A Poem: Whiteness by brett “Fish anderson

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A Poem: Whiteness by brett “Fish anderson

I am whiteness

I will not condescend to your infuriating attempts to single me out as the single biggest cause of all your problems

 

I am whiteness

You had better believe that everything I have is due to hard work and persistence

After all, the silver spoon in my mouth that I was born with had ugly flecks of bronze all over its handle

Who in their right mind would be satisfied with that? I know I wasn’t.

So I complained loud enough and I got them to bring me a clean one.

 

I am whiteness

And we really need to stop talking about race and move on

Come on, it’s been 24 years already

Can’t we give ourselves a pat on the back and have a glass of champagne and celebrate already

Everybody grab a glass off the tray that is being delicately held out to you by the nearest person of colour

And let’s toast our rainbow future together

But not TOO loud, because we don’t talk that way when we’re in good company

 

What’s that? You’re still complaining?

Well no surprises there because “you people” “those people” they” them” are never satisfied

I tell you what, why don’t you write all your grievances down

Here, use this pink skin-coloured crayon and let me know what else you still want me to do

Honestly, you’d think giving you a nice english name and learning to say “hello” in your language would suffice

But no, let me entertain this, get it all out once and for all

I’ve got an extra-large pink skin-coloured band-aid that I’m sure I can stretch across the whole thing

So I don’t have to see it haemorrhaging black pain all over my nice new carpets that i just had washed.

 

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of white tears

I will feel no fragility

For my Neighbourhood watch whatsapp group is with me

A detailed description of the location of every BM and CM within two hundred meters of my house comforts me

 

I am whiteness

But you might recognise me by any one of my other guises

Defensiveness

Name-calling

Misdirection

Exception-raising

Not all white peopling

Fear-mongering

Persecuted

Shaggying… [after all, everyone knows, it wasn’t me!]

Or my own personal favourite,

White Genocide

[you know, the belief that the 91% of people in this country have been oh so useless with their intentions of eliminating the other 9%]

 

I am whiteness

And i have made your land my home

I will not be dislodged

Not by happy thoughts or good intentions or even hard work

No hand holding or singing around the fireplace or having that black friend

Not even a well-choreographed multiple harmonied belted-out rendition of Kumbaya

 

No, i will need to be dismantled

Pulled down

Fought against

Destroyed

Actively worked against

In word and thought and deed

Every. Single. Day.

Maybe even for generations

Certainly for longer than this one

Continues to breathe its apartheid-flecked air

But fortunately (for me) none of this can happen

Will happen

While you continue to hold your head under the sand

And cough out in desperation that I don’t exist

 

 

By |2018-06-21T14:13:53+00:00June 21st, 2018|#NotOnOurWatch, poems and other creativity, race vibes|17 Comments

About the Author:

Brett Fish is a lover of life, God, tbV [the beautiful Valerie] and owns the world's most famous stuffed dolphin, No_bob (who doesn't bob). He believes that we are all responsible for making the world a significantly better place for everyone.

17 Comments

  1. Jenna June 25, 2018 at 9:10 am - Reply

    Many people say there was no actual country before colonialism. The khoisan chief said western Cape must be independent. What do you think of this? Borders are colonial so they should be changed. Before colonialism the land was divided among tribes. So let’s go back to that then? Look to Lesotho, it was a made up colonial country. Swaziland same thing. Who knows if there is a solution. I am not sure because of the huge amount of poor with large families. Even most middle class whites are losing jobs and nobody seems to have money. You should call out Julius malema for even speaking about white slaughter. That is sick. Is it really black land? Maybe Zulu land in Natal? Transkei for xhosa. But you oversimplifiy maybe here. What do you say whites must do? Put up shacks in the garden? You see nobody knows what solution there is with black population doubling every 15 years now. I wish to help but what to do? What you think of separate countries in SA?

    • brettfish June 25, 2018 at 10:22 am - Reply

      hey Jenna, i think regardless of the comments about colonialism and borders that it is quite obvious with not much work to see the general inequality that continues to exist between white and everyone else in this country so that is definitely a place to start. But when i talk about whiteness that is more than just being white [which is not a problem and nothing to be ashamed of] but rather the created belief that white is better and that is something that needs to be tackled and dismantled and there is still so much work to be done there. Oversimplification is saying that the black population is doubling every fifteen years [which sounds made up anyways] but once we can create more equal and safer spaces we will see a lot of consequences of poverty and inequality wiped out. It’s about care and compassion.

      Separate countries in South Africa with different races in them is a horrible idea – so much to miss out on what each other have to offer and bring to the party. We need to learn to embrace difference not fear it.

  2. greg June 25, 2018 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    I admire your optimism, but feel you are a little uninformed. Separate countries is good – we already do have separate countries for a reason. They just need to be made smaller so people can self-govern based on their own cultures. South Africa is huge, about the size of many European countries. It should be more smaller localized governments.

    Or should Africa be just one big country? Why must we be ruled? Why not small self governing towns? You govern your household right?

    In Natal, everything is owned by the king. So that is an example you need to think about. I don’t want a king owning my house. Nobody wants that.

    • brettfish June 25, 2018 at 1:05 pm - Reply

      i’m not sure how you arrived at ‘uninformed’ just because i have a different opinion to you – i was speaking specifically to someone who it sounded like wanted to advocate separate countries for different races and i am hands down against that. Borders are artificial absolutely which bring about all sorts of complicated issues but in South Africa the provinces largely operate to some extent as separate countries just like the individual states do [to some extent] in America. i don’t know that there is any way of it not becoming a complex thing cos people – on paper self governing towns probably feels good but at the same time that could lead to a whole lot of crazy with pockets of racism in south africa much stronger in some areas than others… but worth thinking more deeply on for sure.

  3. greg June 26, 2018 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Perhaps you are not “uninformed”, but rather possibly, “misinformed” or we are “misunderstanding” each other? We do have different opinions, that is good. I don’t think we should have separate countries for separate races. That would be a little difficult to do. I think there are some big problems coming up and I must at least let you know (in case you do not already know) about the following concerns:

    The rhetoric and war-mongering of Julius. A man who frequently changes with the wind. One day he supports Zuma, one day he wears red overalls, the next Breitling watches and Armani. He is nothing but a politician who is getting the poor to do his dirty work. He wants to be the president and he does not care if there is a war here. Do you really think someone who bought a house say in 1998 and paid off a bond for 20 years on a small house will be happy with just giving it up, not being able to ever sell it, not owning the small piece of land? It doesn’t work like that. People will fight to defend their property, lives and families. Its just how it is! No two ways about it! There is plenty of land, and more than enough for everyone as most do not even want to farm and toil land. Thankfully there are millions of black people who are educated and understand that this would lead to a civil war with millions of people dying. We don’t want that, nobody does. Julius must be taken to task for inciting a war.

    The Western Cape cannot sustain millions of people arriving seeking work. There are not enough jobs, infrastructure, water or electricity for all of these people. It is creating conflict and crime and people on the Cape Flats are getting upset. This is why so many are calling for Western Cape Independent. The only reason is because its not working and having 10 million in Cape Town over the next 5 years cannot work! An independent Western Cape is incredibly hard to do, but people are thinking about it as a last resort. Yes, they would expect the newcomers or those with houses in Eastern Cape to return home at least for now. But there are not too many jobs here so they will most likely leave but only if Eastern Cape is attractive….

    So there is one solution to this. We need to build infrastructure (schools, hospitals, universities) in Eastern Cape. There is plenty of land there. If Western Cape needs to directly fund Eastern Cape, then so be it. Many would be willing to do this without a middle-man (government or coct) taking a cut. The people of the Eastern Cape would prefer to be near their families and there would be much more opportunity there than living in a small RDP house in Cape Town or more likely a shack. Most come to Cape Town to look for jobs, but some come to look only for crime (cash in transit, hijackings). Of course some white people with the skills would need to go to Eastern Cape to help build this infrastructure or oversee it.

    Once these other areas are built up, growth in Cape Town and other big cities will be slower and more manageable. So I could be totally wrong, but economically this seems like the way to go. This way there would be no need for separate countries.

    • brettfish June 26, 2018 at 12:55 pm - Reply

      You at least lost me here, if not very much before: some white people with the skills would need to go to Eastern Cape to help build this infrastructure or oversee it

      Why would you put “white people” in there at all? This perhaps shows your bias.

  4. greg June 26, 2018 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    Because we are needed. Have you seen any decent infrastructure projects done by blacks recently? Its just a fact. Denialism will lead to buildings being built that fall down. Blacks need to be educated.

    • brettfish June 26, 2018 at 2:25 pm - Reply

      Dude, this is just pure racism. i’m pretty sure white people don’t have all the skills when it comes to architecture. i’m not prepared to have statements like this freely flying across my blog so unless you take it back i think we’re done.

      You are exactly 100% making the point that the Whiteness poem was illustrating – it’s not about having white skin but about the flawed belief t.hat white people are somehow better than others. It’s just not true and without taking the history of this country into consideration and asking deeper questions about why black people tend to end up less educated [hint: the previous government had a whole plan about this which included an inferior education system for black people – look it up!] and being part of the solution so that some form of equality can be reached for as opposed to just continuing to sideline them, you are wasting your time, and mine.

  5. greg June 26, 2018 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    What happened before the previous government? Education was it equal?

    What happened before 1913, was education equal?

    Before 1652? hmmmm I see you are thinking hard now… 😉

    So again, why are black people less educated? Who is to blame? Is it really white people to blame?

    Why didn’t the blacks educate other blacks during apartheid?

    How did Mandela become a lawyer under apartheid?

    This is not just me asking, millions of other white people ask this too around the barbeque. So if you have a good answer then maybe put it here. I am all for apologising if I’m wrong and do so in advance just in case I am wrong.

    I say blacks need to be educated and you say I’m a racist. If I say no, they don’t need to be, you say they do need to be and I’m racist. So which one should I say?

    White people do have most of the skills – surely we can agree here? This is why we need skills transfer. Surely you can’t dispute this one? Or please explain what you mean in a better way. Sincerely don’t understand why you disagree. Its not racist at all.

    There are plenty of wealthy up and coming educated black people, but in general all construction projects are doomed by corruption and lack of black skilled architects and civil engineers. There are some, but not enough. This is why I say whites are still needed at least for now. At least before we are slaughtered by Julius (not yet he said, not yet).

    Your blog doesn’t get much traffic (if comments are to go by), but some interesting articles.

    I’m not a racist at all, I think a lot of problems come from religion, culture, mindsets. Even among white people, if you went to Britain and met Yobs, you’d rather have drinks or dinner with decent black people any day. Its a mindset thing! Its a mindset thing. Its a mindset thing. I do a lot of tours and public speaking and always tell people this – it was never about race. If you really think its about skin colour, you need to do more research. Do you really think that? Its always been about differences of:

    Culture
    Religion
    Mindset

    Influenced by the media.

    I urge you to read Jordan Peterson’s books. (12 steps)

    • brettfish June 26, 2018 at 3:15 pm - Reply

      Millions of white people around barbecues? You should hang out with some better white people, dude.

  6. greg June 26, 2018 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    What happened before 1913, was education equal?

    Before 1652? hmmmm I see you are thinking hard now… 😉

    So again, why are black people less educated? Who is to blame? Is it really white people to blame?

    Why didn’t the blacks educate other blacks during apartheid?

    How did Mandela become a lawyer under apartheid?

    • brettfish June 26, 2018 at 3:46 pm - Reply

      Your sarcasm is unbecoming someone who is allegedly wanting to engage so drop that if you actually honestly want to talk about these things or i don’t have time.

      i am talking about the more recent state of education as in the last fifty years when apartheid was introduced [albeit on the back of colonialism and slavery so i’m not sure the narrative changes too much] where Bantu education was created specifically to try and dumb down the black population – black people did educate other black people during apartheid as evidenced by Mandela and many of the others on Robben Island but given that their lives were so disrupted and full of chaos from apartheid-related matters it makes sense that their education took on a strongly political stance as that was the pressing issue for them at the time. You can’t compare two things that are distinctly different – what we can say is that education was intentionally screwed up for black people and so there is much to be done to redress that.

      I have worked with friends in some schools in the Cape Flats for example and their education or lack thereof in many cases is still suffering from the wrongs of the past which were never made right and so while some fortunate exceptions [usually where there is money and so growing black middle class] manage to make their way through the present systems, many of our young people are still very much left behind.

      The reality is that there is still much work to be done and i will call out anyone who suggests there isn’t [especially those pious ones throwing stones from across the sea] in the interests of finding ways to build bridges together and create a more unified future that serves everyone. Look at the way wealth is divided in this country [which is not as a result of whites being more clever or hard working] – it is completely ridiculously still out of proportion and work needs to be done to share the resources to the places that have been marginalised for so long. Which in Cape Town tends to be coloured and black areas and particularly the Flats and the townships. There are a lot of incredible people [on all sides] doing amazing work [just read the two posts published last week on Cape Flats NGO’s] and so your accusation that i want to call white people racist is completely unfounded.

      You seem unwilling to acknowledge the wrongs of the past and how they continue to affect the present for so many people.

  7. […] some reason this stuff seems to be on my mind. The other day i wrote a poem called ‘Whiteness’ which you can read over here. And i have a piece that i wrote when i was helping out with an exam […]

  8. Johnny June 27, 2018 at 8:55 am - Reply

    It’s not just 50 years. It’s about 360 years. Why is it always the “duty” of white people to educate? Before that, I hear no wheel in South Africa. Even if Romans colonized 2000 years ago, still there would be inequality. Western Cape to secede soon. It’s the best way going forward. Watch farmlands by Lauren southern, it should be helpful for you.

    • brettfish June 27, 2018 at 11:54 am - Reply

      It is the duty of white people to undo the mess we put on to black, coloured and indian people through colonisation and apartheid. Just an FYI the wheel was invented by the greeks who along with the Irish, Italians and other nations weren’t considered white enough back in the day although this is an example people like you like to rush to. It is plain ignorance to think that white people are more clever than other races without looking at what was done to other races to keep them educationally inferior such as slavery, apartheid, bantu education and so on.

      Western Cape is not going to secede any time soon. Cannot see that happening. Nice pipe dream for those who aren’t interested in bridge and nation building though…

  9. greg June 27, 2018 at 10:01 am - Reply

    You still avoided my question about education prior to 1960, 1913, 1652…

    Okay so blacks were angels living very peacefully with no crime before whites arrived. Shaka didn’t murder any blacks but is now a hero…

    Are you on LSD?

    • brettfish June 27, 2018 at 11:49 am - Reply

      What’s interesting is you put a bunch of words in my mouth that i didn’t say and then ask if i am the one on LSD? Clearly you aren’t interested in genuine engagement and i’m not interested in wasting my time further.

      i’m not sure what the point of your Shaka comment is as there has been violent conflict around the world with most nations of all colours – that is far in the past and we don’t have much control over it – what is in the much nearer present that we do have influence over is apartheid and the devastation that it left in its wake that has not been properly dealt with – more than just tribes/nations fighting over land this was one group of people who saw themselves as superior to another group of people and so put laws and systems and structures into place to step on those other people… and it has left so many negative consequences in so many ways. It is our duty and responsibility to do what we can to fix the messes that are in our capacity to influence. That is what i am focused on – bridge-building between races and striving for greater equality between people.

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