.Posted: October 01, 2001 - By TREVOR MILLETTE

Black and white allergies

IT IS absolutely amazing and has to be the irony of ironies that an elderly German woman should exhibit symptoms that are regarded, clinically, it would seem, as an “allergy” to blacks. It was difficult to decide whether one should laugh or cry after reading the following brief report in the Saturday Express of September 23:

“A doctor has supported the claim of a woman who lost a slander case for telling a black man to get out of her way because she was allergic to blacks, a newspaper reported.

“The Hamburg doctor, who wasn’t identified, certified that the also unidentified 66-year-old retired woman suffered psychosomatic symptoms including stomach pains when she came across a dark-skinned person, Die Welt, reported in its Saturday edition.

“A 31-year-old student from the Cameroon had filed a complaint against her after she had told him: ‘Get out of the way, I’m allergic to blacks.’

“A Hanover court on Wednesday sentenced the woman to a fine of 450 marks (US$200) despite the claimed diagnosis.”

From all historical accounts, it should really be the other way around. Blacks should display symptoms of such an allergy. Yet they don’t.

Check any black-white encounter and see who suffers the most. It is always the black who ends up the victim of extreme brutality.

In South Africa and Zimbabwe (in fact, anywhere in Africa you can think of), in Australia and Tasmania, across the New World, the dynamics of adversity have been the same. And it’s not over yet. Racial profiling in the United States and the “bleaching process” in Brazil form part of the contemporary experience of living in a sophisticated, globalised world.

There is really very little basis for the elderly German woman to have developed this condition. In general, when we talk about colonialism and imperialism, Britain, France and the United States are viewed as the villains because these nations have become stereotyped. But Germany is not beyond accusation.

When Germany decided that imperialism was the way to go, it left no doubt about its capacity for violent oppression and injustice in order to satisfy a greed for material gain. One of the outstanding examples of this is its role in Namibia (then South West Africa) which officially became a German colony (German South West Africa) in 1884. From the very outset, the indigenous Namibians resisted German colonial rule but this resistance resulted in severe forms of retaliation.

The following brief description provided by a United Nations publications should suffice to indicate how the German handled the situation. “German colonial exploitation was extremely brutal; it encountered sustained resistance from Africa communities and resulted in rebellions throughout the late 1890s with constant warfare between 1904 and 1908. The colonisers responded to these strong uprisings of the Herero and Nama peoples by conducting the 20th century’s first genocide.

“Extermination campaigns in concentration camps resulted in the massacre of 54,000 of the 70,000 Herero people and 30,000 of the 50,000 Nama. Survivors were dispossessed of all their land, and their political and social structures were destroyed, leaving them to become a large, cheap wage labour pool for white employers.

“While settlement rapidly increased and laws were enacted that institutionalised racial oppression in a manner suggesting the system of apartheid that South Africa would impose years later (after World War I in the former German colony).”

This should not surprise anyone, because years later the German racial ideology of white superiority (deeply rooted in Aryanism) spawned not only Nazism but contributed significantly to the birth of apartheid in South Africa. It was the Boers, part Dutch and part German culturally, who conceived and implemented the pathological policy of apartheid. The Dutch had the unenviable reputation of being the world’s worst slave masters, brutal in the extreme.

Apartheid exposed the incredible stupidity and sheer cursedness of racism. Which self-respecting, truly intelligent individual would sit down and actually pen the following observation: “If a person is unable to prove that he ‘is generally accepted as a white person’, he is assumed to be ‘generally accepted as a coloured person’, unless he is ‘in appearance obviously an African’?” Or this, “Any man, although obviously in appearance a white person, who is married to an African woman is a member of an African group?” What sort of dementia inspired such rubbish? Why would anybody want the status of an “honorary white”?

Clearly, though much progress has been made in terms of the development of human civilisation, much remains to be done. Too often, the troglodyte reasserts himself and reminds us that the task of enlightenment and rehabilitation is far from complete, even in the 21st century with its technological marvels which have made possible greater intimacy between nations and peoples.

Back to Historical Views

^^ Back to top