Posted by: thenack on May 27, 2010
In this multicultural country of ours, it has become a swearword to be a racist, well not if you're black, black people can't be racist. This sentence kind of illustrates my point.....when are you actually being a racist, what does the word racist mean, does the standard definition apply to South Africa?
In the Dictionary, it is given as:
1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.
2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.
This seems fine, but it is a very specific sentence, there are conditions. If you only look at the first part of the sentence, basically everybody is a racist "The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability..." If this was the whole definition, I would go so far as saying everybody is a racist. Have you hear somebody say "Germans are very serious" or "Americans are lazy" or "Zulus are brave" or even "Afrikaners are racists". All of these sentences qualify under the first portion of that definition, but they are clearly not racist because we haven’t added the condition, the part after AND. Only when your statement causes you to come to the conclusion that "that a particular race is superior to others" does it become racism. However I feel this is still a little grey....some nations are superior to others....in specific areas. So who decides which area is used. Again, "Germans are much better engineers than Uruguans" Even if a German said this he would not be a racist. He would be voicing a opinion based on his observations, sometimes even on facts. The conclusion does not have to be correct, it is still just and observation. So when does a person become a racist?
The key words are in point two, which basically eliminates the need for point one. Discrimination or prejudice based on race. When you act differently towards a person because you know which race he belongs to. But again, this is quite a difficult concept, I surely act differently to Egyptians and Chinese. Why? The culture is vastly different and we "see" things differently. In the same way Cape Coloureds act differently to Indians and Xhosas, than they do to Eskimos. Here is my point: In a very multicultural country, should we as a rule not be very selective before we use the word racist? It is almost impossible to even have a discussion on anything remotely political without using cultural identifiers ie. black, white, coloured and Indian (which are so broad and general). We see this even on government and bank forms. Let me give a tricky example: If I were to say " I hate it when black people get Sangomas to sacrifice chickens before soccer games" I do not believe I am being racist. I am making an over generalised statement using the term "black people", but that is all. I am not a racist because I hate witchcraft and devil worship. This will also not cause me to act differently toward "black" people than I normally would. It is however a very lazy sentence, and this type of talk should be avoided. If I had said I hate it when "some" black people....I'm fine.
So in conclusion, we need to distinguish between cultural identifiers and racism. In the long run this will make it easier for us to understand and engage with one another, without losing our individuality. So if you treat somebody with the same human dignity than you would your aunt or uncle, (even the aunt and uncle or cousin you don't like), I think you are safe. In herein lies the crux, even if you don't like a person or agree with their opinion, and even if that is a cultural or racial difference, and even if it is a generalisation, you have to treat them like your least favourite aunt. Avoid them if you must, but when you can't you treat them like family.
This is the basic principle of the parable of the good Samaratan in the Bible. Personally, I believe that we are all descendants of Adam and Eve through Noah and his 3 sons, all part of the HUMAN RACE. We are all of One Blood, don't believe it when evolutionists tell you we are glorified mokeys and some laging behind chimps, Darwin was wrong.