So, B-BBEEE

Okay. Something many white people struggle to understand, is B-BBEE. (Please, it is B-BBEE, not BEE.) It is more often than not seen as “reverse racism.” I am by no means an expert, but I have done enough research (it’s a continuous process) to know that B-BBEE is not as evil as it is made out to be.

I’ll touch on points I’ve read from various articles, links will added to end of this post. Please comment with whatever thoughts or info you have.

In a nutshell, “B-BBEE (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment) is an initiative by the South African government to address historical imbalances of the country by facilitating the participation of black people in the mainstream economy.” [1]

If differs from the narrow-based empowerment act that was in implemented early in our democracy. Narrow based focused on the empowerment of people in ownership and management positions, whereas B-BEEE’s goal is distribute wealth across a broader spectrum. (I think maybe most people never moved past this point? They are still confusing B-BBEE with this?)

 

WHY B-BBEE:

It is now widely known that the apartheid government systematically excluded people of colour from any significant participation SA’s economy, just like people were excluded from most sectors, including education, basic services, etc.)

Because “the assets of millions of people were directly and indirectly destroyed and access to skills and to self-employment was racially restricted. The accumulation process under Apartheid confined the creation of wealth to a racial minority and imposed underdevelopment on black communities. The result is an economic structure that today, in essence, still excludes the vast majority of South Africans. It is crucial to understand the magnitude of what took place in our past in order to understand why we need to act together as a nation to bring about an economic transformation in the interest of all.” [8]

To simplify: Pre ’94, white people had all the jobs. White people had everything. A lot of what was done to benefit white people, was to the detriment of people of colour. A lot of what happened back then, still benefits white people today, whether we like to admit it or not. Things like generational wealth, social capital, early childhood development, self sufficient parents, access to quality education, etc. [4]

So, white people, who make up approximately 9% of SA’s population, had access to everything. They didn’t have to share. Today, we have to share jobs, opportunities, etc, with the majority of the population. And still today, 22 years later, we still want to moan and complain about it. Why?

Well…

MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT B-BBEE:

“White owned businesses are expected to give up their businesses to a Black partner.”

(Will only touch on this briefly, as my post is aimed at the everyday white person on the street thinking B-BBEE is out to get them.)

The short answer: There are 7 elements to the B-BBEE score card, and ownership only makes up a small percentage. The elements are:

  1. Ownership – 20%
  2. Management control 10%
  3. Employment equity 10%
  4. Skills development 20%
  5. Preferential procurement 20%
  6. Enterprise development 10%
  7. Residual (sector determined) 10%.
    More info linked below. [9]

 

“It will take wealth from one group to give another group.”

No. It is a growth strategy, aimed to address inequality in the work place. It’s goal is to expand the economic base of the country and to create employment. That is why the B-BBEE Amendment Act was enacted and the B-BBEE Commission created to “oversee and monitor the implementation of the act and deal with the contravention and investigate fronting practices, amongst others.” [10]

 

“Yes but now white people are excluded from getting jobs.”

Again, no, white people are not excluded from the job market, despite what you might read on some right winger websites. Yes, many white people don’t have jobs. A full 8.3% of the white population. I have a job. Just like 91.7% of the white population. In contrast with that, 39% of black South Africans don’t have jobs either. See the difference? [2] [3]

 

“I’m a qualified white person and cannot get a job, but an unskilled person will get the job thanks to ‘BEE.'”

*face palm* This is completely different can of worms that probably deserves it’s own post…. It’s a fairly common misconception among white people that just because they didn’t get the job, some unskilled, uneducated person got it. Because, you know, there can’t possibly, in a population of 91% people of colour, POSSIBLY, be someone who is qualified and educated to fill the position.

Do you, as a white person, seriously believe that everyone else out there is dumber than you? Doesn’t study as hard, work as hard or learn as quick as you, JUST because your skin is white? Seriously? If this point resonates with you, then I suggest you do some serious soul searching as to where this bias came from. Perhaps refer to [5] and [6] for useful info and stats.

(Also, assuming the white person who said this, is educated and skilled. I find more often than not, people who use this excuse, aren’t particularly qualified either. If you are qualified for the job, good for you. Still check that bias though. If you aren’t qualified for it, and your only contribution to world is being white, well then. You have bigger problems, darling. Don’t complain about not getting that Chief Financial Officer post and threaten to leave SA to go find work overseas, if you can’t even write a proper application letter, and will more than likely end up working as a bouncer in London.)

 

FURTHER READING:

[1] http://www.southafrica.info/bus…/trends/empowerment/bee.htm…
[2] http://businesstech.co.za/…/white-vs-black-unemployment-in…/
[3] http://businesstech.co.za/…/the-shocking-truth-about-emplo…/
[4] http://mg.co.za/…/2015-02-23-six-things-white-people-have-t…
[5] https://africacheck.org/…/analysis-black-brain-white-brain…/
[6] https://goo.gl/RkdnLM

DOCUMENTS:

[7] Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Bill –http://www.gov.za/sites/www.gov.za/files/b27-03_0.pdf
[8] The DTI’s BBBEE Strategy – http://www.empowerdex.com/Portals/…/dti%20BEE%20STRATEGY.pdf
[9] Business Guide to BBBEE – http://www.standardbank.co.za/…/Busin…/StdBank_BEE_Guide.pdf
[10] Broad-Black Economic Empowerment Amendment Act –http://www.gov.za/si…/www.gov.za/files/37271_Act46of2013.pdf

Useful for practically anything – http://www.statssa.gov.za/

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White Fragility

White people, we need to talk about white fragility.

What is it, you ask?

white-fragility-love-life-of-an-asian-guy-photo

If we have to be honest, we all suffer from this to some extent. Even allies, ESPECIALLY allies, need to check ourselves often, and if a conversation is being derailed by white feelings, bring it back to what really matter.

This check list with four questions to ask yourself during a debate/converstation, might be useful, but feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.

1. Am I trying to change the subject? (More often than not by using terms like: “Arguing on Facebook is pointless.” or “ALL lives matter!” or “Why are we talking about this when we’ve got ___ to worry about?!”)

2. Am I using inappropriate humor to deflect? (We’ve all seen the variations of the Black Lives Matter memes.)

3. Am I getting defensive or angry? (It’s understandable, hearing that you’re part of the problem will hurt. We are conditioned to believe that problems are always another race’s fault. See it for what it is.)

4. Am I going out of my way not to focus on “the negative?” (It might sound awesome to focus on the positive, and let love lead and all that wholesome goodness. But. Don’t minimize black pain and anger.

Further reading:

  • http://libjournal.uncg.edu/ijcp/article/viewFile/249/116 (PDF)
  • https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/white-fragility-why-its-so-hard-to-talk-to-white-people-about-racism-twlm/
  • http://www.alternet.org/culture/why-white-people-freak-out-when-theyre-called-out-about-race
  • http://www.salon.com/2016/07/18/white_fragility_is_real_4_questions_white_people_should_ask_themselves_during_discussions_about_race/
  • Perhaps even join the Rainbow Racist Rehab Group on Facebook.
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