I read that the University of Cape Town has a black-only alumni group. Whites aren’t allowed in. OMIGOD! Uproar! Racism! Racism! A spokesperson for the group said it isn’t racism, and the rationale is that whites did it to blacks (which is true) so they’re just equalizing things. I can understand that, and I’d want to do it too.
If you’ve ever been in a relationship with a bully, it’s no use treating them with respect; they’ll see it as a weakness and trample all over you. It’s pretty smart to avoid contact with them, also no matter how much they say they’ve changed.
I don’t think the morality and political correctness of it matters much, it’s just so much hot air. I think the important thing is what racism does to the person practicing it. Prejudice has never led to anything positive for its perpetrators, no matter what the reason for it. If I build myself up at the expense of somebody else I’m focusing on them instead of on me, so I’m a house divided, which weakens me.
Does doing to somebody else what their predecessors did to your predecessors address the hideous and unconscionable inequality of the past and make life better for you? I don’t know; it’s a complicated subject, because the whites being excluded aren’t the ones who created apartheid, but they are the ones who inherited the privileges from it.
I’d say people should be allowed to have whatever groups they want. Freedom of speech and association are pretty important. It only gets dangerous for society when any groups or individuals within them start wielding power over the lives of others and infringing on their rights.
As for the University alumni group, why shouldn’t they exclude whites? They’re allowed to. You’re allowed to invite who you want to your party. If the whites who have been excluded don’t like it, they’ve got mouths, telephones, they know how to talk and ask questions, engage. They can sort it out. It’s their lives, their choice.
Still, no matter what the spokesperson for the alumni group called their actions, it’s still excluding people on the basis of the color of their skin, which makes it racism. You can’t bend the truth. Which incontrovertible fact doesn’t stop us from trying!
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