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Why is a 'Blacks only' sign acceptable?

By unknown | Oct 27, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

There are few things that worry me more than the apparent belief of some black people that their racism is more tolerable than that of whites.

It is quiet common to hear blacks talk about white people in hostile terms and expecting everyone else to think the same, simply because they too have been and often still are victims of white racism.

The fight against racism was not so much that it was perpetrated by whites but simply because it was evil and inhuman.

That is why racism was fought, or at the very least condemned, by all right-thinking people.

Racism is not meant to be understood or justified. It is an evil to be eradicated. It is worse when it is cloaked in honorable robes.

As Steve Biko once said, the struggle against racism was an opportunity for Africa to make its contribution to the world, to give it a more human face. The world has already given us racism, and we need to show that we can do better. We can therefore not defend racism simply because it is perpetrated by those who were historically its victims.

The announcement and subsequent defence by the Ehlanzeni municipality that it will cease doing business with white firms is one of the more recent and more public shows of black racism.

Surely if a municipality said it would never do business with black companies for no other reason than that they were black, it would be a scandal.

Why then is it acceptable for Ehlanzeni to place a "Blacks only" sign?

I will defend the rights of black people to keep the debate over the impact of white racism alive. I am not here to preach the convenient "let's move on, apartheid is a thing of the past" creed preferred by some of our compatriots.

But a doctrine based on hate will take a people nowhere, as Robert Sobukwe once said.

Banning whites from contracts on the sole basis of their whiteness, seems to me no different from the way apartheid masterminds sought to configure the world.

Conveniently, the municipality, not exactly the bastion of clean governance, invokes black economic empowerment as their reason for these exclusionary tendencies. This would have been heroic had it not been such a flagrant disregard for the rules of empowerment and what it is meant to achieve.

Ehlanzeni is in the same boat as those racist ignoramuses who believe that affirmative action or BEE is about giving jobs or contracts to blacks simply because they are black. It discounts ability, qualifications or experience as part of the weighing process before a competent black person or woman gets the job.

With empowerment, Ehlanzeni seeks to believe that BEE is solely about who owns the company. In other words, they falsely believe that the sole criterion for what qualifies as a BEE company is ownership by blacks.

For Ehlanzeni, the tireless efforts of BEE sponsors of ensuring that things like employment equity, management by black people, skills development, preferential procurement or whether their "black company" is involved in enterprise and socio-economic development, does not mean anything. They just have to be black.

One has to wonder where Ehlanzeni's councillors have been, when newspapers have ad nauseam reported cases of blacks fronting for whites just so that they can qualify for contracts of short-sighted organisations like this municipality. Ehlanzeni is therefore encouraging fronting.

Hopefully someone will tell these clowns that we are not amused.

All forms of redressing the economic and opportunity imbalances of the past cannot be left in the hands of those who are as racist as the ones they are supposed to have replaced.


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