A high school friend called me up over the weekend and as usual we spent a few minutes on the polite small talk. The state of her family and mine and a brief check-in on relevant pets but in a matter of minutes, our conversation had landed at #BlackLivesMatter. She works at a Johannesburg Stock Exchange listed blue-chip and is amongst the minority of non-pale faces in the rarefied atmosphere of these large companies that wield as much power as a whole faction of the African National Congress. Of course Token Imnot (not her real name) is not happy — and has not been for a while and for what are now pretty much the usual reasons.
The reasons however bear repeating, because it’s 2020 and also because according to Token Imnot, white privilege is not taking any Black Lives Matter (BLM) moves lying down. She proceeds to list the the usual; crony appointments in the company, the deliberate ignoring of work she produces and to cap it all, when she started fussing and using the defined human resource processes within the company, she was labelled a racist for calling out white people for behaving like their generational privilege programmes and enables them to.
According to Token Imnot, it’s an all-out warscape out there in the cold, hard, real world she inhabits. Unlike my hazier and possibly more malleable world of creatives, gardeners, mechanics, artsy types and non-profits where black people are slightly more welcome; as long as they’re contributing to the bottom line of the still largely white owned cultural economy and not showing up the white intellectuals too much.
But let me not digress too much, nor make any more friends amongst the power holders in society because after Nikon South Africa chose pretty much only white influencers to launch it’s new full-frame mirrorless camera, I am at risk of adopting the belief that some people and companies really don’t give a proverbial whatsoever about their white privilege and they’re not about to change because they have been called out.
So let’s rather move on to creating and being and manifesting for ourselves because the global system of white privilege is not about to curl up and die. In fact, it’s arming itself and is busy with doing everything it can to hold on to the last two centuries of privilege it has lorded over the world and all its peoples, nations and nationalities — that are not white.
All of which means that if you have the means and wanted to take the plunge to go with a full-frame mirrorless camera and you have any kind of sane human conscious floating somewhere above your head, or flowing through your veins, or just rooted deeply in your heart and inscribed on your soul (aka, the default) — you might have to choose another brand of full-frame mirrorless camera. Or you accept the insipid apology or expression of regret or other lame and laughable excuses that some overpaid comms clown will have delivered by now.
And what serious photographer will want anything less than a proper full frame tool for the job — even if the tool is made, marketed and sold by tools trapped in the 1970s braaivleis, rugby, sunny skies and Chevrolet?
Just before I finished up this piece, I got a message from my long suffering friend to let me know that the all-white management team of Nikon South Africa had issued a statement and urged me to go have a look — she thought I might find it funny. It was not. The comments however are worth going to read, because there are whole lessons in there on what white privilege is and how it literally poisons everything it touches.
And to think that this is what human civilisation looks like in 2020 AD? Black people demanding to be included, in their own country nogal. Jammer ne, but please excuse me while I go puke on your idea of civilization.
No amount of HD quality pictures of Saturn’s moon or Jupiter’s lakes matter. No amount of hoo-ha about supercomputing and the power data has to unlock value for poor people matters. No amount of shoddy ‘research’ about how M-Pesa is a wondrous tool to solve poverty in East Africa is going to convince me that this is what civilisation is supposed to look like.
Humanity has completely and utterly managed to create a heinously ugly form of civilisation that serves the rich and powerful. That it does so at the expense of poor people is the crowning turd on the injustices that are white privilege and it’s bedmate, male privilege. The attendant civilisation that this global leadership has brought us is nothing less than a pox on humanity.