Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thats Racist - A discussion about Trevor Noah's show

I guess this story starts with me apologizing to Trevor Noah for taking some of his posts out of context as he says I have. Apparently I took his tweets the wrong way. For those of you who are not familiar with the story let me give you some context.

I went to Trevor Noah's show Thats Racist!. I actually enjoyed most of the show. I laughed at the Woolworths jokes, I laughed at his depiction of white racists. It was all pretty funny. The bit that annoyed me was in the last 20 min of the show.

Trevor spent a lot of time focusing on white racists, and I understand that. There are some white racists in some communities. One just has to spend 30 minutes reading comments to realize how far some white people have to progress.

What I did not enjoy was the focus on mostly white racism. It actually annoyed me a little (and at the time perhaps I was overly sensitive). I was wondering, why is this last part focused on just white racists? Where is the lecture for racists of all colours?

To me personally this made me feel like Trevor missed an opportunity to highlight racism in all culture groups. For instance, while some whites are racist you can not ignore the clear racism of some blacks. For instance, no whites were involved in the racist xenophobic attacks that swept our country back a couple of years.

Whites are on the receiving end of racism constantly as well. A couple of weeks ago I took a friend to Cecilia Makiwane Hospital next to Mdantsane near East London. Our black friend was allowed through the front door of the hospital, but the security guard cut us two whities off and made us walk the long way around and take the side entrance.

We constantly have it being reinforced into us that we are white and unwelcome. By reading our media sources there is almost every week someone having a go at white people simply because of the colour of our skin.

I woke up this morning and what do I see on my news feeds? Hate speech and racism directed at whites again from a student body of the African National Congress.

These constant attacks in the media keep building up on the psyche of white South Africans and has a negative polarizing affect.

Trevor, I guess the reason why you don't speak about it that much is because you are not on the receiving end of this type of racism. Its there, its real and its constant.

Remember, in all populations you get a small minority that are racist. Whites and black. There are a lot more black people than white people, so the minority of racist black people.... actually feels like pretty sustained and constant racism due to the large black population in South Africa.

Your lack of balance in your show is what upset me, which is why I tweeted you (in now regrettable anger).

This is the tweet I sent:

Went to watch  last night. Enjoyed the jokes, not the patronizing lecture. Wont be buying tickets again.

You then replied to me with a comment about where you and I stand:

 it wasn't patronizing it's my opinion. But now we both know where we stand.

However what you also did right after you retweeted me was post the following comment:

Some people like comedy until you make them think. You laugh at Zuma jokes but can't laugh at apartheid jokes? 

You have 500 000 followers. This instantly started two things. An instant hate group and an instant support group. It was the strangest thing ever, but because of the way you retweeted me and then commented, I literally had hundreds of people telling me what a scumbag I was for being racist.

I know later you said that you were not calling me racist as per:

 ps. I don't blame you or "white people" for anything. I blame racists. Our racists happened to be white. It's sad but true.
. Yo I wasn't referring to you and I never called you racist. I love constructive criticism & that's why I replied to you.

I just want to go on record here that it did not seem to me or your supporters that you were not calling me racist. If the several hundred people instantly hating on me are anything to go on.

Now I know I am not a racist. I grew up in a multicultural society and I am in a very happy multicultural marriage. I have very close friendships with mates of all cultures and from several different continents.

I don't complain about BEE and I don't complain about AA. I understand the importance of them for our social development.  I'm pretty pissed off at the shoddy implementation and management of it that has lead to the creation of a cartel that monopolized most of the benefits of it.

I spend my free time getting involved in local politics to uplift my community. I am involved with charity work that supports several of the orphanages and townships in town. I know while doing all of this my skin colour counts against me. I know the impact that I can have to try uplift our society will be limited by the colour of my skin.

So what's the point of my post to you? I want you to know that there is a racism problem in South Africa, and its not just the whites. All groups and all cultures are doing it. Do not just focus on one cultural group. When you give your lecture/opinion at the end of the show perhaps you could direct it at everyone.

There are plenty of us whities in this country (the majority of us), that mean well and were brought up in the new South Africa. We are willing to live and die to grow this country and all its people. We are not racists. We have come very far in the last 20 years as a cultural group and are still improving.

At the end of the day South Africa is the cradle of ALL humanity. Every single human on the face of this planet has a great ancestor that originally came from South Africa. There is no one that should not be welcome or included in South Africa.

As the South African motto goes, "ǃke e: ǀxarra ǁke" - diverse people unite


Both Trevor and I have deleted our tweets but at least constructive dialog came out of this in the end.

 I've deleted that retweet because it was never meant to get people to attack you.


  1. Now that you've put your thoughts down in that way I can kind of understand where you're coming from. White people do get a lot of flack for being "racists". I often disagree with my own parents on this issue and have been told many times that I view the world with "rose-coloured" glasses and that I should open my eyes. However, there is a vast difference between commenting on race-related issues and having prejudices against people based solely on the race. It is latter that I would tend to consider as being racist. You are also correct in saying that not only white people are racist. As a coloured person, I have experienced many people in my community who have prejudices against black people.

    However, what I have experienced from my own group of friends is that it is definitely not true that all white people are racist, SOME white people are so far removed from the realities of black society and as a result of this, the comments which come from SOME white people often tend to indicate a lack of an ability to emphathize. The results of the 2011 Census are reflective of the very fact that the struggle is no where near over as yet.

    Many of our leaders are far from setting any kind of example for the rest of our nation as well, hiding behind the excuse of racism when subjected to any criticism. I've seen all Trevor Noah's shows now over the past few years and I don't believe he was highlighting "white racists" more than he spoke about Indians from Durban in Crazy Normal or Coloured people being "fighters" in Daywalker. All these are streotypes which he dared to bring to the fore of our discussions and the fact that it resulted in your reaction is exactly what this country needs and I would commend both you and Trevor for setting a platform for such a dialogue.

  2. Great post. Definitely highlights some true issues within South Africa. I have been studying in Europe with people from all over the world. It has opened my eyes to just how far we have to come to truly be united in our diversity. I love this country, and could not agree more on your reference to the cradle of human kind.

    South Africa has an incredible untapped potential. I just wish we had someone leading it that really realized this.

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