Trigger Warning: Political and racial commentary

Johannesburg, South Africa, 2016…

Well, one stupid post by a stupid Real Estate Agent threatened to overthrow all that is positive about the South African Dream… The South African Dream, and ideal, the legacy of Nelson Mandela, Nelson mandela himself, have all been effectively trampled on for the last couple of years…

Her name was Penny Sparrow, and she made a comparison of the throngs of black beach goers on New Year’s day, and the chaos left in the wake of said masses, to monkeys… Social media picked up on it, and the start of 2016 went spiralling down the proverbial drain, along with almost any consideration of a shared humanity and national purpose between the races in South Africa. Racism it seems is everything that is wrong with South Africa, and the fact that “whites” thought it was okay to air such rhetoric upon an unsuspecting populace was proof of this (and alot of “whites”didn’t, but they are irrelevant apparently). In the wake of this radio personalities and leading national economists were knocked down on by one, as threats of white genocide became acceptable and defensible… Controversial enough?

Lost in all of this madness were the occurrences of the year before, the allowances that have been excused have now rendered action that is currently underway permissible, and our beautiful capital city Tshwane burns tonight… We have a corrupt leadership, a Parliament that has spiralled out of control under a leadership that can only correct itself by accepting the responsibility! And yes, as Tshwane teaches us, where there is smoke there is fire! If our President is not corrupt then pass the tobasco, I have a hat to eat. Just last year we allowed our students to cause chaos and destruction, it was publicized, it was commended, and to those who witnessed the power of the students who are more privileged than they, it demonstrated that if you are angry, then be chaotic. In it’s wake we had a xenophobic catastrophe that cost people lives… People are angry, the actions of the masses which liberated a country and put people in power, is now working against them, and there will be casualties…

Controversial posts? How about not enough time to fully explore the meaning and intention of our fellow humans? I mean, this is high-level and will be interpreted, misinterpreted and perceptions will be impressed upon it. And…

Shocker! I am white! I am controversial, because not only am I white, but I am white and have an opinion… Are you angry? Provoked? Then surely I must be worthy of a death threat?

Do you know Marina Abramović? Check her out, one of the most shockingly provoking artists of the past century, and watch her documentary please – it’s amazing!!! Anyway, the reason I bring her up is because of a certain performance:

To test the limits of the relationship between performer and audience, Abramović developed one of her most challenging (and best-known) performances. She assigned a passive role to herself, with the public being the force which would act on her. Abramović placed on a table 72 objects that people were allowed to use (a sign informed them) in any way that they chose. Some of these were objects that could give pleasure, while others could be wielded to inflict pain, or to harm her. Among them were a rose, a feather, honey, a whip, olive oil, scissors, a scalpel, a gun and a single bullet. For six hours the artist allowed the audience members to manipulate her body and actions. This tested how vulnerable and aggressive the human subject could be when hidden from social consequences.[2] By the end of the performance, her body was stripped, attacked, and devalued into an image that Abramović described as the “Madonna, mother, and whore”.[2] Additionally, markings of aggression were apparent on the artist’s body; there were cuts on her neck made by audience members, and her clothes were cut off of her body.

Initially, members of the audience reacted with caution and modesty, but as time passed (and the artist remained passive) people began to act more aggressively. As Abramović described it later: “What I learned was that … if you leave it up to the audience, they can kill you. … I felt really violated: they cut up my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. It created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I stood up and started walking toward the audience. Everyone ran away, to escape an actual confrontation.”

Relevance? As a member of this society in which I have given but a brief glimpse of my perceptions, I have experienced two instances of “controversial” expressions of opinion biting me in the arse…

First: There was a Real Estate agent who left her dog in a company branded car. People were angry and photos were taken after she swore at members of the public who confronted her. I shared the image on her employers FB page and asked if this was okay? I, among others, tried to contact her to say it’s not okay. I then gave her the benefit of the doubt, contacting her, telling her that i was sure she was a nice lady and loved her animals, having just left them there for a moment to buy them some nibbles from the Woolies. But, by the end I had her friends phoning my house and threatening to harass me if I didn’t talk to them. My Mrs was accused of being the person who took and posted the original photo – and in all of this she never once accepted that what she had done was in any way wrong, and that it was her actions that resulted in the situation at hand… Funny that… A Real Estate Agent… Like Penny Sparrow…

Then: In the wake of all the racial tension and hatred flying so venomously around me, I requested to join a prominent Facebook Page (let’s call it A Converstion Whatsit) which advertises itself as the place to be to engage the issue of racial relations honestly. I was eventually kicked off the group as I was confronted by levels of hate I could not understand, and questioned these rather aggressively after being targeted by a specific member of the group. Ultimately all I can say about this is that white people are entitled to a voice, and offence can be issued from both directions.

The idea that reverse racism doesn’t exist is false, you may not like that, but if racism is all about power, and you exist in a domain where power is race-aligned (in a Facebook group, for example), where the colour of your skin renders you not entitled to an opinion; that if you have an opinion it is invalid because of the colour of your skin (if you are white); that if you have an opinion it will be white washed and labelled as whitesplaining; that to be a part of said group you must accept, without comment for the reasons already raised, any offensive propoganda and leftist ideology that is hurled your way; that any relationship you have with people of colour exists as a master/servant dynamic because you do not accept the “fact”, notions or attacks by people on the group; that malicious targeting and provocation on social media is acceptable by people of colour, and that a response by a white person to provocation is proof of “white fragility”, but that if you as a white person challenge or provoke then you are labelled; etcetera, etcetera and so forth…That because of the above, if you don’t align, because the colour of your skin (and only that) has fed your point of view, that because you are white in skin and opinion, well then you are exited by those in a position of power on the group… but it’s not racist (even though racism is about power, but apparently not within a social medium)…

It was rough, because the intention to engage was pure, and when I was ex-communicated and blocked, I struggled with it for a very long time as I dealt with the months of conditioning and the guilt that was flung around in the space like a bag of doo-doo attached to a ceiling fan. And then months passed, and I witnessed a person who I knew to be a member of this group launch into their self-righteous attack upon another uneducated, less-than-human, white person, on a community WhatsApp group. It was then that I realised something, an epiphany if you will,  that in having unpopular opinion, especially in public, is like being Marina Abramović, you welcome the response of the aligned hordes. The problem with aligned hordes is that not a single one can look in the mirror and intellectually quantify unanimously what aligns them, they are just wrapped up in a zeitgeist of unqualified sentiment, and armed with pieces of other people’s appetizing (to them) thinking…

The point! I don’t try to be controversial or offend, but we are how many people on this planet? There is always someone who is going to be offended, and I am always happy to apologise for offending if there is an ability to have a civilized conversation and explore the offence caused. But when it comes to self-censorship, I made a decision last week that I am ashamed by… I was tasked with a creative challenge regarding creating an image around proving Sea Monkeys in the real world, and I started and then stopped for fear of backlash… The opportunity available in the task? (Sea Mankeys, See Monkeys… I had an idea of Zuma’s head open, and where his brain should be would be a bunch of sea Monkeys driving it, Sea Monkeys… Monkeys of the Sea… Our President… Sea Monkeys, which aren’t even monkeys but are shrimp called Sea monkeys… But there’s the possibility of people reacting to the idea of the combination of Monkey, Sea and Skin colour… Our South African President is the leader of the ANC, and he’s black… Sea Monkeys… DON’T DO IT!!! What will other people think!!!), and I went in another direction, even though my response was actually not playing on the monkey aspect, it was intended to play on the idea that our presidents brain is being driven my microscopic shrimp, who happen to be called sea monkeys…

I am not the SABC (or any other government organ), I will not tell a lie. Inevitably it is I who has to look at myself in the mirror and know that I am a good person, sometimes off-sides, but never intentionally hurtful… And well I am prepared to learn and explore other opinions and thought, I care about what I care about, life is an equal opportunity, we can give life, we can take it away, and so we are equally powerful in our ability to effect and affect each other’s lives (directly or indirectly). Man, my actions up to now have had very little to do with the impending Junk Status, but I will bear the effects of it caused by other peoples actions! No matter what your defining circumstances may be, you have the ability to effect my life. So when it comes to self-censorship (even though these days, for purposes of inner-peace these kinds of post will be few and far between), I must declare that My Cup of Giving a F–k, really and truly is running empty

The trinity


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