A South African perspective:

The definition of black tax is the extra money that black professionals are expected to give every month to support their less fortunate family and extended families.

The definition sounds as if you are buying insurance like a grudge purchase. We all know we need it, so we buy it reluctantly. I get that. I understand that often it feels as if you will never get out of this moral quagmire you find yourself in.

I have a different take on this though. Black tax for me is not only a type of charity that we support every month, but I see it as an investment. You’re investing in the person or persons you’re supporting to becoming independent and hopefully without demeaning them in the process.

But you’re doing more than that you’re also paying off old debt that has nothing to do with you. 

The next time you hear a white person complain about the taxes they pay remind them that because of their great grandfather and grandfather’s racist ideals, they have placed you in a position where you (the marginalized) have to pay taxes years later for their ancestor’s greed. 

If their ancestors had not been racist and oppressed your ancestors, then yours would have had the land, monies and so forth to hand down the generations. They should instead be thanking you for your contribution to the black tax pool and cursing their families for not allowing black families to thrive resulting in the feeling that they are being taxed “too much.” Although that isn’t true.

Besides the “burden” of Apartheid and colonialism tax black and brown people must pay, they also must contribute to current taxes such as PAYE if they earn enough and VAT. 

Black tax is therefore not a black problem but a black solution to white greed and oppression. The unfair enrichment should have black people walking about proudly saying, “I pay more tax than you so best you be quiet about your monthly contribution because my daily contribution encompasses your ancestor’s greed too.”

Let’s see the splutter, the anger and disbelief.

And if they counter with, “that’s in the past” then say, “The past can’t be forgotten until my family is uplifted to where they were before yours came along and stole from them.”

Black tax for white sins we have seen after slavery and Apartheid. In fact, the black tax the new South African democratic government had to pay when they came into power in 1994 is indicative of how extensive the greed was. 

Every time you hand over that extra money to your family member understand why you are doing it and let no racist tell you that you aren’t paying tax. Let’s stop this violent narrative that portrays black and brown people as lazy, unemployed, aggressive people living off the taxes of white people’s hard work.

You’re paying the biggest portion of something you weren’t even around for. That’s the level of humanity you have within you and that should be celebrated not ridiculed.