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Just another racist incident?

27 January 2013, 11:51

Last week an alleged racist incident at a well-known golf club was the news event of the week and everyone was outraged - a white person assaulted a black person. It was more than a storm in a teacup. Even the SAHRC decided to investigate the matter. We were constantly reminded of the incident and there was even a video and bulletins of the victim’s progress and recovery. One can say it was nearly a national disaster.

Then, not long after that there was the alleged incident where two black police officers assaulted a white person in front of his children. Nobody cared, only a small report and an insignificant statement that the ‘the incident was being investigated by the police’.

Here we have two similar incidents - (i) a black person assaulted by a white person and (ii) a white person assaulted by two black persons, police officers, servants of the public. The one a racist attack, the other one not.

The impression that I get is that when it is a white on black incident, all hell breaks loose but when it is black on white it is swept under the carpet and in this incident it is alleged that the driver of the vehicle was drunk and provoked the police officers - but, the police are supposed to be professional and to deal with alleged provocation in a professional manner. Just go back to the Rodney King incident in the USA in the 1990’s. (Rodney Glen King was an African-American construction worker who, while on parole for robbery, became nationally known after being beaten with excessive force by Los Angeles police officers following a high-speed car chase on March 3, 1991.)

Where are we going in South Africa? Racism, whether white on black or black on white, is a reality and must be dealt with equally before the law. And, alleged racism from instruments of government should be rooted out without prejudice. The mentioned Rodney King incident was a watershed in the racial disparity/prejudice of the USA and we cannot afford such a thing here in South Africa.

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