It’s the 1st of January, 2013, a year I’d silently geared to be filled with gratitude and possibilities, after my epic 2012. I’ve put into practice all sorts of things to change my mindset, to think and say only positive things…to see the good in everybody, and everything. Of course reality comes home to roost, so I tweaked those principles to see the silver lining, when the dark clouds come, and through the guidance of my sponsor, I have also started to consider that sometimes people aren’t nice. In fact, they can behave like the biggest bunch of moronic assholes, ever. And that’s OK, because nobody’s perfect. You deal with it, and move on.

I’ve learned over time that my rants and my rages are often based on not enough information, and the louder I shout, the more wrong I am, and the more apologies and humble pie I am forced to eat. I am fortunate enough to have people like Goblin Queen Kitty who often checks the rants and interjects with sanity, reality and logic, before I get myself completely twisted in a nightmare of anger and misinformation. Woolworths and guns are just two of our stables of vociferous discourse.

Tonight, however, a post was made on Facebook, about Vodacom’s shocking refusal to help a customer, who was set to lose money and data. I weighed in with my thoughts and advice on how to use the Consumer Protection Act as it should be, with some additional info on contacting one of their brand management agencies, who actively get involved (in my experience) in helping clients – or at the very least pointing them in the right direction. More comments came in, commiserating with Rosalie about her plight. And then came the corker…

“Do you want his number? …he is white.”  Posted by Irma.

Seriously? In 2013? We’re implying that because someone is white, he will help (in my experience, bad service comes from all shades, all nationalities, and BOTH genders!)

Irma, Facebook tells me, attended Hendrik Verwoerd high school, and graduated in 1969. Just in case you didn’t know it, Verwoerd was the misguided idiot…sorry…Prime Minister who conceived and implemented apartheid. But just because Irma was at a school named after a racist embarrassment to this country doesn’t mean that she is a racist herself. I am sure many of her fellow 1969 graduates are not racist themselves, despite their advanced years (if all went well and they weren’t kept back, Irma and her classmates should be about 62 now…)

In fact, I can’t quite tell why Irma is such a racist. I don’t know her. Does that give me a right to denounce her racism here? No, but her posting her bias on Facebook, in an open public forum does. I know she’s only human, and makes mistakes. I make many mistakes, for which I am reminded every day, but this does not give me the right to denounce Irma either. I may get flack for taking on a woman of pensionable age, and be told to “Live and let live” but I won’t silence myself to mediocrity so that she can get away without the rightful criticism of her blatant racism.

You could say “She’s old, and set in her ways” but that’s absolute bollocks – my late mother would be 79 this year, and was a) not a racist, even though she grew up in the same time and in the same place as Irma, and my mother had her paradigms challenged during the late stage of her life and shifted accordingly, when she was wrong. You GO, Mum! See? It can be done, and Irma should.

Some trite hippy statement comes to mind, about “Tolerate everything, except intolerance” and I think to myself, who am I, to tell Irma anything? Am I not as intolerant as she is, just of different circumstances?

“Yes but…” comes to mind. No. I am not. Where she is intolerant of the existence of others, and denounces them as human beings with the same rights and right to live as she has, I am intolerant of her attitude. There is no place for attitudes like hers…in the past, I’d have said there is no place for people like her, and then I would be no different from her. So, yes, I too, can have my paradigms challenged, and I can evolve for the better, and shift them.

So, Irma, here’s to 2013 – a year where there is place for you, in the world, but no place for your rampant, disgusting racism. I challenge you to update your views on humanity, get with the programme (I mean, you are using Facebook at age 62, and that’s got to be a sign that you’re not ALL dinosaur, isn’t it?) and evolve a little, eh?

As for me, I said I won’t be silenced to mediocrity, so I’ll post this to Irma, and see if she accepts my challenge. Of course, out of respect for Irma’s privacy, all you’ll get in this post is her name, and any update or commentary I will post in the comments section here.

I really hate that we have to start 2013 off with such old behaviours, and I hope I get to see less and less of it as time goes on. In fact, I’ll even pray for that.

Rosali's post, and the offending comment by Irma...
Rosali’s post, and the offending comment by Irma…

© Dave Luis 2012. All Rights Reserved.



  1. **This replies generalized and is based on my own thinking, it is not meant for a specification person or persons. Certainly does not claim to apply to everybody. Merely from experience and what I’ve seen and heard….

    Brings up a very good point this post does. You know I’ve seen this too often, heard it too often and yes in rage probably said something similiar too. I hate to admit it but least me not hide from what I’ve said in the past. For if I do, I’m no better and will never grow.

    For most are too comfort in their knowledge or what they think they know. The mind has been set, after all experience is the best teacher right? We can condition ourselves to find reason for fault if we need, “Oh his probably just very busy, he’ll sort it out when he can.” or we can jump on our experience horse and utter something like: “His white, he’ll definitely help you.” I’m not making any excuses or claiming these thought programming are valid. Some people need a reason to change anything, thinking patterns, behaviour, etc. WIthout one they will keep using what they know from the past however limiting their experience was. Others are more feel flowing and go with the flow, learning to accept the new and want the change or arent afraid of it and hide from it.

    People also have this belief that race helps race. “Help a brother out…” That because we were born of the same skin colour immediately loyalty lies between us and a need to want to help or uplift.
    Its crazy to still see these things but sadly I’ve learnt to overlook it, become desensitized and decided to let each to their own. A wrong approach I know, but as you’ve read I’ve too have been guilty of similiar wording. It takes people like you Dave to remind us this is not the norm and shouldn’t be.

    Heck after all, I’ve been on the receive ending of such comments and they arent nice. But its far easier to overlook, ignore than action and challenge. For that takes work, that takes fighting and standing up to the challenge – having your thoughts, ideas, believes and values challenged. None of which is bad, it helps to remind us that we never done learning. That change is possible if you work at it, that sitting back quietly because it doesnt directly effecting you is not what leaders do. AKN Jnr once said: “Leaders aren’t born, they emerge. And not everybody will be leaders and that’s ok.” (soo not verbatim…)

    Heres to change and really not being sheeple in 2013 in one way or another.

    1. Ryan, true story – for years I have let comments like Irma’s wash over me, and tried my best to ignore them. I tried to form callouses over the pain, over the indignation, over the sense that their words have power and hurt – and the felling that by saying nothing, I was agreeing with them, and letting them be right.
      AKC Jnr told me just yesterday, that he’d learned a very valuable lesson about the world, from the musings of Samuel Goldwyn, if I remember Al’s chat correctly – and it went on about criticism: “Don’t pay any attention to the critics. Don’t even ignore them.” It’s a typical Goldwynism, but it hold such truth – the people and things that become our critics shouldn’t even factor into our lives. Here’s this Irma woman, who hasn’t even picked up on my immediate response to her posting, going about her life, not bothering to check up on Facebook, doesn’t know I’m in a tizz about her racist attitude, she’s blissfully living out her life, naive to irritations she’s caused. She’s sitting in happy ignorance, and there’s something in that, for sure. It would be nice to always ignore critics and just go about our lives – but when our words and actions impact other people negatively, and hurt them, then we no longer have a right to that blissful ignorance.
      Look, I certainly don’t have the energy to go chasing after every bigot, and every thoughtless word that is said, on behalf of everybody else, but it’s also important to note that this is not a token response, to show I am of better stuff. I genuinely DO believe she’s capable of moderating and taking more care and learning and growing – I am hopeful of that – and I am hopeful this blog will kick-start the thought process in her head, that will lead her that way. It might not, of course, but I hope it does. I’m not after any brownie points, for saving Irma from her outmoded concepts, I just don’t want to be quiet any more, when thoughtless, hurtful things are said.
      Thanks for your considered response, as always.

  2. Maybe it’s a probability statement, i.e. if he’s white he’s more likely to be in management position, I’m sure that’s just some statistic of companies in South Africa? If it wasn’t colour, it would just be some other metric that divides, i.e. he went to Uni, or he lives in Jhb, or he’s a man, or he is from country X or from department Y. Which makes me wonder, does the metric justify the end? i.e. the end will always be there in the secular world… them and us, circles, classes etc, the means just changes each time…

  3. Even so, if it was some metric to define him as ‘management’ or ‘capable’ it was poorly delivered, with little consideration, and that is just as bad as outright racism. When it comes to oppression, and oppressive statements, the ends NEVER justifies the means.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s