Zille unleashed

David Bullard writes on the white privilege/black privilege social media firestorm


Now Helen Zille has finally shaken off the shackles of high political office it has enabled her to attempt to educate her fellow citizens with some stark home truths based on a lifetime of political experience. The newly liberated Helen grabbed the attention of the Twitterati last weekend with her suggestion that if white privilege exists then black privilege also exists; particularly among the rather lackluster members of the ruling party who are quite happy to draw their vast taxpayer sponsored salaries, claim as many perks as possible then sit back and wait for the kickbacks to roll in; in short, “black privilege” is being able to loot a country and get re-elected she explained.

For those of you who have yet to hear the siren call of Twitter let me explain. It’s rather like fly fishing in a way. You think up a provocative tweet, put it out on social media and then go off to make a cup of coffee. By the time you’ve come back, and if your tweet is provocative enough, you’ll have caught a motley collection of replies, retweets and likes to peruse. Then the trick is to respond to the hostile replies with an even more hostile put down and before you know it a few hours have passed, the coffee has got cold and a whole load of people you never heard of before have called you a racist or a bigot and told you to get out of the country.

I have to doff my cap to Helen here because her mastery of the art is truly something to behold. She is the Serena Williams of Twitter. She has the power with a single tweet to upset every snowflake, bedwetter and woke virtue signaler south of whatever Mafeking is called these days. The “black privilege” one even had Thuli Madonsela demanding a retraction and an apology; something I found odd for a former public protector who one might have thought welcomed open debate.

After all, if this terrible thing called white privilege exists then surely it’s reasonable to assume something called black privilege also exists in our country after 25 years of ANC rule. Helen’s tweet was so successful that even the minister of finance took time off from drinking his lunchtime whisky and monitoring the inflation rate to beg “sis” Helen to stay away from Twitter for a day.

Fortunately for all of us she ignored his advice and proceeded to dispense good, sound common sense to the masses, most of whom were simply too thick to comprehend what she was talking about. I often find the same thing in my Twitter interactions and sometimes wish that people whose stock reaction is “WOW, that’s so racist” could be rounded up and forced to take a qualifying exam before being let loose again on Twitter.

The reason people got so hot under the collar about the idea of black privilege is that for some while there has been an identity politics narrative going around that only whites can be privileged and that’s jolly well not fair. So if some blacks could also be privileged it would be even-stevens and we would have to imagine a new type of victimhood. Since it’s taken lefties this long to dream up the whole thing about white privilege that would put unnecessary pressure on their already overtaxed brains.

So what is white privilege? Well, it’s the privilege you automatically get by being born into a white skin. That’s not something you can do much about unless you want to risk a melanoma under the tanning lamp but the great thing about white privilege is that it allows the enemy to be easily identified in these socially turbulent times. Rather like a football jersey it makes you easily recognizable when the time for a bit of racial aggro comes around.

Oddly, many “woke” whites on Twitter and in the media also go on about the unfairness of white privilege presumably in the hopes that their miserable pale skins will be spared when the great day of judgment comes. They say how disgusting it is that white people can go into a shop and nobody will think they are a shoplifter, and that white privilege owners get all the best jobs and are paid more than everyone else. What irks them most though is that these white privilege owners don’t even know they’re privileged. Because of their long history of colonialism and being top dog they have this insufferable attitude of entitlement. In short, it’s all because of something called “historical entitlement” and I don’t suppose it helps matters when they look at frescoes in old Italian churches and find out that God is white too.

Now, speaking for myself, I can’t find much not to like about white privilege (particularly as I never knew I had it) but that’s probably because I am not very woke. Since I discovered it though I have thoroughly enjoyed not being mistaken for a shoplifter, having restaurants blithely assume that I can pay the bill at the end of the evening and being able to demand prompt service in my local Department of Home Affairs. It’s added a whole new dimension to my life.

The only thing that puzzles me is what I’m supposed to do to make amends for this socially unacceptable albatross which has been hung around my neck. I can’t change the colour of my skin and it’s obviously not easily transferable. I had thought of having a privilegectomy which would involve surgeons removing layers of subcutaneous white privilege from me and donating it to someone less fortunate. But medical science hasn’t advanced that far alas and, besides, my medical team tell me that it grows back very quickly.

No, I am just going to have to join fellow sufferers at the clubhouse, open a good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, and rejoice in the fact that, finally, I’m a victim of sorts.


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