The World Is F***ed #6: I Blame Woolworths, No Wait…

ww_logoAs a South African, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you have probably heard about the Woolworths “racist” scandal earlier this week bought to light by internet marketer, Justin Harrison, who followed up a  few days later with another post. No surprise it made news, after all didn’t SAA just go through the same saga?

If you are still not sure what I am going on about here are some links to what is happening:

Woolworth refutes accusations of racism, disables wall

Woolworths denies racism claim

Viva Woolworths! Viva!

Questions over Woolworths whistleblower

Whites against Woolworths: doth they protest too much?

There are probably many more but these should give you an idea

While as a white South African male, my initial reaction was to throw my arms in the air and scream bloody murder, as many did, after reading some alternative views and letting the dust settle, I find that I can’t really blame them at all.

So who do we blame? The ANC? Aren’t they are just trying to correct the imbalances of the apartheid era, the imbalance which has still not been corrected, despite close to 20 years of being free of apartheid? Well that is debatable since their policies have only seemed to benefit a very small majority of their followers, but that is something else altogether.

So do we blame white people? Can we blame the children of the post-apartheid era, like myself, who were too young to know what was happening? So do we blame our parents? After all they did nothing while the National Party ruled the country and implemented apartheid policies. They should have put their lives on the line, they should have done more, right? While it went on for far too long, the entire world also did nothing really, so can we blame them?

Maybe we should blame the Germans and countless other supremist goverments for giving our apartheid government ideas? Or maybe we should blame the Dutch and/or British settlers for coming to this country and taking it away from the indigenous people, the Zulus, the Xhosa, the San, et al? Not really, much like the Romans did for them, they bought a little bit of civilisation to the region.

Maybe we should blame the Romans for bringing the first hints of civilisation to what is now Britain & Netherlands or the Celtic or Germanic tribes for settling there in the first place? No?

What I’m trying to say is that history is exactly that, history. If we are going to just try to point fingers and play the blame game, nothing constructive will come of it, people will get angry and say stupid things which will piss off other people who will say more stupid things.

Lets say, hypothetically, as a white male in SA, you were looking through a newspaper for a job and you saw a job that you wanted to apply for. At the end it tells you, preference is given to BEE candidates or to disabled black women. Of course you think to yourself, “Fuck I hate this BEE crap!” or whatever else you may think, but is your next step to now launch a boycott against this company, or do you move on and try again?

The only thing that Woolworths did wrong was the way that they worded their job post really, and of course the way they handled the PR nightmare they bought on themselves, but I think after initially going into a flat spin, they have managed to correct their mistake, and isn’t that what we wanted?

Personally, I went to Woolies yesterday and bought some chicken they had on special. And next time I feel like some smoked snoek pate, I will go again.

11 responses

  1. I suppose they could have worded the advertisement better (maybe they should have referred to the million others posted in newspapers daily) to please the nation, but what really made my stomache hurl was the way white south african afrikaans-speaking people reacted to it…(check out https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/282110151889936/ )

    Just because Woolworths was being honest with what they are doing/about to do instead of just stating it prettily like many other huge companies do. I don’t shop at WW purely because it is such a niche market (i only buy gifts from them so i can’t personally be accoiated with a “brand”).

    I hang my head in shame to be associated with the Afrikaans culture…I’d rather be associated with a niche brand. #justsaying

    September 7, 2012 at 9:06 am

    • Agreed, Steve, PRAAG (and followers) and Solidarity have gone too far. People need to stop playing the blame game in this country and until we decide to take responsibility for our own actions and move on, I worry for the future of this country

      I don’t shop much at Woolies, but I am not going to boycott them because of the way they worded an advert from policy that we all know is being forced on them

      September 7, 2012 at 11:12 am

  2. Alex

    Not much bothers you!
    If they sold a pate made from clubbed baby seals. You would still go and buy from them.

    September 7, 2012 at 10:42 am

    • A lot bothers me, but those things aren’t relevant here.
      I don’t think baby seal pate will taste very nice and that’s a really bad example. Because I feel this way on this specific topic doesn’t mean that I would forgive them for being assholes in another way.

      September 7, 2012 at 11:15 am

  3. Peter Wickham

    I would love to have the resources to challenge BEE in the constitutional court as nobody can say that I am white even if I look white – nobody knows what my ancestors got up to and there is no more racial classification in this country. BEE is unconstitutional and enforcement is a joke as they will be enforcing it on the way people look.

    October 11, 2012 at 8:03 am

    • I actually completely agree with you. Instead of boycotting Woolworths, we as white South Africans might have rallied together and done this?

      October 12, 2012 at 8:07 am

  4. Next time you need chicken, contact Elgin chicken. They supply woolies and have a farm shop which is over half the price of woolies… why waste money on crap company BS?

    October 11, 2012 at 8:44 am

    • I don’t particularly want Woolworths chicken, it just happened to look good and was at a good price. Replace the chicken with a cooldrink, chips or whatever else you want, it was simply an example.
      I actually prefer chicken fresh from the farm or from my butcher, where I know what I’m getting…

      October 12, 2012 at 7:50 am

  5. Dave

    Lame reasoning… if you want to support that same company / business that wont give you a job, then do so. It is your democratic right. We will not burn down your house, you will not be necklased, and you wont otherwise be victimised or intimidated. However, this action is just that… taking action, making ourselves heard. If you want to shrivel up and forever be excluded from job opprtunities because of inaction you have only yourself to thank.

    This is not about ‘blame’ – its about taking action ! (or not)

    October 11, 2012 at 9:34 am

    • So then the solution is to show just how bigoted we are as white South Africans and launch a almost useless boycott? Great, the share price dropped in the first 10 days or so after the saga. But now a month later, it’s back up beyond where it was. So what has this boycott shown them?
      Action needs to be directed at the source of the problem, in the right direction.
      I am fully aware of the effect it has on my job opportunities, being currently threatened with rentrenchment, but I’m not gonna blame Woolworths for that. I’m gonna sell myself even harder at the interviews that I do go for…

      October 12, 2012 at 7:47 am

  6. Pingback: Woolworths: A Follow Up « My Conflicted Self

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