Dear Spur CEO
I read with interest your response to Solidariteit’s letter.
There is a distinct sense that Dirk might be a bit compromised here because of the occurrences that you mention. It seems like this is causing his message to get lost in the dust cloud of your wrestling match.
Also, while reading, I detected a distinct undertone of defiance against what you probably deem to be unfair bullying tactics by the so-called “white conservatives”. The fact that your colleague goes to great pains explaining that only a few franchises are affected, proves my point.
On the contrary, I would bet that the opposite is true. If you weren’t hurting, you probably would not have written this letter.
Please allow me to add my 50 cents to this discussion.
My opinion is that, as a population, we have made a few critical mistakes while traversing the road to the rainbow that we all hope to reach.
Firstly, we have allowed politicians to become our history teachers. Apart from, very sadly, not really knowing their own history, these politicians have been allowed to gain popularity by apportioning blame in a generalist way. They continuously blame white people as a collective for all possible injustices of the past and present. And sadly, white people have become overly apologetic. The proof is there for all to see.
Secondly, we have allowed social media to rule our lives and shape our personalities, habits, and our moral compass. In the past, when someone had an opinion, we merely differed and carried on. Sadly, nowadays, people get crucified, fired from their jobs, dragged in front of all kinds of commissions and courts, for expressing opinions that are not the same as ours. I find this sickening.
Thirdly, we have allowed ourselves to see nothing wrong with private matters being aired online. And I think this is where Spur’s handling of this issue was absolutely atrocious., to say the least.
You see, when you publish details of a particular conflict, no matter what race the parties are, you should expect at least some kind of a reaction from the onlookers. And as the old saying goes: “there are three sides to every story, one person’s version, the other person’s version, and the truth somewhere in between. So, when you release only certain parts of the video, you create the impression that you are biased towards one particular person. Surely, you should be able to see that. Then, if you add race to the mix, the backlash will be violent. The relevant people at the Spur should have known that.
In short, what was a private and quite regular shouting match between two aggrieved parties, became a nationally polarising event. No matter how much money you donate to how many worthy causes, you cannot explain this one away. You damaged us as a nation. You contributed to the national shouting match between black and white, fuelling it to the point where something had to give.
If you very publicly release such footage, and particularly in this fashion, you should expect a very public backlash. I don’t know what the motive was for releasing the footage, but I am willing to bet that the responsible person either wanted to show off the Spur’s political correctness in order to buy PR mileage, or was simply a malicious racist. If the first suggestion is correct, one might feel that you got what you wished for, but in a very different and unpleasant way. And now you’re crying foul.
You see, by making statements against the so-called conservative whites, you make the same mistake that our beloved president made when he ridiculed the so-called “clever blacks”. We all know how those same “clever blacks” punished him at the ballot box during the subsequent elections. It is not yet over.
Because of your seeming disregard for your audience, you make irresponsible statements exactly like the people in our government. You are confusing consumer activism with a “political agenda”.
Therefore, I would be prone to the belief that the financial and other consequences of your actions are also not yet over.
I would strongly advise against taking white people for fools. Neither should you take for fools the millions of moderate black people who are not blind to the fact that the lady in the video could have handled the situation in an entirely different manner. I would also advise against lending your ear to the white liberals who rushed to your defence on public forums. If they were so powerful and important, they would now have propped up the sales of your flagging franchises, and you would not have responded in this fashion.
I guess the point I am making here is that the Spur has for years and years been a place where our kids dragged us, first reluctantly, and later very willingly. We used to sit next to black and white “neighbours”, our kids played on the jungle gyms together, and we loved being part of the Spur family.
But, like a very poor, inexperienced parent, you broke our trust by publishing a very private affair on a national forum. But above all, you picked sides and became involved in politics. The Spur has always been an apolitical place where people of different races could share a lovely meal together.
I am sad to say that your short-sightedness, stubborn justification of corporate stupidity, and apparent defiance is quite disappointing. Hopefully this brutally honest opinion piece will make you think twice and that it will soften your stance. I hope that you will “do the right thing” here, instead of “doing things right”.
Coming from a fellow CEO, I would hope that you know the difference between the two.