The truth is white racism is not dead

I was reading a story about how the police roughed up and arrested one of America's foremost contemporary thinkers and scholars, Henry Louis Gates, at the gate of his own home.

I was reading a story about how the police roughed up and arrested one of America's foremost contemporary thinkers and scholars, Henry Louis Gates, at the gate of his own home.

The long and short of the story of it is that Gates, a Harvard University professor, believes that it had to do with his being black in a predominantly white neighbourhood. The police version is that they acted as they would have regardless of the person's colour.

One of the stories I read criticised President Barack Obama for hinting at race-profiling as a factor in Gates' arrest.

It was then that it struck me. White racism is dead. In its stead is black insecurity.

That at least, is what we are being sold both here and abroad.

Our media, especially that which has traditionally served a white readership, is quick to mock anybody who points to a racist agenda.

Their current flavour of the month is Peter de Villiers, the Springbok coach who continues to be the butt of their jokes despite his unquestioned success on the pitch.

We have seen it happen with former President Thabo Mbeki, who was ridiculed for spelling out the truth about how South Africa remains a country of two nations, one rich and white and another poor and black.

Though Cricket SA have not attributed it to race, one continues getting a sense that the cricket following community is deliberately closing its ears and eyes to what CSA has been saying all along, which is that it is more than willing to show the books in contention but international cricket will only return to the Wanderers once Gauteng apologises for calling Gerald Majola a sycophant.

The inescapable conclusion is that there is a concerted effort to delegitimise black people's experience of racism at the hands of whites.

Using a tried and tested practice, blacks who buy into the white racism project are reflected as "reasonable" and "pragmatic", while those who see racism for what it is and speak out are caricatured as "angry", "unsophisticated" and living in the past.

If certain people had their way we would never again talk about racism in polite company.

Those who rightly called Mbeki a denialist for his views on HIV-Aids, Zimbabwe and crime have themselves become denialists.

They choose to believe that racism is a figment of some insecure people's imagination. And those of us who want to prove that we are secure in our places in society, oblige them by finding other reasons for these white people who believe that they are children of a more worthy god.

Without using as many words there are those who want to create the impression that what we call the horror of apartheid was nothing more than whites and blacks swimming at different beaches.

Anyone who wants to make more of it is "a reverse racist" who just wants to make whites feel guilty about something that ended long ago.

I will not be as naïve as to believe the nonsense that blacks are incapable of being racist or using the race card to hide their inadequacies. Cape Judge President John Hlophe and his chief imbongi, Paul Ngobeni, are perfect examples of this class.

But even their embarrassing outbursts cannot change the historical fact of white racism as an institutional cancer of our society.

We owe it to our children as much as to our forebears, who fought for freedom and against the racism that forced our parents to travel to Lourenço Marques (now Maputo) to touch the sea when their own country was not landlocked, never to allow anybody to tell us that white racism is a figment of our imagination.

If you think I am yet another angry black man, be my guest.