vexed race debate that plagues South Africa
by Michelle Solomon:
“Racism is any attitude or behaviour that is premised on the assumption that one group of people is superior or inferior to another. Racism can occur in interpersonal interactions but it can also be sanctioned by national laws. This question whether or not black people can be racist is itself a problem. I believe it is itself a mask for another kind of conversation we should be having but aren’t. There are many types of prejudice and racism is only one. A person can be a bigot, an anti-Semite, a chauvinist, a fascist etc. I’m not sure why black people are being exempted from these prejudices as if there is a hierarchy of prejudices and racism has somehow become the worst thing that a person can be. Bigotry is as bad as racism because both cause harm to others. Black people can certainly be bigoted since they have the power to cause harm to others. To say that black people can’t be racist is to say that black people are superhumans who are incapable of engaging in anti-social behaviours.¶ Racism is to South Africa what a phantom limb is to an amputee. In the same way that an amputee will feel sensations and pain in a limb that is simply not there, South Africans are aching for race. We are just itching to bring race back into our daily lives. But, unfortunately for us, that is a limb that was amputated in 1994. This is not just a trite analogy. In the same way that phantom limbs are a recognised medical condition, ours is a serious psychosocial problem in which we can’t creatively find new things to talk about so we simply fall back on race. It seems that as South Africans we don’t know anything else but race and racism. This is not to say there are no racists in South Africa. There are plenty of them and we should not expect otherwise. As a society we have to have our fair share of stupid people (and racists are just one variety of stupidity). The abolition of apartheid did not mean the abolition of stupidity. Globally, I would also say that there is a growth of wilful ignorance in which young people, especially, choose to be racist because they think it’s “fun”.
– Hlonipha Mokoena, associate professor at Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER)
“Racism is the attitude or action of people who apply negative stereotypes to all the members of another race. It is particularly unacceptable when it harms the interests or dignity of other people on the basis of their race. Of course black people can be racists. Black people have been involved in racial clashes throughout the continent of Africa. Racism occurs when one race applies negative characteristics to all the members of another race – often with the intention of belittling them or doing them harm. Reverse racism exists, as soon as one race – that has suffered racism – starts to denigrate or harm the interests of another group on the basis of their race – one has reverse racism. Because of our deeply divided past, race continues to play a prominent role in South Africa. Most people continue to support political parties and policies on the basis of race – not interest.”* – Dave Steward, director, FW de Klerk foundation (*I do not support Steward’s argument: “reverse racism” is a most tenuous concept which neglects the maintenance of systemic power as the primary characteristic of racism SH)
From Urban Dictionary:
“A very cruel form of hatred towards another race. A very terrible thing.
Racism is one of the worst things to ever happen to our world.”
But it is much more than that
“Racism – A media instilled buzzword used by non-whites against whites to get what they want at any given oppurtunity”
That’s just a cynical, dismissive attack on the dignity of black people
“A term used to classify the act of hating a particular group of people because of skin color, origin, or religion”
But it is not hatred alone, and hating another for her religion isn’t racism surely?
“Contrary to popular belief, this is a concept not based on hate, but rather on treatment and assumption. True racism is a person’s preferential OR hateful treatment of someone who has more or less skin pigmentation than said person, regardless of which person is darker or lighter. This is the real, non-urban definition of the word”
All these definitions fail to recognize the structural nature of racism. Racism may be invisible, devoid of hatred-as-emotion. It may be seen in the inherited town planning/geographies of Apartheid, in present-day workplace attitudes, dismissiveness, in hidden subversions, limited access to resources, to limited opportunities due to historic disadvantage etc. We should remember that Verwoerd believed that separate development was based not on racial hatred but on God-ordained laws. His ideology of exclusion and “apart-ness” was satanic in this very coldness, this complete disregard for human emotion, for even the simplest of human kindnesses. In my opinion it is this characteristic of Apartheid which is even more disturbing than its structural evil. It attempted to legitimize and normalize the separation of people based on spurious notions of race. This is the spirit of Antichrist, violent toward loveingkindness, mercy, the oneness of humanity in Christ. Apartheid social engineering with all its inhumane, bureaucratic indifference, ensured a brutalising legacy of disadvantage. Moletsi Mbeki’s “architects of poverty” are both a cause of – and distraction from – the effects of this legacy.
“Are prejudice, bigotry, and racism the same thing?”
“No. And this is a HUGE source of misunderstanding.
Prejudice is when a person negatively pre-judges another person or group without getting to know the beliefs, thoughts, and feelings behind their words and actions. A person of any racial group can be prejudiced towards a person of any other racial group. There is no power dynamic involved.
Bigotry is stronger than prejudice, a more severe mindset and often accompanied by discriminatory behavior. It’s arrogant and mean-spirited, but requires neither systems nor power to engage in.
Racism is the system that allows the racial group that’s already in power to retain power. Since arriving on U.S. soil white people have used their power to create preferential access to survival resources (housing, education, jobs, food, health, legal protection, etc.) for white people while simultaneously impeding people of color’s access to these same resources.Though “reverse racism” is a term I sometimes hear, it has never existed in America. White people are the only racial group to have ever established and retained power in the United States.” – Debby Irving
“We can see just how dangerous it is to advocate such views in the light of the call made by Velaphi Khumalo for black people to do to whites what Hitler did to the Jews. Racist provocation cannot get worse than that.
Everyone, including black people, is capable of racism. Black and white are not homogenous groups but themselves riven with class, social, political and ideological differences and conflicts.
But Mngxitama treats white and black identities homogeneously, confers analytical status on the terms, and is then able to come to sweeping conclusions.
In my view, many racist comments have been made by many black people over the years, including by Mngxitama. Today, social media is awash with them.
Many were quick to label the words or actions of white people as racist, such as Chris Hart and Penny Sparrow, but failed to detect or condemn racism such as Jimmy Manyi’s comments about coloured people in the Western Cape a few years ago.
Mngxitama is deluded in the belief that his “blackness” gives him a total monopoly on all the wisdom about racism.
Discursively, he represents a narrow, crude Africanist majoritarian chauvinism that has little to do with building an ethos of genuine nonracialism and antiracism”
– http://mg.co.za/article/2016-02-04-racist-rants-expose-mngxitama, Ebrahim Harvey , M&G
“Scapegoat theory refers to the tendency to blame someone else for one’s own problems, a process that often results in feelings of prejudice toward the person or group that one is blaming. Scapegoating serves as an opportunity to explain failure or misdeeds, while maintaining one’s positive self-image. If a person who is poor or doesn’t get a job that he or she applies for can blame an unfair system or the people who did get the job that he or she wanted, the person may be using the others as a scapegoat and may end up hating them as a result.” -http://psychology.iresearchnet.com/social-psychology/social-psychology-theories/scapegoat-theory/