‘Racism’, a religious concept?

by Dan Roodt

Since the ANC takeover in South Africa, this country has become race-obsessed. Not only do we have a huge number of laws that favour blacks over whites, but not a day goes by without someone being publicly accused of “racism”.

Whereas blasphemy, or denigrating Christians generally, is considered freedom of speech, merely stating a fact about black people can often lead to public denunciations, charges of “hate speech” or worse. In South Africa, as in Britain and some other countries, there exists a “Human Rights Commission” whose sole purpose, it seems, is to sniff out “racism” in its various forms, almost like the Spanish Inquisition used to enquire into heresy in the fifteenth century.

I was recently publicly accused here in South Africa of “allowing hate speech” on my Facebook wall. To some extent the motivation was revenge as I had complained about a radio announcer’s swearing at one of my Facebook “friends”, a very civil lady from Cape Town. Within a day or two, he saw fit to retaliate by gathering a whole series of “expert comments” about the “hate speech” proliferating on my Facebook wall, as well as those of some other Afrikaner activists. I could not quite understand what it was all about, but apparently referring to black perpetrators of South Africa’s notorious farm murders as “barbarians” was a clear instance of “racism” and “hate speech”.

Please note that I did not call any black murderers “barbarians”, but some of my 7 000 Facebook friends and followers did. My sin, according to the radio station RSG, was “not removing it timeously”. My retort was that I could hardly police the utterances of the public or act as a self-appointed censor for all those people who are unhappy about the extreme levels of crime and violence in South Africa.

What I also find surprising about the logic of “hate speech”, is that the underlying cause of discontent, i.e. bloody murders and torture, seems to be morally superior to ethnic comments made in reaction to such crimes.

Since this incident about a week ago, various people, on Twitter and elsewhere, have threatened me with prosecution by the so-called Human Rights Commission for “hate speech” which I did not even utter myself but simply “tolerated”. So I suppose if you organise a public meeting in a rented hall somewhere and someone arrives to utter the word “kaffir” or “nigger”, you could be held liable.

That is why I am starting to think that “racism” is a religious concept. The extreme sensitivity that anti-racists have towards certain words or even innuendo is very much akin to intolerance of blasphemy. In Europe I know bananas have been banned in some soccer stadiums for being a form of symbolic insult to black players who have occasionally been offered such fruit on the pitch. I honestly love bananas, eat at least one every day for breakfast and would never decline the curved yellow gift of the tropics. The notion that one could be insulted or defamed by a banana is so absurd that, again, the symbolism must relate to the arcane rules of a religious cult.

Although it is more or less acceptable to criticise Muslims, specifically “Islamists”, in the West, year after year it gets more difficult to voice almost any form of censure regarding black behaviour. The amazing thing is that we now have the exact opposite of what pertained in the nineteenth century when blacks were seen to occupy the lowest rung of human and civilisational evolution. It is as if blacks have ascended to Mount Olympus itself and it is incumbent upon us to respect, nay, revere them.

In American popular culture, such as Hollywood movies, blacks are often presented as the saviours of planet earth or of America. They infuse the white world with their special, divine essence. At the very least, no white protagonist could peform his heroic duties without black assistance. While white characters tend to be fallible, human, blacks are often cast in the roles of morally umblemished near-saints or sages “keeping whites on the right track”.

Often I have been in the presence of Europeans, especially liberal Britons, who tend to be cold and dismissive of their fellow whites, but who display the most unctuous and exaggerated civility towards blacks. It is as if a black, any black, is the most interesting creature imaginable, a prophet as it were, whose very thoughts and gestures need to be attentively followed, savoured, to the exclusion of everybode else.

When it comes to black politicians like Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela, we are treading on hallowed ground indeed. For a minister of religion, King led a debauched life and told many lies, yet his reputation as one of America’s greatest leaders and sages is unquestionable.

Although he started out as a petty terrorist, Mandela has now been anointed by the world media as nothing short of a saint, if not the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. Almost every world leader has at some point paid tribute to Mandela, with Bill Clinton in the forefront, during and after his presidency. The fact that he probably never wrote any of his speeches himself, including the oft-quoted one delivered from the dock during the so-called Rivonia trial, is simply glossed over.

One of the people who made him famous, the British journalist Anthony Sampson, had the following to say about Mandela in his autobiography, The Anatomist (2008):

“I would love to recollect that I recognised Mandela from the start as a true leader of his people, destined to change the course of history. But in truth at that time (in the 1950s – DR) I sadly underestimated him: he seemed to me too flashy and vain, with his immaculate suits and his wide smile, and he kept aloof from most white observers; I found his rhetoric too formal and stilted, full of anti-colonialist clichés.”

Questioning Mandela’s greatness will probably in itself be considered heresy, or punishable “hate speech”. Yet one cannot help but wonder at the global adoration of someone who spent half his life in prison for a half-baked plan to place bombs in public places and who would ultimately insist on not being conditionally released, but “on his own terms”.

New York Times columnists regularly accuse the Republican Party of “racism” and I suppose the only way in which the GOP could refute them would be by fielding a candidate of colour themselves. The importance of “not being racist” has assumed such proportions that it dwarfs any other political issue, including global financial problems or the wars in the Middle East.

The day is probably not far off when for white voters to vote for a white candidate would be deemed “racist” too. Certainly in South Africa, despite the increasing evidence that black government is anything but utopia, any attempt to escape from it is seen as challenging the laws of the universe. No matter how corrupt and incompetent our local black leaders and officials turn out to be, submitting to them is seen as a moral imperative.

The small community of Afrikaners living together in Kleinfontein, thereby attempting to escape the crime and financial profligacy of nearby Pretoria with its ANC municipality, was recently accused of “racism”, with both CNN and the BBC rushing in to expose their almost criminal deviancy from the multicultural norm.

Probably the most successful political system ever devised was that of Ancient Egypt which lasted several thousand years. However, the key to pharaonic dominance was not to be found in its politics, but in its strictly ordered religious system. The pharaoh was an absolute ruler, but also a god. Not submitting to him must have been unthinkable, a mere mortal rebelling against divine authority.

The vicissitudes of modern democracy being what they are, it is hard to conceive of such an absolute monarch or permanent dynasty today. But what if anti-racism had to succeed in elevating Africans to a special place on earth, as “natural rulers” over the rest of mankind? The ruling elites of Africa are today the closest thing we have to an aristocracy, given the social distance between them and ordinary people, as well as the kind of obeisance they demand, from their impoverished countrymen, but especially from whites. In South Africa, even our liberal media marvel at the glittering ostentation and partying insouciance of our black political gods, using terms like “conspicuous consumption”.

The relative ease with which a fairly unknown politician from the South Side of Chicago such as Obama managed to obtain two presidential terms in America, also shows that the cult of negritude or whatever one needs to call this new secular religion is dominant in the world’s only superpower too.

The irony, of course, is that self-confessed atheists and agnostics in the West are the most ardent adherents to the cult of the black race, adulating King, Mandela, Obama and others who will no doubt soon follow in their footsteps.

Freud thought that Moses might have been an Egyptian. If we are to believe Afrocentrists, the ancient Egyptians could have been black, another highly dubious theory.

But if Moses were black, it would certainily explain why the Judaeo-Christian world so often craves a pharaonic – in the sense of larger-than-life – black king to come and save it.