Race has become an issue more sore than State Capture, especially as politicians fight for votes ahead of next year’s elections.
It’s enough to make you want to pack up and move across a border but perhaps the tension in the air is all because we are not willing to see the other side. It all starts with love
For 24 years we’ve been battling with ourselves as a nation but as we try again and again to unite regardless of our race, could our prejudices in the dating game be something that is holding us back?
It has been a dark week in our country, where racism has once again reared its ugly head in the form of a racial outburst from a white South African holidaying in Greece. Adam Catzavelos made a video that sparked widespread outrage in which he said that there was “not one (K-word) in sight.”
The country shook at the core and it added new fuel to the race debate but on the other side of the world just a few days ago there was a debate of a different kind. Sadly, both were built on stereotypes and prejudices.
“People may be more shy to share their thoughts on public forums but the conversations are happening”
A picture of former American president Barack Obama’s daughter Malia out with her white boyfriend was shared by an American publication and attracted so many comments you would be busy from now until the elections in 2019 reading all of them.
Most of them criticised the interracial relationship and served tea on why it was wrong. A few days later, a similar argument erupted on another page as the question was asked whether people would let their children ever date a white brother.
Such arguments don’t happen as openly in South Africa but they do exist. People may be more shy to share their thoughts on public forums this side of the world but the conversations happen over dinner, at braai’s and in lounges across Mzansi.
It sent my mind into overdrive especially after rapper AKA tried to provide a solution to racial divides by claiming that nothing is going to “kill racism” faster than having mixed race babies.”
AKA suggested that having interracial sex would help us all see each other as equal. But can we really get to that point?
First of all, I need to make it clear that I am a white male, who can only speak from one side of the coin. I don’t know what it is like being raised in a home that is anything but white and so I can’t even pretend to speak on that.
But I have learnt a lot from many honest conversations about “dating white” and I have dated people of other races myself. I have also felt the incredible pressure that comes from it and how it often collapses a relationship that otherwise really had all the right ingredients for success.
“The incredible pressure can often collapse a relationship that otherwise really had all the right ingredients for success.”
I am getting married to a white woman in just a few months time but throughout varsity I dated women who weren’t white. Cultural differences was an issue, but often it was racial undertones that resulted in us keeping the relationship on the low.
This reared its head dramatically one day when I was at a family member’s house for lunch when the subject was casually brought up in conversation. Maybe they suspected something, maybe someone had seen me with Ayanda*… but suddenly I was told that I would be disowned if I “brought a black girl home”. I didn’t have the courage to fight it and so the relationship ended in tears and broken hearts.
During another relationship I felt confident that I would be able to take Ash-lyn* home and change peoples’ minds but was greeted with resistance from her side. Her parents told her that she should find someone “more like her”…someone who had “more in common” with her. We had known each other for four years and for about a year of that we were inseparable. There was probably no two people in the province that had more in common.
It is not all horror stories because many people in Mzansi, including celebs have found love in the arms of someone of a different race. But I also know that there are far too many whispers of judgment when it comes to such relationships, especially if you’re young young and not ready for the pressure. It can break you.
And this is completely unacceptable 24 years into democracy.
*Not real name.