Time to stop the racist rhetoric

The Citizen (KZN) - - OPINION -

The pity about the events of “Black Mon­day” yes­ter­day is that they could have united the coun­try around the evil of crime … and par­tic­u­larly mur­der. Yet, the op­po­site hap­pened as South Africans were re­minded, painfully, that the gulf be­tween the races – or at least the dis­tance be­tween many of us – has not shown any sign of shrink­ing.

The or­gan­is­ers of the protest had to con­tend with crit­i­cism that they were high­light­ing farm killings only be­cause whites were in­volved. The re­al­ity is that many more blacks die vi­o­lently every year in this coun­try than do whites.

Then, de­spite the pleas from the or­gan­is­ers to par­tic­i­pants not to politi­cise pro­ceed­ings and, es­pe­cially, not to send the wrong mes­sage by wav­ing old South African flags, a tiny mi­nor­ity did just that. And they demon­strated they have not ac­cepted that this coun­try has changed and that they, priv­i­leged whites, are no longer in charge.

Even though they were a mi­nor­ity, their ac­tions quickly got trac­tion on so­cial me­dia and gave the haters on the other side of the spec­trum an op­por­tu­nity to vent their spleen.

Things were made worse by a num­ber of Twit­ter and Face­book users post­ing pic­tures of whites wav­ing old South African flags.

Pro­test­ers also hit out at Po­lice Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula, ac­cus­ing him of be­ing part of the prob­lem. Those on the other side pointed out that po­lice, who have on other oc­ca­sions used tear­gas and rub­ber bul­lets on protest­ing black peo­ple, did very lit­tle against yes­ter­day’s pro­test­ers.

Where we go from here is un­cer­tain. The is­sue of crime – in­volv­ing all South Africans – needs to be ad­dressed. And we need to move be­yond the easy, in­flam­ma­tory rhetoric of racism.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.