Written by: Lunga Tlou
We return to our Part 2 of the “Ace of R-aci-sm” feature and as promised, this one is dedicated towards the dismantling of this Ace card. Just to recap, we used the analogy of cards to draw our explanation of why whiteness is the ace card of racism and that because the rules of the game (= the System) allow the Ace card to have so much power; it is here that we identified the concept of structural racism.
Allow me to be clear and unapologetically black by saying that, this article is not for the European “African” National but rather for the black child who is in need of a much needed strategy to help him and his fellow kin in reclaiming His/her glory.
Now putting the card analogy aside for a while, a quick analysis of many black movements that have risen up due to an immediate need to confront the system of recent, have all responded in a manner that the system has learnt how to respond too over the past years. This method is simply that of organize, Protest better yet have a walk and go back home. It’s not that this method of confronting the system is futile, NO, see the powerful thing about the system we are trying to dismantle is that it is a learning system. Like my mother used to say when I was a kid that: “You can’t always use the same type of insect killer on cockroaches because over time, it becomes a sweet fragrance to them”. Observing the two images above, would you be able to tell that it is the same struggle but 40 years apart?
A big dialogue is happening in the USA amongst African Americans in terms of how they should confront the escalating white cop killings of our African brothers. Some are saying let there be multiple marches, whilst some are tired of loud yet somewhat fruitless marches and they are now calling for a boycott that “hits them” in the pocket. Who is this “them”? You may ask, well it is the white people. Now you ask yourself, aren’t they just being stupid? I mean, yes most of the cop killings are done by white police officers but what does the whole white community of the USA, especially those who are just entrepreneurs, got to do with all of this? Why must they be punished for something they haven’t done?
Remember we previously had said: “not all white people are privileged but all white people stand to benefit from white privilege”. Simply put, when one black man kills a person of any race, we are successively all going to be treated like killers. Where else, if one white boy shoots up a church filled with black people, successively so, not all white boys will be treated like they are killers.
Therefore, the act of boycotting all white owned stores and products is what we call “economic lobbying.” Whereby you hit whomever the system is made to protect, hard in their pockets so that they can stand up and lobby the very same system that protects them, to change its behavior towards the African American. In the short term it is very effective, yet in the long run this strategy fades. Simply because the black man benefits from the same system. So as much as a boycott closes down shopping malls, affects the day to day running of white owned businesses, at the end of the day, black people eat off of these stores as employees. Thus such a boycott in the long term means no salary to provide for the same black families. Isn’t this genius? The fact that by trying to fight the system, you are also indirectly killing yourself. I see this as genius but do note, that such a boycott is useless if there aren’t any black businesses to fill the void.
Back to South Africa where we have a black government with a black population in the majority. As it stands, the Black child is in the land of his forefathers but without the necessary economic tools to determine his fate. He is basically a foreigner, forced to hustle. On average, he has a path already determined for him. He gets born, goes to school to learn English, and applies this English to engage in western material at university, gains knowledge and a qualification. He then proceeds to apply this knowledge in a white owned, white run and western cultured organization so he can earn a salary that he then puts in a white owned insurance company in order to be able to have a decent funeral through his death cover policy.
In the office recently, a colleague was saying she just wrote a burning email to her child’s school principal about a demeaning comment made by the sports coach. The daughter had missed a shot during netball practice and the sports coach said in response “my 3 months old daughter can shoot better than you” of which the child responded in tears, but hey, where have we ever seen black tears count for anything? I wasn’t surprised, just the normal “Yhuu Abelungu” thought. My response was “if only you had a “credible” black school to take your child too” because our Pan African forefathers did mention that it’s high-time we “build & support our own institutions”. A white school with a white principal, many white teachers, a marginally white School governing body and a white sports coach was not built for the African child.
We sit here today with much of the strategic structures of the economy in white hands. Count Banks, Universities, Insurance Companies, Mineral resource extraction firms, much of the corporate firms that are tasked with absorbing the many graduates SA produces, not forgetting the Land and all of its farming and property capabilities. In lay terms, a boycott of all these is to boycott the SA economy itself. Truly speaking, we shouldn’t boycott the white man for we have nothing to lobby him for; we lost that chance at CODESA. What we should rather do is outlined below, and if done well, we will cease to see such tags as #FeesMustFall, #BringBackOurLand, #AfrikaansMustFall, #WhitevsBlackSalaries, #Marikana etc.
Can we dismantle this system of structural racism?
I say ‘yes’, through a two pronged process.
The first one is to Occupy and the second one is to Establish. Occupy what? Occupy your government and make it work for the marginalized black man. In what sense? Influence policy on all levels, nationally, provincially and importantly so, locally. Occupy in order to make sound policy that takes history into cognisance. Occupy in order to stamp out corruption. Occupy in order to ensure informed and strategic resource allocation. Occupy in order to improve service delivery. Occupy in order to ensure that Government parastatals become efficient and therefore refocus towards helping the black man. Occupy so that Prisons can be revamped and reengineered to produce better citizens rather than second offenders. Occupy public schools and change the manner in which black kids are taught. Occupy clinics and hospitals and ensure that the black man receives the same service a president would. Occupy in order to influence the school curriculum. Occupy in order to revamp the economic sector wherever the black man is. Occupy in order to improve the environment the black child lives and grows up in. Occupy so that you can push for decolonized public libraries. There is a reason why I always say: “Our degrees/diplomas belong to Africa.” It’s because their use should be for the benefit of Africa and her people. So this then also leads me to say: “Your Occupation must therefore extend to the privatized yet public sector of Higher education. Fill up masters and PHD spots so you can produce research material that will benefit Africa. Fill up lecture halls and faculties in order to pan down materials (textbooks) that will be relevant to the African child.”
As you Occupy, it is also important to also establish. Establish a multitude of black businesses that will lead to many industries. Establish black banks to finance these black businesses. Establish a string of insurance companies that teaches the black man about the benefits of Life insurance policies (generational wealth) than that of Death insurance policies (extravagant funerals). Establish publishing houses that will publish many black writers, whose material will never see a book store unless such a move occurs. Establish book stores that will house Pan African material, new and old. Establish film and production houses that will enable the black man to tell his story accurately through movies and performance arts. Establish marketing agencies that will change the face of advertising in the country and put an end to racist adverts such as this one:
Establish Radio stations geared towards the black man and his need for his own music and content. Establish a black Newspaper that spreads stories of black excellence, unlike the white owned Daily Sun. Establish centres that discuss and disseminate knowledge on wealth, be it Forex trading, how to save, trading stocks, stokvels etc. Heck, establish a black owned stock exchange. Establish NGO’s that deal with the black man and woman in their struggle to create a sustainable family structure. Establish schools of black thought where generations of Woke individuals can constantly be nurtured. Why all of this? Because, in the words of Dr Umar Johnson, Black people who do such things are a specialty and true change can only come when this becomes normalized within black circles. All progress is Group work, and all Black people must get ON this bus.
All in all, we have numbers and our numbers constitute only one thing, the Black Rand. Used properly, over time, it can yield massive benefits. It seems like all that which I suggest is geared towards the black man (African) and you don’t feel comfortable with this notion. You might be what we call an Integrationist and such a Pan African Agenda doesn’t sit well with you. Honestly speaking, our slogan is not “The Africa We Want” by mistake. All other races got time and sometimes support in order to develop and establish themselves politically and economically for integration to happen easily. The world needs an African Africa rather than just an Africa with no identity, no culture, no African language and no history. The white South African has never really much been in a capacity to implement such a Pan African agenda for it shall forever be foreign to him, irrespective of how long his kind has lived in this place. Don’t believe this? Just think Jan van Riebeeck settling here in 1652 and 364 years later, we are still fighting being taught in Afrikaans. On the topic of integration, check out the video below and we will hopefully dissect it in another article.
In conclusion, you may ask, how does all of this dismantle structural racism, or in reference to our former analogy, strip the Ace Card of its rights? Simple, by going through such a process of change, we automatically change the rules of the game. With such an approach, in the long run, it will be an eventuality that the system readjusts itself to now accommodate all, be it native, expat, tourist or new age settler. It will be a Pan African kind of integration. That is the ultimate aim. Neither racist nor discriminatory. It’s just rewriting history with a “black” pen.
“You need to build your own businesses and hire your own children. It’s absolutely criminal to keep having babies and then sending them into somebody else’s neighborhood to beg for a job.”
Dr Claud Anderson