What is racism? Is it that constant lack of acceptance? Although the world consists of people from distinctive colors and creeds, some will beg to differ that it’s in their DNA, but rather a minor misunderstanding. People aren’t born to hate, they are taught. But to many racism is more than just a word defining a person who hates all people of distinct color. But what does one call a person who hates a dog, and dogs do come in various colors. One wouldn’t hate his dog, just because it’s black. So how does one define someone who’s racist? We all know that there are many forms of racism. A hate crime (also known as a bias-motivated crime) is a prejudice-motivated crime, usually violent, which occurs when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her membership (or perceived membership) in a certain social group. It doesn’t refer to a certain color.
First of all, let me be frank. I am absolutely against racism. The mere fact that people hate others just because of indifference is pathetic. Today, there are people who fear the color “black.” They don’t hate it, they fear it. However this does not make them racist, because it’s a phobia known as “Melanophobia” then there’s a phobia for people who fear the color white known as “Leukophobia.” However this does not mean that a person of dark complexion who has also been a victim of racism under white oppressors has this phobia.This just means the person fears the color, not the person. Or what about a person who fears the color brown, for that matter? Same thing! It’s the fear of the color brown Kastanophobia; it’s just a phobia.
As a personality the color black means you are non-emotional and give the appearance of a dignified and sophisticated person. So how can a color of such remarkable meaning be so hated. Say for instance, all people were born with color vision deficiency; wouldn’t they be more against the personality rather than their color? On the contrary…people who are considered color blind can only see things as black and white. Their vision consists of two colors that have difficulty in reality to coexist. Racism is not a premeditated hate, it’s an inability to accept someone given their creed, race and appearance. A racist person will never hate a person just for the fun of it. They’re racist because they are forced to accept an idea of being equals to pupils considered not in their class or regime. Although racism is an act many people seem to despise, there are those who support racism willingly and some unknowingly. To be considered a racist doesn’t necessarily mean you ought to be black. It just means you share no common interest in associating yourself with people not of your race, you deem superior.
In the end any person is capable of being a racist. It is more than just being a person with a lack of affection. It’s having a choice. Because being racist means you choose to hate, lack to accept, and conspire against people of different races, creed and color. In psychological terms, the phrase “Splitting” (also called black-and-white thinking or all-or-nothing thinking) is the failure in a person’s thinking to bring together the dichotomy of both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole. It is a common defense mechanism used by many people. The individual tends to think in extremes (i.e., an individual’s actions and motivations are all good or all bad with no middle ground). This person’s main objective is to divide rather than unite.
I also discovered that there’s a phobia called “Afrophobia” that’s a perceived fear of and bias against people from Africa. So a racist person is arguably people with a phobia? I beg to differ. Because the opposite of “Afrophobia” is “Afrophilia.” It means love for all things pertaining to Africa. And if an anti-racist has “Allophilia” means having a positive attitude for a group that is not one’s own. However when a black person hates another black person, should this not be associated with being racist? But rather xenophobic. This should also be considered as a form of racist. Say for instance, a black man walked hand in hand with a white lady by his side. They’d be an interracial couple. But everyone would stare at them, not out of hatred but because they’re not used to the idea. Another example: Say a white man decides to take a taxi. Everyone would stare at him, not because they hate him, just…because they’re not used to the idea. Their perspective on a white man’s public transport is expecting him in his own care. But not all white men are rich. Just as not all black men are interested in black women. It’s not fair that they’re being hated for loving something they value more than life itself. Not everyone’s mentality of the idea to coexist has fully evolved.
A child’s perspective changes due to the views they are exposed to, either by their parents or others close to them. How is it that someone who hates a Muslim has a phobia known as Islamophobia, but a person being white of complexion is called a “racist” when they hate a person of a different race?…both pupils hate a human being. But why isn’t the person hating the Muslim also not considered to be racist, or does the victim need to be black? No pun intended. Being racist after all consists of hating people of different races. Or does being racist imply that you should be white? That’s why white people are constantly in fear of being called “racist.” Pity there’s not a phobia for this; if we want to be against racism we have to realize that not only whites are capable of being racist, or should be considered racist, but anyone for that matter! They just came up with different names for a hatred that appears everywhere.
I became a writer and poet the day my mother named me. I was born Damiam Vincent Henry in the very streets of Cape Town. Being a young male, growing up in the Cape Flats I had my reading. I read all types of books, from Map Jacobs to Moby Dick. Swept away into a world free from poverty and institutionalization, I’m reminded coming from school and immediately getting lost in the comic book titled “Coloureds” written by the Trantraal Brothers. Reading became my hope. It inspired me to write. But imagine seeing people addicted to drugs, girls forced into prostitution, and boys inducted into the number game. Motherless children who hadn’t eaten for three whole days, wearing those same clothes they wore a few days ago. These are a few of the many things my eyes had witnessed; although this happens everywhere.
We fought our battles from being bullied at school, making new friends, and vaguely hating our lives. But we’d never truly know how our mother would do char jobs just to keep us in school. Or how she starved herself so that we wouldn’t attend school hungry; many mothers can relate. But growing up and later moving to Delft, our mother became even more protective over my brothers and I…who could blame her? We’ve lived just about everywhere and even though we pretended getting used to the idea of staying in one place, we thought life was cruel.
But our mother had an antidote to escaping from the “cruel life.” Funny, she’d give each of us a Huisgenoot while attending to the people’s washing, and doing dishes. And we’d be lost in “Liewe Heksie” and trying to complete the crossword puzzle. She had her eye on us even when it seemed she was pre-occupied. Now, residing in Stellenbosch and being away from my mother’s home…I’m reminded by her words she’d always quote: “A mother’s work is never done.” And now being a father of two, understanding what she meant after all this time, I dreamt of changing the Cape Flats but it never crossed my mind that our entire world needed fixing.
As one of my role models said: “Wishing for the impossible is a flat stone skipping across water, bouncing off the surface, countless times before sinking.” Yes, failure is inevitable, but literature will always be beautiful. My mother stood firm in her beliefs that we represent God wherever we go, and now being in Stellenbosch, today I’m 26 years old and am hoping to do so through my writing.