By Mukurima X Muriuki
When Samuel Etoo Fils is playing soccer and is mocked by fans, who throw banana peels at him, you know, likening him to a monkey that needs to be fed(hence the banana peels) the black community gets offended and we all agree that we must kick racism out of football.
When Robert Mugabe delivers a speech and refers to a group of people as having “white faces and pink noses” most Africans celebrate and elevate Mubage to the ranking of a general, a man after the heart of Africa-a modern day pan-Africanist (never mind that the term was coined by the same West).
Racism, by all intent and purpose, came into common usage in the 1930s when a new word was required to describe the theories on which the Nazis based their persecution of the Jews. The atrocities of the Nazis were based in the fallacious theory that people can be methodically and reliably sorted into biologically distinct subspecies of which some are superior and some inferior to others, and that regardless of what might be contained in the character of any given individual, the categorization in racial terms, is the necessary and sufficient basis on which to accept or reject the individual’s value and worthiness of social consideration—from recognition as an equal human being to the very right to live.
Yet, the horrible crimes committed by the Nazis could have been conducted under a different aegis—territorial conquest, manifest destiny, a struggle to secure resource, sheer madness—and they were possible because the Nazis had the power necessary to commit the crimes. What made the Holocaust a racist tragedy was not the genocide itself, but that it was based in a belief in the superiority/inferiority of races; with the logical outcome embraced by the Germans being that of total exclusion and elimination of the Jews.
I have watched the clip where a pilot of Caucasian extraction humiliates, dehumanizes, disrespects and shows utter contempt towards a Kenya Policewoman. This should be condemned by all and sundry. Society should not tolerate such a behavior.
However, what society should not do is to narrow down the white man’s actions as racist. You see, for racism to stand the test of test, two things must be demonstrated-power and prejudice (R=P+P). The pilot did not have any power, under the circumstances. None whatsoever. In fact, he is employed by a black deputy president! For prejudice to hold, we must demonstrate that the pilot had preconceived opinion about a black folks not based on reason or actual experience (Remember how in the George Zimmerman case authorities demonstrated that he had previously shown hatred towards blacks!). As such, two parameters needed to sustain the notion of racism, are absent, in my opinion.
My crystal balls (round in shape), however, tell me that for us Africans, we see the white man as superior. This line of thinking leads to the obvious-seeming conclusion that because in society white people are the dominant social group, black people, are inferior. Heck, I do not subscribe to this theory! A white man is not superior to me, even if am black as they come-dark as soot strands! The result of this belief or narrative is that we have been indoctrinated into a belief system that charges white people with being de facto racists, while providing an exemption to black people from being held accountable for racist beliefs!!
I am persuaded that if the pilot’s skin color was as dark as soot strands, society would have summed it as “hivyo ndivyo kunaendaga….”
Meanwhile, no one should ever belittle a police officer, no matter their social standing.