In July 2017 the South African Equality Court dismissed charges of Hate Speech against the exhibition of posters using the words “Fuck White People” in the South African Iziko National Gallery. The Chief Magistrate found that the work’s context, as art, brought attention to structural racism and white supremacy, and drew South Africans to a “critical moment of self-reflection” and situates Dean Hutton’s work in a broader anti-colonial struggle to “confront, reject and dismantle stuctures, systems, knowledge, skills, and attitudes of power that keep white people racist.”
Initially a live public performances by Goldendean dressed in a suit repeating lines of “Fuck” “White” “People” – referencing an expression of rage as black students, in peaceful #feesmustfall protests are met with brute force state and institutional violence. White bodies, even those in the same protests are rarely policed in the same way. Considered “safe” by the systems of authority designed to protect white bodies, even when deliberately provocative.
Carefully addressing issues of appropriation, allyship and white privilege, Goldendean’s performance strategy centres public participation. The audience invited to take selfies, to insert their body, to share widely on social media. Meaningful conversation, strong opinions on art, race, gender, and freedom of expression was often overshadowed by orchestrated outrage from white nationalists charging reverse-racism! White genocide! Death threats, violent hate speech, and crude insults are typified by a transphobic body-shaming meme tweeted by the Ku Klux Klan’s, David Duke.