The out-of-touch professor

The Liberal Revolution responds to Anthony Butler’s Business Day diatribe:

Anthony Butler’s racist invective is undeserved of the modicum of respect it has received through its publication on Monday. His tortured self-flagellation – perhaps an attempt to curry favour with the ruling party – manifests itself in a way that depicts an entire ethnic group as reactionary ostriches contemplating their irrelevance inside their barricaded communities.

If Butler were to take his own head out of the sand he might see a very different picture from the jaundiced one he paints. On the train commute into Cape Town each day I am by no means the only white; I also see many white faces inside minibus taxis. The selfsame gated communities he mentions are far from lily-white, either, with many denizens of the black middleclass living in them too.

Contrary to Butler’s assertion, whites are far from being absent from public life. A cursory glance through most newspapers reveals that “pale natives” play a valuable contribution in business, politics, civil society, the judiciary – and even government.

Race – especially amongst the younger generation – is increasingly an irrelevance. Factors like age, culture, language and geographic location all play a far greater role in influencing the perceptions and behaviour held by individuals. To tar every white person with the same brush is outdated, inaccurate and patently delusional.

If South Africa’s public service crisis does not worry whites as Butler suggests, then why did a bunch of expatriate whiteys establish the Starfish Foundation – which raises millions of rands for Aids orphans each year? Starfish is by no means atypical, and organisations, such as those from UCT and other former bastions of white privilege, have massive outreach programmes for impoverished communities.

It is my sincere wish that someone subscribes this out-of-touch professor to Business Day before ignorance consumes him.


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