I Wish That I Could Say, Without A Doubt, That I Am Not Racist


By Avela Sidaki

Dear white lady, my name is not Cheapo, It’s Tshepo. If you took five minutes out of your time to make an effort, you’d certainly not struggle to pronounce it. And while we are here on introductions, my child’s name is Ntlahla (and NO YOU WILL NOT CALL HER LUCKY). The name is what it is for a purpose. Quite frankly I am dumbstruck when you can’t pronounce Kgaogelo, “because it has a weird ‘g'” but you can say gegaan with no qualms.

Eurocentic behaviour is frustrating your black colleagues. It’s really dodgy that workplace policies and their “exceptions” are so tightly wrapped around white culture that the difference between wrong and right is closely knitted to culture. I mean you know how Jabulani [whom you call Jabu, not out of endearment, because it’s just too long and black] struggles to get three days off of work to go to his great aunt’s funeral but Stacy can bury her kitten Mittens without a days notice.

I wish we could say this from a good place so that it didn’t sound so much like a rant, but I can’t. I wish I could say that beyond all doubt that I am not racist and I have nothing but love for my white brothers… But I just don’t think I can. I think I am hypersensitive when it comes to race? Maybe I’m petty but something must change.

Sometimes I feel like they’re just not listening to us. There’s a massive wall between us that we’ve been clawing at with our nails but they couldn’t be bothered by it. I am sick of anger. I am sick of one sided tolerance. I think we should sit down and have frank conversations about our relations and the equality of the workplace. You are not a better or the worst person because of the colour of your skin. You are valuable.

This is a brief overview of the concerns of a number of proffessionals I had a chat with. I had to ask around to see if I wasn’t crazy and if my frustration was legit. Subtle oppression is dangerous, it breeds subtle anger. Subtle anger ferments and boils until no container can keep it and then BOOM!




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