Ryland Fisher
Ryland Fisher

Black people can be among the most racist

I was not surprised when ANC leaders, angered by cartoonist Zapiro, resorted to calling him a racist. After all, there is a tradition in South Africa where black people, unable to come up with a strong enough argument against a white protagonist, almost out of desperation calls the white person a racist.

This, of course, implies an unwritten assumption that black people are not capable of being racist and that all criticism of black people by white people is based on racism.

Well, I think it is time to debunk that myth. Black people can be as racist, or even more racist, than some of the worst white racists.

I see it every day on the Cape Flats where racism between so-called coloureds and Africans are considered the norm. It is not uncommon for coloureds to call Africans derogatory names and it is not unusual for Africans to call coloureds derogatory names.

And it is not uncommon for coloureds and Africans to speak disparagingly about whites or Indians.

I sincerely believe that black people use the race card when they are unable to come up with convincing arguments against white people. This is not to say that sometimes the criticism by white people of black people is not based on racism, but this is not always the case.

I believe that, by calling somebody a racist, it probably says more about you than about the other person.

If, for instance, one looks at the history of someone like Jonathan Shapiro, one would find it strange to consider him a racist. I think he is merely a person who is concerned about the things that are going wrong in our society today and he is reflecting the views of many others, black and white.

The ANC, if it is serious about addressing the concerns of the majority of people, would do well to listen to what Zapiro has to say, to hear what his concerns are, rather than condemning him outright as a racist.

I have known Zapiro since the 1980s — in fact, we gave him first real break in newspapers at the alternative weekly South newspaper — and he has never been anywhere near racist.

In any case, how in heaven’s name are we going to be able to have decent debates in this country if all white people are going to be scared to criticise black people? No one likes to be called a racist, and it is inevitable in South Africa for whites who criticise blacks to be tarnished with that label.

In my book, I try to deal with this issue by confessing that I am a racist. I then go on to say that everyone who lived under apartheid is racist. Once I have done this, I believe that it levels the playing ground for us to have a conversation about race and racism.

And it is important for us to have this conversation. I believe that in our haste to become a “rainbow nation”, we did not deal with the issues that caused us so much pain in the past, and racism is one of those.

Unless we deal with the issues of race and racism, unless we talk about them, they will always come back to haunt us.

Now let’s say this together: I am a racist. You are a racist. Let’s talk.

317 Responses to “Black people can be among the most racist”

  1. Oldfox #


    You could also learn a little more about agriculture, before making totally erroneous statements.
    Traditional African agriculture may not have been efficient, i.t.o. tonnage per hectare, but it was sustainable. Modern agriculture, using deep ploughing etc. is not. There is now a move to low tillage or zero tillage farming by modern farmers, including a few SA farmers.
    Article below appeared in last Friday’s Mail and Guardian.
    Time to go against the grain
    Oil-dependent production of cereal crops could be replaced by a traditional method of farming that is cheaper, greener and safer

    Interesting article by Max Du Preez in his column a week ago, unfortunately I could not find it on internet – maybe I should try now, it takes a while for Google to index articles. He was in Serbia during maize harvest time. He came from the maize triangle in SA, and believed big commercial farming was the only way to go, and that small scale farmers could not produce for export.
    In Serbia he did not see one combine harvester. Families harvest by hand. They use a crude two wheel engine-over-the-axle puller pulling a two wheel trailer (I saw such crude stuff in Brazil and China too). This machine around R3000 each. Also used for wheat, sugar beet, potatoes.
    There are 261 000 of these in machines Serbia.
    Max now advocates that SA implements a Serbian style agricultural revolution, to unlock the potential of small scale farming in SA.

    I could add that small scale farming is also successful in China, the key difference being that the Serbs own their land and Chinese peasants don’t.

    November 9, 2008 at 9:45 pm
  2. Oldfox

    I suggest we leave farming, including the Land Bank and Onderstepoort, to farmers not amateurs. Politicians and bureaucrats don’t know how to farm any more than they know how to run any other businesses (including SAA and Eskom).

    I have listen to Agri on the radio many times – they have some great ideas, including how to get black farming off the ground.

    And you have missed the point – how is land that supported 300,000 people originally, now supposed to support 10 million people?

    And why is Botswana producing and Lesotho and Swaziland are not? They all started off the same – as former protectorates, never white owned land.

    November 10, 2008 at 4:08 pm
  3. Oldfox #

    Swaziland Exports:
    $1.926 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
    – commodities: soft drink concentrates, sugar, wood pulp, cotton yarn, refrigerators, citrus and canned fruit

    November 10, 2008 at 7:20 pm
  4. Oldfox

    And almost all those industries are owned by the Swazi Royal family. Check it out for yourself.

    However, I query your figure – the source please?

    November 11, 2008 at 12:05 pm
  5. Oldfox #


    Does not matter who owns the industries. You did not say Swaziland’s private sector does not produce, because then I would have checked up some more. Fridge co. was set up and is almost certainly largely owned, by South Africans.

    You should know by now that I use CIA figures – free, and easy to access. I have seen from another source that Swaziland has 70 000 SMMEs. Not easy to verify that though – one needs access to reserve bank, trade and industry dept. and receiver of revenue to verify something like that. Too much hard work, so I have not verified it yet.

    November 11, 2008 at 5:12 pm
  6. We can,Ooh yes we can.

    November 11, 2008 at 9:07 pm
  7. Oldfox

    These are the figures that I find for Swaziland on the CIA website:

    80% of the population are subsistence farmers
    70% of government income is from customns duty
    1/4 of the population receives emergency food aid
    2/5 of the population is infected with AIDS
    40% of the population is unemployed
    69% of the population is living below the poverty line
    46 million dollars a year is received in foreign Aid

    Now compare those stats to Botswana.

    November 12, 2008 at 12:34 pm
  8. Oldfox #

    Botswana has diamonds. Swaziland not.

    November 12, 2008 at 6:09 pm
  9. To get back to history. Nguni did not farm. They lived off the land. So did their cattle. They ate what God/Nature grew. So did their cattle. They did not establish farms, fence in pastures, grow fodder for their cattle or crops for themselves.

    That is blue fallacy and non seconded arguement, look at maize in the old world – Sylivia johnson.
    Fruits of hypocrisy , re global recession.(joseph stiglits).How did the Ngunis learn to prepare and reserve the maize in different forms if it was a foreign crop to them.

    November 12, 2008 at 11:15 pm
  10. Oldfox

    Botswana started by developing farming (like Asia, like China, like South America). Developing diamonds has been a relatively new development. Botswana was on the best democracy and best investments list before the diamonds. And there are many areas of the world with no resources that have boomed with correct policies – Hong Kong, Japan.


    Maize is not indigeneous to Africa. The colonialists brought it into Africa. Google it for yourself.

    November 13, 2008 at 9:57 am
  11. squbhusenkwishi

    If you check on Wikipedia you will see that maize comes from America. Sylvia Johnson says it was brought to Africa by the Portugese.

    November 13, 2008 at 5:10 pm
  12. Oldfox #


    With only 0.65% of arable land, and only 0.01% of land used for permanent crops, its impossible for Botswana to have an important agricultural sector, in economic terms, unless very modern farming methods are used, e.g. as in Israel.
    Botswana’s only important agricultural exports are meat and hides, and agricultural imports are around 3 times higher than exports – Botswana is not self sufficient in food production.
    Smallholders in Botswana use traditional methods (e.g. cattle or donkeys to pull ploughs), i.e. no mechanization.
    Botswana would be very poor indeed without its diamonds, which have been mined since 1970.

    The following shows that agriculture in Botswana is very inefficient, i.t.o. labour utilization and GDP contribution.
    China 43% of labour force engaged in agriculture, which contributes 11.3% of GDP
    Kenya 75% of labour force engaged in agriculture, which contributes 23.8% of GDP
    Israel 18.5% of labour force engaged in agriculture, which contributes 2.7% of GDP
    Botswana 80% of population engaged in agriculture, which contributes 1.6% to GDP.

    November 15, 2008 at 12:51 pm
  13. Botswana has 2 million people; China has 1.5 billion. Botswana has been exporting beef since independence. Besides you are arguing against your own last post on small scale farming. Botswana also makes a lot of its income from tourism.

    November 15, 2008 at 7:12 pm
  14. Oldfox #


    I used percentages, not absolute values. So comparisons with China are relevant.

    In China and Serbia, mechanization is used, even if its crude trucks and pullers. Where possible Chinese peasants use modern methods – such as tunnels, plastic sheets over seedlings to minimise water evaporation, drip irrigation etc.

    I was responding to your point of “Botswana started by developing farming….”

    Cattle raising dominated Botswana’s social and economic life BEFORE independence – little different to many other African countries. But minerals contribute about 20 times more to GDP. Botswana’s climate is simply not suited to large scale agriculture.

    November 16, 2008 at 1:16 pm
  15. Oldfox

    In February 1830 Tshekedi Khama sailed to Britain together with representatives of the London Mission Society and Advocate Douglas Mudie Buchanan (legal representative to the Khamas ) to pursuade the British authorities not to allow mining concessions. Thereafter he declared that his people wanted no mining in their country. The final decision was to be made by Seretse Khama when he was old enough to rule, as Tshekedi was only regent during the minority.

    If Seretse waited until 1970 before starting the mining of diamonds, it looks like he waited until after independence (1966).

    Today Botswana is rated as the least corrupt country in Africa by Transparency International, the best investment area in Africa by two credit agencies, and has one of the world’s fastest growth rates.

    November 16, 2008 at 9:12 pm
  16. esmi #

    if someone is prejudging me because of my race or what he thinks my capablities are along the racial lines, i say so. we don’t have to get ugly about it, i just point out his uninformed views. sometimes these utterances are out of ignorance, or even making judgements from a small sample of data. some people have not left the little towns where they were raised and if the only black person they know behaved a certain way or the black people are shown in their media are negatively caste, no one can blame them for entirely for their lack of informed opinions. media has a large role to play in what is percieved of other cultures. its just up to those people to expose themselves to the rest of the world so as not to appear ignorant.

    March 14, 2011 at 10:44 pm
  17. Spil gratis #

    To build on what PNEIba said, or why US Refiners don’t build a refinery in Canada close to the source. Piping the oil all the way to the Southern US only to truck the fuel oil and gas back North (where most is used) seems terribly inefficient.

    March 12, 2012 at 10:06 am

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