During the past few weeks I seem to have spawned a fan club of charming individuals who leave comments on my Thought Leader blog informing me that because I am white I have no right to tackle issues such as the Zimbabwean crisis.
It’s interesting because they don’t demand that I censor myself on the basis of the points that I’m making. In fact few – if any – of those who tell me this have actually bothered to contest my assertions. Instead my white skin marks me out – apparently – as a colonialist, an imperialist and a racist. It’s sad that that’s the best they can come up with. But furthermore it points to how endemic racialised discourse and thinking is.
“Race” is an artificial construct, invented by the perpetrators of western hegemony in days gone by. They thought that by “othering” people perceived to be ethnoculturally “different”, they could then create a justification for slavery and colonisation.
So, when I am told to shut up because of the colour of my skin – or if I’m labelled a racist because of it – it shows that these accusers remain chained and colonised by antiquated western hegemonic discourse.
These racists remain trapped in a worldview consisting of crude racial binaries that were constructed, ironically, by the racial supremacists they so vociferously claim to oppose.
Racism, from whatever quarter, needs to be exorcised. It won’t be, so long as people remain imprisoned by outdated and faulty racialised absolutes – poisonous relics from an altogether less liberated age.
Factors like age, culture, language, education and geographic location undoubtedly influence people’s perceptions, thinking and behaviour. Skin colour – or “race” – does not. It is unfortunate that there are those who cannot seem to look beyond their blinding bigotry and understand this fundamental reality.
It is time to look beyond race, to challenge and, if needs be attack, arguments and opinions according to their merit and veracity – not according to the colour of the skin of the person who dared suggest them.