Of all the responses written to the Gillian Schutte article, this one seemed to hit the theme straight on. We as Africans are still eavesdropping on a conversation we must abide, and an argument we should bow out gracefully. It is time for people to heal their own communities and stop tripping over the offenses of the Other. There will be centuries before we stop hearing the weeping, “But I am not racist. I spent good money on MC Hammer tickets.”
Instead of interrogating the validity of the social issues raised by Schutte, the bigots chose to defend atrocious white behaviour and attitudes towards indigenous Africans while creating distractions that deviate from engaging with the core issues.
This they do by innuendos and threats, and by questioning Schutte’s legitimacy to speak her truth; to recognise whiteness, to openly point out and criticise such inhumane patterns that violate human rights and dignity.
But this is nothing new when it comes to whiteness responding to its own pathology. What we also witnessed was that they were not alone in questioning Schutte’s legitimacy; by their sides, a collective of co-opted black South Africans — including so-called “born-free” blacks — made similar accusations.
By association they then get pulled into this apartheid-styled tactic that racists use to prevent people from engaging in a genuine social dialogue that can help South Africa address the power dynamics of racism and social inequalities.
One parent, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the course teaches her child to feel guilty. ”It’s meant to divide and victimize non-whites and condition whites to feel guilty and to be more passive,” the parent said. Another parent added, “They’re teaching white guilt. They’re dividing the students. They’re saying to non-whites, ‘You have been oppressed and you’re still being oppressed.’”