My Traitor’s Heart


I’m nearing the end of an excellent book, “ My Traitor’s Heart,” by Rian Malan. It is the experience of a young South African white guy growing up amongst the racial tensions in South Africa until the mid-1970’s when he banished himself to the US for ten years, Then he returned to his homeland to write about the wars, tensions, and the fall of apartheid.

One of his most lucid observations of his homeland struggles, I think, covers our current racism against Mexicans.

“As a tribe, a nation, we are all immured inside a fortress of racial paranoia, jealously hoarding our gold and getting deeper and deeper into a race war we cannot possibly win. We all know that. Our generals have been saying that since 1973. There is no military solution because the enemy is within. He is not beyond our boarder, where we could machine-gun or shell or even nuke him if it came to that, we are reputed to have that weapon, too. The enemy is inside our cities, inside our very homes, washing our dishes, mowing our lawns, driving our trucks, and manning our factories. Moral questions aside, we cannot defeat such an enemy without destroying ourselves. If we fail to accept that, we will also be chopped to pieces in a great orgy of bloodletting, obliterated be the forces of history. The ruins of tall buildings will mark our graves, and we, too, will be forgotten.
We must find a way of trusting, but who is there to trust?”
(Italics are mine)

In short we have been taking advantage of a third-world people for so long that we cannot dispense with them, for our younger generations have forgotten how to do those menial tasks for themselves, or think that those jobs are beneath them.

Our grandfather’s generation had the same problem with the Irish, and Chinese. Our great-grandfathers dealt with Africans. In each case our nation brought them here initially for the express purpose of enslaving or taking advantage of them, because the spirit of slavery lives strong within our hearts.

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