Things we cannot fix, it seems

So. Race divides us. But in a society where money can fix almost anything except death and a very unfortunate personality, it should be possible to remedy the primeval inclination to be suspicious, even dismissive, of people who are different from you. That is why yet another faction of life coaches makes a fortune out of teaching the people with unfortunate personalities how not to be rude to people of other races at work, or, generally, in public. Although one can get slapped with a hate-speech charge, the equivalent of community service in such a case could mean having to attend the type of workshop-seminar-course (WSC) as described above.

You sit in a circle and talk about your feelings… I think… I saw on TV once. It was in The Lab. Which could also mean that the director had no imagination and simply took his cue from the hundreds of Hollywood movies he has seen about alcoholics. Probably you get the point.

I suspect these don’t work. There are reasons why some people are racist, which are not only ingrained, but irrational, and which somehow serves that person’s unfortunate personality. Most probably they never really liked themselves, just like all the nice people they ever met. So in order not to be lonely, all they really have to offer a group of more than one, is a common hatred of other races. They would delude themselves either that they are somehow superior to these races, or that these races are somehow the very and direct cause of their misery, purely by virtue of having a skin colour different from their own. As I said, irrational.

But because their hatred somehow, in a very mysterious and frankly cheerless manner, serves them, and binds them to others, I believe it cannot be fixed. So. All they could really learn from said WSC is to, for fuck’s sake, shut it.

In theory, if the race tolerance classes could work, then sex tolerance classes should too, and be far more useful, I think. I am not talking about learning to accept your boyfriend’s proclivity for pornography or sex in public places. No, I am talking about Julius Malema.

I guess what is most extra-ordinary about his refusal to apologise, is that Julius is under the impression that HE is the one who decides what constitutes hate speech. There are hundreds of  white people who refer to black people as kaffirs, munts or brown-eyes, for example, and the majority of them will tell you that their use of such terms does mean that they are racist. These are just WORDS, they will insist, that they grew up with, and that is that. In the same way, men (black and white) will refer to women as chicks, birds, or bitches, and again, in their eyes, these are just words, these men don’t INTEND for these words to be offensive, and therefore they are not. The idea that we all have a right, by LAW, to dignity, and hence an obligation to respect said right of other people is really a concept beyond the reach of people who defend the use of racist and sexist terminology.

More than race, I think, sex divides us. And more than sex, stupidity does. Einstein (who supposedly also failed his final year in school so Julius is in good company), once said that “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

You cannot condemn a man for being an idiot. And since Julius is accusing Sonke Gender Justice Network’s Mbuyiselo Botha of being a white man who doesn’t like black leaders, it must be undisputed that Julius is as thick as two very short planks nailed together (nifty woodwork reference).

More alarming that this, however, is the failure of the ANC leadership, and particularly the almost 50% of women in that mix, to stand up and tell Julius to do the right thing. And for them to take him aside, and explain the terms “universal human rights”, “gender equality” and most of all, “respect”. They might insist that in the Julius Malema School of Politics, a course on universal platitudes must be compulsory (or they will tell the Chinese to take his funding away). For example, “it is better to keep silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all traces of doubt” would be excellent advice to anybody who ventures there, I am convinced.

Generally I find it all despicable; a grand display of a visionless, insensitive leadership. It is a failure to serve our democracy and to uphold the ideal of equality for all, regardless of race or sex.

…Ok… or creed, but I have my doubts about that one. It’s not something you are born with, and is easily changed or discarded. How can that possibly hold court with the other two?

But that is a story for another time. Now, having written something that has NOTHING to do with “the values of the brand”, back to the writing that makes you want to kill yourself, or drink a lot.

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5 thoughts on “Things we cannot fix, it seems

  1. hardspear 16 July 2009 / 16:01

    I also fail to say why anc leadership and especially female leadership has not done anything to shut that idiot’s trap. Once long ago I presented diversity courses in the workplace. I could clearly see that those who were open to learn about their colleagues different culture benefited from the course, the others – it just reinforced their warped outlook on life. I also feel that personality and gender differences are bigger than race differences. In my opinion, racists often feel disenfranchised by the system/government/other people in general etc. They unfortunitely do not turn to themselves to look for solutions to the problems in their own lives, they conveniently blame it on others.

    PS. Melatonin also helps for SAD. It also aids sleeping, combats the effects of jet-lag etc etc. To top it all it is one of the least toxic substances known to man and is a powerfull anti-oxidant. The slow-release version by SOLAL (available at Dischem) works best for me.

    • Betty Noire 16 July 2009 / 18:41

      Hey! Nice to hear from you! Thanks for the ‘diversity courses’ thing – I could not remember today what they were called. And thanks for the SOLAL tip. Am onto it.

  2. Emil 17 July 2009 / 10:29

    Julius is not the brightest spark around. Given two guesses, I bet he still won’t be able to say which way the lift is going. Sadly though, I think that intolerance and racism and the like will continue to make angry contusion in the fabric of our society. Bigots like Julius will keep those fires burning. It is probably in this regard that he serves a purpose.

    Diversity training, I fear, is hype. How can you train something “away” that has been for many years imprinted into the very psyche of society? No manner of course material can ever sufficiently remove all obstacles for a tolerant, pluralistic society, without bridging the big divide with physical, cross-boundary interactions. The privileged will never be able to fully grasp the eons-long history of division and oppression until they literally ‘put them in their shoes.’ Want to learn diversity? Mingle and mix!

  3. Rob Hooper 17 January 2010 / 08:28

    Wonderful piece of writing. You GO gurl

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