South Africa is a mix of different ethnicities, languages, culture and race. Rather than focusing on it’s natural beauty – people there are so focused on each others race. People are simplistically predominantly pigeon-holed into “black”, “white” and “coloured”.
It gets so ridiculous that people from China have to be classified (in this case “black”), don’t believe it? Here is an official court document declaring that Chinese people are “black” for Black Economic Empowerment reasons. When will this “race” nonsense stop?
I wanted to bring “race” awareness by this tweet on South Africa’s Heritage day. South Africa should focus on collaboration because if it continues with a “race” based status quo, nothing will be achieved and all that will remain will be a unconscious wrong focus.
Sadly it’s not just a problem in South Africa, whilst the rest of the world has moved on from such simple mindedness, there are still pockets of people around the world who want to cling onto the idea of “black” vs “white”. We see this at European football matches, white “supremacy” groups in America, etc, etc. I don’t want to highlight this, elaborate or expand. Rather we should be focusing on moving forward, collaborating and expanding our human consciousness and paying attention to things that really matter.
Where does this come from?
One needs to understand where all this “race” terminology comes from. Firstly from Anthropology, this is a branch of science and as science tries to understand, so it must classify. Therefore people are classified according to their physical properties or characteristics. This is obvious, just as one would try to understand different cats, you would classify them based on their various properties, characteristics and features. There should be no positive or negative connotations as far as classifying humans. After all it is simply plain in sight that we do indeed look different. For example in skin colour, hair, size, weight, etc. We simply look different and you don’t need to have an anthropology degree to know this.
Secondly it is due to colonization. However in Russian, Roman, Greek, Persian and Arab ancient civilizations there was colonization and slavery too. But just to highlight, during these times it did not matter on what your skin colour was to be colonized or enslaved. The activity was focused around servitude, hierarchy and a persons liberty. From history we know that Europeans had wars and fought each other for a very long time, but this was not as a result of a population or persons skin colour.
Unfortunately its during colonial times that “white” coloured people exploited the situation of “race” because they wanted cheap inexpensive labour, to obtain land and minerals by annexation of different countries. During these times, it was not just Africa that was colonized, America, Australia and Asia were included in the mix too. In all cases it is not possible to colonize a country and control a population by simple means, so incentives needed to be given to control the people of those lands. The people with power decided to divvy up that power based on “race” and incentive their own people based on “race”. It is after from the various spectrum of Conquistadors (Spanish and Portuguese), British and French, right down to home grown “patriots” in America, they all used “race” to divide and conquer the local population.
In short “race” was a strategy employed to control.
How does one change ones race bias?
Believe it or not, we are not in colonial times anymore. People should move on from the idea of being better than another and trying to control others. Rather we should be focusing on the issues and problems for the betterment of the human race. Sometimes I wish aliens would invade, perhaps then people of all “race” will stand as one together.
By focusing on the problems, finding solutions we make the world a better place and progress forward all together. Holding on to old simplistic “racial” views, simply prevents and shifts focus back into the wrong direction.
Back to South Africa, its widely known that there are differences in people physical colour, but there are also differences in various peoples living standards. So which of these topics do you choose to focus on? A persons colour or a persons living standards? Again, South Africans have the propensity to focus on colour and they end up going round and round in circles, like dogs chasing their tails. It’s all the way to the top with politics, right down to the bottom in everyday life of its society.
Change your views and focus
Just imagine if there was a diffrent thinking, questions asked that were opposite to “race”. Like how can we improve the system to change the way people experience life by altering their living conditions? For example their are millions who do not own a decent home, live destitute and have “shacks” for dwellings (for those who are not colour-blind, both “black” and “white” have this experience). Ask different questions in any way, about anything and omit anything to do with “race” or colour and that would be great progress. People’s minds will then be focused on the problems/issues and they would try because they would have another focus and think about solutions. There will be awareness of the real problems, rather than doing nothing by simple arguing about “race” and colour.
I just wanted to mention a few words about multiculturalism. It’s worth discussing because there seems to be the view that we should all be the same. I think this is wrong for obvious reasons, we are different in so many ways. I think people should preserve culture, celebrate their differences – but it does not mean we should use our differences to suppress one another. The world would be such a boring place if we were all the same. Just because a person lives in a geographical location or is penned in by a border, does not mean he/she should be the same as everyone else – this includes race, colour, interests and nationality. We are after all, people from this world.
Example of progressive discussion
More discussion is needed and I think it’s great to see Julius Malema talk about issues, rather than “race” or colour. For example on how to solve peoples living standards in South Africa, he had a discussion highlighting the actual issues and providing options. Not all his “solutions” I agree with because there are other options. But so much credit must be given to him for debate, asking different questions around current issues, shifting gear by changing his focus and stating options.
But alas, I do not know if this is just a political tactic… for in the past he has used “race” and colour in extreme ways like “shoot to kill”. My hope is that he is indeed moving forward and changing his focus and pioneering the way forward in bringing change.
If you would like to highlight your views, by all means please post your views or blog posts in the comments below.