Monday, September 16, 2013

When Your Whiteness Is No Longer Enough

I felt a lot of sympathy for this guy when I first read about how New Zealand was treating him because of his weight. After all, the man was still active enough to work and he had lost weight since entering the country. Yet, New Zealand decided to reject his application to stay in the country. They've compromised a little by allowing him to stay in the country for a year, but making it illegal for him to participate in any publicly funded health care.

I decided to visit the man's blog. His wife explains what has happened to them and the distressful situation they are now facing. After all of that, she adds,

No country loses so many citizens as South Africa has done for no good reason.  After being totally settled we are now expected to sell off what we have to return to a country that has swopped one discriminatory policy for another while the world is congratulating itself on dismantling the former policy while turning a blind eye to what is happening to there. This is our story and most importantly we need help to not get deported on humanitarian grounds while we try and get this sorted.

After participating in the apartheid system in South Africa, where they inflicted themselves on the indigenous people of that country, they've gone to New Zealand. Mind you, this is a country that is already swamped with white settlers overwhelming the indigenous Māori population. They would have people feel sorry for them, because white people have rejected them and are willing to send them back to the mess that they made of the last country they inhabited. Comparing what is happening now to what was happening during Apartheid is just ridiculous. This isn't the first time I've seen white South Africans complaining that they are being discriminated against and it is all because they've lost some of the privileged status they once held.

This white couple is still advantaged over the indigenous people of New Zealand and South Africa. Sure, right now it's probably a lot better to be white in New Zealand than in South Africa, but whose fault is that? Who is to blame? How many countries will these same people be able to come, conquer, and ruin before moving on to other already inhabited places?

Really, until New Zealand does a better job of caring for the Māori, I think I'll find it hard to feel bad for people like this. They know nothing about what it means to need humanitarian asylum. After all, who are they running from? If South Africa is really their home, then they'd simply be returning to their own people. However, it's clear from this quote that they recognize that they didn't belong in South Africa to begin with.

Other white people may be turning a blind eye to what is happening in South Africa. That much is true. But people of color are watching it all unfold. What we see in South Africa is just what one would expect after decades of apartheid policies and laws and treatment. Did white people in South Africans think there would be no consequences for their murderous abuse of the Africans?

South Africa embarrassed the world. They were too aggressive in their enforcement of white privilege. It became a liability to be associated with them. In the end, they were left with the occupied state of Israel as the last of apartheid South Africa's supporters. That is significant all by itself. Anyway, now that the chickens have come home to roost, we have white South Africans behaving like rats off on a sinking ship. Nope. I'm just not feeling bad for this guy, not one bit.

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