David Moseley

Racism here to stay. Deal with it

2012-12-05 07:36

David Moseley

Admittedly, we're a bit like pre-World War II America down here in the Western Cape, enjoying our splendid isolation from the rest of the country and only feigning interest in the nation's comings and goings when we're forcibly dragged into the conversation.

Such an occasion occurred last week, and has carried over to this week, with two pieces in the Cape Times by the self-styled urbane voice of black South Africa, Khaya Dlanga.

Feathers were ruffled and throats were harrumphed after Dlanga tormented Capetonians with tales of a white ceiling in the city (mines a kind of Humpty-Dumptyish eggshell), mixed with the musings of a German tourist who'd clearly mistaken Durban for the Mother City when asked to offer an opinion on the pros and cons of visiting Fortress Zille.

For those who missed the brouhaha, the gist of the opinion was that racism exists in Cape Town - stop the presses - and black South Africans would only find their place at the head of the table if they moved to Joburg (which is probably true for all South Africans, considering the only job options in Cape Town are fisherman and ad agency creative - and you actually need some talent to be a fisherman).

Prepare to be shocked, but I wholly agree with Dlanga's assessment of the city. I've long referred to the European Capital of South Africa as a friendly seaside resort with just the tiniest hint of industry visible...how else to explain the "rush hour" traffic at Cavendish Square around noon every day. If you want Africa, get to Joburg.

What I don't agree with, however, is Dlanga's sloppy generalisations in describing the schizophrenic city of Cape Town, and his follow up piece (a mea culpa in my eyes) where he implores us to not trivialise racism and the race debate. I say trivialise it to death. Make it so the ignoramuses out there can't use it as an unfair criticism. Make it a laughing matter, so that the power of racist words are diminished.

As above, I also don't concur with his views that to beat racism we need to talk and constantly write about racism (certainly it might help in some small way, but not when it's written in a way that Dlanga knows, full well, will only get the backs of citizens' raised quicker than a kitten's when dropped into a puppy pound of starved ridgebacks).

The sad truth is racism is going nowhere. It's here to stay. And no amount of opining and whining about it will do anything to help make it disappear. People will always fear and hate what they don't know.

How do we change that - I don't know. I'm not clever enough to solve the one problem that's been plaguing the world since one group decided they were better than the next. But I do know that opinion pieces like Dlanga's are the heat that further melts the glue we all so desperately want to bind us together.

I see no point in opinionistas airing their views on racism, because those views fall on deaf ears and blind eyes. Sure, Dlanga's piece has got some airtime amongst media types. But now what? Where's the change? Where's the evolution of the Eastern Cape resident who happily calls black South Africans kaffirs without batting an eyelid. Because if you want racism that's still brutal and blunt, and not merely hinted at (not that that's okay either, serious types), why not try the country's forgotten province, the beautiful but angry Eastern Cape.

It's my honest belief that the people who consume this kind of media (Dlanga's opinions or mine) are simply looking for someone that they can agree with, or someone they can argue with. They don't care about change.

As much as people like Dlanga and me would like to believe it, the people (the wider bulk of a nation, any nation) don't take their cues from clowns like us. They might read us, enjoy us, agree or argue with us. But that is it.

I'd even go so far as to say that racism isn't even in the top five things we should be worrying about in South Africa. An uncertain future for all, yes. Declining standards of education, yes. Violent crime, as ever, yes. Government corruption, yes. Job creation, yes. Getting people out of townships, yes. Let's solve those issues.

But racism. I think that's a lazy out for tired columnists. It happens, and it's awful and one day we'll all sit around hugging each other (and I know I'm going to get "but it doesn't happen to you" and I'm well aware of that), but if it's based on something someone said to a friend who heard it from a tourist who wanted to go to Joburg because they fit in and a cashier in Cape Town winked at me funny because the black man behind me had a All Blacks hat on. Come on, guys. That's not good enough.

- Follow @david_moseley on Twitter.

Send your comments to David

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
.

- News24

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
52 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Montague Gardens 18:07 PM
Road name: Montague Drive

ROADWORKS - lane closures both directions for BRT lane construction - expect delays

Kuils River 18:05 PM
Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound

ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - expect delays

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is the end of the month and there may be a strong focus on organising finances. You may have found a need to reconstruct or...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.