Whiteness in the new South Africa


By Willem Liebenberg

There is no doubt that the shelf life of affirmative action (RA) and black economic empowerment (SEB) as a tool to achieve racial equity is over.

Not only have the consequences of this reverse race-based discrimination through legislation in South Africa cost our economy very dearly. It also did not achieve anywhere near what it was designed to achieve – not in South Africa or even in the USA where the same type of policy was applied.

Eskom is probably the best example of that. Economic, operational and structural decay set in on a large scale and created and enriched only a handful of black elites. The average man on the street, who wanted to lift himself out of poverty, was extremely adversely affected.

White privilege

During a recent conversation with brown professors about transformation and RA, the issue of white privilege came up. It made me think again. The statement was made that as a white Afrikaner man and my family we find ourselves where we are today because of white privilege.

As a result, I went to read the full article by Kevin Leathem of Jeppe High School on white privilege. He sensitized white pupils to the issue of white privilege. Apparently, white privilege primarily created wealth for whites and was largely promoted by their awareness of whiteness. Whiteness seems to unlock certain rights, privileges and guarantees (in many cases immunity) reserved only for white people.

If white people work hard and are successful, it is mainly because of their whiteness. Therefore, RA is vital to increase the pool of competition and neutralize the impact of whiteness.

Apartheid is used as a starting point to strengthen this argument because only whites competed with whites in the historical past and blacks and browns were excluded. Black and brown’s efforts stood no chance of success. White people alone had the option to save and create wealth.

Whiteness dictates that white people should get priority in life. White people cannot distinguish their whiteness because they are constantly in a position of privilege. The comparison that is made is that a fish cannot distinguish that it is in the water. The starting point is that when white people compete for a particular position it is assumed that whites will get the position.

White people also have the privilege of exercising options. Blacks and browns are immediately viewed with suspicion if they were to apply for a job or compete in sports. In short, white people always get the benefit of the doubt simply because they are white.

What happened to this whiteness?

My question was what should whites do now with their whiteness. Should they feel bad, should they disappear, what should they do with their whiteness? The answer given during my conversation with the professors is whiteness should not be denied. Be grateful and acknowledge it, because whiteness provides an unconscious and unfair advantage to white people. So be aware of your whiteness and stand back.

In response to this I asked some penetrating questions. Can you choose what race you are born into? No, because it is a genetic heredity factor. If you are born white, are you immediately guilty of being white without having lifted a finger or done anything wrong?

May hard work be rewarded? Yes, provided you are aware of your whiteness and it is not elevated above blackness or brownness. This begs the question, who is really racist in the situation? You who simply try to live a good life through hard work and an ethically correct way of life and are unfortunately white, or rather those who constantly present race as an obstacle to rise above their circumstances?

Cultivated guilt

It is nothing other than a deliberate attempt to establish a permanent white consciousness of guilt in all white people. This is an absolute fallacy, because it ignores individual legal responsibility. The classification of races is now used as criteria to reserve certain opportunities and jobs purely on the basis of race. During apartheid it was considered an abomination. Yet the same application is now considered the new panacea for building a non-racial society.

What is the logic behind this fallacy? As the English proverb goes: “Two wrongs don’t make a right“.

Race, culture and character

Do I have the right to leave my culture as a legacy to my children in which good values, high work ethics, language, faith and traditions are central to this legacy? Or must my culture now be marginalized into an unwanted legacy because of white guilt? The traditional Western culture of “many whites” is further marginalized into a form of privilege that must be eradicated root and branch. After all, culture is shaped over many centuries by origin, work ethics, values, character, beliefs, customs, and so on. Is it now damned because of whiteness?

Character determines how any person reacts in difficult times and copes with the challenges of the times we live in and not race. Yet race is presented as privilege when white people rise under the same circumstances after 30 years of democracy, regardless of their character.

Therefore, it is suggested that a person will either always be a victim or will always be the party that causes victimhood purely on the basis of race. The issue of whiteness and white privilege is now used as a mechanism to justify and maintain eternal black and brown victimhood in order to create and maintain a false moral high ground.

This serves as the basis on which RA and BEE are based. The enforcement of racial quotas is the direct consequence of the contemporary horror in South African society. How can this still be morally justified?

Absurdity of whiteness

The most recent incident during the U16 Grant Khomo week where the WP team could not play in the final because players of color were injured and the coach was forced to use white players.

It exemplifies this new horror par excellence. What was these 15-year-old white players’ contribution to the historical past before 1994? Surely the answer to this question is, nothing! Why should there be redress against these young white players? Why are freeborn white students disadvantaged purely on the basis of race by being denied rights, opportunities, access to scholarships and courses and freedom of speech without being automatically labeled as racists? It simply illustrates the absurdity of whiteness.

Normalcy in sight?

When will the window period for RA and BEE close so that we as ordinary citizens of South Africa can all compete purely on merit for opportunities and jobs without imposing race as criteria? However, whiteness is used as a loophole in order to use white guilt manipulation to paralyze white people morally and psychologically and prevent them from actively participating in the larger society.

Flip Buys and Dirk Hermann of the Solidarity Movement have often taken the position that the biggest challenge currently is to create equal opportunities. Outcomes will never be equal because of the uniqueness of each person. Enforcing equal outcomes is nothing but the application of communist drug policy where equality must be enforced at all costs in every area. Hard work and creativity are inhibited by enforcing equal outcomes.

Is white excellence and creativity inhibited by induced white guilt after 30 years of democracy? The answer is an unequivocal yes! It is a recognized fact that more and more white people are emigrating to Western countries because they are judged there mainly on merit. RA and SEB are not so strictly applied there and the idea of ​​whiteness plays a much smaller role abroad.

For me, as a Christian, white guilt also makes a total mockery of Christ Jesus’ death on the cross that freed all people from sin. Christ Jesus therefore died only for blacks and browns, because white people are forever guilty because of their mere whiteness. It completely undoes white people’s acquittal through Christ Jesus’ death on the cross.

The irony is that recognition of diversity can unlock human potential regardless of race. Whiteness, however, stands squarely against diversity and places white people under permanent false moral and psychological house arrest.

Transformation with race as a basic starting point is simply the basis of forced white guilt. Transformation doesn’t inspire, it inhibits! It does not unlock potential regardless of race, but limits growth and creativity among black and brown people because virtually all failures are projected onto white guilt.

It is time to look soberly and honestly at the issue and establish a merit-driven free democracy. Race should be thrown in the trash where it belongs.