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  • University of Pretoria students dressed up as domestic workers in blackface at a 21st birthday causes outrage [pic]
    Posted by on Aug 6th, 2014

    Drama up north at the University of Pretoria where the topic of student racism has been doing the rounds after a picture was uploaded to Facebook showing two students dressed up as domestic workers with their faces and arms painted black. The image was apparently taken at a private 21st birthday party and has sparked outrage on social media sites.


    Latest reports from Eye Witness News are that the University of Pretoria has charged the two students involved, both of whom have since deleted their Facebook profiles.

    One particular topic of discussion is around famous SA comedian Leon Schuster and how he dressed up in blackface in many of his movies.

    What do you think?

    [bottom pic via @ewnreporter]

    Helen says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Students having fun at a dress up event – come on people, get real and stop all jumping on the overused racist card. Would this have caused such a freaking out roar if it was any other race, but whites doing the dress-up? I think not. I’m sick to death of people shouting racism at every turn – lighten up and get with the Rainbow nation dudes. And while you at it, get a life!

    hommie says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    so they are making a joke out of us, they applying racist indirect

    Servant says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    I would be your butler

    Mpho says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Helen, as a white person, you wil NEVER understand the effects of apartheid have had to black people in this country. You may be sick and tired of people overplaying the race card, but that’s our legacy in South Africa, so deal with it. You see, I am one of those black people who is NOT Afraid to speak up and not afraid of the fact that some races might catch feelings about my thoughts on the matter, but my life in the 80s was nowhere near yours and your peers, so you can NEVER understand where the anger comes from.

    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Ouch. These girls are playing with fire… Having said that, the context and personalities of the girls would need to be taken into account to decipher whether or not it was racist…

    Sarah says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Helen, you are the reason we can’t have nice things.

    Rokko says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Sarah if you cannot have “nice things” it is because you don’t want to work for it…

    Grethe says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Please people, if you’re still asking “why is this racist” you need to take a leap into 2014. This isn’t “harmless fun”, people criticising this aren’t “pulling the race card”. This is deeply offensive.
    And no, you do not get to ask “but what if black people dressed up as white people would it still be racist?” NO. Because white people haven’t been oppressed and stereotyped for the last thousand years.
    These “maids” you’re parodying are people’s mothers. They clean your dirty underwear for minimum wage, the least you can do is respect them enough not to parody them.
    Living in a upper class white bubble, like these girls, and acting out of ignorance is not an excuse to be a despicable bigot

    Juan says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Firstly black people have not been oppressed the last thousand years only a few hundred and these girls intentions was not to mock them at all and secondly we also have an domestic worker and when she saw the photo she said they must get bigger bums for the outfits and she laughed quite an while,so the only people who think this is racist is sensitive people like you and and the younger upper class generation of whites and blacks who wants things to be racist! and giving the media the upper-hand in making situations like this even worse! thirdly do you know that last weekend there was posters put up at Potch and on the PUK campus saying kill the whites and kill the boer and the entire SA bats an eye because that is quite “normal” in South African standards.

    Grethe says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Yes Juan. Because when your boss makes a funny joke you’re kind of required to laugh. Did you really think she was going to tell you that she thought it was racist? Remember the power structures involved here.

    Looti says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Funny how you just ignored the mention of Potch incidents. lol i see what you did therr

    Mzu Mali says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    We are not yet free and equal in this country as long as we don’t respect each other. These are children who were looked after by black domestic workers while their parents were busy killing black children in the township.

    Rokko says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    So Grethe overplaying the race card is revenge on people with light skin colour for 1000 years of oppression…wake up idiot, 150years ago blacks were killing each other with aggression against ALL other tribes…stop pinning all black suffering and incompetance on white people..pull your hands from your pockets and work hard for what you want. Did you know Xhosa mean the aggressive one in Koi San? Still wondering why? Get a life and let others enjoy theirs without the label of being racist all the time. But I guess that is hard for people who feel so sorry for themselves.

    mamie malan says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    gretha word wakker. in 2014, sonder om jou kop te stamp asb. wat maak dit n rassistiese aangeleentheid in die dag en datum dat feitlik geen swart vrou sonder n pruik wat witmense hare uitbeeld, gesien word nie. jy en tuks moet bypik of elke swartmens wie met witmens-hare spot ook van rassisme aankla.

    Simon says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Charged them with what? Bad dress sense? Come on …

    mick says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Wot Helen said.

    Looti says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    It’s not funny, however, it is more funny than it is racist.

    Jax says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    This is ridiculous.
    It’s a private party and they’re just having fun. Why is it racist? I bet if it was another race dressing up as white people, no one would bat an eye.
    I’m so sick of South Africa and its double standards. Lighten up, they’re university students and its funny.

    hope says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Sorry Jax , I don’t find it funny at all.

    Juan says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Well thats quite weird that this is racist, last week in my second year module we got an group project and the the tutor looked at all the white people in our class and said the following “we are a rainbow nation and for this project every group must have at least one white member and one black member” after that he still looked at us and asked us do we have a problem with that? SA will never have peace when it comes to things like this! a few streets away from TUKS is a black guy who dress like these girls and paints his face white and dances like a retared and whistles loud the whole time and it represents a white big lady whose moaning and screaming? yes people drive by and dont care but when a res white girl posts a picture like this it is almost the end to her student life…

    mamie malan says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    shame man, they are not wise enough to discriminate between right and wrong and will start shouting rasism because excrement is dark before long.

    hope says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Of course we need to lighten up but allow us to take our time in trying to lighten up. As of now it is offensive to some degree. Unfortunately it is our mothers you talking about and they are still treated badly by most white people and their kids. If it was a private party why did they post it on face book. Maybe they meant well but they need to know, it is not right. White people you lived well for years a d its easy for you to just say “you people need to lighten up”.

    Grethe says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Oh I’M SORRY, I thought I wasn’t on the apartheid apologist, right wing forum today.

    Basically all you people are saying: “We’re not racist! We’re just mocking black domestic workers because, from our position of privilege, we think they’re comic.”

    Thandi says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Of course thus was an inside joke among these white girls. No black person would agree to be part of such. How do u make fun of your history.?? These May have not meant harm but it’s pretty clear they aren’t saints and were very negligent

    Mikey says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    You have to be a really sick person the find this funny.

    Thandi says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    I’m sorry but this isn’t funny at all. I can’t imagine any black person would allow for such jokes to be made in a party where there are different races. This has racism all over it. Only white people were probably amused by this joke at that party. I can’t stand it when people who have had it easy all their lives now make fun of the people who have raised us hardly so.

    simphiwe says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    t’s always puzzling how often we come across people who were never affected by racism, telling people who were (and still are) affected by it, to grow up when they complain about it. It happens far too often. The levels of disrespect have risen to an all-time high. Siyaqhelwa kodwa apha. Asibonwa (We are being taken for granted).

    I was shocked to find that we were still debating yesterday – yes, in the year of our Lord Jesus, 2014 –  whether blackface is racist or not. I was shocked, and then I remembered that these things happen in South Africa. Why must we explain to people who insist on offending us why we are offended? I’m done explaining. Kunini? (How long?) We can’t still be explaining to people in 2014 why their actions are racist.

    You would think that someone who goes to university, like the two students who dressed up in blackface, would be self-aware and knowledgeable enough to understand that certain things are just unacceptable.

    I don’t know which is worse: the fact that they are racist, or that they are completely incapable of knowing that they can’t justify or defend their actions.

    Every time racism rears its ugly head, someone tells black people how they should respond to it. Must we now teach people not to say dumb things, like one Pieter Meyer on Twitter? Meyer defended racism by adding even more racism: “When a young white girl in make-up can offend an entire race, I reckon that race has some growing up to do.” Sorry black people, but you guys have just not grown up and need to accept this funny thing called racism. You blacks take racism way too seriously. Grow up and laugh with the rest.

    Black humour
    I suppose it was really funny dragging a black person to his death behind a bakkie too? Or take the case of those white students at the University of the Free State who made black workers eat food they had urinated in and made them perform athletic tasks after forcing them to drink alcohol. Also absolutely hilarious.

    According to Meyer, blacks need to grow up about this racism thing. Why so serious about racism?

    Blackface goes beyond a painted face; there is also a black accent.

    Object of ridicule
    Some people make examples of Leon Schuster movies, but I think that is outrageous. Schuster doesn’t only dress up as a black person. He also portrays an Indian, Afrikaner farmer, surfer, woman and everything in between, so I don’t find him offensive, I simply don’t like his movies. There is a difference between an art form and deliberately targeting a single group to make it an object of ridicule.

    What of the Wayans Brothers and their movie White Chicks? We could also bring in Robert Downey Jnr’s performance as a black man in Tropic Thunder. These examples add to why I think that the Leon Schuster argument is a nonstarter.

    The fact that the University of Pretoria students posed for pictures in blackface, and posted them on Facebook, tells me that they are comfortable with racist actions, and so are the people around them. I am certain that was not the first racist act they have ever performed, and I shudder to think of the things they say behind closed doors.

    We still have a long way to go to bring this country together. It would be a mistake to now start thinking that all white people behave in this manner, which is what tends to happen when people’s emotions are heightened, but it still needs to be made clear that these kinds of racist actions are not okay.

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    rivonia naidu says:
    August 08, 2014 at 7:37 am

    This is so wrong. How can people find this funny? I just don’t understand some people.

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