Talk of white priv­i­lege makes no sense

The Star Late Edition - - LETTERS -

ON MAY 14 DA leader Mmusi Maimane ad­dressed a meet­ing in Dur­ban. Quite rightly he stated that black ad­vance­ment would not be achieved by fo­cus­ing on and blam­ing the past. But then he re­sorted to mak­ing crit­i­cal com­ments about so-called white priv­i­lege. Why?

Whites were cer­tainly priv­i­leged un­der apartheid. But the main props of apartheid – Group Ar­eas, sep­a­rate schools and job reser­va­tion – were aban­doned by 1991. That was over a quar­ter of a cen­tury ago.

Since that time whites have lost what­ever priv­i­leges they had. And whites born since 1994 are, in fact, less priv­i­leged than blacks be­cause of af­fir­ma­tive ac­tion and de­mo­graphic cri­te­ria ap­plied to em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Mr Maimane needs to ex­plain how I, as a white, am priv­i­leged to­day. I pay rates and taxes. I face the same risks in terms of crime as any­one else. My costs of liv­ing are no dif­fer­ent from any­one else’s.

My rights un­der the con­sti­tu­tion are no dif­fer­ent from any­one else’s. My vote is no more sig­nif­i­cant than any­one else’s vote.

So where’s the “white priv­i­lege”, Mr Maimane?

It is dif­fi­cult to avoid the con­clu­sion that by talk­ing about so-called white priv­i­lege the ob­jec­tive is to cre­ate a sur­ren­der com­plex.

Whites are just 9% of the pop­u­la­tion. It is im­pos­si­ble for that mi­nor­ity to up­lift the black ma­jor­ity.

Even if ev­ery white gave away half his/her prop­erty or in­come, it would make no ma­te­rial dif­fer­ence to the mass of black poverty. In any case, there are whites to­day liv­ing in squat­ter camps; oth­ers are liv­ing on the mar­gins of des­ti­tu­tion.

This so-called white privi- lege is­sue is a mis­nomer and a red her­ring which the DA leader has copied from the ANC in a per­verse at­tempt to gain black votes.

The DA used to be very dif­fer­ent from the ANC. Clear blue wa­ter, they said, dis­tin­guished the DA from the ANC.

Well, not any more. Un­til the DA for­mu­lates merit as its cor­ner­stone pol­icy, it will be seen as merely the mod­er­ate ver­sion of the ANC just like the old United Party was the mod­er­ate ver­sion of the Na­tional Party. Dr Dun­can du Bois Bluff, Dur­ban

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