South Africa’s prettiest export Trevor Noah does have some curious politics. In a wide-ranging interview on race, discrimination and gender with Lupita Nyong’o, the Kenyan-Mexican woman who won an Oscar for the film 12 years a slave in 2014, and American writer Philip Galanes, our man Trevor Noah said he “grew up in a world where being an angry black man got you nowhere”.
“There’s a place for anger, but you can get so much further with diplomacy and empathy. You have to feel for the other person, even if you think they’re completely wrong. And they think the same about you,” Noah said.
Its not particularly clear if Noah was referring to turning the other cheek to apartheid policy or to critics of his performance on The Daily Show. Either way, being an angry black man was pretty much central to ending apartheid, and all those guys who got “shot or arrested” would be rather aggrieved to hear they ought to have empathised with their oppressors.
And with shit going down in almost all of our campuses this year, “Freedom is hard work,” is pretty disappointing coming from you, Trevs.
Here is an excerpt from the interview:
“LN: We’re at this interesting moment when prejudice is in the subconscious a lot of the time. Where prejudice occurs before you’ve even had a conscious thought. The laws have changed, but now the battle is with the mind. And that’s much harder to get to.
TN: Especially when people feel attacked. People are always asking me, “Why aren’t you angry?” Because I grew up in a world where being an angry black person got you nowhere. It got you shot or arrested. There’s a place for anger, but you can get so much further with diplomacy and empathy. You have to feel for the other person, even if you think they’re completely wrong. And they think the same about you.
PG: But it seems unfair: being discriminated against and having to point it out gently.
TN: Freedom is hard work.”
Read the full interview here.