Monday, 04 January 2016 20:19

Penny not wise, Phalishi plain foolish

Written by Soli Philander
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Amid all the social media uproar around race relations in South Africa, Soli Philander in his usual witty way comes to an interesting conclusion about the reactions people have towards our racist compatriots and especially about the reactions from white liberals. - Editor

Penny not wise, Phalishi plain foolish
by Soli Philander

While you were sleeping a Penny dropped - Social Media overnight awash with copies of South Africa's Penny Sparrow calling Black people monkeys. It wasn't long after Sparrow's brain-fart caused some righteous indignation before there were the usual disclaimers along the lines of 'not all white people'.
I'm always left a bit cold by this kind of response, after all, what does it accomplish besides making the respondents feel better about themselves? It doesn't shut the Pennies of the world up and it certainly does not make them go away.

Far better in my opinion to address how to deal with a racist Penny than to rush to shield yourself from any perceived group condemnation.
It helps that you're not like Penny - it would just help more if you could help deal with her, otherwise we're left with you and your clear conscience and the target of her racist rantings with their perception of 'white persons like Penny'.
Far better than saying you're not like Penny, is behaving like you're not. I know my fair share of white people and I would not insult them in such a way as to expect them to assure me they wouldn't make themselves guilty of behaving like a dirty Penny. And I know they'll have some strong ideas about how she should be dealt with.

To illustrate though that race relations is not just a black and white nightmare, a young woman named Fifi made a FauxFaux when she, the somewhat shallow (I say shallow because this modern miss feels Kylie Jenner or some such is living her life) Ms Moeng tweeted: "I'm very selective when it comes to coloured people. They can be so extra"

Nobody rushed to the defense of Black people. Instead someone called Phalishi - Twitter handle @BongoMuffing - responded: "I hate their accent. So much. Hits my ear wrong" (She has subsequently removed the tweet - Ed) ...and if violence against women weren't to be condemned on all fronts I would have sent my auntie to hit her ear right!
She would probably have just considered it another example of Coloured people being 'extra' anyway. Point is, I don't need anybody to speak for 'not all Black people', but rather like Black people were doing on Social Media - call both out on their racism, unintentional or not. Eventually Phalishi caught a wake-up when a young, black man asked: "Would it be ok to say this about Black people?"

The war against racism requires more than 'It wasn't me', or 'not in my name'. It's a start yes, but it does nothing to effect change. A desire for difference requires a different kind of engagement. 'We're not all racists' should be what motivates your behaviour, and not be absolution from somebody else's.

Myself? I'm just going to be very selective when it comes to Fifies. They can be so minus...
...and yes, I know not all Fifies are the same!