Grade 7 is an exciting year for most of us because it’s the last year of primary school. You are a senior and you generally experience your first major crush on someone. It is however also a year where you “fool around,” at least I did cause I thought I was “big,” and the most good looking boy in our class, used to send me notes declaring his undying love for me.

He would walk into class in the morning and come straight to my desk saying, “Good morning my wife,” and I would blush and become extremely embarrassed because every morning the other children would giggle and tease us. 

A part of me was flattered though especially when he asked the teacher if he could sit next to me. During those times I concentrated on him more than my school work and hardly listened to the teacher.

One day we had a class test and everything on that test may as well have been in French. I didn’t understand because I never listened. Henry, the John Travolta look-alike, (Ok, I thought he looked like him at the time), also didn’t understand so I did the one thing my mother only found out about years later, I cheated! 

Henry and I went to the girl who was the smartest in the class and copied some answers from her page. I had never cheated so I was nervous but we both decided to only copy a few answers and the others we would wing. 

The answers we copied were the “difficult” ones. Our teacher trusted us (it was a Catholic school and you know we are reared with guilt), so she left the classroom. 

The next day when we received our papers back from her all the answers we “copied” from the “smartest girl” was wrong! Every single one of them. 

Turns out she didn’t understand it either and was too proud to ask for help, having been labeled the “smartest.”

The above should be an illustration that when not understanding white privilege, racism, redress, reparation, whiteness, etc, that it is meaningless and pointless to ask the person next to you, who is on the same level as you, questions they themselves may not fully understand.

What are you learning and more importantly who are you learning it from?

I have been in activist groups for a while and in all that time, including new members, very few white people have turned to POC to ask questions that aren’t understood by them. 

Instead, we have the insults, the condescending attitudes, and the scorn when talking about both past and present.

Quite frankly if white people feel they can’t or don’t want to learn from POC then it begs the question, why have they not approached learned (woke) white people who have spent time and effort educating themselves on the reality, not their reality but the reality of the situation?

The simple fact is that in South Africa we don’t have another 46 years to deal with white people’s complacency or their refusal to understand just how dire the situation is.

Nor can we spend the next few decades arguing with white people about “our racism” whilst they bask in their white privilege? 

It may think to seem as if they are being smart but if that’s their objective then I hand the smart, intelligent medal to them. I am prepared to say, “You are the smartest.” There I said it. It’s done! I hope they are feeling better?

Now can we focus on learning about black history and racism as a system? White people can choose to spend their time arguing or learning. 

Either way, it means very little to POC but what does matter is that white people’s refusal to humble yourself and to do some reading and learning merely makes it difficult for their children and their children’s children who would then have to start the process all over.

Mother Nature doesn’t ask if your roof is solid or your home insurance is up to date when there is a hurricane on the way.

It simply happens and some people are more prepared than others.

What are you learning and who are you learning it from?