PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
Ryan Smith238
 
Comments: 0
Article views: 3693
 
 
Latest Badges:

 
View all Ryan Smith238's badges.
 

Crying wolf with the race card only sets us back

08 November 2018, 10:37

There is a worrying trend in South African politics where the race card has become a tool of convenience rather than a tool of necessity. In the recent fallout between Patricia De Lille and the City of Cape Town, De Lille’s supporters were quick to flash the race card and preach racial martyrdom as a convenient scapegoat for more serious allegations relating to their conduct as public servants. But what truth do these allegations hold, and what damage is inflicted upon South African society at large when we cry wolf with the race card in the face of progress and accountability?

In the greater context, we cannot be blind to pervasive racial injustice which continues to persist in post-apartheid South Africa. Racism is deeply entrenched not as blatant or measurable hatred for another race, but as a system of economic and social benefit which is inherently skewed in favour of whites. This cannot be denied and should be at the forefront of any organisation which seeks to operate or do business in South Africa.

With this in mind, dismantling systemic racism is a process which goes far beyond mere mudslinging and name-calling during a heated exchange. It requires the upliftment and promotion of black excellence in any given field, and the establishment of a system which seeks to merit achievement based on skill and capability rather than the colour of one’s skin. An integral part of this process is sustaining the notion that black South Africans in positions of power are capable and worthy of promotion without having their achievements doubted or questioned by those who flagrantly hold the race card over their heads. When crying racism jumps the gun or is done unnecessarily, it inflicts greater damage on individual black achievement than on the intended victim. This is exactly what happened between the Democratic Alliance, and Patricia De Lille and her supporters.

In a series of tweets and radio interviews, and through their various theatrical resignations from the party, many of De Lille’s supporters cried racism. Beyond flashing the race card, certain individuals referred to black leaders within the party as ‘black puppets’ and ‘window dressing’. Let’s think about the impact of these comments on black leaders who remain within the party and continue to serve it.

Aside from the race card having been pulled rather suspiciously in the wake of a corruption scandal surrounding these detractors, it is ironic that De Lille’s supporters cry racism after having forged their very own careers within the party itself thanks to the DA’s commitment to developing black leaders. Shaun August admitted just last week to having joined the party as De Lille’s bodyguard, having been afforded opportunity within the DA to grow and develop into his eventual position as DA Chief Whip in one of South Africa’s largest metropolitan city councils, where the party holds a majority.

Of the remaining councillors who resigned, many were backbenchers of their former party, the ID, or party secretaries. Merging with the DA afforded them the opportunity to become councillors in the first place. While I do not dispute or dismiss that they may have had some experience of racial tension within the party, something for which the DA provides multiple platforms to address, it is bizarre to see black councillors label the very party that enabled, promoted, and fostered their political careers as racist.

But the real damage of egregiously flashing the race card is inflicted upon those black leaders who remain within the party. Crying wolf with the race card, especially when claims of black puppets and window treatments are made, means killing the notion of black competency and agency. What De Lille and her supporters are essentially saying, is that each and every black leader in the party holds their position for no reason other than the colour of their skin. It says that black individuals cannot think for themselves, that their careers and achievements have absolutely nothing to do with their own work, their own achievements, and the realisation of their own personal goals.

These claims strip South Africa’s collective consciousness of the idea that black people are independent, free-thinking, and on par with their white counterparts on the political stage. Furthermore, it feeds into ANC and EFF narratives of the black sell out – a black person who is not truly black because they happen to subscribe to a different set of values and principles which govern their conduct. Imagine being a black DA mayor, MP, councillor, or activist and have your life’s achievements and passion bulldozed before your very eyes by those who call you a puppet or window dressing out of nothing more than sheer bitterness. If that is not the ultimate form of racism, one which eats at the very core of black consciousness as coined by Steve Biko himself, then I don’t know what is.    

Calling the Democratic Alliance a racist organisation is the oldest trick in the book. I expected far more of De Lille and her supporters, but was reminded of the power of populist messaging and the calibre of leaders who make use of it. So overused has the race card become that few still believe or take it seriously. It is merely the fodder of news article comment sections and EFF rallies.

Furthermore, the danger of crying wolf with the race card means that real and tangible forms of racism are neither taken seriously, nor addressed with due diligence and justice. Just as rampant crime has desensitised us to the horrors of rape and murder, so the flagrant use of the race card has desensitised us from real racial oppression to which so many South Africans continue to be subjected.

Racism may still be commonplace, but we do our country no justice by trivialising it for personal gain or to stroke and entertain political egos. False claims of racism have devastating consequences for a South Africa struggling with racial reconciliation, and it continues to undermine black excellence which should flourish in our society and, more importantly, in the workplace. We risk collapsing the entire ethos of black consciousness, and a free and fair South Africa, by using race to cripple and erode the hard-earned achievements on black South Africans in the face of tremendous adversity. While we cannot divert from addressing real and common forms of racial injustice in post-apartheid South Africa, we must also resist apartheid-style race-baiting which only seeks to destroy our achievements, laugh in the face of black consciousness, and ultimately tear our country apart. I hope that De Lille and her supporters will bear this in mind before opening their mouths in future.  

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

 

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Focus on Grade R, not free higher...

How are we going to prepare our young people for the jobs of the future when we are STILL battling with basics? Why are we still here? Read more...

0 comments 935 views
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy...

In an article on 14 June written by Boitumelo Matshaba on W24 entitled "9 Ways Drinking Alcohol Can Affect You As A Woman" the article speaks about the dangers of alcohol during pregnancy and how "Signs of FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) always appear when the child is born". Read more...

0 comments 688 views
Submitted by
Bouwer van Niekerk
The Public Protector and God: Quo...

Make no mistake, I fear the Almighty, and respect his works, but I understand why the drafters of our Constitution found it wise to leave God out of the decision-making process of appointing and removing the Public Protector.  Read more...

0 comments 1112 views
HRH Cyril Ramaphosa

With the upcoming SONA we will have to see if Ramaphosa will speak to those dissidents within his own party or remain quiet ultimately giving them the power to go rogue.  Read more...

0 comments 316 views
Submitted by
Vivi Mpikashe
Avarice is destroying the moral f...

Cyril Ramaphosa may have the political will but his organisation is so inured to malfeasance to let go. The so-called fight back brigade is just the tip of the ice-berg. Read more...

0 comments 584 views
 

services

Press Code We subscribe to the Press Code.

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

Terms and Conditions 24.com Terms and Conditions - Updated April 2012

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2019 24.com. All rights reserved.
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.