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2016-08-30
Why white people will never understand our concerns


Cape Town – 30 August 2016

In a country such as South Africa,which still finds itself grappling with a legacy of forced segregation,there cannot be any real transformation,when the very people who oppressed us have now appointed themselves as the arbiters of our collective struggle.

Whenever pertinent social issues are discussed,those in especially the white community (and in some cases even middle class blacks and coloureds) have a tendency to mitigate our struggle for intrinsic change and transformation.Often I have heard phrases such as “apartheid is in the past,why can’t we just move on?”. That’s the problem with “whiteness”.Whether or not you opposed apartheid,you still benefitted from it by default.That was the nature of the apartheid beast,it was designed to benefit white people whether they chose to be part of that system of oppression or not.

During the #FeesMustFall campaign,white and black students were fighting the same battle,but different wars.Black students often referred to what is known as the “black tax”.The black tax simply put,is a system where a black person is subjected to different set of tests in order to achieve the same outcome as a white person.The problem with continued oppression is that it’s not only systemic,it’s also malignant.The restaurant industry is a sterling example of this,where you will find mostly young white managers with not vastly superior qualifications than the black waiters or waitresses they happen to manage.

Now we have #blackhairmatters,which has opened a hornets nest for schools such as Pretoria Girls High and Lawson Brown High in PE.The fact that the texture of an African child’s hair still needs to make its way into a white ideology of acceptability not only boggles the mind but also stuns our collective conscience.How is it that rules that were created to exclude our African identity have been allowed to prosper in a non-racial and democratic South Africa?

By Wesley Fester

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