“Black folks have had to deal with being called monkeys for a long time and dehumanization has always been a method of racism and subjugation of black people.” – John Legend
Growing up I had no I idea what racism was. I failed to comprehend the hush tones of hatred and resentment, whispered by the elders every-time a white man walked by. I knew I was black my classmates were white, we conversed together, played together and when we hurt ourselves on the playground, the blood lines were similar; my blood was red, his blood was red- we were human.
The daily commute from the ghetto of Soweto to the pearly burbs rarely crafted the egregious racial storm polarizing the political platform. I was young and naïve, and our history books failed in deciphering the political pandemic. It’s only when I grew up and I heard Steve Biko emphasizing with a measure of intrepidness that “Black man you on your own” that my curiosity was awakened. From then on I began sifting through our history, trying to connect these black and white dots and I realized then as I realize now that we are worlds apart and our path to democracy is tainted and stained with emotional and toxic racial landmines. All because, of this myopic mentality being displayed on social media;
Penny Sparrow, “…..obviously have no education what so ever so to allow them loose is inviting huge dirt and troubles and discomfort to other. I’m sorry to say I was amongst the revellers and all I saw were black on black skins what a shame. I do know some wonderful thoughtful black people. This lot of monkeys just don’t want to even try…… From now I. Shall address the blacks of south Africa as monkeys as I see the cute little wild monkeys do the same pick drop and litter.”
Vanessa Hartley quoted as stating “they like stupid animals. We should tie them to a rope. To many Africans flocking to Hout Bay. Draw up a petition. Soon there will be nothing left of Hout Bay.”
These racial outbursts wrapped with hatred, spit with anger and animosity are proof that democracy comes at a price. It is these type of perceptive ideologies that are volatile and down- right disruptive to humanity.
It is heartening that the road to equality and freedom is tainted by such absurd thoughts, that the idea of mingling with ‘them’, with ‘us’ appears infuriating and humiliating. However these turn of events lay bare the question of intent; intent for them to iron these creases stemming from years of political infringement, hatred and social injustices.
Forgiveness is thorny, like climbing Mount Everest – not everybody can commit to it; it’s emotionally exhausting and challenging. Hence for us to co-exist, will entail addressing these racial symptoms because spitting venomous hatred, by calling me a monkey is duplicitous and sickening.
Racism is a ‘culture’ and erasing years of etiquette requires psychological intervention. Eradicating this stigma of hatred for ‘them’ requires a certain measure of dialogue. Saying, “I’m sorry” won’t cut it. We need mutual engagement, we need social rehabilitation where we get to voice out our discomfort and truthfully offload our emotions to each other. So that going forward ‘I’, ‘We’, get to comprehend this hatred being inflicted on me, on us- people of color. I believe one doesn’t just wake up and deduce another to the barbaric term of monkey, such analysis should logically be justifiable.
Straying away from the norm is hardly an effortless game of hop scotch but requires doses of therapy, the victimizer acknowledging the wrong by finding the will submerged within the abyss of forgiveness. It means ‘you’ white man being aware that your smile and calling me mam is not enough. A platform should be provided where these individuals provide answers for their statements. They shouldn’t be given a slap on the wrist but the courts should see to it that they are held accountable. Just as the drug addicts attend rehab, such individuals should be compelled to attend counselling sessions where we may get to understand the reasoning behind their anger and resentment. It means them addressing the hatred hibernating within. By doing so, they get to address their wrongful actions and we start dissecting these racial symptoms or else this will be a never ending cycle of us blacks being victims of such heinous, flagrant acts of verbal diarrhea, that are hurtful, demeaning and should have no place in our society.