Dear white people, stop doing these things!
October 30, 2013 § 34 Comments
Extract from my book, In My Arrogant Opinion
Greetings my melanin-advantaged and melanin-disadvantaged brothers and sisters. The haves and the have-nots; melanin that is. I write this in order to create greater harmony among the races in this beautiful country of South Africa. As you know, it has been torn asunder by the violence of forced separation. Nelson Mandela tried really hard to mend the divisions but we have gone back since. That said, in many ways we have moved forward and Mandela’s dream is lived by many on a daily basis.
For example, more blacks can swim now than pre-1994. Those were dark times, my friends. Dark times. So few of my brothers and sisters could successfully carve and part the waters for fun before the era of the great Casspirs in the townships. I shall attempt to enlighten those of you who are too young to know what those are. Casspirs were not friendly white ghosts. They did carry white people into the townships, however, white people with guns. Soldiers, if you will. Casspirs were military vehicles that caused great fear in the 1970s and the 1980s in the townships. They were sent to quell the ‘restless natives’.
When schools were opened to black people in 1991, I’ll never forget learning to swim, because as soon as I learned, I could swim faster and further during physical education than two children of European descent in my class. I was the only black kid in my class at the time. The two kids were both Portuguese. They were so bad that sometimes I’d feel like getting into the pool to save them because they beat the water so hard as they swam that I believed they were on the verge of drowning. I used to imagine the Daily Dispatch in East London featuring a massive headline with the words, ‘Black boy jumps in pool to save two white kids’. I would be a hero. One: for swimming. Two: for swimming and saving lives. I had visions of winning the Nobel Peace Prize for my incredible feat. Hey, I was young, so it was allowed. The Nobel Peace Prize for Swimming. Alas, it never happened.
Unfortunately, black women are taking us back with the swimming thing though. And this issue needs to be addressed. The obsession with their hair, whether it’s a weave, braids or simply normal straightened hair results in seemingly sophisticated black women downright refusing to swim. Few black women with weaves have had the pleasure of being kissed in the rain. They don’t see the romance in this. Perhaps I should invent some sort of weave that remains unaffected by water. This would make me immensely wealthy. I hope I didn’t just give away a multiple billion-dollar business idea here.
One of my plans to guarantee greater integration between the races is to encourage cross-racial intercourse. The breeding that would inevitably result would lead to the formation of the largest nation of mixed race people. But there is a problem with this. We’d still have the oldest running war in the history of humankind: the battle of the sexes. As Emo Philips once said, ‘The battle of the sexes will never be won as long as we keep sleeping with the enemy.’ In this case, I think sleeping with the enemy is a good thing. After all, there is that saying, ‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.’ What’s closer than sleeping with the enemy?
Alright white folks, let’s talk about these things that you do that annoy us immensely. Sometimes you’re not even aware that you’re doing them.
Black accents when talking to black people
First up is using a black accent when talking to a black person. We know you think it’s funny. In the history of white people using a black accent, no white person has ever used it to say something really intelligent. Every single time a white person speaks in a black accent, it is to demonstrate the stupidity of whatever black person is being spoken about. White people, stop this nonsense. It demonstrates a lack of sensitivity and unwillingness to explore the real reason you’re using this accent. It’s not to show how fond you are of a black person when you do that. Sorry. Actually, I take that back, I’m not sorry.
A white person using a black accent to demonstrate a black person’s ‘stupidity’ is a subtle and more acceptable version of the ‘N’ word. Can I get an ‘amen’? Oh, yes, it is.
A former coloured colleague once pulled that stunt on me, speaking in a black accent to emphasise how stupid some black person was. This was when I lived in Cape Town (sorry, Aunt Helen). I spoke back to him in a coloured accent. Everyone laughed. At that point he realised that what he had done was not kosher.
The person of colour being spoken to in this accent usually has a debate running in the back of their heads – do I punch this idiot for speaking to me like this? Does this idiot think I’ll understand him better? Does she really believe that I’ll be able to follow what she has to say simply because she’s speaking slowly to me? Unfortunately, they don’t actually act violently, they just smile and pretend that they think what has just been said is actually funny. White folks, stop this rubbish.
You speak really well
Second up is saying, ‘You speak really well.’ This is incredibly annoying. Someone who speaks well speaks to be understood, not to be patronised. If you’re going to comment on anything, comment on what great ideas have been presented, not on how articulate the black person speaking to you is. Let’s face it, you would never say, ‘You speak really well,’ to another white person. Let’s get over it now. Black folk have mastered the ability to express themselves in English. There’s nothing to see here. Move along.
Third up is the aircon. The next race war will be fought over the aircon. Those of you who think that it will be over the economy, land or something serious like that are mistaken. There needs to be some sort of negotiation process between the races because we can never agree on the correct temperature in our boardrooms. White people want it cold, black people want it a little more like room temperature. I believe that the aircon is a conspiracy by white people to keep blacks out of the boardrooms. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Not making eye contact with the black person in the room during the meeting
The fourth bugbear happens in meetings. Not addressing or looking at the black person in the room while you are presenting to a room full of people is not okay. To be fair, it’s not only white people who do this; I’ve noticed that some black people do this too. They maintain eye contact with the white people in the room and skip the black as though he or she is invisible. At first, I used to think that it was because I was short (well, I’m still short, actually). It’s because nobody thinks that the black person in the room makes any decisions. Including the blacks. Of course it becomes really embarrassing when, after the presentation, they realise that the one person they weren’t looking at is the decision-maker.
Make eye contact with everyone in the room because you never know why they are there in the first place. Treat everyone the same because you never know what influence they may have now or later. It doesn’t matter if they seem junior to you. They might be junior, but they may have the boss’s ear.
Fifth up is the statement, ‘I’m into white women’. Black women hate it when they hear a black guy say this. And so do white guys. I’m an equal opportunity dater. I like women of all races. I’ve dated across the colour bar and the height bar. The one barrier I haven’t crossed is the weight bar. I must say I have struggled to cross over to the heavier portion of the dating side. This probably makes me a bad person. I’m okay with that.
And white people never ask if you think a white person of the opposite sex is attractive. Ask me about all women because I like all women. Why assume that I am only attracted to black women? This seems petty but it’s highly annoying.
These five things just scratch the surface of annoyances that white people assault us with every day.
You can thank me later, I’m here to help.