The Reactionary Nature of Racial Identity


South Africans, if an analogy wrought by minor inconsistencies would be permitted, are like an insecure child who view their worth as an individual through everyone’s ‘gaze’ but their own. The recent outrage over the Miss SA entrant (Bianca Schoombe) who tweeted racist remarks in her teenage days is only the most recent example of the absurdity caused by racial collectivism in South Africa. The actions of most in this wonderfully flawed country of mine are never from a position of self-determination nor for the purpose of self-actualization, but rather stem from the natural ontology of comparison that is part and parcel of an identity defined not by the actions and values of the men who share it but rather on factors wholly beyond their control, like what pigment their skin is. 

Firstly, it should be noted that all is fair in the streets of social media. As a libertarian, I am a staunch supporter of free expression as a fundamental, inalienable and absolute individual human right. I am a free speech absolutist thus I find nothing wrong in not only Bianca expressing her views on the pigment of some kid from a school photo nor do I find offence in those individuals who find offence in Bianca’s statements and express their distaste. In this ‘war’ or ‘conflict’, I am not picking any winners or losers, but rather I hope to illustrate how in such scenarios, there are hardly any losers nor winners to speak of. 

It must be asked, what has changed since the young lady has apologized? Heck, lets say she doesn’t apologize. What changes? The most outspoken against her on social media are of course the most ardent race collectivists, those individuals whose sense of being stems not from within but from without, from concepts like blackness. We ask them, has their black identity been deemed ‘safe’ now that the lady has been gagged into silence? A more pertinent question is why is their personal identity is so fragile that it is threatened by everyone’s actions but their own?

It must be asked, to the progenitors of Black Consciousness, what has sincerely changed since the outrage over the woman’s tweets? To the critical theorists, has the ‘lived experience’ of the ‘black body’ improved since #BiancaMustFall became a trend? The response by preachers of purported self-determination has been quite reactionary, if I were to borrow a Marxist term. How is it an example of a being committed to self-actualization through self determination to be enraged by what a 14-year-old thinks of them? How is it a personification of ‘self-love’ to have your actions and feelings thus constituting your worldview, stem from what another individual thinks of you?

I ask again, so what if individual A is racist? So what that Bianca uttered her remarks on a public platform like social media? She is dumb, of course. Her jokes are from a place of ignorance, if anything, but what does it say about you, about us, that such clearly dumb utterances have such an effect on us? Does what some Benoni girl say really matter that much to us? If yes, why? Why does what another individual thinks of you have any bearing whatsoever on your individual conduct in general or in a specific context?

One can start all the hashtags they want to and finger wag  the girl to silence, but that won’t change anything, it won’t even solve the ‘problem’ of the racial collectivist because the thoughts that underlie the restricted expression are still there, and chances are they becomes even more entrenched. One can say they do not care what she thinks, but after the official apology, we are well past that point. Instead, the outrage will be half assed, since nothing short of the disproportionate use of force against words will serve to change mindsets or cure ignorance. Even that approach of ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ is heavily contested as being conducive to desired results. So, even using violence may not ‘solve’ the problem. Enlightenment has always been the cure for ignorance. Always.

The use of aggression can never be a ‘defence’ against the utterance of words, and that includes the absurd hate speech laws we have, which imply that the cure for ignorance (Racism) is the use of force (legislative/judicial power). It must be noted that a law (prohibition or duty) premised on such ignorant premises (race/racism) is different than merely expressing statements that are racist or premised on race. The former should be fought against as ardently as any unauthorized use of force is protested by all advocates of individual freedom. A racist law, a collectivist justified use of force is different than a racist remark, a collectivist justified statement. 

The sadness of this country of mine is that our past has made us obsessed with the fictional personal identity of race. This fiction has been abrogated by those who claim to be acting in favour of self-determination or self-actualization when they are constantly basing their frame of reference and thus action not on themselves but on the ‘other’ and what they say or do. This fictional personal identity traps its subject in an act of constant comparison for its own sake, an action opposed to self-determination and actualization in the true sense of these words.

This latest virtue signal rage over Bianca’s tweets should serve to remind us of the troubled nature of our society. I hope the individuals that make up our society heal. I hope we see that what makes up an individual’s personal identity is not any physical characteristic beyond their control but rather their constitution, as it stems from consciousness, from reason. I hope all race collectivists, whether white or black, see the folly and shallow nature of viewing individuals as members of a group first before they are individuals first. 

Humans, their personal identity, is not a matter that should be left to external forces beyond the control of said individual. I hope this continent can realize that and self-actualize to their full potential. There will always be ignorant individuals, this is a fact of life. Your identity and subsequent actions should not be premised on what these ignorant people say or do. Lest you be stuck in a comparative game for its own sake, where you never get to make the rules. Undermining the very nature and purpose of personal identity to begin with as an exercise that is from the inside-out, instead of the other way around.

Life, Liberty and Property.

The Eloquent Peasant.