News24

Ordinary South Africans are not racist

2012-07-16 07:29

Chris Moerdyk

Politicians in South Africa play the race card for all they are worth because they genuinely believe it gets them votes. Or, just as a diversionary excuse when they find themselves up the creek without a paddle.

The media also plays the race card because they believe it gets them readers, viewers and listeners.

I don’t believe for a minute that ordinary South Africans are as racist as politicians and the media would make them out to be.

Sure, we might all be culturally intolerant but not understanding why someone does something that looks silly in our eyes does not necessarily translate into a hatred of a group of people because of the colour of their skin.

If there was a World Cup for Assumptions and Stereotyping, South Africa's politicians and media could team up and would win it hands down.

Classic examples

There have been some classic examples of just how dangerous a game this is to play.

Just about every political and social controversy that raises its ugly head these days inevitably ends up with some party bigwig playing the race card.

Listen to any radio talk-show and whenever the words "black" or "white" are mentioned in whatever context there is always some caller with a political agenda who plays the race card.

But,  what about the media? Well, here’s a classic example which you might have heard about from me before but humour me please, I just love telling this story.

Some time ago, when a television showcase of the world's best advertising was being planned, SABC TV1 management was adamant  that the bulk of commercials chosen for the series should appeal to young black South African viewers between the ages of 18 and 25.

Testing assumptions

Ads with black people in them and carrying social messages to which they could relate.

Undaunted by the fact that the black SABC chief executive at the time publicly admitted that his favourite television programme was Vetkoekpaleis and not Generations as the assumptions and stereotype brigade would have expected,  SABC TV1 insisted that the ads had "to appeal to young blacks".

The producers begged to be able to test a few assumptions. About 300 black viewers between the ages of 18 and 25 were polled about two of the ads featured in the first programme.

A chocolate bar commercial featured a middle-aged, overweight and clearly very rich white fellow about to go jogging along a mountain road and doing stretching exercises against the side of his shiny new Porche. Down the hill in an old delivery truck and eating a chocolate bar, came a young black guy, singing his heart out, his dreadlocks blowing in the wind.

He misinterpreted what the white guy was doing, stopped his truck and helped him push his Porche over the cliff.

The SABC folk decided the young black viewers would love that one. They'd find it amusing and would delight at the sight of their role model hitting back at a symbol of an oppressive white society.

The next ad featured a fat, crew cut whitey, tattooed to the hilt and eating a pizza liberally sprinkled with pepper sauce.

He gets bitten by a mosquito that flies away only to explode from all the hot sauce in its bloodstream.

Oh dear, the young black viewers wouldn't like that. There were no blacks in it and the white guy looked far too much like a racist anyway.

Entertainment value

When they were polled however, every single one of the young black viewers loved the mosquito ad. It was just plain funny. The chocolate bar ad they felt was stupid. And who on earth would want to waste a beautiful Porche like that?

When questioned about the racist looking character in one ad and the getting back at white oppression angle in the other, they explained that they didn't watch TV ads for subtle messages or to see other blacks - they watched them for the entertainment value and for what they were selling.

Which probably explains why one of South Africa's most popular TV commercials of the 1990s among ALL race groups was a greetings card commercial featuring a geriatric white Afrikaans lothario in the Karroo courting his girlfriend with pigs and pumpkins and with not a black person in sight.

But, advertising people are often just as bad as politicians and the media - trying to be clever by including different races in ads to try and make everyone happy.

Trouble is they just end up being patronising.

The vast majority of ordinary South Africans are not racist. Particularly those under the age of 50.

Of course, there is a minority of older South Africans who still carry the baggage of apartheid but they probably won't be around for much longer.

Quizzical looks

I find that talking to kids and young adults in South Africa today is generally extremely refreshing. They have mostly moved on. They mix with people who share their interests and not just those who share their skin colour.

Try asking your kids how many black or white kids are in their classes at school. Or in their sports teams. Or among their group of friends.

You will get some very quizzical looks but mostly just a few shakes of the head at what they see to be a really stupid question.

It's time that politicians and the media stopped trying to persuade us that these people don't exist.

That we are all inherently racist. 
 
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Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.


Comments
  • simon.elrick.7 - 2012-07-16 07:50

    Great article.

      sheda.habib - 2012-07-16 08:36

      All one has to do is go back to the Referendum held in South Africa 20 yrs ago. At that time 76% of the white population went and voted for "non-whites" to get the vote. That is a proven historical fact (amongst the white population at least) that racism was NOT behind their vote. However the gov. would have us believe otherwise because they want the black guy to vate for the black guy - pure racism.

      antin.herinck - 2012-07-16 10:00

      Seriously flawed argument. That was a long time ago. Many who voted "YES" 20 years ago, now observe the mess that gets worse and worse. (And will very likely get really bad.) And now they think: "what were we thinking?" Many whites who were not racist then, or even 5 years ago -are so now. I'm one of them. Racism, in the end begets racism. The current ANC and their Yoof League took care of that. (Mbeki was racist as well, but at least he was so without allowing SA go to hell -as the current lot does.) Dexter, spot-on. Living in Cloud Cuckoo Land. And it's going from bad to worse, as the money gets tighter. "It's the economy, stupid." -as Clinton's campaigner said.

      Freddie - 2012-07-16 17:24

      I hate the ANC and unqualified cadre deployees. Does that make me racist? I get along well with all my co-workers of all persuasions. Does that make me not racist? What am I?

      james.rossouw - 2012-07-17 14:03

      People gravitate to other people that look like them, share their interest. Recent study reported in UK Daily Mail. Search it.

  • tanya.retief - 2012-07-16 07:59

    Good one Chris. I agree. I loathe most politicians.

  • davenewza - 2012-07-16 08:20

    I completely agree. Each generation is becoming exponentially more accepting and tolerant. Also, the commentators on this site don't represent ordinary South Africans either... they seem to have nothing better to do than complain and hate!

  • dexter.sagar - 2012-07-16 08:55

    The author of this article clearly hasn't read some of the comment sections in News24... It's as if people use the media and the politicians as a gateway to underlying resentment. Hell, I had a friend, 21 years old, tell me that interracial relationships were like if a lion and a house cat mated... Sure, you get those who claim that they aren't racist, need to realize that racism just doesn't go away. Anyway, I'm just pointing out the exceptions. I like how the author basically clears the reader's conscience by ignoring their part in the perceived media/politician based racism we see in society. I'm tired of people trying to use the race card to exonerate themselves from racist tendencies that they have or have learnt from their elders. Just accept it and be responsible about it. And implant the idea to the future of not having these trains of thought. Instead of denying responsibility.

      Onke Dali - 2012-07-16 09:44

      Thank you Dexter! I agree with you 100%

      mfundi.ndaba - 2012-07-16 10:38

      @Dexter, I used to have the authors mentality until I also was introduced to news24 and the commentary section. News24 commentators are racist and maybe they just don't know that they are being racist...I don't know.

      MagdaKus - 2012-07-16 10:53

      I never know how representative those who comment on these forums are of the society at large. Perhaps they are just more outspoken? Even taking the atheist/theist debates- office where I work has both sorts- and we get along fabulously. We also have no racial spats/insults. We might as well be in a different universe to some people who comment on news24. I do not know for a fact what is true of SA society at large. There are definitely racists out there- but I have no idea how many or how few...

      skootzie - 2012-07-16 14:33

      Anonymity allows a person to be more outspoken about certain issues; whether they agree with their own words is irrelevant. The comments of people on News24 are representative of absolutely nothing and everything on here should be taken with a pinch of salt. News24 is really not a good basis for any kind of statistic or subjectively driven opinion.

  • gary.hope1 - 2012-07-16 09:11

    Excellent read and I concur whole heartedly!

  • Jacques - 2012-07-16 09:23

    Nail on the head, Chris! I'm 20, and couldn't care less about race. My room mate in residence is black, and we get along fine. I'm not trying to get along with him to prove my non-racial outlook on life, nor do I think it's a particularly big deal. We get along because he shuts up when he should and he's relatively tidy. My family, an uncle in particular, were horrified when they found out- even suggesting I apply for a different room and lock up all my stuff in the meantime. WTF.

      Onke Dali - 2012-07-16 09:36

      Jacques, what do you mean he shuts up when he should?

      violet.bossut - 2012-07-16 10:08

      Onke Dali It means he is not noisy and sleeps when he has to and jols when he has to. Read properly racist.

      antin.herinck - 2012-07-16 10:14

      Well spotted Dali, good on you! Our absolutely non-racist means: my black room mate knows his place and knows when to shut up. And best of all, believe it or not -he's actually TIDY! IF I detest one thing it's a lame pseudo liberal who says he's "non-racist", criticizes racists but is a bleeding hypocrite of a racist himself. This Jacques does not even go as far as to say: "some of my friends are black", he "has" a mere room-mate. The difference between him and his family is that they are at least "honestly racist".

      skootzie - 2012-07-16 10:23

      // Jacques, what do you mean he shuts up when he should? // It's really not rocket science. Stop stirring.

      JohncarlosBiza - 2012-07-16 10:25

      Ignore this Antin character. He's the cliche dumb and arrogant type. I made the mistake of being polite and conversant to him once.

      mfundi.ndaba - 2012-07-16 10:43

      @Onke, I also would love to know. I was also fine with his comment until the "he shuts up when should" Maybe his roommate is an uncle tom ? Then in that case he got himself the perfect "one", lol!

      hugo.mabasa - 2012-07-16 10:56

      Jacques you are proving the opposite mos!in your own words you say your own family are racist and you only get along with the black guy/girl because she/he knows her place!then white south africans wonder why Juju has so many people listening ti him even those who despise him.God help white south africans and open their eyes,I mean this!

      JohncarlosBiza - 2012-07-16 10:57

      @Mfundi and Onke - at varsity, a roommate needs to shut up when he should for you to get along. In other words, he should not be loud when you are busy or sleeping. There's nothing sinister in saying what Jacques did

      Onke.Dali - 2012-07-16 11:15

      Thank you Antin! Of course our friends who comment here on news24 will turn blue in the face trying to convince us that there was nothing wrong with Jacques comment and I won't argue with them. All I wanted to know is what he meant because to me it sounds like Jacques believes that his black room mate knows his place and that he doesn't get out of line which is why they supposedly get along. I have a problem with that. Firstly it indicates that Jacques believes all black people are noisy and untidy which is stereotypical at best. It is also clear that Jacques grew up in a family that is racist so it is not unreasonable to assume that he might have inherited some of his elders racist views. As for the other comments, all I can do is laugh. Why are we protesting so much at just a question ? Guilty much?

      JohncarlosBiza - 2012-07-16 12:02

      @Onke you have ignored context altogether. Like I mentioned earlier, he is discussing their relationship as varsity roommates, not different skin tones. I'd also assume he reciprocate the things he expects from his room mate

      deirdre.maule - 2012-07-16 12:53

      I think you guys are missing Jacques meaning here, i.e. his roommate does what is expected of any normal rational human being. There is thought that black people are loud noisy and untidy, however Jacques is merely pointing out that this is not the case ... climb of your high horses chaps, you're making asses of yourselves!

      Onke.Dali - 2012-07-16 12:56

      Come on John, what context? Why did Jacques not say \we get along because we respect each other's space and we don't disturb each other when it is time to study\ ? Why is necessary for Jacques to make his black \ friend \ seem like a thing to be controlled, a thing that does as it is told. Is that the only we can get along? When we submit to white people? I certainly don't think so and neither should Jacques or yourself for that matter.

      skootzie - 2012-07-16 14:08

      "Why did Jacques not say \we get along because we respect each other's space and we don't disturb each other when it is time to study\ ?" He did. He just phrased it differently. Don't make the mistake of thinking that just because YOU interpreted a sentence incorrectly than that is what the author of the sentence meant. You can infer what Jacques meant by the rest of his comment. You are being obstinate. You now know what Jacques meant, so why are you twisting his words? Are you looking for something to stab at? Or are you seeing racist-agenda's where there are none? //Why is necessary for Jacques to make his black \ friend \ seem like a thing to be controlled, a thing that does as it is told.// He doesn't. This is only what you are inferring from the statement Jacques made. You misread what he said and are now too proud or too stubborn to admit you're wrong. // Is that the only we can get along? When we submit to white people? I certainly don't think so and neither should Jacques or yourself for that matter. // Nothing was said about submission. YOU are wrong; though I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that English is not your first language. In which case, please take this to heart: There was nothing wrong with Jacques comment. People are required to shut up in certain circumstances. There is a time and place for noise, and a time and place for silence.

      Onke.Dali - 2012-07-16 14:29

      @skootzie:\Why did Jacques not say \\we get along because we respect each other's space and we don't disturb each other when it is time to study\\ ?\ He did. He just phrased it differently. Hahahahahahaha you actually believe that? I don't know why I'm wasting my time with you lot. Okay whatever man you believe what you want and I'll stick with reality. Gosh, this guy can't be serious!

      skootzie - 2012-07-16 14:38

      I just noticed this other comment you wrote and will reply to that as well. // Of course our friends who comment here on news24 will turn blue in the face trying to convince us that there was nothing wrong with Jacques comment and I won't argue with them. // There wasn't anything wrong with it. It's not Jacques' fault that you misunderstood what he said. // All I wanted to know is what he meant because to me it sounds like Jacques believes that his black room mate knows his place and that he doesn't get out of line which is why they supposedly get along.// There is a time and place for everything. There is a time and place to shut up; such as when your roommate is studying, or if he is trying to sleep. Jacques meant that his roommate is aware of when to keep quiet; in other words, his roommate is considerate of those around him. // Firstly it indicates that Jacques believes all black people are noisy and untidy which is stereotypical at best.// No. It doesn't. Would you have said "all white people" if Jacques' roomate was white? I doubt it. // It is also clear that Jacques grew up in a family that is racist so it is not unreasonable to assume that he might have inherited some of his elders racist views.// Correct, it's not. But you can tell Jacques feelings towards racism by the context of the entire statement. You need to read the entire comment and not read one line that could so easily be taken out of context - which you have just done and which someone noted.

      skootzie - 2012-07-16 15:08

      //Hahahahahahaha you actually believe that? I don't know why I'm wasting my time with you lot. Okay whatever man you believe what you want and I'll stick with reality. Gosh, this guy can't be serious!// Wow, so if people have a different opinion to you then they don't live in reality and if they don't write something as you expect them too then THEY are in the wrong? Goodness me, could your hubris and obstinance be any more palpable? [rhetorical] Is it even remotely conceivable to you that Jacques meant something completely different from what you have decided he meant?

      antin.herinck - 2012-07-16 15:46

      Fafrican, methinks that it's you who is missing Onke and my point. How, oh how should it be surprising that his roommate does not conform to moronic stereotypes? So he does not behave like a loud filthy beast. And that needs to be specifically mentioned! To actually write it as such is mind-boggling, if one also reads that the chap reckons he not racist at all!

      antin.herinck - 2012-07-16 15:48

      Onke, JohncarlosBiza did not just feel like defending the indefensible. Jacques was caught on a clear Freudian slip and now that needs to be made a bagatelle for reasons that are more than meet the eye. Not that Jacques' attitude is much wrong, or surprising, seeing his background, but to me (and to you, who saw it first) it's the unawareness that gets my goat. He does not even know he has racist tendencies. And no attempt at spinning by his advocate will make that go away. Also, I'm afraid I have to explain something else. An important factor is that it's me, Antin making this comment in your support. You see, JohnCarlos reckons himself, quite clever (he even calls me "dumb"), but clearly he did not do so well in the IQ-score department. Hence his idea that IQ is not much an indicator of intelligence. I gave him plenty of references and arguments to disprove his own stuff, and in the end he failed to sustain his point at the hand of evidence. Even his vague anecdote was well waylaid. So I'd take his comments in this context.

      pumlae - 2012-07-17 07:49

      Jaques I feel sorry for you, as young as you are you have just demontrated a purely racist view with guts nogal. I was once the black student who had to share with a white girl who felt it was her right to move me out of the room becouse she had mistaken my name to be white. But I took her an the residence to task couse I was clear of who and what my rights are. Contrary to your advocates racist arguement on your behalf only you and I know what you mean. Every student especially white students who have the means to party day in and out are noisy at times but know when to study.For you to say he knows when to shut up is utter arorogance in the belief that you think you are "baas", And white students are the messiest!. Who ever is teaching you such is selfish and hanging on to the past at your expense. When they are gone you and your children will suffer. Do not be confused apartheid is gone never to come back and if you think one Malema is too much imagine the ever rising number of Juliuses out there becouse of your insistance of treating fellow citizens with contempt. And the borders of Africa are opening and Africans will claim what is theirs. If you do not change your attitude and embrace the future you are on your own!!!

      skootzie - 2012-07-17 09:27

      // For you to say he knows when to shut up is utter arorogance in the belief that you think you are "baas", // When an individual says someone shuts up when he should is not arrogance, it's not racism. It's a way of saying (albeit rather poorly) that an individual is considerate. If I say "Sipho is a good person to study with because he knows when he should shut up" .. is that racist? No. It's not. It, literally, means he knows when to shut up and study. Jacques meant the same thing with his roommate, his roommate knows when it's time to be quiet. Such as during studies, or bed time, or whatever. Remove the blinders, remove the chip. Good grief people, learn2f***ingEnglish.

      Jacques - 2012-07-17 10:52

      Most of you misunderstood. 'He shuts up when he should'- meaning he isn't running up and down the corridors till who knows when or stumbles around like a drunk when I try to study or whatever, like many others of all races do. I meant, I couldn't give a damn what race he is. Only after some people pointed out the fact that he's black did I even see him as a \black'. For crying in a bucket. Why is EVERY WORD disected for racist undertones? We get along, at times we fight, at times we don't- just like with anyone else? If you people think I'm a racist, that's too bad- you don't know me. Go play the victim somewhere else. Cheerio!

      Onke.Dali - 2012-07-17 12:51

      Skootzie or whatever your name is, you couldn't sound more stupid trying to explain this even if you tried. You've written a whole lot of words in your numerous comments but you've hardly said anything or more importantly, put through any valid argument so clearly your own command of the English language leaves much to be desired. Another observation I've made is that people have become so irrational that they will support the most outrageous of comments and give thumbs down to people who are making the most valid points. It is for this reason that this will be my last comment on this matter because clearly we're not dealing with sober minded people here. Again...whatever man!!

      pumlae - 2012-07-18 00:27

      @Skootzie, you are in need of an english dictionary dude or you cannot even make use of one. Ignorrant fool is the right word to discribe Jacques and yourself actually, for you to be do adamant in defending poo is a shame is not going to change the facts. You seem to be the one with blinders.

      brian.bogus.9 - 2012-07-18 03:50

      To all the people that presume Jacques's comment was racist, do you realise you have just proved the author of the artical correct by creating racism where there is none.

      skootzie - 2012-07-18 09:35

      Onke Dali, pumlae : Oh look.. I was right. See comment: // Most of you misunderstood. 'He shuts up when he should'- meaning he isn't running up and down the corridors till who knows when or stumbles around like a drunk when I try to study or whatever, like many others of all races do. //

  • Revelgen - 2012-07-16 10:04

    Chris, I totally agree. I was one of those who voted to end apartheid, and in my position in marketing I always try to favour Black companies who give prompt service and do a good job. I just hate the way that we are being racially polarised by politicians for their own selfish, greedy ends. We all need each other, and the sooner that educational standards are improved in SA, and more people realise how bad the ANC has become, the better for all of us. It's not about race, it's about standards and results.

      mike.bundy.73 - 2012-07-16 11:51

      You claim that it's not about race but you also claim that you "always try to favour Black companies...". Which makes you a racist.

      Revelgen - 2012-07-16 15:03

      Mike, let's not get hung up on semantics here. My Oxford dictionary describes racism as: 1)'The belief that each race has certain qualities or abilities, giving rise to the view that some races are better than others. 2)Discrimination against or hostility towards other races.' Firstly, by wanting to help Black companies WHO GIVE GOOD SERVICE AND DO A GOOD JOB, I am not discriminating or showing hostility against White companies. I also give work to White companies. Secondly, I do not believe some races are superior to others. (Hitler tried to apply this and look where it got him.) I judge by results, not race. I sent my kids to a multiracial school in the 1980's. I live by choice in a multiracial complex. So what, in your book, makes me a 'racist'?

      antin.herinck - 2012-07-17 08:24

      So Revelgen, I ask what I think a VERY important question: By your (proper) definition, strictly speaking, to observe and state that blacks are highly superior athletes to other races when it comes to running the shorter distances, is racist. But there is not even a small chance that London's 100 mdash will be won by a white / oriental. So it's also true. So if this statement is both racist and correct, could there not be something wrong with the very concept of racism and the way holding such views is stigmatised. How can awareness of the truth be wrong?

  • roland.cox.52 - 2012-07-16 10:07

    No, no, no Chris... Racism isn't merely 'hatred of a group of people because of the colour of their skin'. Please tell me you know this! Its far more subtle. The ignorance of this is more damaging than the crude racism you're referring to. That's what gets 'ordinary South Africans' regularly asking themselves... 'Where and when am I prejudice against other races in any way?' rather than constantly, and ignorantly claiming that we are not. 'Yes, I could be, often' sets us free. 'No, I'm not' locks in the old, destructive, historic denilaism.

  • andre.steyn.501 - 2012-07-16 10:47

    If I am considdered to be a racist it is because I cant stand the "news on Tv" of how racissim by the goverment is increasing cost of living - look at Escom, E-tolling etc. ANDRè

      pumlae - 2012-07-17 08:45

      News flash Andre, you are racist and if you still inspire to be worse than this the God help you couse you have set yourself up to be an anti-humanity. Why would you connect the economy to racism? Where have you been?The global economy is in a mass Europe mostly, US and all other counntries. South Africa is still better off. Actually you are better off than many in SA. It is being selfish for yoir likes to hang on to the past at the expense of your children and their children. For once do a selfless act and teach them to embrace the future so they can enjoy the benefits of working together for the good of all. If you never approved apartheid we would have educated president and highly skilled work force. Chickens have come back to roost now you cry foul

  • JohncarlosBiza - 2012-07-16 10:51

    When I first saw the title, I thought it would be a typical opinion on the matter and was reluctant to read. I'm glad I did. You are the first person I know of to speak of the abuse of race by the advertising industry. That odd day of the year I watch TV, I see commercials so blatantly racial you wouldn't expect them in 21st century television. For e.g, one company has working-class black women for their handwash washing powder, and white women for the machine wash. Despite the outdated presumption that certain races own washing machines and others handwash, there is also a stone age sexist assumption that only women do laundry. This is one example of something I spotted. It's so blatant and is done repeatedly over the years. As for the ordinary people part-I think (emphasis on this-it's a personal observation) we have a high concentration of racists in SA, albeit a minority. Since they are fairly high in number, we all know a few (family/old friends) and through them we feel a little disensitized towards racism. We also use them as barriers to compare our own level of tolerance. We then go on being prejudiced because we do not think we are that bad. Most people who do not fall under the 'racist' tag would never feel comfortable being the only person of their race in a social setup...in fact, if their friend of a different race invited them to such a gathering , they would think twice about going. That there is prejudice from liberal people. It is only a minority of people who genuinely don't care about race under any circumstance.

  • hugo.mabasa - 2012-07-16 10:59

    Chris please read the comment of one Jacques if you may.Your feedback would be appreciated.Oh and by the way go read the comments on the appointment of Dr Dlamini-Zuma as AU chair!

      antin.herinck - 2012-07-16 16:52

      So what's so wrong with what HugoMbasa says here? There are times I want to take his AK and shoot him in the ass with it. But all he does here to is make a suggestion that one looks at (local) evidence contrary to CM's story. And this earns him thumbs-down? So he's wrong then, there are virtually no racist? Get real. They /we are all over. And that suits the (mis)ruling party just fine. If we would be all in harmony, we whites -critical as we are, could persuade the blacks that to continue voting for the ANC is like shooting their own foot off.

  • ingi.raikes - 2012-07-16 11:06

    I was so happy when the results of the referendum were so positive. But, with time my whole view point has changed. What were we thinking l say to myself now. This Country, our beautiful Country is on a downward spiral, we are negative, racist, gatvol! Nothing is 'better'! It's much worse! Where do we go from here, l ask you? Crime is completely out of control, our economy is stuffed, affirmative action has confirmed that it does not work! Service is atrocious, house prices are at their lowest ebb, corruption is the order of the day...........there are stupid people with NO ambition, a 'matric' isn't worth the paper it's written on, etc., etc. NO, sadly l beg to differ Chris.

  • reine.marais - 2012-07-16 11:14

    The average South African is not racist. The average South African would like to see a country governed responsibly. Were the current government to be fulfilling that responsibility, the average South African would be voting ANC irrespective of race, colour or creed. Tragically, any challenge to the current government to fulfil that responsibility is perceived to be a racial slur, which means that the real message does not get through.

  • Emile Myburgh - 2012-07-16 11:31

    The ANC needs to foment racism in order to stay in power. They haven't moved along with their people who are far more progressive than the party aparatchik. Just look around you to see white and black people treating each other with dignity and friendliness. But this reality does not suit the ANC.

      zaatheist - 2012-07-16 12:47

      Good comment. The New*** ANC has a lot to answer for for continually stoking racist comparisons. The New ANC came in to being when Mbeki uttered his first racist remarks and the flourished under the current cabal.

  • thebe.tau - 2012-07-16 11:41

    It is really annoying when liberals like Jacques try to be non-racial by saying things like, I'm not racist I have black friends and they are not filthy and smelly, which is exactly what Chris is trying to point out.

  • hendrik.vdberg - 2012-07-16 14:10

    well written

  • willie.burger.7547 - 2012-07-16 14:30

    Chris. I agree with the premise of your article. There is however a third category namely the laptop/tablet racists. Reading the above comments indicates that not only politicians and the media are keen on playing the race card but that there are black and white racists using the comments section of News24 to air their racist diatribe. These laptop/tablet racists are however in the minority.

  • pmahlangu - 2012-07-16 16:14

    This is true though, sometimes it looks like the media makes it it's job to feed us this racial divisions...

  • francois.rank - 2012-07-16 16:39

    The News24 comments section. Proving Chris Moerdyk wrong in 3...2...1...

  • manu.dibango.96 - 2012-07-16 17:40

    I have to disagree with the author. I believe that it's difficult if not impossible for any SA not to be racist to some degree. Why? Let's imagine for a moment a country that is not racist. How would we recognise such a country? I would suggest that in such a country a person's advancement in life will be independent of their skin colour. Because of this all ethnic groups will have similar social and economic statistics. So if you are born green your chances of advancement are the same as those of a purple person. A consequence of this is that noone is lead to believe that they are superior or inferior to others based on race. In such a country we can say that racism doesn't exist or is minimal. Is SA such a country? Not by any stretch of the imagnination. The divide between the haves and the have-nots is huge and it can easily be drawn along racial lines. You just have to compare the quality of life of the average black, white, coloured, indian, etc., person to appreciate this. Now in an environment with such disparities people will be lead to believe that they are better or worse than others based on their race. It's inevitable. Yes people will deny that they are not racist and will claim that race does not matter to them. But denial is easy. Here is a little test. Suppose that you are to be reincarnated and you are given the choice of being born into an unknown black, white, coloured or indian family. Which choice has the highest chance of yielding a good life?

      victor.tamaranui - 2012-07-16 17:58

      Agreed,

      antin.herinck - 2012-07-17 01:31

      Joy to see thinkers like you Manu. The idea to rip the reader out of his box of preconceived ideas by using hypothetical situations as you do here, is refreshing and can be very effective. On a negative note, your model is flawed. It does not enough conform to our realities in that it presumes that all populations differ only in their colour -that all other qualities are equal. And clearly they are not. Ironically even without a different skin colour, we find a marked, special type of racism in SA. Xenophobia is not colour based but, defined by discrimination on the base of origin, language and customs. And of course e.g. the Somalians are way too strong competitors in trade. They are by their culture, nature superior shop-keepers and there for treated with envy and disdain. As we whiteys are treated, but in the Somalis case, they had NO "previous advantages" whatsoever, having arrived here without a cent. And they have no current legislative advantages advantages either -being discriminated against, not being eligible for BEE etc. And now the ANC gov even wants to take away their right to freely trade in the townships. See, Manu, Thought experiments can work nicely -but it ain't the real thing. Perhaps there are reasons for the disparities -other than "previous disadvantages" and "discrimination by whites". No? To keep it nice, I reckon merely alluding to those "other" reasons should be enough for now. You get my drift. (Why is "honesty" so often clashing with "nice"?)

  • antin.herinck - 2012-07-16 18:05

    I think that equating "The Media" with advertising agencies is absurd. Their mandate is to sell the client's product. They use whatever method works best. The advertising world is a prime example of the Darwinian principle "what works remains -what does not work, falls by the wayside." So if the ad-agencies are guilty of [erroneous] racial stereotyping then they are so because it's effective, It falls into fertile ground. There may be more ethically acceptable avenues, but to expect most advertising guys (who'd sell gogo to keep a client) to be "ethical" is unrealistic. In short: mild forms of racism in advertising work, because the majority of the target market is mildly racist -and not the other way round. The egg was there before the chicken. Also, to accuse individuals on e.g. the radio, who don't believe in CM's "happy rainbow nation" of having a "political agenda" is ridiculous. Can we not just have certain views of others, if those others are truly very different by culture, character and affiliation? Or is that non-PC? Do we need to be all a good sheep in the herd? The fact that younger SAns are less jaded more liberal and less racist is not a surprise at all. It's part of the Human Condition. We become generally more conservative as we get older. As the great Churchill said: Show me a young Conservative and I'll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I'll show you someone with no brains.

  • Marlene Moonsamy - 2012-07-17 05:24

    Great article. There are some of us who appreciate people for who they are on the inside, regardless of colour. While we may never be perfect human beings or have perfect relationships, we can be accepting of each other despite differences. It's amazing how much we can learn from each other when we try. It's not just about a different culture, but very much about the heart of a person & their own individuality. I'm grateful for the inter racial friendships I have. It's made me realise people are flawed but also beautiful. They can be selfish, but can also genuinely care, and when you manage to capture someone's heart, love is truly colour blind.

  • pumlae - 2012-07-17 07:30

    Chris, I cannot disagree with you more. If you have been following the race discussion especially on News 24 and as you mentioned a research that you assume was a significant represantation of the blacck youth market. You would then agree that the comments expressed here by the white people is a significant represantation of what white South Africa think like. And the comments as violantly racist.

  • antin.herinck - 2012-07-17 08:50

    Above, I already asked Revelgen the following. And one needs an answer to this, from anyone -in support, or not. I'm sick of all the denialism and lying BS on this topic. If I'm shown to be wrong, also fine. But it's time this crucial issue is breached wide open. Revelgen wrote:"My Oxford dictionary describes racism as: 1)'The belief that each race has certain qualities or abilities, giving rise to the view that some races are better than others. 2)Discrimination against or hostility towards other races." (I could add that the 2nd, the "hostility part" is a natural outcome of the 1st and a key to why the subject is sort of taboo.) Question 1) By your (proper) definition, strictly speaking, to observe and state that blacks are highly superior athletes to other races when it comes to running the shorter distances, is racist. But there is not even a small chance that London's 100 mdash will be won by a white / oriental. So the statement is also true. So if this statement is both racist and correct, could there not be something wrong with the very concept of racism and the way holding such views is stigmatised? How can awareness of the truth be wrong? Question 2) If disparities in wealth and power in a society are not deemed acceptable as long as those disparities are demarcated along racial divides. If this phenomenon is deemed a problem -then how can such a problem ever be addressed, if crucial truths pertaining to it are ignored?

  • daan.vandenberg.773 - 2012-07-17 09:42

    And I hate flying Air France because they speak French and NO English. Does that make me a racist?

      pumlae - 2012-07-17 09:51

      Find a dictionary!

      antin.herinck - 2012-07-17 14:49

      Daan, vous et un imbécile.

      victor.tamaranui - 2012-07-17 16:58

      vous êtes un imbécile

      antin.herinck - 2012-07-17 22:12

      Vous aves raison. Je suis très embarrassé. There is no excuse. Have not spoken or read French for many years -let alone written. Was never great anyway -but this is ridiculous. A while back, on asking, I received feedback that in texting in German, I made an ass of myself as well. I seriously should brush up on them and start reading. Victor, you have done more for improving this fellow's French than you can know. So less being a wise-guy here and more reading French for me. À bientôt.

      philip.allebone - 2012-07-24 15:46

      Je ne Paarl Francais, je sui fortigue? snigger

  • pqtabo - 2012-07-18 05:48

    All white South Africans should watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqYnaFQlxyQ I am a young person and I do not agree with this article.

  • philip.allebone - 2012-07-24 15:42

    Truth as there has never been truth before. Only politicians care about race any more, the rest of us just want to live.

  • Carlo Gieljoumie - 2012-07-31 04:49

    Well Chris realistically South Africans are inheritently racist that's why you still get your pre dominantly black colored and white areas and twenty years from now it will still be a factor because one group will always believe he is more superior then the next show me integration and I will show you realism

  • Carlo Gieljoumie - 2012-07-31 05:25

    Please tell that to the farmer who let the dog sit infront of his van and the workers at the back or the old domestic worker that is in her sixties being referred to as the girl or the ordinary South African non white blue collar worker "male" being referred to as the boy now that is ordinary South Africans

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