To really wrap up the #PennySparrow conversation, Gareth Cliff chats to writer Pinky Khoabane on the difference between hate speech and freedom of speech. Khoabane also comments on Gareth’s recent apology and the anger that surrounds Sparrow’s racist comments.


Pinky Khoabane


    • Ben Sidu

      If blacks are racists, they would have been hostile to whites when they first arrived in South Africa. The angry racists blacks of today, are a creation of white people. If you de-humanize a group of people, do you expect them to be civilized towards you? There is a reason why black people have a term called ‘Ubuntu’, in the blacks culture, you are expected to love your fellow citizen and their general well-being. It is this ‘Ubuntu’ in black people that was taken advantage of off and seen as weakness and then reduced black people to less of a human being. What you see today, the violence, anger, frustration, murder, killings in the black community is based on the social conditions that black people have been reduced to. Whites, Indians, Coloreds and even blacks who are not disadvantaged, unfortunately experience the same things. But because of ‘white preveilages’ the whites thinks they are the only ones affected by this. The solution is poverty, if we remove it, then things will change.

      • Theo Lubbe

        tbh it’s downright lack of intellect which has some whites think they’re the only ones suffering or even being targeted exclusively by blacks in acts of ([sometimes] racially-motivated) violence, as though nobody else is suffering the same sorts of problems.

        Depending on what context one is referring to ‘white privilege’ in it doesn’t apply (or as a concept being applied to the context in question, doesn’t exist at all); one isn’t privileged because of their skin colour, who they are, where they come from etc, one is privileged based on how others choose to treat them based on their own prejudices. Having something others do not, unless it was given completely unwarranted, is not a privilege, it’s an outcome.

        What one has and what led to one having it /may/ form what could be described as a privilege rather than what might amount to a ‘right’, but this isn’t something unique to white people and it’s not something which should automatically be called a ‘white privilege’.

        • Ben Sidu

          Theo, if one choose to treat another person or group of people based on certain physical attributes or human conditions, then that is prejudice holistically based on discrimination of some kind. If the discrimination is solely based on skin color, then it is called racism. If it is based on gender, then it is called sexism etc.

          On the other hand, a privilege by definition is as follows: “special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.”

          So Theo, when white people arrived in Africa, the Dutch people were coerced by English people, particularly Cecil Rhodes who came up with a Glen Grey Act which is considered a blueprint and precursor of Apartheid. This is what Cecil Rhode said on the Act:

          “There is, I think, a general feeling that the natives are a distinct source of trouble and loss to the country. Now, I take a different view. When I see the labour troubles that are occurring in the United States, and when I see the troubles that are going to occur with the English people in their own country on the social question and the labour question, I feel rather glad that the labour question here is connected with the native question……At any rate, if the whites maintain their position as the supreme race, the day may come when we shall all be thankful that we have the natives with us in their proper position….. I feel that I am responsible for about two millions of human beings.”

          Glen Grey Act was about labour and to reduce black South Africans to mere exploitation of cheap labor and not worthy of better employment than white people. So they implemented another legislation to make sure of that, that legislation was called “Color Bar Act”, where black people are only allowed to be employed on specific unskilled and semi skilled jobs such as gardening, maid, mine worker etc. Black people were not allowed in position of power or management. Followed by that was another Bill called Native Land Act, where black people were disposed their own land and stock and moved to designated areas now called Townships. Black people were prohibited to either buy or hire 93% of the land in South Africa.

          So Theo, when we speak of White Privilege in South South, we are talking about the privileges that white people enjoyed for more than a century of systematic segregation, exploitation and land dispossession, which made black people as race disadvantaged to prosper in South Africa. We should not be blind and say today we are free from Apartheid, the effects of all theses legislation and bills has far more greater effect in black society and also we might be free politically, but we still not free economically, the Land Claim Act has not even given back a quarter of the land back to blacks in 20 years.

          This is what the NNC (Native National Congress) said back then in 1913 when the Native Land Act was introduced:

          “Such a measure would be exploitation of the cruelest kind, that it would not only interfere with the economic independence of the Natives, but would reduce them forever to a state of serfdom, and degrade them as nothing has done since slavery was abolished at the Cape.”

          So Theo, you should understand white privilege in this context, what you talking about is simple individual discrimination and prejudice, which on its own might have nothing to do with a white privilege. “White Privilege” is a systematic discrimination and prejudice based on color and the benefactors of that system are White People and Black people are victims of it, even today (the ripple effects are great).

          • Theo Lubbe

            It’s always been my understanding a privilege is something granted, a right is something one inherently has.

            “So Theo, you should understand white privilege in this context”
            Aye, that’s the context in which I understand and ‘acknowledge’ the concept of white privilege within SA.

            What irks me is the breadth of folks of all races who rave on the internet and in protests against whites about “their white privilege” and the ever-present “check your privilege” stuff, never taking the time to learn anything about the person they’re laying their prejudices against before meting out judgement against them. A rationale which says because someone is white they’re automatically a benefactor of ‘white-privilege’; that there’s nothing more to it.

            A former classmate of mine recently asked on a Facebook status how a white family could possibly be living in a squatter camp, going on to claim they should have had limitless opportunity to become wealthy during apartheid and “must have really f*cked up not to”, also claiming they were given land for free; after some amount of arguing it came to light the basis of the “free land” argument was nothing more than “well it was taken from blacks without any compensation to them so as far as I’m concerned it was free”.

            That rationale completely ignores the fact that even during apartheid whites as a whole here didn’t all get a free pass on some gravy train to riches and that there were (and still are) those who weren’t black and also lived in poverty. In essence, a rationale which sees those with the sort of attitude I mentioned before of screaming ‘white privilege’ before getting to know the person they’re referring to, essentially behave in a racist manner through exercising prejudice against someone without caring for understanding where they come from or what got them to where they are.

            One shouldn’t hate someone for having a luxurious home, driving an expensive car and dining at the most expensive establishments purely because those are things they have which one doesn’t.

            If they obtained those things through dishonest means or if they knew that what allowed them to get to it harmed others, then it becomes justifiable to hate them.

            Similarly one shouldn’t look down on someone for being poor and assume they must’ve made exceptionally poor choices in their life; to do so is akin to pretending the various acts which saw seizure of land from non-whites never took place and non-whites “must simply have f*cked up” to be poor when measured against their wealthy peers.

            Finally in this vein, racially-polarizing, racist vitriol like that shared by @GodsOne shouldn’t exist either.

          • Ben Sidu

            What u saying is valid, people should not judge people as individuals, as far as their riches or poverty, without knowing that individual’s circumstances. That I agree with you 100%.

            I think when we speak of “White Privilege” it should be spoken of as a system rather than to single out individuals who are rich and say they are benefactors, because they may or may not.

            Let me give an example as illustration to my point. during the Apartheid era, black people were generally disadvantaged by the Apartheid system, whereas white people were advantaged by the very same system. It does not necessarily mean that all black people where poor in the same way, in fact several blacks managed to get themselves educated (even though they were subjected to a low quality education system of “Bantu-education”) and acquired some wealth to live decently than other black people, in a same way as much as white people were benefactors of the system, it does not necessary mean that they all ended up rich. Yet “White Privilege” position applies to all white people (rich or poor) and disadvantage position applies to all black people. Which is why you cannot merely look at individual outcome to prove the case of “White Privilege” or “Black Disadvantage”.

            Instead of focusing on individuals, we should look at the whole picture and the results of the Apartheid system to groups of people. Majority of black people are poor, uneducated, unskilled or semi-skilled as opposed to their white counterparts. Granted there will always be outliers on both sides. The group census stats reveal that white people as a group (exceptions provided) benefited from “White Privilege” while black people as a group are disadvantaged (also exceptions provided).

            Remember, I agree with you that a lot of people (different races) are picking specific examples of individuals (without understanding that individual’s circumstance) in an attempt to show either “white privilege” or “black disadvantage” or sometimes whites dismiss the idea of “white privilege” by pointing out few black people who are well off, rich or successful. Unfortunately either case does not nullify or prove anything, except exposing people’s ignorance.

            I got u.

    • Theo Lubbe

      Nobody is inherently racist. Fearful or suspicious of, but not necessarily racist.

      When Europeans first arrived in Southern Africa, first began interacting with the local nomads/tribespeople, in the vast majority of records I’ve ever come across the interactions were neutral or even friendly, not hostile.

      That article you’re linking to is concerning a contemporary issue whilst your comment paints black people to have “always” been racist/violent. In case you didn’t know, black people didn’t suddenly spring into existence a few dozen years ago.

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