The politics of personal perception

2015-01-25 15:00

What is the point of publishing the article “Race and Cape Town: Your colour matters at restaurants” (City Press, January 18 2015)? It’s a scurrilous article, not based on facts, but on one person’s perceptions. You haven’t even given those much-maligned restaurants a right of reply.

When I go to restaurants in the Cape, I very often get ignored by black waiters.

Is it because they are racists, not well trained, had a fight with their wives, are gatvol of everyone, simply lazy? Who knows?

Your columnist Sarita Ranchod certainly doesn’t know. She just assumes it’s racism because that’s how she frames the world. A black woman told me that all whites are racists.

She backed this up by telling me that when she sat down next to a white person at a bus stop, they always moved away from her. The problem was not racism, but one of invading personal space. She would literally stand or sit so close to you that she was almost touching you. Most people’s involuntary reaction would be to move away.

However, like your columnist, that is how she frames the world and is incapable of considering anything else.

These sort of articles, like the rubbish that President Jacob Zuma spouts, fan racial tension. Believe you me, no racial group occupies the moral high ground. We are all equally good and equally bad. There are white racists and black racists.

I could give you lots of personal examples of black racism, but where is that going to get us? We’re all going to start hating each other.

Why pump hatred into our hearts? Why don’t you concentrate on stories where blacks help whites, and vice versa. And when you feel the need to cover a story on hurtful racism, be very, very careful. You’re in a powerful position. Make sure that it is factual.

Jane Sussens

via email

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