Category Archives: Race

The Unbearable Heaviness Of Blackness

Can one exist as a black person in South Africa without anger? Is it logical, possible even, to just want to exist without the burden of all this continent’s, no, this world’s history upon your shoulders? I am increasingly finding it difficult not to question the seething black anger I come across daily on social media. There is a toxicity, a contagion in that rage that I simply have no stomach for. Society (read politicians, media, friends and family) manipulates this anger and sets us up to be adversarial with just about everybody we meet. We are taught to always be wary of the invisible “they” because at any moment all we have can be taken away. We must work twice as hard as “they” do for even a quarter of what “they” have. The “they” is a shifting target depending on which marginalized black group is being addressed.Basically, we are conditioned to believe the world is out to get us and all we can do is FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! Don’t you dare ask why either.

I’m asking though, is there not another way? What if I choose to focus on building communities rather than tearing down the perceived status quo? What if I choose peace, love and collaboration over blood and fire? What if I choose to listen to my fellow human being instead of constantly shouting my opinion into the wind? What if I choose to get to know you instead of projecting myself upon you? Does that make me any less of a black person in this world? What if I shared the positive stories of my existence in the hope that they may in some way brighten up your day? Does that make me less of a (black) man? Would I be a clever black if I choose to see a fellow human being in you and not a potential competitor for my little corner of blackness in this world?

I spent too many of my younger years being angry at the world to want to fit into the angry black stereotype, instead, I chose a life without stereotypes. That anger only serves to entrench the status quo, the dominance of white masculinity over all.  How you wear your race, gender, sexuality or any other identifier is your choice, how I perceive it, is entirely mine.

My one wish for anyone who thinks black on black physical and emotional violence is the way things should be is they snap out of it the moment they realise their entire understanding of how we relate to each other is centered around the preservation of the purity of male whiteness.