Racism ranks

I have been hiding from my blog for a while, and there are good reasons for that! I am planning to expound soon. Let’s just say unemployment does not agree with me.

I just wanted to rant briefly about something that is driving me nuts. This idea that Cape Town is more racist than other cities in South Africa. I see it ALL the time. People who have never even visited say it. It is a prevalent belief that is sad because it encourages prejudice and preconceived ideas and just plain ugliness. Do we ever get to stop tearing eachother down?

So the DA runs the Western Cape, and we know all the white people vote DA and things run a little differently here to the rest of the country. But I am sure that everyone knows that the largest race group in CT are the Cape Coloureds and that on the whole they are the ones responsible for the DA’s majority here. So that is one thing.

Another thing, there is a group of Capetonians, white usually, who are insufferably pretentious about where they are from and about mixing with non-Capetonians. I don’t know if this rather annoying attribute of Capetonians is adding fuel to the racism accusation, but sadly it is true that some, of course only some, Capetonians are madly cliquey and snobbish and will not mix with anyone other than born and bred fellow Capetonians schooled at certain schools. Race is not the factor here.

Apart from that, I have heard that some restaurants in Cape Town have refused black people entrance. That sucks and is shocking and heinous. No excuse for that.

But. I am from Durban and I visit often. Every time I go out with my aunt there are only white people in the restaurants. Now obviously black people eat out too, but in many of the more snobby restaurants I have been to the clientele have been 100% white. So who knows what will happen if and when the race “ratios” start to make people feel uncomfortable at those establishments too?

I am not defending Cape Town because I live here now. I am just pissed off because the racism claims are lazy and just plain bullshit.

The real facts are, and I am thinking of white racism only here, there is a sector of South African white people, usually middle aged and older, although unfortunately sometimes younger, who are racist, but don’t think they are. They are very prejudiced and constantly expound on the differences between black and white people as if they are fact. They don’t hate black people and treat people with respect face to face, but they are dripping with dumb prejudice that they were taught back in the day.

Sadly, every time I visit Durban I am slapped in the face with this prejudice. I am usually mixing with people my parents’ age, but also my peers, people I went to school with. Every day I will hear multiple comments about how “they want our education now” and “they just want everything for nothing” and “this place is starting to look like a little Soweto”. Then there are the school ratio conversations.

It makes me sick. And yet I know that in every other city in South Africa these conversations are happening in a certain sector of white society, be it Durban, P.E, Cape Town, Joburg, wherever.

Do not try to tell me this is a Cape Town thing and other cities are so “diverse”. Or choose to be blind if you will. Obviously if you were to ask me in my experience, what is the most racist city in South Africa, I would say Durban, based on what I have seen. But I know it is not true. It is just that in Durban I am exposed to more of the prejudiced sector of society than in Cape Town.

Luckily for me, in Cape Town I happen to hang out with people who are not of the prejudiced variety and so when I am here those disgusting little conversations don’t happen. Which is why my trips to Durbs are a bit of a shock.

But I am not claiming those conversations don’t happen here. Of course they do.

Just don’t put Cape Town higher on the ranks. Ugliness is not a competition. Our cities are all plagued by this bullshit.

EDITED: since I wrote this post in a fit of annoyance last night I have seen multiple posts on Thoughtleader that echo or relate to what I am saying! Weird zeitgeist.

TO Molefe thinks that Cape Town is indeed more racist.

Brendan Henry Shields shows the exact prejudice and lazy attitude as the people I mention, and until South Africans are prepared to do just a little more work at being tolerant we will always have race problems in South Africa. Many people approve of his honesty, but where is that honesty going to get anyone unless he is willing to work on being less prejudiced?


Gillian Schutte writes a rebuttal of Brendan’s post. She is accused by many men of being hysterical and over the top. Here we are delving into to many levels of judgement based on prejudice that it is hard to keep up.


Finally my favourite post. Miranda Mkhumbuzi writes that because of experiences she has had she tends to be afraid of white men. She acknowledges that this is prejudice based upon stereotype and calls on all of us to work on analysing our own stereotypical judgements.


Say no to lazy thinking!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Roz
    Dec 10, 2012 @ 02:50:01

    I have been guilty of assuming that CT is more racist than other parts of SA, but I have never lived there so thanks for your perspective. I have also been following that debate on thoughtleader with interest. I always wished I had more black friends when I lived in SA but I admit that in spite of having quite a few social interactions with a diverse grup (i worked for govt so got to know many people that way) i never made any close friendships with black south africans, In my limited experience in the US, race relations are much easier here, but there are still stereotypes and prejudice. Btw, talking about thoughtleader, I came across your blog through a link on there. Keep on writing; look forward to reading your next post.


  2. poseamonkey
    Dec 31, 2012 @ 14:40:28

    Hey Roz, sorry have been away in Namibia! People here keep trying to forcefully make friends with people of other races as if to prove a point, the fact is, you make friends naturally without forcing it, otherwise it won’t work. It just depends who you encounter in your daily life. I don’t think not having black friends makes a person racist at all, but being open to friendships with anyone is better in a multicultural place like SA. I am hoping my 6 years of working in British universities, which are like the United Nations, will help me here too. We will see!


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