On Tuesday we published the offensive details around the “racist meme” that went viral shortly after Joost van der Wetshuizen’s death. Social media turned on the poster at a rapid pace. Riaan Lucas and the two others tagged in the post, were crucified.
As we normally see with these racial incidents, the offender has released their side of the story. Or in this case, one of the offenders by association. Denver Lopez(who was tagged in the post by Lucas) had some strong, and not very apologetic words.
“This whole media uproar and collective sympathy, you know, about this one white man who passed away, and what frustrates me and a lot of other people is that we don’t get that response when our men and women on the Cape Flats are murdered”.
Denver Lopez describes himself as a Khoisan activist whose ancestors had their land forcefully taken from them, while white people are boosted by 500 years of colonial privilege. Lopez does acknowledge though that the post was meant “light heartedly,” but was distasteful at the same time.” He says none of the three men expected the post to “blow up” the way it did, he also says that free speech is crucially important.
“Part of me is very frustrated that there has been this backlash that people want to silence us. If I know the history that when the Khoisan opposed the colonial force, we were beaten up, we were murdered, our tongues were taken out.”
Lopez says that people of colour like him grow up in environments where they have to constantly question their safety, leading them to become desensitised to death. Lastly, when asked if he was a racist Lopez had this to say. “I wouldn’t say I am racist towards white people, I would say I am frustrated”. Frustration seems to have boiled over for young Denver Lopez, do his circumstances make you more forgiving of his original post?