I did not attend the Ruth First lecture at Wits this past Monday, and my commentary is based solely on this extract below.
White Privilege is real and it needs to fall
The existence of white privilege is one that is highly contested – usually by those who benefit from it but, Msimang said South Africa: The Rainbow Nation Is a Lie, and Other Lessons From the 2015 Ruth First Lecture
I agree that white privilege is real but I disagree that it needs to fall. The key aspects that I identify as being among white privilege are:
- The fact that my family and I live in solid structually sound houses,
- The fact that we all have access to high-quality healthcare,
- The fact that we do not go to bed hungry,
- The fact that we all have access to clean potable water,
- The fact that we all have access to the Internet and the amazing opportunities that it provides,
- The fact that we are in a position to fight back if our rights are violated.
These privileges should not fall away from people based on their ethnicity, but we need to rather ensure that these privileges become the norm for all people in South Africa.
In addition we need to ensure that we all find away to live in a country where we feel safe and that we belong. I don’t know how we are going to do that. Over 350 years of history of oppression and dehumanization cannot be easily undone, and we need to be careful not to deny the experience of people that we have not yet had.
I have had better opportunities because I am white, I do not want those opportunities to be taken away from anyone, I would much rather see them extended to everyone.
Love and difficult politics,