By Stephanie Findlay - Monday, January 28, 2013 - 0 Comments
Debate rages after a writer implores white South Africans to be politically silent
White people should “just shut up and listen.” That’s the idea behind white South African writer Gillian Schutte’s recent opinion piece, “Dear White People,” which is being hotly debated in South Africa. In it, she advises white South Africans to “wake up and smell Africa with a fresh white nose,” reflect on what it means to be “born into unearned privilege” and stop “telling everyone who is not white how to behave, what to think and when to say what.” Schutte’s post, published online by South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper, is rekindling the so-called “whiteness” debate in the country—that is, how to be ethical and white in post-apartheid South Africa.
Schutte’s controversial opinion that whites must be quiet is rooted in a theory promoted by a group of mostly white South African academics known as the “anti-racists,” who say the best way to deal with white privilege—sometimes called “whiteliness”—is to be politically silent. Continue…