Thursday, July 30, 2009

Patronise a black man.....for his own good

David Bullard tells us why an asshole should be called an asshole (Out To Lunch).

Mangcu and Bullard: A comment

I had an Archimedes moment last week. Admittedly I didn't leap from my bath and run naked through the golden corridor suburb of Parktown North crying Eureka but the sense of excitement at my discovery was no less intoxicating. The scales had fallen from my eyes. It is as if I had been wrestling with Fermat's last theorem for months and, suddenly, everything made sense. I had tasted Fafner's blood. I could understand the language of the birds. Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! I chortled in my joy.

What great discovery had caused this euphoria you ask? Well, it was a letter written to Business Day and published on our own Politicsweb from two women in Cape Town. The letter concerned the current squabble between faux intellectual Xolela Mangcu and myself and contained the sentence that shone the bright light and made me realise where I have been going wrong all these years. By way of introduction Dee Marco and Hannah Botsis write "We are young women who have shared a multiracial friendship and household for quite some time".

That sentence says it all for me. In a normal society it wouldn't be necessary to mention the fact that your partner is an Innuit or comes from a Polynesian head hunting tribe but we are not a normal society. So Dee and Hannah feel compelled to preface their letter with a sentence that they clearly believe qualifies them to comment on the great racism debate. It's all a bit Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall isn't it? A bit creepy actually. "We have lived in the wild with these gentle creatures and have come to admire their ways". Gosh ladies......a multiracial friendship! Whatever is Cape Town coming to? And shared too? How big of you both.

In the 15 years that I have been writing this column I have always regarded all South Africans as being equal. That also means that I have regarded them as equal targets for mockery. Just after I was fired from the Sunday Times Andrew Kenny (a respected international columnist) wrote to Business Day saying, "Bullard's sin was to treat blacks as adults. He laughed at the crimes, follies and ignorance of black men in the same way he laughed at the crimes, follies and ignorance of white men".

Clearly this was a huge mistake on my part and if I read Steven Friedman correctly in his article "Whites wait on the touchline to label the next black buffoon" what we should be doing is politely averting our eyes and pretending the emperor, if he is black, is fully clothed. Friedman seems to imply that black South Africans are not sufficiently psychologically developed to be able to take a joke or capable of an equally withering response. Read Ndumiso Ngcobo and you'll realise how outdated and colonial your views are Mr Friedman.

This patronising colonial attitude is shared by Max du Preez who also feels compelled to bore readers of his column with lectures on how we should behave towards our fellow citizens. Nothing wrong with that except for the fact that Max's "I know what's best for you darkies" attitude is an uncomfortable reminder of our apartheid days when an entire government thought they knew what was best for the darkies.

Struggle hero manqué Jonathan Shapiro (aka as cartoonist Zapiro) was involved in a debate with me at the Franschhoek Literary Festival in 2008. It was just after the famous firing and Zapiro kept telling the audience that he was pleased I had been sacked and that I was a racist. That was long before Zapiro was also labelled a racist for that disgustingly insulting cartoon portraying President Zuma as a rapist. At the end of the debate (at which I got far more positive audience reaction than did the heavily perspiring Shapiro) he made the comment in closing, "I think it's a great pity there weren't more black people here today" to which I responded with a lightning wit that surprised even me on the day, "I didn't realise they were banned from attending".

The audience roared with laughter, Shapiro went scarlet and spittle flew from his snarling lips. "You see Jonathan" I said with all the charm I could muster, "there's a great deal of difference between not being allowed to come and not wanting to come". Here was another case of a patronising white man thinking he knows what is best for black South Africans.

Calling someone a "racist" in this country is normally the first resort of those who either cannot or refuse to debate important issues in public. One must look from whence the slur comes and then decide whether to take it seriously or not. The frequency with which the word is used at the moment risks the real danger of it being subject to a type of Gresham's Law of racism. In other words, the more spurious uses there are of the word the more devalued will become genuine accusations of racism.

So, am I about to change my ways and treat black South Africans as if they were retarded children? The answer to that is no. The reason for that is simple. It would be racist. I can't think of anything more insulting than being regarded as being so pathetic that someone from another race has to make excuses for my very existence.

I want to live in a country where I can make tasteless jokes with all my friends, black or white, and where they can feel free to make similar jokes in my presence. I can't stand all this cringing Uriah Heep white self consciousness about race. In my book, an asshole is an asshole. And, like M&Ms, they come in many colours.

8 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

This is a classic. A keeper. Bullard on his game, on par with that column that got him fired. Btw, does anyone have a link to it? Time for its reposting.

Anonymous said...

His comments follow a theme we have on ILSA. Treat and hold everyone regardless of race to the same standards and white liberals should stop thinking they have the right to talk, defend or act on behalf of blacks because that constitutes the highest form of racism.

FishEagle said...

Bullard talks sense. He will pay the price though. South Africans must stand up for him because his opinion represents the opinion of a lot of whites.

Anonymous said...

Bullard is probably the only honest man left standing.

A spade is a spade is a spade.

I agree with him entirely. Until we can call it like it is and the munts abandon their perpetual victimhood mentality, race issues will never ever EVER be understood much less solved.


Anonymous said...


Agreed. Any one who is willing to go up their and tell the unbiased literal truth needs to be supported.

I am sick to death of this namby pamby 'you have the right not to be insulted' PC bullshit.


Anonymous said...

Cute spaniel. I'm all out of those.

AMB said...

Isn't it time for Zapiro to put the shower back on the head??

Bantu Education said...

Bullard for President or Dictator, or even Emperor...all of those..!

Andrew Kenny occasionally writes for the Spectator - one of his articles (about 2001) was titled
"How Apartheid Saved South Africa". His point being that if SA had gone to the dogs, er black moronity rule, 20 years earlier it would have gone 100% communist like Mozambique or Angola. Of course it might yet happen.