The Race Debate: Care to get out of the Boxing Ring?

Conversations around race relations and racism in our country has become an absurd concoction of noise and silent, yet passive aggressive and reactive expressions pasted all over social media. Let me break it down…

‘In the boxing ring in the top left corner, we have the journalists & individuals who advocate for human rights writing left, ‘write’ and center about which race and which department should be doing what to ‘fix’ the inequality gap. Then in the top right corner we have white people who are happy in their disposition and who are ‘acting natural’ going about their daily lives. In the bottom left corner we have working class black people who live in a variety of spaces, not really benefiting from this whole conversation/debate but rather focusing on their lives. Bottom right corner we have the aggressive white people throwing punches in the air and gnawing at the rope.  Left rope side we have middle-upper class black people going about their daily lives. Right rope side we have black middle-upper class people defending the black people on the beach, who were probably having an awesome time by the way. Top rope side we have the guilty white people who feel guilty for being white. Bottom rope side we have other races and nationalities defending, protecting, ignoring and possibly gnawing at the rope too. In the center we have our government creating laws against racist speech. Lastly we have the world watching the match, shouting out comments. We even have the ancestors (Black, White, Coloured, Indian…I could go on forever) hovering over the ring, sipping on gin and juice and umqombothi in their world, wondering what’s next? There is no referee by the way, because everybody is entitled to their side. And since there is no referee, there is no ‘real’ boxing match but rather a series of passive aggressive gestures, twitches and self-hate in some cases…’

So this is where we’re at… (From my point of view of course). We’re all being boxed whether we know it or not.  Forgive me for ‘boxing’ anyone. I myself do not feel like I fit into any of the above boxes. There is obviously more to all of the individuals in and out of the boxing ring and it is unfair to label anyone (yes, even people in the government) as we are all diverse individuals with colourful stories and circumstances. Yes, there are many reasons as to why we may be in the boxing ring: there are written theses and books about it, regular commentary about it and regular conversations about it. There is even a plethora of suggested solutions floating around. But as long as we stay in the boxing ring, what do we really achieve? Can we maybe hit the gym and own our own journeys together? This is not a luxury, it’s a must.

The truth is that we all experience our own truths and ideas of what is wrong or right and fair or equal. What is the truth about who you are in all your colourful parts, together and separately? The challenge I would like to put out there is, firstly, can you hear your own truth without all that has been projected onto you, secondly, can you express your own truth with kindness and authenticity, thirdly, can you really listen, witness and hear somebody else’s truth? But first, let’s take off our gloves, dust ourselves off and REALLY embrace diversity. It won’t be pretty, but it will be real … and a chance to hopefully keep our faces intact.

The Creativity Revolution

The Creativity Revolution aims to activate creativity for social change and contribute towards the social, psychological and emotional upliftment of South Africa by creating experiential and interactive workshops/dialogues to explore: Diversity, Critical Thinking in Education, Self-care, Sexuality and Teambuilding. Contact Chelsey May for more information/answers at chesley8.may@gmail.com

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