Thursday, September 10, 2009

Some of my favourite examples of the race card

By Sarah Britten

Ah, the race card. Where would we be without it? Zapiro sums the latest up quite nicely here.

Owing to my research for the insult books, I’ve been collecting fine examples of the use of the race card for years. Amongst my more recent acquisitions:

“They want to undermine the African Union and (South African) President Mbeki’s (mediation) efforts because they are racist, because they think only white people think better. It’s an insult to African leaders.” Deputy Zimbabwean Information Minister Bright Matonga, who isn’t.

“It is impossible to live with the very obvious condescending attitude toward black people which has become a repeated theme in his [Kriegler’s] statements. He [Kriegler] is in essence saying that all black judges were appointed because they are black and not on merit.” Dumisa Ntsebeza, SC, on Johann Kriegler’s challenge to the JSC’s letting of Hlophe off the hook.

“Can’t blacks achieve and be what they are without some creepy-crawly bigots belonging to latent international white supremacy dehumanizing and debasing them?” Letter to the Sunday Sun in response to the Caster Semenya controversy.

“It would not be like that if it were some young girl from Europe. If it was a white child, she would be sitting somewhere with a psychologist, but this is an African child. People think we come from the bush in Africa and live like animals.” Athletics South Africa president Leonard Chuene, also on Caster Semenya.

“All of a sudden there is a hullabaloo about blue lights. I suggest it is because some people are aware that in the blue light car today, there is a darkie inside there.” Bheki Cele, then MEC for Transport.

“If you are racist, don’t dump it on me. I’ve never been a racist and I will never be a racist. It came by three boats Dromedaris and Reijer and others. I’ve never been a racist that’s why I joined the ANC.” Membathisi Mdadlana, called to account for his remarks about Chinese South Africans.

“What I learned in SA is if you take your car to a garage and the owner is black and they mess it up, you never go back to that garage. If the owner is white, you say they made a mistake and you go back again. This is how some people live their lives.” Peter de Villiers.

“Watson’s deep-rooted ethnic prejudices against Afrikaners should be addressed with the same rigour as is the case with other incidents of racism in the country.” Kallie Kriel of AfriForum, on his complaint to the Equality Court over comments by Luke Watson.

No doubt there will be more fine examples in the future (though someone else will have to collect them because the forthcoming collection of South African insults is my last. Three seems like a good number — it worked for George Lucas, and he should never have tried for sequels three, four and five). It should be fun.

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