This morning while browsing the comments sections of the SA blogosphere for blatant bigotry I came across this interesting piece by Vusi Gumede over at
fart thoughtleader. It’s titled “Africans must confront Prejudice and stereotypes” in the article, Vusi Gumede state a lot of valid facts like this one
The people that have prejudice towards blacks or Africa broadly need to confront their prejudice. They need to take the trouble to better understand blacks, their cultures, their ways of life, their thinking and so on. It is in the interest of the whole of humanity and the human race. As such, it ought to be a moral imperative. Then, there is a public policy realm: stereotyping is often exacerbated or maintained by certain policies or public policy actions
But then somewhere down the line he makes a statement that I disagree with:
Both changing our actions and confronting the prejudice and stereotypes with maxim force, as a people with black skin, must be our immediate agenda. In particular, the leaders with black skins need to confront their weaknesses or errors — they give those with black skins a bad name.
I won’t pretend that I’m an expert in stereotypes, I’m not, but logic tells me that stereotypes were created to perform a function which is to dehumanize one race so that it could be easier to exploit and oppress it. Africans in general were first painted as savages, this made it easier for colonisers to exploit the people under the guise of “civilizing the godless natives”, once Africa had been conquered and more the image of the savage was transformed and a little humour was added into it, Africans were no longer depicted as grotesque savages but were now presented as non-threatening. Africans didn’t really change their behavior but the image that was painted of them did.
I don’t recall the name of the explorer, google is failing me at the moment and inexplicably, the IT administrators at campus blocked wikipedia but none-the-less, A certain explorer who was travelling the western regions came home with with stories about a tribe of “Mandingo Men” he encountered during his exploration, According to him those men had such disproportionately huge penises that they resembled a third limb, from then on black men where perceived as hyper-sexualized beings. White men, fearful that the well endowed hyper-sexualized wouldn’t control themselves in front of their white women went on a lynching spree. Thousands of black men lynched just for looking at a white woman the wrong way. Black men were painted in this light to justify their continued killing, some have even argued that white men weren’t confident in their own sexual performance and the irrational fear that hyper sexual black men with large penises would come do their job for them, which is why they went on a killing spree and why sexual relations between black men and white women didn’t cause the same reaction as that of a black woman and a white man but I digress.
Most racial stereotypes have little to do with the action of the stereotyped group and a lot to do with whatever agenda the stereotyping group was trying to push. How will “changing our actions and confronting the prejudice and stereotypes with maxim force” work when black stereotypes have nothing to do with black actions?