I am sure it was Pieter Dirk Uys who said that every day he admits that he is a racist, and then spend the day trying not to be

If it wasn’t him, it could’ve been

 

In this shiny new South Africa of ours many of us try very hard not to behave in a racist fashion. All of us, all colours and cultures, grew up with a sense of our separateness because of race. For us oldies, we grew up in different areas, went to different schools and were taught not to trust each other.

 

We all were, not just the whites.

 

 

So how do we think that in 15 short years all of that prejudice will have vanished? What hopefully naivety is that? All we can do is try. And recognise that others are trying too.

 

And I try. I do. I have friends who are not white and I have friends from different cultures. When watching someone eat with their hands in public I try to remember it’s a cultural thing and my way is not right, it’s just my way. When my space is invaded in the post office queue I try to remember that a personal space bubble is a luxury of middle class, of having my own bedroom as a child, of growing up being driven around in a car and not a packed taxi.

 

I do try.

 

But when that taxi driver cuts in front of me in the rain and then just looks at me, mean little racist words and phrases leap to mind, unbidden. At best I think ‘those people!!!!’, and at worst, much worse words and thoughts.

 

That I ever think ‘those people’ means I consider myself separate from them because of my race. And let’s be honest, I think at least that ‘my people’ are better drivers! That’s racist!

 

When I see a hot white woman with a black man I wonder why. I do, I am sorry, but I do! I don’t have a problem with it but for just a second I wonder why. The word ‘why’ is just there, in my head, before I can bat it away and think ‘because they like each other’. But it is there. And that’s racist.

 

I see a black man playing with his child in a park and I think ‘wow.’ I have this horrible idea that black men impregnate and vanish.  I know too many black single mom’s not to think this. This is sexist, I know. And it’s racist.

 

 

And it is very hard to admit these things cos I don’t want to think them or feel them. And cognitively I don’t; I really don’t think I am better than anyone else cos of my colour, race or culture. I do not lump people into categories based on their skin colour; I think there are both nice people and shits in every group everywhere.

 

But my knee-jerk reactions often let my higher being down

 

I am not proud of these thoughts.

I try very hard not to allow them to exist

 

But I am a racist

And every day I work hard at not being one.

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