But what about White people?

TW: racism, colonialism, apartheid South Africa, class inequality

The BBC decided to do a story recently on the poorer Whites within South African society. Their article honestly begins- “The question I have come to South Africa to answer is whether white people genuinely have a future here.”

Wouldn’t a better driving question be whether Whites should have a future in South Africa? Their presence in South Africa is a result and element of the colonial disinheriting of the the indigenous Black population. The same should be asked about many other colonized parts of the world, including where I live, but that the issue is particularly relevant in South Africa considering that nearly 80 percent of the population has near-exclusively indigenous African ancestry (whether Bantu-speaking or the purportedly even more historied indigenous non-Bantu groups).

Speaking of how an overwhelming majority of South Africans are Black… the article includes this chart of income aggregated into the four common racial categories in South Africa:

So, just to remember or at least check Wikipedia, people of near exclusively White heritage comprise under 10 percent of the population of the country, but have only just seen their demographic cease to control a majority of its wealth. Yes, there are poor White people, but talking about how less than a tenth of the population now only controls more than a third of it…? Really BBC?

That’s about 80 percent of the population at the lowest rung there – with less than 10 percent of the income. If wealth were distributed proportionately across racial groups in South Africa – that’s what White people’s share would look like. Keep in mind, the end of Apartheid allowed the development of a small Black economic and political elite, who have gained inclusion in the previously Whites-only halls of power. Removing those few from the Black category would likely cause it to deflate to an even more miniscule amount.

There’s a point to be made here about how indigeneity and blackness are still the surest symbols, even in a nominally democratic and predominantly Black country, of being an undeserving investment, unreliable hire, or always suspected to be overpaid employee. But you missed it, BBC, for what about the White people!?

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2 thoughts on “But what about White people?

  1. […] a founder of their present democracy and the embodiment of its limitations (namely to challenge the economic disparities created under Apartheid rule). From within US and UK politics, however, the present remembrance of […]

  2. […] commentators. The former was done an additional disservice before his death, by BBC reporting that disregarded the economic reality of historical and modern South Africa, largely again by means of erasing the poorest residents of that country (who remain the indigenous […]

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