A video of a white woman in South Africa teaching Black domestic workers how to wash their hands has caused outrage on social media. The footage, posted to Twitter, begins with two white men and the woman arguing with a man who's speaking on behalf of the domestic workers while recording the video.
“This isn’t for you. This is for the residents,” the woman told the cameraman. "I want you to go back."
But the man continues to record as the woman proceeds with the hand-washing lesson.
“Girls...gentleman and ladies, we’re going to have a little bit of fun here,” she told the group. “When I am finished and you understand, for 20 seconds, it will make a difference. I’m trying to make this into, not a lecture, not a lecture, I want to make this fun.”
The man recording the video expressed his disgust at the sight of adults being treated like children, saying "fully grown adults being told how to sink.”
As the workers continue to watch, the woman instructs them to sing "Happy Birthday" to make sure they wash for at least 20 seconds.
"This is ridiculous," the witness said. "This is absolutely insane."
I don’t know which part of the video makes me angrier 😡😡 Yoooo fuck!— Lesego Tlhabi (@LesegoTlhabi) March 28, 2020
“In Illovo, the workers who live on the 5th floor were commanded to come be taught how to be hygienic. This was in full display of all residents of the block who were invited to watch from their balconies.” pic.twitter.com/CAZLkufyTR
Twitter users responded with anger after seeing the video.
"How are you teaching a domestic worker how to wash their hands?????" one person said. "They know more about cleanliness than you.... honestly I'm disgusted by white privilege and ignorance."
How are you teaching a domestic worker how to wash their hands????? They know more about cleanliness than you.... honestly I'm disgusted by white privilege and ignorance pic.twitter.com/gY7XmSqV9f— Zhane` 🖤 (@szm_n31) March 28, 2020
Another person said, "The same maids that raised them and looked after them are now being taught how to be clean!"
The same maids that raised them and looked after them are now being taught how to be clean!🤮🤮— Mofana Monama (@SaltieMO) March 28, 2020
"I’m so angry I’m so angry. Where is this? My angry is angry. I have a headache from being angry," another Twitter user added.
While some tried to argue in favor of the white woman, many others refused to back down.
I’m so angry 😠 I’m so angry. Where is this ? My angry is angry . I have a headache from being angry😤😤— Nkulie Figlan (@comfy86) March 28, 2020
Sorry I am not pissed. If the person teaching were black. We would be fine. Good initiative, just in poor taste.— Olubunmi (@UchihaNaija) March 28, 2020
It’s not just who’s teaching. It’s also who’s being taught. Why do you think teaching GROWN ADULTS to wash their hands and the manner in which they should, with spectators- as if they’re incompetent children is a good initiative? It’s degrading and wrong!— Chloé (@chloexmaluleke) March 28, 2020
I have realized people that didn't grow up in environments where race is an issue never ever pick up on any form of racism even when it's subtle. No black person would do this.The same people who keep their homes and yards clean, need to be taught cleanliness?— Form Follows Formation (@A_Dot85) March 28, 2020
According to MSN, the South African Human Rights Commission said it is investigating the video.
"We have looked at the clip and I have been informed that our Gauteng office will look into this issue to see whether there has been a violation of dignity," said SAHRC CEO Tseliso Thipanyane. "Whether the people were coerced or compelled to attend the session and how they feel and then we will take it from there."