LITERALLY YOURS alex tabisher Live courageously
IF I DESCRIBED someone as well-spoken but shy, fully trustworthy and dependable and an example to all who come within his aura, you would be suitably and correctly impressed.
The description provides reassurance that there are adherents to the basic values of good citizenship.
If I added that he was black, would that alter your reception? Even in the most minuscule way?
Would you be honest enough to say that your initial reaction to the values described were instinctively adjusted, then quickly re-adjusted to patch the fissures in your first response?
This is not a test for anything. It is just a realistic admission that we are almost irreparably damaged by inflicted categories, be they racial, gender or social.
The fact that we state our readiness to accept differences, accommodate “otherness” and, à la Thabo Mbeki, relish in our diversity is just questionable expediency. We need to face the facts as they present themselves and move from there.
For me, redefining what is relevant is the way to go.
We tend to judge and treat everything against a white, entrenched and non-negotiable model.
If a white man seeks a darker skin by exposure to the summer sun, it is macho and acceptable.
If a black man seeks to lighten h is skin via chemicals or whatever else is available, the exercise is judged less generously.
Qof the other.
Another little test would be what I call the “tipping” scale. Do you find that you adjust your generosity upwards or downwards depending on whether the mendicant is white, black or coloured? (Are there Indian beggars in Cape Town?). Does increased pigment result in reduced generosity? It requires some courage to apply this test rigorously. Of course, one can see where this is going. We have laws forcing employment offers based on race. We have inflated salaries to attempt to level the material inequities. We have misplaced workers who suffer more as a result of political correctness instead of filling suitable niches in the job market. In gatherings we have ethnic nesting.
Granted, this could be for protection and comfort.
A herd instinct.
But we should not define ourselves against (an)other template.
It is my personal conviction that we should evaluate and assess ourselves honestly and buy into that value.
We should be sensitive to patronage that is only expedient.
Be brave. Be who you are.