This question has been asked of me a few times lately, so I figured I’d dust off the old blog and explain. And it is a fair question – generally, when someone is involved in some kind of controversy and is on the receiving end of violent threats and verbal attacks, people tend to think “well, he must have done something.” Fortunately this all happened on the internet, and the entire spat is available for all to see. Here it is, without commentary, transcribed by me. I’ll mask out the names with a different colour for each commenter, and if you feel like playing a little game, try to guess the race of the person making that statement. (Spoiler alert: I’m the red one because this is my blog and I will afford myself this little bit of narcissism. Also, that way I can’t be accused of making anyone else seem angrier than they really are.) I won’t edit anything besides the colour.
Indented comments are comment replies, a lack of indent means that it’s part of the main thread.
White Namibians. Where are your friends – other White Namibians – on days like Independence day when we are filling up stadiums and celebrating Independence? Or do you people join in on the celebrations but prefer to be home? Every time since 1990? And should we be OK with no seeing you guys at these events of National pride and celebration, every time, without miss? And why are your cultures not displayed at Independence day celebrations? And Who are we going to start blaming for such? I will start with you white Namibian, I will start with blaming you.
Because you white Namibian, you are a friend, but sometimes you are a bad friend. You don’t want to take ownership for your lack of interest in real assimilation and integration. But why would you have to when there is always Australia to fall back on. Its tog a shame, shame.
Because the way to forward racial integration is to single out and blame a race :/
The race singles itself out and seperates itself. I have heard White Namibians refer to Black Namibians as Africans. Goes to show. White Namibians don’t relate to the Independence struggle because domination and the power of oppression was taken from them. Sigh. Until White people everywhere acknowledge, confront and dismantle White priviledge, I don’t know if we are ever going to be ‘friends’.
‘The race’? I don’t know any white Namibians who deliberately seperate themselves from any other race, and I wouldn’t want to know anybody, regardless of colour, who would think like that. You are basing your opinion on what you have heard a minority of a minority say. I’m not saying there are no retarded, racist white people in this country, but you are tarring an entire race with the same brush. Which is racism.
Every white Namibian I know is very proud that Namibia is an independent country.
But it’s quite enlightening to know what a few individuals think of me based on the colour of my skin.
Racism is based on a system of oppression, white people are not and have not ever been oppressed. A minority cannot be a racist towards a white person because the minority is the oppressed person in the scenario. Makes no sense! In Namibia, I was considered white (which due to coloursim I had a lot more advantage and privilege than a black person..that was something I had to be conscious of and respect. However, coming back to Canada, surrounded by white people I am again a minority. I have already started experiencing prejudice and racism towards my skin colour and ethnic decent. My sister was not allowed to play with other peers in her school due to the colour of her skin.
It is not always what minorities are saying to other minorities, it is often what the minority is getting from the majority. Which for the most part we are met with discrimination and racial profiling. We are not met with compassion and validation. What white Spanish colonialist did to my indigenous Calima people was not okay. What german colonialist have done (and in some cases continue to do) to Namibians is truly tragic. We are frustrated because we have the right to be. You want to be a friend, be an ally. Have compassion and for once stop putting yourself as the victim. No, not all white people are bad, I have loved and continue to love white individuals. I have made love to white and dearly love my white best friend…but in my heart of hearts I know that they are allies. Just my opinion.
Racism means discrimination and prejudice based on race. It is perfectly possible for anyone to be racist towards white people. And even if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t mean that it’s neither wrong nor extremely hypocritical. Please don’t play the semanticsgame if you’re still going to be incorrect.
“It is not always what minorities are saying to other minorities, it is often what the minority is getting from the majority.”
I’m pretty sure we’re talking about Namibia. And in Namibia, whites constitute 7% of the country. I’ve never seen a white cop or a white successful politician. Please explain how whites are a majority here?
Please bear with me here, I’ll try to make this as short as possible without being mean, but there’s so much wrong with what you’re saying.
1. Racism is not “based on a system of oppression.” Please abandon the Newspeak.
2. White people haven’t been oppressed? You’ve heard of the Ottoman Empire, have you not?
3. “A minority cannot be racist towards a white person” – this is Africa. White people ARE the minority.
4. “… Because the minority is the oppressed.” Again, I reject your definition of racism but even then, white people – especially white men – ARE the oppressed. You have a much better chance of being promoted or getting a scholarship if you are a black woman. BEE is a law, and corporations follow suit. That’s the definition of systematic oppression.
5. Compassion and validation are what you get from your family and friends. In the real world, people care about what you can do. If you’re a better worker than your cishetero white male colleague, you will be more valuable to your company and they will care more about keeping you there. I hate to use this phrase but it is true that capitalism is the great equaliser – money doesn’t discriminate.
6. “Stop playing the victim.” I’m sorry, who are you talking to?
7. “Not all white people are bad.” Yeah, and not all women are stupid. See how bad that sounds?
I am not gonna get trapped into this bullshit again but ya’ll are making points disregarding history. white people are not allowed to be cops or politicians because when you were you fucked everyone over and enslaved people. You think people are gonnagive you any sort of power after that? Don’t be an idiot.
also yes I not all white people are bad. Not all white people are bad is based on history. According to history white people are murderers and colonizers but we the minority have to be the bigger people and find compassion within us to break that mentality. So please check yourself.
and women being stupid is not based on history is based on a sterotypes the patriarchy (men) created to put women down and to control them. The same as what white people did to every other fucking race.
Yes stop with your crocodile tears. Your ancestors fucked up and now you wanna play the victim.
The reason why minority individuals have more access to scholarships and jobs by law is because in society they are still seen as lesser than (even by themselves) . Pro blackness or pro brownness does not mean anti whiteness
Don’t worry we won’t go after you and murder your children and take away all you human rights and treat you like animals. Rape your women to eliminate your race or burn all your elders.
We just want a chance to be great and to be treated with such respect. Keith was making a point of the fact that he’d like to see the white Namibian population more represented out on independence day. He is frustrated because he wants unity and he wants supoort from his allies… but I guess peoples true colours come out when you speak truth. This is really scary and disheartening.
White people are certainly ‘allowed’ to be cops and politicians. I’m not so keen on replying to a comment that opens with a blatant lie, but I’ll humour you.
The topic of this post was not ancient history. It specifically only refers to events in the last 26 years. Besides which, why should anyone be held responsible for the actions of their forefathers? I would never condone a man being punished for the actions of his great-great-grandfather that he never met. If you believe otherwise however, it may be relevant to point out that my ancestors were enslaved by black people back when Europeans were throwing sticks at each other.
Nobody is ‘playing the victim’. We’re pointing out hypocrisy and bullshit. You don’t get to take the moral high ground by being racist, whoever you are.
You all do have a chance to be great. Nobody is getting in the way of that or trying to stop you. This is Africa, nobody is judging anyone for being black.
And once again, you don’t achieve unity by singling out a race. Making out that ‘all white people do this/that’, no matter what the ‘this/that’ may be, is racism no matter how much you want to redefine the English language until it doesn’t.
As someone who bridges the gap between these two people, a rare person who has actually experienced both sides of the matter, I would have thought that maybe you’d want to set an example. Be better than those you hate. Be the bigger person and rise above the blaming and the stereotypes. But no, you seem intent on pointing your finger at a broad cross-section of society and blaming them. Which is no different from when people like Trump point their fingers at Muslims or Mexicans. It’s racism and it’s wrong, no matter what. So kindly check YOURself. I checked myself already and it turns out I’m not the one being a racist.
Sometimes people like you are not even worth giving any time to. Too blinded. wow. again so scary and disheartening.
<redacted>, please don’t engage in any discussion if your resolve is to ignore everything that the other person says, and just keep steamrolling ahead with your own view. That is a waste of everyone’s time. If you actually care about this subject, take amoment and re-read what I (and <redacted>) have said. You’re more than capable of understanding it, if you only allow yourself to. The point of discussion is to hear a point of view different view from your own.
If and when you do that, I will respond to what you said in your second-last comment. Until then, there’s just no point.
Lol your views I have encountered too many times. you are both not very creative.
<in response to cyan’s comment above>
I have also never heard a white person refer to black people as “Africans,” however I’ve heard enough black people refer to themselves as such, the most racist of whom are those who spell it “Afrikan” (because apparently that’s how it was spelled before English came to Africa…)
If you don’t want to be my friend because of my race, then I don’t want to be your friend because of your racism. And I will fight and ridicule you everywhere I see you, because you are a plague to this country and this planet. Get together with your other racist friends and hate me for my skin color, I will gladly accept your hate; I mean that with the utmost sincerity.
“And I will fight and ridicule you everywhere I see you, because you are a plague to this country and this planet.”
Sounds like a colonial mind. Tah!
I’ve never encountered the phrase “colonial mind” before, but I’d say that taking an uninhibited stand against the prevalent racism perpetuated by the vocal majority and the establishment is the exact opposite of that.
Racism is a systematic oppression of a certain group of people based on one or other particular prejudice. Black people do not have a system of oppression in place and are not still inheriting from privilege like white people. Black people can certainly be prejudice. But not racist.
For argument’s sake, let it be clear now.
Well, no. Please abandon the Newspeak.
Alright. I will rephrase: “the treatment of black people by white people, based on the inherent differences among various human races, through policies and systems of government which foster discrimination and, the result of which still pays out royalties to the superior white race who has the right to rule others”. Black people don’t have that.
They probably just don’t like white people because its a reminder of how mistreated they have been; not only their ancestors but black people TODAY!
Until you can just acknowledge that without becoming defensive, you will always seem to be the racist asshole guy complaining about blacks who don’t like him, and guess what? That just fuels the dislike even more.
No one is asking you to hand in your privilege. You are simpy being asked to be aware. And tolerant perhaps. And to just acknowledge that this version of truth, from a black persons point of view, could be just as real as from your vantage point. That is all.
Okay. Thanks for being constructive (an increasingly rare trait in such discussions.)
1. Black people DO have that (obviously with the words “black” and “white” reversed). I don’t want to cite examples because that would overshadow the point of this discussion.
2. “They probably just don’t like white people because…” First, most black people I know fortunately don’t feel this way. I still think that black racists are just an obnoxious minority. Second, what you’re doing here is excusing racism. I do acknowledge why a black person might hate white people, I just don’t CONDONE it. (I also understand why these reasons are fallacious, but that’s a separate discussion. Racism, like all forms of immorality, is based on a logical fallacy; whether it’s black-on-white or white-on-black or Arab-on-Slavic.)
3. I’m not being defensive; I refuse to play that game. I am deliberately being OFFENSIVE to racists, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t mind looking like an asshole to people who aren’t interested in finding out what my actual views are. I know this is a stupid strategy because these people are good at starting fires that are very difficult to put out, but even if I’m burned alive I’ll still have my dignity. You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.
4. No one’s asking me to hand in my privilege? Good for them, because they’d be sorely disappointed. This is another game that I will not play. The validity of what I say is not contingent on who I am.
5. I am aware, but I’m not tolerant. I do not tolerate racism, nor should I. Tolerance is a term that has become increasingly distasteful to me over the past couple of years, as it is pretty much synonymous with the phrase “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” This is an idea that, if applied to a race, is itself racist: If you say something like “you must tolerate black people’s hatred because they’ve suffered and they’re angry” then you are holding black people to a standard lower than that of a “normal” person. (The equivalent is true of women, Muslims, homosexuals, etc.” That is racism, and I refuse to take part in it.
When I read this earlier I went over the points and mentally addressed each. In time I realised this is extremely energy draining, and I just not willing to spend my energy on this anymore.
What I will say is, Alex, please realise that our current reality is not contained in a vacuum; the past constantly influences the present and at present, your position is only that because of a heap of injustices the world has conveniently labelled too painful to address. I watched a brief video this weekend of a white woman at a seminar asking the white people in audience to think of the treatment of black people in society and to stand up if they are willing to switch places. No one stood so she repeated, citing the audience did not understand the instruction. Again, no one stood. She ended with saying white people would not stand because they understand and are aware of the injustice black people face today and would not choose it for themselves.
You are complaining about injustice or unfair treatment towards you but are wholly unwilling to acknowledge that your lifestyle is as a direct result of the injustice inflicted by your ancestors. My father is white, so mine too, but the point is not to go around complaining about an eye for an eye. The point is first come first served. We need to heal this hurt inflicted upon previously discriminated people first. So, yes people will dislike you off the colour of your skin. Is it really so unfair if it’s just rebalancing the scales? I feel you and white people in general need to realise you forfeited your right to complain about unfair treatment when your ancestors grossly abused black people, and you still benefit from that. Say what you want, your people don’t live in Katutura. Your homes have not been uprooted nor have you been killed or assaulted for being in your own country after a certain hour.
I understand Your need to treated fairly, but realise your individual need to be treatly fairly as a white person is contingent upon the need of an entire race of people to be treated fairly. Why? White people systematically made it so. Until then, you are the pot calling the kettle black.
Rather than complaining about how black people ARE racist, help all people understand racism, intolerance, discimination, bigotry, etc are inappropriate doctrines in the world today. You can only do that by being compassionate and empathetic. Right now you are not. And finally, use this as an opportunity to educate the world that you as a white man don’t stand for any sort of racism, AND still promote the fair treatment of all people. And truth be told, some people deserve a little bit more help to be treated fairly; NOT IDENTICALLY.
That’s all from me 🙂
May Wisdom abundantly bless you*
I hope this will be the last comment; I’ll just correct a couple of misapprehensions above, and I’ll try not to make any new points because this has gone on overlong as it is. Unfortunately it takes many more words to explain that a statement is wrong than to state it.
“You are wholly unwilling to acknowledge that your lifestyle is as a direct result of the injustice inflicted by your ancestors.” This is a racist statement. I will not explain how wrong you are about me on this, because this discussion is not about me, and I WILL NOT play identity politics.
I’m not complaining about an eye for an eye, or injustice toward me. I’m not pretending to be any kind of victim. I’m sure most people on this thread are living a more comfortable lifestyle than me, but that’s irrelevant. I’m simply calling out injustice and hypocrisy that is not being addressed by anyone else. In their fight against racism, many black people and their allies have become racists themselves (as we’ve seen here). It’s just unfortunate that I’m a white person doing this because very few people will see past that. If you want to see a black person share my views (far more eloquently than I ever could) please look up any of the outstanding articles online by Gwen Ngwenya from SA.
“So, yes people will dislike you off the colour of your skin. Is it really so unfair if it’s just rebalancing the scales?” YES. Two wrongs do not make a right. And again, I’m not complaining about unfair treatment. I’m trying to thwart a malicious mindset.
Also, not that this matters but you do realize that not all white people are descended from ex-colonists, right?
I want everyone to be treated fairly. Some pro-black activists are doing this well, and more power to them. Some are doing it very badly, and those are the ones I have a problem with.
“Rather than complaining about how black people ARE racist, help all people understand racism, intolerance, discimination, bigotry, etc are inappropriate doctrines in the world today.” That’s exactly what I’m doing. I’ve white friends, who were racist in varying degrees. They’re not friends anymore. That’s not a coincidence. Same for some black friends I used to have.
“use this as an opportunity to educate the world that you as a white man don’t stand for any sort of racism, AND still promote the fair treatment of all people.” If I haven’t done that by now, then I must be speaking a foreign language.
May wisdom bless you too. (That’s a really good valediction.)
Right. So that’s about 3500 words, give yourself a pat on the back if you read all that. At some point during all these exchanges, someone (whose name I won’t mention though most people know who it is) had these things to say about me. (This, by the way, is not just some random person with a Facebook profile. His voice is one that people listen to; he has a weekly newspaper column and is a prominent public personality.)
I happened upon this and read it out to some friends I was with, and we were still laughing about it the next day over WhatsApp, and I shared this screenshot on Facebook, which seems to have been noticed by the original fallist. He had this to say about it.
So that, in so many words, is the answer to the question “What did you do?” Really, there’s nothing else. The only other interaction I had with this person (and I don’t mean to imply that that has anything to do with this) is I told him that I didn’t like something he created because it negatively had the opposite of its intended effect. Make of that what you will.
Yesterday I was approached by someone who thought it would be a good idea for the two of us to discuss this disagreement in a public space, in an informal dialogue. I have never taken part in a debate or anything of that kind, but I gladly accepted the offer because a conversation about this new trend needs to be had, and I seem to be the only one stupid enough to publicly challenge it. We’ll see what, if anything, comes of that.