BY Fredrick Ngugi, 10:00am July 29, 2017,

Can Black Africans Be Racist?

A road sign warning white people in South Africa to be aware of black natives. Photo credit: BBC

For a long time, the whole debate around racism has been focused on the abuse and discrimination of black people by whites, Arabs and Caucasians. This dates back to the era of slave trade when black people were viewed as lesser human beings and could not be allowed to mingle with the rest of humanity.

But although this is a justified basis on which to peg the conversation about racism, some people see it as a one-sided approach to solving a multifaceted problem, insisting that it is only aimed at absolving black people of any blame for the continued racial prejudice in Africa and around the world.

So the debate is now slowly changing into a question of whether black people, and in this case Africans, are racist. Numerous opinions and counterarguments have been put forward in an attempt to answer this question.

Sense of Entitlement and Anti-White Sentiments

Some people argue that decades after most African countries acquired independence, Africans are still holding on to the sense of entitlement and hatred towards minority races, most of whom happen to be whites. In South Africa, for instance, racial chauvinism and anti-white sentiments continue, more than two decades after the end of the institutionalized type of racism known as Apartheid.

A lot of white people, especially farmers owning huge chunks of land in the rural parts of South Africa, have been killed by suspected blacks who allegedly claim that the lands were stolen from their forefathers. Others accuse local politicians of playing the racial card during elections in order to retain power. So they end up inciting locals against the minority races in the country, which often leads to xenophobic and racial attacks.

Minority white South Africans often accuse the South African government of not condemning these killings with the same amount of zeal as when a black person is attacked by a white. They even fault a section of the South African media for giving more attention to white-on-black racism and turning a blind eye to cases of black-on-white racism.

In one of his recent articles, Ed Herbst – a veteran South African journalist – criticized the South African state-run media house South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) for broadcasting “inflammatory ethnic propaganda” and “deliberately giving no coverage at all to the torture and murder of hundreds of white farmers and their families by non-white assailants.

Herbst also cited a murder trial which he, as an experienced court reporter in the SABC’s Sea Point news office for 16 years, was denied permission to cover due to his provocative stance on racism in the country.

“Permission was denied because the victims, a farmer and his son, were white and their assailants were not and the last thing the ANC-controlled state broadcaster wants to do is create empathy for the people President Jacob Zuma calls snakes,” Herbst wrote.

Hypocrisy and Dishonesty

This apparent bias has also been reported in other African countries like Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Kenya just to name  a few. It portrays the deep-seated hypocrisy and dishonesty among some black Africans when it comes to reacting to issues of racism. It is quite common to see black Africans using insolent words when commenting on cases of white-on-black racism.

While some of this anger and hatred towards the whites could be traced back to the era of colonialism and slavery, it does nobody any good in terms of the continent’s attempt to free itself from the load of history and the legacy of colonialism.

As a matter of fact,  these anti-white sentiments and hatred continue to further a sense of mistrust and disharmony among the people and ultimately prevent Africa from moving forward. But this does not mean we should forget the unwarranted abuse that was and continues to be meted out on black people by fellow human beings around the world.

Poll Do You Believe that Black Africans Can be Racist?



Last Edited by:webmaster Updated: August 11, 2017


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