Ek het ‘n stuk deur Verashni Pillay gelees wat sy vir die Mail & Guardian geskryf het onder die titel “Six things white people have that blacks don’t”
Ek het die stuk gelees en teen my beterwete besluit om self ook daaroor iets te skryf. Wie ookal my stuk lees, ek stel voor dat jy eers haar stuk lees en dan myne. Ek het net besluit om lekker te krap waar dit baie jeuk…
I am writing this in response to a piece written on “Six things that white people have that black people don’t.” I want to stress the fact that I am not starting a discussion; merely giving my point of view on this subject from a white perspective. I also want to stress the fact that I am not a racist; I am a classist. I only associate with people with the same moral and other values as me, irrespective of their colour, sex, and financial situation.
Ayn Rand, a Russian-American philosopher, once said: “Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think.”
Adrian Pierce Rogers, an American pastor, also said the following:
• You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
• What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
• The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
• When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”
Albert Einstein said:
• The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.
• The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.
• You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.
Mahatma Ghandi said:
• The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
• You must be the change you want to see in the world.
• No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.
1. In 1652, Jan van Riebeeck was sent by his government of the day to explore the possibility of establishing a halfway post on the southern African coast. Nothing was going on in the country although there were already people living here. What started then resulted in a flourishing country with endless possibilities for those who wanted to think and work hard.
My own great-grandparents arrived in the late 1800’s with nothing but a bag with clothes and a few pennies, to start a new life in this beautiful country.
During the time from 1899 to 1902, the Anglo-Boer war was fought. Almost a whole nation was wiped out by the British – women and children put in concentration camps where they either died of starvation or sickness, men were killed on the battle fields, farms were burnt to the ground and livestock was killed. After the war, whoever remained returned to nothing. No farm, no livestock, nothing. There was nothing to fall back on – most people were in the same situation. What the people did however was to pull themselves up from the nothingness and start over. Companies like Santam, Sanlam, Naspers, Remgro, Richemont, Shoprite, Iscor, Sasol, etc. were founded post the Anglo-Boer war without ANY assistance or hand-me-ups.
So to say that most white South Africans have had it easy and that there was always someone to bail them out or get them started is farfetched – by thinking and working hard, wealth arose. We don’t blame the Anglo-Boer war for everything that goes wrong in our lives!
2. The average white South African lives from the hand to the mouth due to exorbitant tax rates, levies on almost everything, e-tolls, education and so forth. Very few have family in high-level positions who can hand out the so-called advice, mentorship and hand-me-ups. Mostly they also just endeavour to give their children the best they can afford, which is not always a lot. They also, on average, think about not having too many children. You must also take into account that a very small percentage of our population has to carry the economy of this whole country. If you end up in a position of wealth due to your upbringing and hard work, you have definitely earned it! And this pertains to everyone in this world.
A Scott founded tarred roads; the Americans founded the computer and flew to the moon, the Chinese founded gunpowder, the Germans founded automation, and so I can carry on and it was done because someone thought about it, not because there was a hand-me-up.
3. As mentioned in 2. above, white people don’t normally have more children than what they can afford to have. Advertisements, social media, radio, and television has contributed immensely towards the enlightenment about good nutrition, early childhood development, language skills, etc. Schools are teaching and have been since even before 1994 the importance of all the above. If after 20 odd years, people haven’t started to think about this, when will they ever? And why should anyone be punished because their parents think about life in general?
4. Have you ever experienced people’s attitude towards disabled people? People refusing to be associated with any kind of disability because it doesn’t fit their picture of the perfect world? Their parking bays are occupied by non-disabled and if you should dare say something about it, you are immediately cursed for being a racist. Get off that chip on your shoulder – it is sometimes just as bad to be white when you are constantly accused of being a racist just because you are white.
Perceptions arise when scenarios play over and over again. Service delivery for example has gone for a nosedive since BEE was incepted. Stop proving everyone’s perceptions right.
To give an example: we have had a domestic worker for 17 years. Seventeen years of being treated as a family member, where she was taught how to cook healthy food, about childhood upbringing, given remedial tutoring to her son, she got a house and everything she needed to live comfortably, a pension, medical, she was told about economics, and was given all the “upliftment” anyone can dream of. What did we get in return? She stole more from us than I earn in a year. So forgive me if I am a bit presumptuous!
Start accepting the fact that we are different – different cultures, language and whatever and stop comparing yourself to other races. Do what you do with pride; eat your chicken or whatever it is that you like. We also eat chicken. Some of us can also not swim. Some of us also have names we wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves but we accept that and move on, even if people joke about it or mispronounce it.
You cannot insist on practising your cultural ways and then blame white people and apartheid if you are deprived of opportunities.
5. None of the family members in my previous generations had either a car paid off by someone else or a degree fully paid for. In fact, very few had degrees or cars! My father worked part time and managed to get a student loan and had no financial support from his family. In fact, my father signed surety for my grandfather to buy a tractor and after his studies, my grandfather was declared bankrupt. My father had to still pay off his studies and then for a tractor that had no use anymore. And he did not have a car.
My husband also worked to pay for his own studies. And so I can go on.
6. Due to the downward spiral of the Rand, most white South Africans nowadays also have to support their parents.
There is a saying: “Give a man a fish and he has food for a day. Teach him to fish and he has food for a lifetime.” Experience also tells us that when you get something for nothing, you don’t appreciate it. And this is relevant to everyone – not black people only!
So much has been done over the centuries and so much is still being done to “uplift” people. And this is where the thinking-part comes in. Should you sit down and really think about it, you will realise that the current government has done much more harm than apartheid has done. Who will be blamed once all resources, natural and otherwise, have been obliterated? Apartheid? The white people?
During apartheid mostly everything worked – hospitals, schools, government departments, etc. You cannot blame someone for not being able to go to school if you burn it down. You cannot blame apartheid and whites if your schoolbooks are not delivered on time. You cannot blame apartheid and whites if you have to compete with fifty odd million people for your spot in the sun. You can however blame your government for taking from the wealthy and hardworking and instead of handing out to the less privileged, putting it into their own pockets! Parliament makes empty promises and because people don’t think, they keep on voting those back into parliament!
“Freedom” comes with responsibility. It means there are laws to abide by. Rules to adhere to. Taking responsibility for your own life and not always expecting someone else to do it for you. To stop always pointing the finger at someone else for your misery. To think about it and to do something about it. How you live your life is a choice; you choose if you want to let the sadness of your upbringing or lack thereof stand in your way to succeed in life.
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