On page 13 of this document we see 2008 figures for income in South Africa, broken down by “race” status according to the old apartheid-era “race” categories. (I put “race” in quotes because I firmly believe that at the end of the day there is no such thing as “race” – we’re talking about largely invented categories of people, who are more the same than they are different.)
In 2008, “Black” South Africans made 13% of what “White” South Africans made and 19% of what “Asian” South Africans made. “Coloured” South Africans (the apartheid-era term for people of “mixed racial heritage”) made 22% of what “White” South Africans made and 32% of what “Asian” South Africans made.
The conclusion one reasonably draws from such data is that “Whites” and, to a lesser extent, “Asians”, have a clear economic advantage in today’s South Africa, while “Blacks” are overwhelmingly disadvantaged, and to a lesser extent, so are the “Coloureds”.
I do not mean, in this post, to speculate at all about why this stratification remains. There may be things that the less advantaged groups, the “Coloureds” and “Blacks” can do, within their own communities, to equalise these things. It may also be the case that the more advantaged groups must cede some of their advantages before this can occur. A debate can legitimately be held over which of these statements is true, or to what extent either is true.
But one thing is certain – any narrative which posits that the clearly advantaged groups are somehow in danger of obliteration in today’s South Africa is a crazy narrative. And we are starting to hear those narratives coming out of the “White” community.
In particular, we are starting to hear from “whites” in the Afrikaner community (an important distinction – many people in South Africa speak Afrikaans, not just those with whiter faces) about an impending genocide that “white” Afrikaners are about to suffer. My question is how a community so obviously economically advantaged can’t buy itself any protection against this alleged genocide-in-progress.
It seems far more likely that racial fears are being tamped up by a community which doesn’t want to share the wealth with a mass of desperately poor South Africans, still disproportionately “coloured” and “black”.
We see similar racial fears being stoked in the US by the Republican Party, and I wonder how long it will take before plutocrats start to commission a similar “genocide” myth to put “white” Americans into a state of hysteria.
It is true that Zimbabwe has gone after its “white” community with a vengeance – and notably, in that country, the majority “black” MDC opposition has been fighting with them in common cause to resist the government’s actions. (Importantly, there have been acts of genocide in South Africa, but they have not been solely directed at “whites”, but also towards “black” opponents of the Mugabe regime…check out the “Gukurahundi” on Wikipedia for more details – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gukurahundi ).
But that’s sort of the litmus test for this stuff, if you ask me. In Zimbabwe, a broad-based opposition agrees that genocide has happened in that country, and that the party which committed these genocidal acts is still in power. The fact that no one but the far Right in South Africa sees a “genocide” happening there is a pretty good indication that it’s not happening.
Discount this nonsense. People who sell you this are using you.