Black Privilege


In a dream, one of my lecturers admitted to be promoting an extremely biased and racist syllabus.

Of course I thought, “well, if it’s indeed racist, it can only be promoted by a white lecturer”, only to have reality confronting my folly logic, upon the realization that even my (so thought) most esteemed black lecturers were, too, disturbingly biased in their presentations.


In rolling my eyes and shaking my head, with my ears I listened to what my lecturers had to say.  Good words and good concepts that, mistranslated, presented themselves in my everyday surroundings.

White friends would be accused of being racist by referring to that black girl who was really funny, but a black fellow would join us in laughter, contemplating that white girls’ inexplicable obsession with wearing shorts on a winter’s day.

From my mouth, the laughter never ran dry. Indeed, I’d laugh at my friends’ compilation of “white people things”, at every seemingly abnormal action related to “white people”, and life was fine, until I heard a lecturer claim that white people aren’t Africans, that, in order for them to become Africans, they must do a, b and c.

Then I knew that two things were wrong.

First, I. I was, and am, wrong each time I play along blaming “white” people for the shorts or for the lack of rhythm or whatnot.

Second, the lecturer and all those who, in his presence, proclaimed Amen in their agreement.  How can a representative of knowledge, of education, stand before I, a brain ready to absorb from its source, claiming that white people are not Africans on the mere basis of their skin colour? And more, that discrimination is “fair” in some cases? This monstrous paradox almost made me stand and scream! (were it not for the unrelated work I was doing in the classroom, and my general apathy towards such issues in a lecture hall)

I remember repeating the slogan, “Say it out loud, I’m black and I’m proud!” countless times, after having briefly done American history, but what if a white person decides to take pride in his/her “race”? Then, it’s racism. But not if black people do it.

And the point is, we are all so quick to tweet our deepest and falsely knowledgeable thoughts on white privilege, that we fail to consider its counterpart, black privilege.

I am of the opinion that in this country, South Africa, the black person has it best. It is such a great platform to be a victim, that everything, regardless of the parties involved, becomes the white man’s fault, or a reason to call upon those slave ancestors we all seem to be related with.

As black people, we are immensely blessed to carry with us this burden of a past abundant in suffering, that will forever justify the need for us to appear as victims, instead of emerging as survivors.

Yesterday, oppressed by men; today, enslaved by our conveniently put together past: a perfect collage of all events that shall aid us in solidifying the need for “fair discrimination” as a vehicle to equality. What equality in “fair” discrimination!

This, amongst many, is one paradox that irks me in my classes. But then again, the gods have blessed me with great apathy, and a blog to rant about such things.




5 thoughts on “Black Privilege

  1. You might want to listen to this podcast: It’s Eusebius in conversation with Lewis Gordon.

    Also consider such concepts as relativity (in the racial context), history, and the like.

    I’ll come back here presently. I’m busy right now.

    For the record: this is a nicely penned rant. I’ve noticed this, too. I don’t have that many black lecturers though. I wish that wasn’t the case.

  2. for some reason, I really liked your post. I know it’s a rant but your line, ” I heard a lecturer claim that white people aren’t Africans, that, in order for them to become Africans, they must do a, b and c.” really struck a chord in my heart.

    Just wanted to tell you that. 🙂

    1. Hey Ellie.

      It’s really sad that we still hear such things in a platform deemed for learning and academic discussion.
      It’s sad that we don’t realize that by agreeing with such statements, we are pursuing a culture of exclusiveness in Africa, not so different from the one we are forever complaining about, that the “white man” came here to instill.

      Keep well 🙂

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