Helen Zille unapologetic about 'black privilege' message: 'Stop stigmatising whiteness'
Politician Helen Zille remains unapologetic after the massive backlash she received on social media after saying that some black South Africans, like some white South Africans, enjoy what she called “black privilege” because of the corrupt politicians who looted billions and still got re-elected.
Here’s how it all started:
White privilege response
Twitter user 'twatterbass' shared a video in which an American woman addresses white privilege in a poem, to which Zille responded by asking “Why is she saying this stuff in English?” A question that many responded to by attributing the poet's speaking the language to slavery and being forced to learn it.
Zille's question saw her receive scores of responses about the effects of colonialism and white privilege, to which she responded by saying "if people want permanent poverty for the masses they are going about it the right way".
She was saying this in reference to the ANC winning the elections. Some of the party's leaders are facing allegations of corruption and looting the state.
Responses flocked in as people challenged Zille's point of view. Former public protector Thuli Madonsela asked Zille to withdraw her statements. But Zille would not budge as she said South Africans need to stop stigmatising "whiteness".
Dear @ThuliMadonsela The era to which you refer, has ended. 2day "whiteness" is a swear-word used to stigmatise and marginalise. I thought our struggle was to judge each INDIVIDUAL on their merits irrespective of race. I will not replace one form of racism with another. Sorry.— Helen Zille (@helenzille) May 17, 2019
Amazing. People can run around all day making the most outrageous racial generalisations about a tiny minority in this country by stigmatising "whiteness", and the sky fall in when you give them a taste of their own medicine. I am not doing double standards anymore.— Helen Zille (@helenzille) May 17, 2019
Since then, the term "black privilege" has dominated the trends list on Twitter, with thousands of people commenting over a three-day period.
Here's a look at some of the reactions.
No. She equates corruption with blackness while denying that white privilege continues to result from structural racism & history. Plus, she implies that black people are 'privileged' by corruption and don't resist. Her view isn't 'unpopular' or 'brave'. It's confused and racist. https://t.co/9jc41qfIhv— Herman Wasserman (@hwasser) May 18, 2019
I'm sorry - looting a country is BLACK privilege?— Tracey (@LoudMouthedChic) May 17, 2019
What colour were the British who came and looted our mineral wealth, most of which is still sitting overseas? Or the Apartheid leaders who continued to do it?
You really need to do some reading. https://t.co/GxoMbZHnHN
There is clearly a lot of confusion on the issue so let me help clear it up. If you are white, rich and powerful you have white privilege because you are white. If you are black, rich and powerful it’s not black privilege you are just lucky or very talented.— Richard Spoor (@Richard_Spoor) May 17, 2019