On 5 and 6 January the Black First Land First Movement layed a racism charge at the South African Human Rights Commission and the Equality Court in Cape Town. This was prompted by the KwaZulu Natal based Estate Agent, Penny Sparrow, complaining on social media site Facebook, about the packed beaches in KZN during the festive season. Sparrow called Black people monkeys, saying that they are dirty and that they litter. After a half baked apology, she commented further and said that “Monkeys are cute and they’re naughty, but they [black people] don’t see it that way, but I do because I love animals.”
Even though we, as the Black First Land First movement believe individual acts of racism don’t give a fuller picture of the totality of racism as a structural impediment to black life, we strongly advocate for their criminalisation. Year in year out, black people are subjected to crude and overt racism and nothing happens, but when Black people respond, like Chris Mahlangu, they are jailed without taking stock of the trauma of such acts.
BLF understands that racism thrives in a racist anti black society. People like Sparrow and Chris Hart dramatise the extent of racism in South Africa. In a society that devalues Black lives everyday, it should then not be suprising to see whites arrogantly acting out their racism.
BLF believes that Sparrow’s racism as an individual shows that the structure of South African society is still inherently racist hence such racist outbursts from a well off white woman, whose wealth is built on black disposession, can continue anabated.
BLF wants the complete elimination of structural racism which enables white people like Sparrow to associate black people with monkeys, thereby rendering them subhuman beings. The practice of the prejudice by Sparrow can only be eliminated by ending the structure of anti blackness. BLF believes that white racism should be criminalised and this would mean that everything in SA must be decolonised.
Given the colonial and antiblack nature of South Africa, the requisite condition for the criminalisation of racism is or must be governed by the sacred principle that says “blacks can’t be racist”. BLF understands that racism is a system of power that seeks and continues to subjugate Black people. The totality of white power determines this and such a legislation would be to punish whites who are the only group capable of committing and enacting racism. In this vein, failure to understand and practise the logic of blacks not being racists would lead to mass incarceration of blacks given the anti black nature of our law and courts.
Whilst we understand the nature and limitations of bourgeois institutions like the SAHRC and Equality Court, when dealing with Black people and the ways in which they suffer in an antiblack world, the point of formally laying a charge is to show their incapabilities of dealing with white culprits. In so doing, further highlighting their complicity in failing to root out racism and its root causes.
This then shows that Black people are still on their own.
One of the first steps of eliminating racism is putting Blacks first by taking back the land. Only land return can give impetus to end racism.
ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL COORDINATING COMMITTEE OF THE BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST MOVEMENT
06 January 2016
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