Racism is discrimination directed against someone of different race base on the belief that one’s own race is superior or better than the other race. To tolerate is to allow things to be done without prohibition. Tolerating racism is an act of allowing discrimination against someone of a different race to happen without trying anything to stop it or to prevent it from happening. Tolerating racism is racism because you see a wrong thing happening and you don’t do anything about it.
Tata Nelson Mandela fought for us to have an equal opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness regardless of your own skin colour. The arrival of democracy and freedom in our country was to improve the spirit of humanity amongst all. Tolerating racism is racism and it is an act of disrespect to Tata Madiba because we are doing what he wouldn’t have tolerated. yes, I agree that Tata has left but his legacy will live forever. It is said that our country is a rainbow nation where people of different cultures, races and religions live together in harmony but racism is still happening and there are people who support it.
“I have found beauty in my blackness that I am willing to defend, a beauty that I will not allow to be contained or stifled. I refuse to succumb to the notion that I must hide my hair, bleach my skin or make apologies for the way I sound when I speak.” says auther Nkateko Masinga in her book titled ‘The sin in my blackness.’
I have learned from Nkateko Masinga that we don’t have to do racism or allow people to do it to us. We have to be proud of whom we are and be unapologetic about the way we sound when we speak. At times, we may not be able to pronounce words the way that they expect us to or the way that they taught us to but we don’t have to be ashamed of ourselves.
We have tolerated racism so much that we no longer see beauty in our blackness. We describe ourselves as ugly when we didn’t hide our hair with hair that is long, soft and straight like theirs. We say we are ugly when we are natural. I have much respect for women who stay in their afro hair and who stay in their dread locks. And this is what I would love to say to them “African woman, you are beautiful.” our mothers’ used to say black is beautiful. I was going to be happy if we all going to say the same than wasting money by bleaching our skins trying to change who we are. Then tell me, how do we expect people to accept us the way we are when we struggle to accept ourselves?
We are even scared to walk in towns without our sisters holding our hands because we don’t want to end up accidentally pushing someone of a different skin colour. Who already has her face frowned on you even though you didn’t do anything wrong. Sometimes we are greeted with a fake smile that last for few seconds and changes to a face that looks like there’s a smell of a dead dog. it’s hard for them to join us in a restaurant they would rather choose another place to eat than to share a table with someone who looks like us.
Racism is everywhere. Even in schools children are constantly asked to behave well when there is a white teacher who’s coming for a visit in their class. That gives children the mentality that white teachers are better than their black teachers.
In most private companies black graduates report to white matriculants. It is hard for a black person to have a higher position in companies. They would rather take a white person who does not meet the requirements than taking a black person who meets all their requirements. Most of the time whites earn more than blacks even if they can be in the same position, doing the same job and having the same title. Where is equality on that? It is worse when people get to job website such as indeed looking for a job and come across a post that ends with “preferably white”.
One of the social media writers groups was discussing an issue of white writers supporting black writers and black writers supporting white writers. It was sad to find out that her book was making sales because of her name and surname. And it stopped selling as soon as most people realized that the author of that book is actually a black person. So the debate was that, is it a good idea for a black writer to put her biography on the book or not? And the conclusion was, although you need support from all races. You just need to be unapologetic about who you are.
The way we support racism we even think that other people are better or more fortunate because they are friends with white people. We celebrate them when they are falling into relationships with white people. But to me whether you are white or black a friendship is a friendship and a relationship is a relationship. After all we are all human and nothing will make you greater than others just because you made a baby with a white person. We are all equal. All of us our blood is red, and after a long run of life all of us our hair will go grey. And we have to be treated the same way.
So often there are videos that flow on social media about a white person who can fluently speak Sesotho language or other African languages either than English and Afrikaans. When there is no even a single video about a black person who is speaking English fluently. Sesotho is one of our 11 official languages and it a good thing they are learning as much as we do. We are proud of them, but the question is, are they proud of us?
So many times I’ve heard whites people making jokes by calling black people monkeys. One day my sister got back from work and she was angry. when I asked her why she was angry she explained to me that one of the senior white people where she worked wanted to count how many they were and instead of asking them politely he said “ I want to see how many monkeys are in this zoo” most blacks laughed. Laughing when you are called a monkey is tolerating racism and tolerating racism is racism.
The first step in ending racism is to stop toleration it. Like our leaders did in the past let’s fight for freedom. We can’t tolerate racism knowing that our heroes and heroines fought for freedom, a better life for all. They did their part, now it’s up to us to do ours. We can’t allow racism to be a balloon that floats inside a glass of wine. We are here to build a better tomorrow for the next generation. Racism is just a word with six letters and it is sad that those six letters are killing the whole world.