Tuesday, 7 October 2014
There is huge sensitivity in our country at the moment regarding anything to do with skin color. Recently, university students blacked themselves up and came as the tennis sisters, Venus and Serena Williams, to a fancy-dress party. All sorts of protest ensued: black people hurt and offended. But it was just a bit of fun - no offence intended (or was it?) Surely, no-one could think these mega-wealthy and successful sisters would take the slightest bit of notice of a minor party in a South African University? The students are curreyntly under threat of being expelled. When I was a teenager we had a musical show on BBC called "The Black and White Minstrels" - a choir of white men 'blacked up'. We enjoyed the music and certainly, as a white teenager, who had never seen a black person in our provincial town, I thought nothing of it. The other day, my husband and I were eating at a Wimpy and the colored waitress messed up the order a little. I was full of excuses for her viz: shame - she is a local, perhaps new on the job, maybe English is not her first language. To my surprise, my husband said I had a racist attitude. In his view, she is in a job and must do it properly: in my secret heart I must have been making allowances for her disadvantaged background, her probably poor schooling and (in an even more secret place) was I not thinking that she was probably not as intelligent, energetic or possessed of the same work ethic as 'us'? Shame on me. The attached 'joke' about Eskom (our national electricity supplier) highlights the state of our nation at the moment.