I read an article in the Mail and Guardian the other day. It is titled, “Six things white people have that Black People don’t.“
Here they are, according to the article:
1. Generational wealth
2. Social capital
3. Early childhood development
4. The benefit of the doubt
5. A financial head-start
6. Self-sufficient parents
You can read the reasoning behind that in the article written by Verashni Pillay.
The same day that that article was put online, Samantha Perry, a writer for IT Web posted a link to it on her FaceBook page and the comments section blew up. I don’t get many comments on my Facebook page, but hers went mad. Sadly, the argument degenerated into racial mud slinging. This seems to be the standard argument for South Africans when they have painted themselves into a corner in their argument, And it’s seems to be across all races. When one can’t go anymore, then blame someone’s skin colour.
While a agree with Ms Pillay on a number of points in her article, I do feel that she repeats a point too many times. Of the six things she mentions, I feel that four at the same thing. Older black people are poor and that leads to a poor new generation which will continue to perpetuate the cycle.
My issue with the whole argument, though, is that she defines it by skin colour. There is no need to do so. If she wrote about “Six things poor people don’t have that rich people do” the article could be written exactly the same way with a find&replace from Word.
South Africa has many, many poor people. Too many for the country to be a world leader in many things. The country is lacking in education, leadership, entrepreneurship and expertise. There is much to be done.
We are not the only country with the same problems. There are ways to make the poor not so poor. That certainly doesn’t mean taking away from the rich because then all you have is more poor people.
John F. Kennedy, in his inaugural speech in 1961 said, ““If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”
One has to ask what our society is doing to help the many that are poor.
If our arguments continue to see skin colour then we will never progress. Let’s see poor people as poor people. People that have no food, water, toilets and a simple roof over their head. Every country in the world has the same problem. Let’s fix it somehow.
As I sit here in my middle-class house, I am thinking what I can do. I have some free time now that I am “freelance” and I will make the little difference that I can. If everyone does it, then it will grow huge. And I don’t mean clicking a like on Facebook. Go out there and do something.
Let’s stop bitching and moaning and fight to make out little part of the world better.