Follow the other Darren Scott's way

2012-05-11 00:00

I FOLLOW Darren Scott on Twitter. I’ve been following him since the last time South Africans got up in arms about the use of the K-word. Thing is, he’s not “the” Darren Scott. Or at least, he’s not our “the” Darren Scott. He’s a London journalist, editor of the Gay Times and pretty good oke.

The reason that I follow him is that he kept his humour in the wake of that last debacle, despite receiving countless tweets from very angry South Africans attacking him for being a racist. Despite all the vitriol directed at him, he continued to explain politely that he wasn’t who we thought he was.

At the end of day two of the barrage he resignedly tweeted something to the effect of (and I’m paratweeting here): “Hello to all my new followers from South Africa. I hope you’re interested in hearing me gripe about the trains.”

He kept his good cheer, even when tweeted such invective as (paratweeting again): “You f***ing white a*****. Why don’t you all just go back where you came from!”

Once he’d explained, yet again, who he was, the tweeter apologised nicely. “Sorry bra. This idiot just made me so angry ...”

We all have something to learn from UK Darren Scott, and that’s never to tweet or speak out in anger (unless you’re pissed off about the trains or a broken iPhone or Delta Airlines). After two days of 140-character assault by angry South Africans for something he didn’t do, he’d be forgiven for responding with something like, “Listen you f***ing moron, it was another Darren Scott. Learn to read profiles before tweeting.”

But he didn’t. He kept his perspective. This is something many South Africans forget to do. The guy who told UK Darren that all whites should go back where they came from was extremely apologetic once he realised he’d got the wrong guy, so presumably his ire isn’t actually extended to everyone with pale skin.

I’m not saying the anger isn’t justified — it is. Jessica Leandra dos Santos is an idiot. I believe she’s also a racist of the worst order, the kind who believes that a certain level of racial hatred is justified, and that unspeakable words can be spoken in anger. But everyone who responded to her with death threats or rape descriptions also has a lot to answer for.

If we’re asking her or our Darren Scott to keep a civil tongue in their heads, no matter what they’re feeling (and yes, I believe they should), then anyone who is insulted or offended by what they’ve said should likewise curtail their fury. Otherwise we’re all just a bunch of monkeys flinging rocks at each other, aren’t we?

So, the next time someone insults you on the grounds of race or religion or culture or appearance or sexuality, rather than escalating the fury, take a deep breath and think to yourself: “What would UK Darren do?”


Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer.

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