Wel­come to the club

Finweek English Edition - - Letters - AL-AMEEN KAFAAR

PLEASE AL­LOW ME to wel­come Muller van den Berg (Let­ters, 18 Jan­uary 2007) to the club. As a black man I had to en­dure, and still am en­dur­ing un­fair, bi­ased and prej­u­diced treat­ment sim­ply be­cause of the colour of my skin.

I’ve had to en­dure it since I can re­mem­ber and for some rea­son or the other it doesn’t seem to go away. Get­ting into a lift with a white wo­man I’m at times pretty sure I can see her anx­i­ety about be­ing in a con­fined space with a po­ten­tial rapist, mo­lester, mug­ger or any­thing crim­i­nal in her eyes.

Con­fir­ma­tion of my sus­pi­cion nor­mally comes when an­other white per­son en­ters the lift and when the wo­man – not too ob­vi­ously, but ob­vi­ously enough – gives a sigh of re­lief. At the same time, her anx­i­ety grows sub­stan­tially if an­other black man gets into the lift.

It’s also funny how white peo­ple, of­ten walk­ing their dogs, be­come an ap­pendage if I walk around one of those last pristinely white – well, al­most – re­served laager type of sub­urbs in Cape Town. I’m nor­mally not sure if I’m be­ing fol­lowed be­cause of my crim­i­nal looks or be­cause, as a po­ten­tial home­owner in the area, the tail­ing is to dis­cour­age me from buy­ing there. Rest as­sured that what­ever the mo­tive was it didn’t work.

Though it doesn’t hap­pen as fre­quently as a decade ago, be­ing dogged by du­bi­ous treat­ment be­cause of what I think is my black skin still oc­curs. There­fore, Mr Muller, you have my sym­pa­thies.

How­ever, look on the bright side. From the pic­ture of the is­sue you made ref­er­ence to you can as­sume that within 10 years you could re­tire. So cheer up, Sir. The worst sce­nario is be­ing sub­jected to this un­fair tag­ging for an­other decade.

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