NB: Note that although some of this might prove provocative, there is no intention to generalize from the views and statements made by those mentioned in this article to the wider South African population, nor is there any intention to undermine or harm the dignity of any person.
The skinning of an organism’s flesh is admittedly a rather graphic symbol, an image that conjures up gory thoughts one wished it had not. Why then use such a graphic metaphor? Simply because it is appropriate in the way it communicates the graphic destruction of a person, an identity, a culture. It is apt in encapsulating the prospect of the actualization of said destruction, a destruction of human beings that, as we’ve learned from history, ought to be avoided at all possible costs. It is also apt in the sense that it encapsulates much of the rhetoric that one will read and perhaps learn below.
Skinning a person can be a physical event in the way that a ranger delicately and carefully skins his kill. But merely skinning the physical body appears to lack capturing the concept in its fullness, at least as it is meant here. Skinning, as this article means it, is not merely directed at the surface but also at the core, the essence of the victim. The surface is the victim’s body but the essence is far deeper than that. The essence is the subject’s identity, his or her inner being, what makes him or her who he or she is. The essence is shaped and influenced by the subject’s culture, and it is what provides him or her with the meaningful conditions of existence. Thus, to skin a human being one not only kills the body in that the skin is torn away, but it is also to penetrate the internal organs, so to speak, namely the essence of the human being.
Thus, what is proposed here is a manual, a guide for how to skin the flesh of white South Africans for those who wish to do so. It is a manual for those few (yet dominant and aggressive voices) who so openly hate white skin, who wish to beat it, see it burn, and if they’re feeling lenient and merciful enough, to expel it from sight.
1. Subjugate White Skin
It is fact that by far most domestic workers in this country are black and that they often work for whites. This I believe is evidence of the injustices within our sore history. It’s also evidence of the way apartheid has structured our society which still dwells with us within the present. Unfortunately, one still witnesses segregation in that racial groups still largely (not always) live in distinct neighbourhoods divided by economics and social class. Most of the nation’s wealth is still within white hands and millions of blacks still live in poverty. As a result, blacks who live in poor conditions and who are desperate for jobs need to seek out work, and many have little else than to turn to domestic work in wealthier areas. These areas consist mostly of white households, and so for many blacks this is a vivid image of subjugation still alive well into a democratic society. Such is the unfortunate fact of contemporary South African life for millions.
There is little rosy about this image. Domestic work is a means of income and should be appreciated as such, but it is also evidence of historical subjugation of black people. All the more saddening it is that Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) “Commander in Chief” Julius Malema (the head of the nation’s third largest political body) wishes the roles were reversed. Reversed? What does that mean? Let Mr. Malema explain as he did in a recent address to his followers following a court appearance:
“I don’t want blacks to work for whites, I want you to work for yourselves; white people will work for you. That will be true freedom. You must teach them how to carry babies on their back. They must feel what our parents have been feeling… We are not calling for white people to be killed, but for white people to be our domestic workers… White privilege will come to an end under EFF”
Notice a few things here. Firstly, this is not an image of equal society. Rather, this is an image of vengeful subjugation, a wilful hope on Malema’s part to implement a reversal structure of apartheid. Malema goes as far to say that the subjugation of whites under blacks, through making them domestic workers for blacks, would be “true freedom.” True freedom is therefore only achieved when one race subjugates another, in Malema’s view. For Malema what is the alternative to massacring whites (for it appears he is not “calling for white people to be killed”)? The alternative is to make them domestic workers for blacks, and that’s to be their role under EFF governance. Also, notice how Malema has used a concept in need of much thoughtful engagement (namely white privilege) in a most unhelpful sense, not as something to engage thoughtfully and productively but to use as a vehicle for hatred and the subjugation of white skin.
How to Skin a White Man Rule #1: Subjugate the white species, impose upon them the same conditions opposed upon the blacks under colonization and apartheid. Do not seek a united South Africa for all for it belongs exclusively to the blacks who live in it. Whites stole our land, and so tolerate them only in as far as they can helpfully serve you in your domestic duties, for in their subjugation only is true freedom to be found.
2. Demonize White Skin Through Rhetoric
Post-apartheid South African society has a tendency to normalize black hatred for white skin. How so? Simply as seen in the colourful expressions given by some blacks to white skin. What are some of these colourful expressions? A few worth mentioning: “settlers,” “land thieves,” “colonialists,” and many others. It’s also not uncommon to see colourful slogans such as “f*ck white people” written on walls and monuments or the phrase “kill all white people” inked on t-shirts. These phrases appear to have been normalized. Normalized? Yes, they’ve become routine, acceptable (to many) ways to refer to white skin. They’ve been used by politicians and drawn on black boards on university campuses during aggressive protests. Although some of these colourful expressions might be deemed unlawful it takes many months, if not many years, for the courts to catch up with the perpetrators. And when the short arm of the South African justice system does manage to get up to speed, what was said has already been said and left to history. And if the justice system gives the perpetrator a slap on the wrist it is mostly underreported in the media, most people have sincelost interest, and few seem to learn that an inkling of justice has been done. Numerous people, from leaders to officials and followers within the ranks, within the African National Congress (ANC), the EFF, and BLF (Black First Land First) have been at the forefront of these colourful efforts, namely the demonization of white skin through hateful rhetoric.
How to Skin a White Man Rule #2: Demonize the white species, refer to them by what they truly are such as criminals, land thieves, and settlers. And most importantly: render them alien in the land of their birth, a land in which they do not belong.
3. Treat White Skin with Double Standards
Vicki Momberg and Penny Sparrow got handed heavy penalties. Both for racism. And what linked them? Both are white. Momberg became the first person, in fact, to be convicted and jailed for racism in South Africa, and I think deservedly so. Penny Sparrow got a massive fine for calling blacks monkeys. Both women committed racist deeds and that makes them atrocious, for racism and racists are always atrocious. But as much as calling specific races derogatory names and using deliberately offensive terminally in referring to members of specific races is atrocious, such, I’d argue, doesn’t land anywhere near to the level of hatred that is visible in stating one’s aspirations to kill an entire population based on their race (more on this below). Many blacks, politicians and ordinary folk, have stated aspirations to kill the white population via social media, in rallies, on clothing, and elsewhere. And should a black person be taken to task for this, the penalty is limp. Many of us white skins will remember Velaphi Khumalo, a government employee for the ruling ANC party who, clearly convinced of the evilness of all whites called for their genocide, urging blacks to do to white people what Hitler did to the Jews (if you don’t believe me that somebody actually said this, just Google it). To their credit the ANC distanced themselves from his statement but their disciplinary action was little more than a slap on the wrist resulting in a brief suspension only to reemploy Khumalo on a final warning. It appears then that a white person can be jailed for racism or inflicted with a massive fine, but a black person can near get away with calling for the genocide of white skins. Such examples could be multiplied (as I have observed elsewhere) but the narrative is the same: perpetrators who commit heinous acts of racism are not treated equally, and how they are treated will be dependent on their skin colour. White skins get the rear end of the stick here, and let’s not forget that there’s a narrative proposed by some that blacks can’t even be racist (Yes, it is really that bad).
How to Skin a White Man Rule #3: The white species is intrinsically inferior to the black race. They ought not be treated equally to the superior black man for crimes committed by whites, due to their inferior nature, is by definition worse than crime committed by members of the black race. Punishment should be rendered in proportion to this truth.
4. Kill White Identity
It is very debatable what a person is without an identity, and such inevitably invokes much philosophical inquiry. Can a person exist without an identity? If someone doesn’t have an identity is it a person? What is a person without and identity? and so on. Truly, I love philosophy but that is not why I am writing this, rather, I am writing this because of Julius Malema. In his valiant attempt to attack the dignity and occupation of a white politician, Athol Trollip, Malema stated that he was doing so:
“[B]ecause the mayor of DA in PE is a white man. So, these people, when you want to hit them hard – go after a white man. They feel a terrible pain, because you have touched a white man.” One way Malema proposed to do so was to go about “starting with this whiteness. We are cutting the throat of whiteness.”
Notice what Malema did here. For one, he is not helpfully and productively engaging the question of “whiteness,” and as I’ve stated elsewhere, I think the question of whiteness is a very important one. Also, note how Malema destroyed any chance of such a discussion and instead of engaging a perceived issue within whiteness his resort is to cut the throat of witness. Malema’s words speak for themselves: he wishes not to rectify, change, alter, improve, or even diminish whiteness, rather he wishes to eradicate it.
Thus, Malema’s statement stands as a clear instigation to harm. Why? Because racial groups possess identities (Afrikaners possess a collective identity as do Xhosas and Sothos), and to cut the throat of an identity is essentially a rationale to wipe out the identity of an entire people. As asked, what is a person without an identity? In fact, one doesn’t have to delve into too much philosophy to realize that a person is almost nothing without an identity. Without an identity a person does not belong and cannot live a purposeful and meaningful life. It is within identity, specially cultural identity, that human beings find their meaning and purpose.
How to Skin a White Man Rule #4: Eradicate the identity of both the white man and of the white race, for doing so diminishes greatly the white race and the white man’s ability to live purposefully and meaningfully.
5. Destroy White Flesh
Not only is white flesh victims of colourful expressions (“settlers,” “land thieves,” etc.) and slogans noted above, but it is too a victim of violent rhetoric. Three perpetrators jump to mind (I’m sure by this point readers will know one of them already): Malema, Andile Mngxitama, and Lindsay Maasdorp. Malema stated in a rally that the EFF are “not calling for the slaughtering of white people, at least for now” (emphasis added). He’s not the only one: BLF’s boss Mngxitama looks forward to the day in which he is able to hack the head from the neck of the white man, as he stated on social media. He too recently stated that five whites must be killed for every death of a black person in the taxi industry (which has nothing to do at all with the whites Mngxitama commands must be killed). Maasdorp, also of the BLF, not only claimed he would side with a rapist if the victim was white, but he also stated that the existence of the white person is a crime, and that he had aspirations to kill whites. In 2016 he stated via social media that: “I have aspirations to kill white people, and this must be achieved!”
Mngxitama and Maasdorp are the big dawgs in an organization that has just registered for our elections! Not only have they registered but they violated the very policies of non-racialism and inclusivity set by the IEC, the body which runs and overlooks the elections. But the IEC accepted their registration anyway; despite the BLF marching to IEC offers to hand in their application singing “One settler, one bullet.”
For readers unfamiliar with these men, they might want to know whether or not they’ve been locked in some an insane asylum or quarantined somewhere for the safety of others. Well, no, nothing near that. In fact, they’re all enjoying their democratic freedom, living alongside their brothers and sisters, occupied with building social and racial cohesion. Again, sarcasm aside, this is evidence of the normalization of the hatred of white skin in this country.
How to Skin a White Man Rule #5: The existence of members of the white species as well as the white species as a collective is a crime. The existence of their men, women, children, infants, and elderly is a crime, and we must deal with them as we deal with criminals.
AND For Those Who Don’t Want to Skin White Flesh
I don’t by any means doubt that there are many of us (across all races in this country) who don’t wish to peel away white flesh. I suspect many of us, even those of us who are aware of the many racial, economic, and social issues our society faces as well as our sore history, wish to get on with each other, work together, and achieve things collectively. This is a view and a vision I wish to fight for. But on the same note it is important that we become aware of the forces that oppose this vision. Important it is then that we acknowledge the dangerous rhetoric and views expressed by some problematic people within our present society, that we resist these people, expose them where they are, and challenge them with an alternative voice of racial and social cohesion. I am but one voice in this struggle, and I know we need more voices.
And for those of us who don’t want this, well, then its your lucky day. Because this white skin just served you a manual.