NEWS & ANALYSIS

The wrath of black racialists

Ernst Roets on how race fanatics have come to dominate the 'racism' debate

The wrath of black racists: “Nobody knows what the hell to do”

At the recent Black Entertainment Television (BET) award ceremony, the Grey’s Anatomy actor Jesse Williams launched a scathing attack on white people:

We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil – black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is though… the thing is that just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.

The crowd went mad and the speech is praised far and wide. Even Justin Timberlake proclaimed to his 55 million Twitter followers that the words of Jesse Williams had inspired him.

What Timberlake most probably did not expect was the floods of anger aimed at him via social media. How dared he associate himself with black people if he’s not even black himself? Timberlake initially tried to give context by answering that we should realise that we were all the same – but this only exacerbated things. Shortly thereafter, he stated on Twitter that he had been misunderstood and that he had truly been inspired by Williams’ speech. He apologised humbly to all Williams’ fans whom he had hurt with his statement that he also supported Williams.

But Justin Timerlake wasn’t the only one to have endured anger. Jesse Williams himself fell victim to the American group Black Lives Matter’s anger. How dared Williams – a black person with a lighter complexion – air his views on the rights of black people? Williams wasn’t black enough to understand the pain of truly black people, and he should therefore not talk about it… or something to that effect.

The whole story may seem absurd, but for us here at the southernmost tip of Africa it may not seem too strange. To tell the truth: The type of disillusionment that Justin Timberlake encountered is experienced often enough in South Africa. An example of these include the infamous black face scandals. Two students from the University of Stellenbosch recently went to a fancy-dress party dressed up as Venus and Serena Williams.

Photos of this “atrocity” hit the social media scene and the media took over.  “Black face scandal hits Stellenbosch” one newspaper proclaimed. Long story short: The students were disillusioned and, just like Timberlake, had to apologise in public for their actions.

The racists are growing angrier

These types of actions are truly worrisome. It seems as if black racists – who parade under the banner of human rights activists – grow more aggressive: not only in their statements, but in their frame of reference as a whole. As such we see a growing degree of disapproval under black activists in the USA for their greatest hero, Martin Luther King. King had been too “peaceful”, while inciters of violence, like Malcom X, are increasingly held as the true heroes.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Even in South Africa we hear that the EFF and its splinter groups – like the #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall activists – are saying more and more that Nelson Mandela had been a traitor because he had tried too hard to make peace and had not taken enough from the white people. Other radical heroes are praised anew in South Africa.  

Racism not so common, though

And yet, scientific studies often find that racism in South Africa is not as bad as these activists make it out to be. An indiscriminate study commissioned by the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR), for example, found that only 4,7% of all South Africans perceive racism and xenophobia as the country’s greatest unresolved issue.

Almost 60% of black South Africans believe that race relations have improved since 1994, whereas 77% believe that sport teams should be selected based on merit and that quotas should not play any role. The study’s most astonishing finding is that 79,4% of black (i.e. black African) South Africans indicated that they do not experience any racism!

Although the SAIRR’s integrity is way above reproach, these figures differ completely with those that modern race merchants try to present as the truth. Race merchants are people who shape their career by pretending that racism is South Africa’s greatest crisis and then attempt to present themselves as the heroes in the battle against (especially white) racism.

The careers of race merchants depend on you and me believing that South Africa is overflowing with racism and that they have the solutions. Therefore, so they believe, we should buy their books, vote for them or obtain them as speakers at your event (wink-wink).

Absurdity reaches a new low

We also see that the absurdity of these arguments often reach a new low, for example the woman from #FeesMustFall who told me on e.tv that she couldn’t breathe when she heard the name Mandela (the so-called betrayer of the black people), or that it was racist for an Afrikaans-speaking person to compliment a black person on their Afrikaans, or that white people sometimes mispronounce black people’s names because they were in essence racist. She concluded with the remark: “And I can guarantee you that that has never happened to Ernst.” And then pronounced my name as “Eh-Nehst”.

Maybe the most absurd argument is that of the race merchant Eusebius McKaiser who basically argued that apartheid should be blamed for the cruel murders that black South Africans commit against black foreigners. His argument holds that black people never knew what violence was before white people arrived and that apartheid and colonialism taught black people that they can use violence against one another. He writes:

Colonialism and apartheid have tragically damaged the moral compasses of many black South Africans. This is why we show a reduced humanity towards fellow Africans.

I assume that McKaiser has never heard of Mzilikazi or the Mfecane.

It is this same aggression – combined with the most absurd arguments conceivable – which results in rational white and black people withdrawing from the racism debate.

The “holy” fury

It seems, however, that these arguments are tolerated simply because rational people want to avoid the verbal violence which they expose themselves to when they dare to express their opinions – especially if they are white or not black enough.  

This sort of fury expressed by modern black racists can be described in a certain sense as wrath rather than simply aggression. Wrath does not imply normal fury, but rather refers to a godly or holy fury. It is a type of fury to which you may not or cannot reply because the person who expresses it is untouchable and you, as a result of your sinful nature, have no right to speak out against it. And if you dare to do so, you will be punished for your sins. At least, this is how today’s black racists see the situation.  

This is why Dinesh D’Souza declared in the preamble to his book The End of Racism that he wasn’t white and that the colour of his skin had given him a measure of immunity to talk about racism with a degree of confidence – something that would have been virtually impossible for white people. 

The sociologist Christopher Jencks summed up the situation quite eloquently:

Many blacks are angry and many liberals are frustrated. Nobody knows what the hell to do.

Ernst Roets is deputy CEO of AfriForum. Follow Ernst on Twitter at @ernstroets

This article first appeared on MaroelaMedia.co.za