Racism is for all of us to fight

Saturday Star - - OPINION -

IT IS easy to con­clude that racism and racists will al­ways be with us. Hu­man be­ings have al­ways found rea­son to be big­oted and to con­clude that they are a bet­ter ver­sion of what hu­man­ity ought to be about. This week we saw a protest about farm mur­ders de­scend into a racial quag­mire. By the end of the week, es­tate agent Vicki Momberg had been found guilty of four counts of crimen in­juria for her racist rant against a black po­lice of­fi­cer. Her rant was caught on cam­era and went vi­ral on so­cial me­dia.

With our coun­try’s ex­pe­ri­ence of racism, we must at once un­der­stand why racism is with us and at the same time com­mit our­selves to erad­i­cat­ing it. Court pro­cesses are just one way of help­ing out but they are not the only way.

The zero sum na­ture of court pro­cesses is that it leaves win­ners and losers. It pos­si­bly does noth­ing to make the racist re­gret the er­ror of their ways. Racism is a prob­lem.

The feel­ings of su­pe­ri­or­ity and of marginal­i­sa­tion on grounds of race – as it is the theme in many coloured com­mu­nity protests against the state – are not is­sues to ig­nored and those who com­plain about them are not to be dis­missed out of hand. They too must be heard if we are to heal our coun­try of this ugly scourge.

What we need in South Africa is a cul­ture of un­der­stand­ing that no hu­man colour is bet­ter or worse than the next. It is a move­ment that must cut across so­ci­ety. The govern­ment, com­mu­ni­ties, sport­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions and fam­i­lies all have a role in creat­ing this re­al­ity.

This is not to dis­count the fact of how race also re­flects prop­erty re­la­tions in South Africa. It is not to pre­tend that we do not see colour in poverty.

This move­ment must start with ac­knowl­edg­ing the his­tory that brought us here but re­fus­ing to sur­ren­der to a past we can do noth­ing about. Racism is our com­mon in­her­i­tance and it is thus our com­mon duty to do ev­ery­thing we can in­di­vid­u­ally do, to rid our so­ci­ety of it.

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