The race card is eternal

10 May 2019
Author   Jackie Wilson Asheeke
After living in Namibia and all over the world for most of my life, I am now convinced that human beings can never live together as equals – the race card is forever on the game board of life.  So, how can we balance that?
While there are some who rise to that level (of knowing that all people are equal), there is always something that makes one set of people feel superior to another and another set of people feel inferior.  It can be hair or eye colour, money, education, religion, language, or any other factor, but far too many people need to stand taller by putting their feet on someone else’s head.                                                                                                                                    
Rather than spending so much time preaching and praying for total equality amongst all human beings, let’s keep that as an unobtainable goal for demi-gods and aggressively enforce laws and regulations that are equally applied.  Let us focus on what is just and what is not.
I read a story about a Russian pilot in Walvis Bay arrested and charged for serious sexual offenses against minor black girls.  This man is credibly accused and is a foreign national and yet, was released on bail.  I submit that if the same case with the same evidence were made against a black foreigner, and the victims were underage white girls, he wouldn’t see the light of day until his trial date; bail wouldn’t be an option. 
But…this accused guy is white and his victims were underage black girls (who aren’t valued in Namibia), so he gets a ‘pass’ on the assumption of nefarious potential.   This is unjust.
There is a white Peeping Tom who took pictures of a white woman taking her shower.  While this man has been convicted, I’d take bets that he will get a slap on the wrists.  Imagine that was a black man who was spying on a naked white woman.  He would be buried under the jail for that.  Again, this is unjust.
I am from the USA where the numerical majority of people in any jail cells or on government assistance of some form are white.  A significant number of beggars who come to your car windows looking for money and almost all convicted serial killers are whites.  Most homeless people in America are white.   Whites kill, rape, beat their wives, murder and lie just like anyone else.  There are dangerous black and brown brothas’ too, don’t get me wrong.  My point is that with me, no one gets an automatic ‘no-evil-doing-pass’ just because of their skin colour. 
Sadly, I believe that many Namibians of colour are actually afraid of whites on some level.  It is amazing to see very educated black folks jumping like slaves to a massa’ on a plantation when a white person makes a suggestion.  I was told in a work environment by a perfectly sober and calm black executive that white British people were better editors than anyone black. 
A black service provider will serve a white person behind me in line or serve whites at their tables in restaurants first or accede to the boisterous demand of an angry Afrikaner (even if the demand is out of line.) 
Blacks in Namibia despise and denigrate the Chinese in ways they would never do to whites.  And yet, those same whites held them under the boot of apartheid.  Still, numerous people of colour kow tow to whites with smile and a “Ja, Meneer or Mevrou” as if it were 1969 instead of 2019.  It is pathetic.
Why are we not teaching our children that black is beautiful and about the achievements, beauty, dignity, intelligence and business savvy of people of all colours?
Has everyone pretended not to notice that most whites in Namibia self-segregate as much as possible?  They exist in their own communities, with their own churches, schools, social events, businesses, newspapers and shops and bask in the glory of the deity status offered to them.  Blacks are the worker bees, but whites discreetly own and run the hive - and this is seemingly ok with many Namibians. 
And remarkably, whites scream the loudest about corruption in Namibia when the white supremacist ideas lurking amongst their community is the most evil, corrupting belief system on the planet. 
Malcolm X spoke about black people fighting each other for the scraps from the table of the diners (white people).  Black folks are so busy tearing each other down that we never think to assert our right to be a diner taking our equal portion from those who sat themselves at our table. 
Carter G Woodson (read his classic book, The Miseducation of the Negro) said that segregation was so ingrained in the black man’s mind that if there weren’t a ‘blacks only’ entrance, people of colour would break down wall to make one rather than walk through the ‘whites only’ entrance.   Far too many blacks are programmed to accept inferior treatment.
The ‘doll test’ written up in the 1950s (redone in the 2006 with similar disturbing results) by Drs Kenneth and Mamie Clark told the story of how blacks tend to see themselves as inferior to whites; as not ‘pretty,’ ‘nice’ or  ‘smart.’  Living with a negative self-image is like starving to death.
Are Namibians (black and white) doing enough to free their minds (and their children’s minds) of apartheid, nearly 30 years after independence?  I think not.
To make the world a better place, we need to be fair.  The solution is difficult because the race card is always on the table.  Still, we need to do unto others what we want done to us and teach our children that message if we ever hope to change ourselves at all.


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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