Saturday, August 29, 2009

I came, I saw, hmmm..

As you all know blogger Black Coffee who is often the bane of many regular readers on ILSA and other blogs has been on a journey of discovery (for lack of a better word) as part of his dissertation at Howard U on, I assume, South African history. I can also only presume that he interacts with us despite the vitriol he receives constantly from many people to learn from us, the good and bad. I too have had my moments with BC and there were times that I thought it not worth debating South African history and experiences with someone whose only perspective was grounded in black liberation ideology and a six month trip to Soweto staying with mainly blacks.

But ILSA is not about preaching just to the converted, it is about reaching out to foreigners who don't know the absolute truth about South Africa and the much maligned white South African.

We need to put our views across to people like BC who hold opposing views and convince them that there is another side to the story. If not another side, then that there is more to the story they have been told. It's for this reason that I have never banned him nor ever will. We disagree most of the times, we agree sometimes and that is important. I also debate with BC privately on South African and American issues and it may shock some of you to know that although BC has a left bias on issues, he is open-minded and as hard as it has been to convince him that what ILSA was putting out was not focussing only on the negative narrative, the volume of evidence that something was remiss in South Africa could not be ignored. Even by him. And it is in this light that BC agrees with us that South Africa despite its problems remains a truly remarkable country and its people especially wonderful and acknowledging its problems is something we must do to rescue the country.

BC forwarded a private correspondence between himself and a person who shall remain anonymous who had been an American consular officer to SA way back in the apartheid years - the mid-70s and now lives in SA full-time. The comments reflect the type of inquiry that BC has been making and bodes well for him if he proceeds along this path to try and capture the substance of what truly transpired in South Africa away from the propagandistic literature and commentary that he was no doubt exposed to.

The ex-consular officer's comments in reply to a query from BC follows:

There ARE a great many fissures and divisions in this country -- the illusion of the kumbaya moment of the rainbow nation at peace with itself after the agonies of apartheid has -- probably -- been irrevocably shattered this past year or so.


First there was that xenophobia business. South Africans aren't very friendly towards outsiders it seems. It was probably made worse by ex-exiles who kept bleating that we must be nice to foreigners as they had sheltered the exiles. To too many people that was simply another reason to be upset (sort of a litany that, in essence ran along the lines of: 'those ex-exiles didn't have to take it on the chin here during the struggle and now they want us to be nice nice to these nasty foreigners who are taking our jobs/ houses/ women/ future/ selling us drugs/ prostituting our sisters, etc., etc., all because those exiles had those cushy times in Lusaka, Harare, Maputo, Gabarone...')

Then there is the growing number of mostly public/quasi public sector strikes -- remember that the majority of Cosatu members are probably not in the private sector. the government usually caved and that simply encouraged the next bunch.

Then the increasingly glaring division between ANC and Cosatu/ SACP on a whole litany and variety of national budgetary issues ranging from the Gautrain to inflation targeting for the sarb. Gautrain is big money, inflation targeting means higher interest rates which means more cash out of one's pockets because the interest rates drive layaway, car loans, housing/renovation loans....

Then there was the so-called unrest from service delivery (I'm with those who are arguing this is actually not so much about straightforward service delivery, per se, as much as it is an exploding crisis in confidence over the apparent lack of democratic values/ impact/ practice in the municipal councillor system and the obvious inefficiencies in education/ home affairs, et al treatment of ordinary citizens. People see their local leaders as in it for themselves, their families, their buddies and their hangers-on...

And then there is the attempt by the government to edge back towards a developmental state when virtually all government corps and quangos are already in deep, deep trouble....SABC, Land Bank, SAA....

Moreover, it is general knowledge that a bit of payment here and there oils things right along -- from a driver's licence to the big prizes like ID books and passports. The society as a whole, however, takes its model from the public disclosure of some really major corruption in high places -- or the expectation, much worse, that what is visible is only the tip of the actual iceberg. And so we get, well, if x can get this, so can I.... revelations that thousands of civil servants have business interests that are involved in tenders for public services doesn't help matters, nor does the bling bling auto business here...

In political ideological terms -- or perhaps classical political theory, get out your Burke, Hume, Hobbs, Rousseau, Locke -- there is a growing muttering that the implied social contract has been severed. Race, econ/ social status and ethnicity come into play when it looks that some others are getting theirs, while 'we're' not.

The military/ police battle was not a coup or coup attempt -- much more it was a group of military grunts who decided that this was a good time to strike -- others had and made their case and won and it is clear that the ordinary soldier isn't getting rich in the army even though they can see others are doing quite well, thank you very much.

I think that political scientists looking at South Africa have a responsibility to go back to tried and true models and ideas to interpret what is happening. Questions of political values and such still matter.

28 Opinion(s):

WHITEADDER said...

Interesting how some supposedly lefty would describe the shambles that our corrupt, incompetent commie government created. It's almost the language some observer would use to describe a mildly interesting experiment with rats.
Well , I have news for this guy and BC. We have to live in this stuffed up place and perhaps our daily lives are affected by this rot and just perhaps we tetest almost all awful facets our society is sporting now.

Anonymous said...

Don't quite understand what BC is all about. Underneath all his "understanding" is still the same naive person who champions black rights. Really couldn't care to try to convince him otherwise. as I stopped long ago having any hope for him. If he is STILL questioning why SA is in such a sad state then he must be a tad thick or retarded.

Doberman said...

@ anon 5:43, imagine you are told Santa Claus is for real all your life and then one day people begin to say Santa ain't real, actually Santa is just old uncle Bob in a smelly Santa suit. You question what they say right?

BC started out far, far Left believing one thing indubitably but his interaction with us is causing him to question what he was taught and believes. Isn't that what this blogging thing is about, debating, arguing, convincing people of your position?

Seems to me BC has moved a little to our side (not much) but enough to ask questions and that my friend says something about BC and us, that if we could convince someone like BC who was so ardently pro-black (and still is) but was also very anti-white SAn, then our efforts are not wasted.

You'll never convince people completely of the facts until they themselves experience it and that he will do when he comes to SA. Hopefully he will be better prepared next time.

FishEagle said...

Black Coffee doesn't use logical thought but that is probably because the topic of race is so controversial. He doesn't have the emotional intelligence to work through the controversy and look at the cold, hard facts. That doesn't mean he doesn't have any intelligence at all, even though it feels like it most of the time. Of all the people out there he is the only one asking questions about SA. I like that.
The impact of his discussions will probably only be felt once he lives in SA. After all these discussions he may actually stay a little longer in SA than he would have otherwise. Liberals are usually the first to bolt when reality is brought to THEIR doorsteps. That's not even considering the impact of crime yet. Just the thought of living in the filth, surrounded by a zillion dumb kaffirs that have no concept of law and order, is usually enough to make liberals return to their Western values of excellence.

Black Coffee said...

Hello everyone, I am very short on time lately, that is why I have not commented. The racist type of response though like what came from Fish Eagle below referring to the "zillion dumb kaffirs" is a big part of the problem in my opinion, and IMHO is one of the reasons why many blacks resent whites, justifiably so. It almost makes me want to revert back to anti-whiteism.
Whiteadder - the person whom Dobes quoted here has been living in South Africa for many years. He is white, I met him at a conference at Wits University when I was in South Africa. He's a former American consular officer and loves SA so much that he lives there full time. I am seriously contemplating doing that myself when I finally finish my program despite the crime problem. In some ways I think SA is better than here in US, and in some ways US is better or perhaps just more efficient. I will relate the story I told to Dobes about an exchange I had with a minibus taxi driver. Suffice it to say that I found out then, this was in November 2006 on a routine ride for me on a minibus taxi out of a Pick'n'Pay, that whites are not the only ones who are sometimes pessimistic about South Africa. To make a long story short, me and the taxi driver started talking about the stories in the day's "Star" newspaper. There was a story about yet another corruption case involving ANC government officials. The taxi driver said to me -"man, this country will be just like Zimbabwe in no time." I looked at him for a minute stunned while what he said sunk in. I expected that from a white, but not from a black South African. Yes, i came to SA with pre-conceived notions. Then I asked him - "what makes you say that, that this country will be like Zimbabwe." Taxi driver - "Do you read our papers? You see all corruption stories? If they keep going like this, the country will be just like Zimbabwe." I still want to have more confidence in South Africa than the taxi driver. But no one can deny that there are lots of tensions in South African society.

Loggi said...

Greg, believe me when I say, we cannot wait for you to move to South Africa. Hopefully you do that real soon.

FishEagle said...

Loggi, LOL.

FishEagle said...

Black Coffee, you have absolutely no reason to be surprised by the taxi driver's observations.

FishEagle said...

Black Coffee, participating in this blog is part of my every day fight for the 'privileged' life that I have as a South African, yet you judge my struggle. Have you ever had to fight for your standard of living? I always come back to this - who do you think you are to judge me? Learn to deal with your emotions and look at the facts about SA.

Vanilla Ice said...

The problem with convincing the likes of BC, is that any move to the right is not because of the quality of our debate. It is the depth of the blood that they witness.

In order to convince a larger number of leftist liberals that our struggle is valid will cost too many lives. It just isn't worth it.

FishEagle said...

VI, true. The best trade off is to sacrifice the blood of the leftist liberals.

Black Coffee said...

FE - who am I to judge you? Normally, I would say that is a good question, but I detest white racism. Who are you to judge your black brothers and sisters as "dumb kaffirs?" People like Robert Sobukwe, Steve Biko, Neil Aggett and countless others did not sacrifice their lives struggling against evil apartheid system for you to call them "dumb kaffirs." They are no more dumb than you - when they get same education as whites they perform the same as whites or better and I do not care what some "IQ averages" say about whites, East Asians (who have obviously culturally adapted themselves to these tests better than many other nations) and blacks. If you want to live your life constantly bitter at blacks do so. South Africa will progress when and if blacks progress, the society is not about whites any more. However, whites still hold too much of the economic power don't they, that's why I think SA needs more transformation. I am not saying just confiscate wealth from whites, not at all. However, the SA society should strive to make the top layers more representative of the population as a whole, and it would be nice if whites, Indians, blacks and coloureds could unite on this goal instead of rehashing old, apartheid-era and patently false but racist arguments - namely that blacks are just "dumb kaffirs."

FishEagle said...

@ Black Coffe.

"FE - who am I to judge you? Normally, I would say that is a good question"

'Nuff said.

Vanilla Ice said...

Note the glaring double standard in self-flagellating, white race hating BC's comment.

"...when they (blacks) get same education as whites they perform the same as whites or better and I do not care what some "IQ averages" say about whites, East Asians (who have obviously culturally adapted themselves to these tests better than many other nations) and blacks."

So, East Asians have culturally adapted themselves to perform well on IQ tests, but not whitey; whitey just cheats.

BC's outright lies are nothing new, nor surprising that he believes in some mythological wonderland. We have seen it all before, and it is all so tedious.

I don't give a rat's ass about these types of opinions. Time is all I need. South Africa is a sinking rat hole, and there is no way of stopping it. The reason is simple - IQ. A genetically determined trait which cannot be rectified anytime soon.

BC can pontificate on until the end of time; even if he and his ilk are able to convince everbody, it doesn't change squat.

I do agree on some things though; yes, speed up the transfer of economic power. Let's get the pain over with, let's accelerate the South African demise.

As for judging people is concerned, we all do this anyway and we judge relative to our reference point. So if those that have an IQ of 67 happen to interact with me on a daily basis I am probably inclined to judge them as "dumb kaffirs". Deal with it.

FishEagle said...

@VI, "As for judging people is concerned, we all do this anyway and we judge relative to our reference point. So if those that have an IQ of 67 happen to interact with me on a daily basis I am probably inclined to judge them as "dumb kaffirs". Deal with it."

Thanks for that. Also, once you've judged the dumb kaffirs you are not going to demand that they improve their IQ's. You've dealt with the reality of their stupidity by walking away and seeking a better life elsewhere, at YOUR cost.

However, not only is BC judging my racism he is demanding that I change. WHO THE FUCK DOES HE THINK HE IS??? I so can't wait till he comes to SA. The mortification that awaits his royal greatness....heh heh.

Something that I realized that people like BC don't realize is that I am racist but I don't want to be. Honestly, do people really think I enjoy living with such kak feelings about the majority of the people around me? I only wish that experience for the liberals that thought it in South Africa's best interest to take my standard of living down to the lowest common denominator.

Vanilla Ice said...

@FE. There is hope. Once you leave the rot behind you, you very quickly return to being the person you want to be. The sooner you get out, the better for your sanity.

FishEagle said...

VI, that's very encouraging.

Black Coffee said...

As I've expressed numerous times before, I do not believe the whole IQ thing. It is just an excuse for racism and for feeling that you belong to a superior group when in fact you don't. When you come face to face with a black person - I don't care where - South Africa, US, canada, wherever, you are not dealing with an IQ. You are dealing with a fellow human being, no better but certainly no worse than you. I do not know what rot you are talking about. FE - I interacted with the people from the majority on board minibus taxis and in townships for 6 months. If it was you you'd probably say they are 'dumb kaffirs." I have a totally different perspective - they are just like "whites", some are dumb, some are geniuses, most are somewhere in between. I would be willing to bet that neither you nor VI have the guts to say to a live black person what you say on Internet.

FishEagle said...

Black Coffee, you don't have enough experience with blacks to make any statements about IQ.

The likes of you will never know what I say to blacks in real life because you never let me speak my mind.

Viking said...

It's not about guts, its about politeness. The online personality is only one aspect of a person, and we'll say stuff online we won't say in real life. It's liberating. And it helps people let off steam.
I hate words like kaffir, and I rarely use them unless it's in jest. I do think there's a difference between racist words and actions, though. I know FE, she's a kind person, and I doubt she would do any actual harm to a black person willingly.

Vanilla Ice said...

Again, notice how BC responds that his opinion is that he doesn't believe in IQ. That is fine, but then he goes on to use words like "in fact", when in fact it is just an uninformed opninion.

I do agree with BC though, when coming face to face with a black person, IQ is meaningless. IQ is only relevant when analysing group behaviour. When dealing with individuals the "content of their characters" is more important, just don't hold your breath.

As regards my not having the courage to say the same things to a black person as I do online, why would that be? Are blacks predisposed to violence? I say the same things all the time, to many people who have the capacity to debate me. If that fails, oh well, my 196cm 110kg pure brain and brawn body may come in handy.

FishEagle said...

Viking thanks for the kind words.

VI, you're cracking me up here! Lol.

FishEagle said...

I'm beginning to think you must be a proper nerd in real life VI!

What were those words from Viking, "and we'll say stuff online we won't say in real life. It's liberating"

Lol.

Exzanian said...

BC said "I would be willing to bet that neither you nor VI have the guts to say to a live black person what you say on Internet"

BC, that was a red herring comment and you know it. It's a crime to call another person kaffir in SA. You'll end up in prison eating samp and shitting in a cubicle with no door.

BC also said "I interacted with the people from the majority on board minibus taxis and in townships for 6 months"

BC I challenge you to take a ride on a train from Boksburg station, to Jo'burg central, un-escorted. Forget your six months in SA. I'm challenging you to a measly 60 minute trip old son, from Boksburg to JHB on a public metro train. Then you can come back and tell us about it.

Black Coffee said...

Exzanian - and what would happen if I rode metrorail from Boksburg to Park Station? I used metrorail three times, admittedly each time with a black friend. But next time I am in SA - I will take up your challenge.

FishEagle said...

BC, don't be STUPID!

FishEagle said...

Then again, what do I care? This seems to be the lesson that I'll be taking with me wherever I end up going to in this world - in SA or elsewhere. South Africa is one stuffed up place and it's all because of a lessor race, the blacks. Their impact on my culture has turned the social structure of life inside out and upside down to the extent that morals, dignity, respect, idealism, integrity, etc. have no meaning. So sorry Black Coffee, you're on your own. Do what you want.

Exzanian said...

BC - Trust me - No sane white person catches a metro train on that line anymore. None. Not one. Nil. Nada. But please be my guest, and travel light is all I can say....