A Polarized Society is a Broken Society...

2015-01-24 20:23

The past week has brought another of South Africa’s ills to the foreground. A prominent South African singer is being taken to court by the Human Rights Commission. The reason? Hate speech and racist comments. Although she denies being responsible for comments made on her Facebook page, one cannot help but wonder where the line should be drawn. How accountable are we when people react to things we say? Are we responsible for people throwing stones when we’ve supplied the substance of the stones?

People are influenced by the things we say and do. However this influence is taken one step further if we instigate people to speak out in a way that hurts society. We as citizens of a country that needs to be healed of a past that wounded us almost beyond repair need to act responsible. We need to take charge of what we say and do. We also need to beware of how we influence other people.

South Africans are a crowd on its own. We carry a mutual hurt, but it’s also the kind of pain that can lead to ultimate destruction. We need to watch out. The solution to our problems is not to leash out, blame each other and resort to name calling. Comments like that lead to polarization.

Instead we need to embrace our differences, celebrate our similarities and march towards the future. Every step we take in this country is either a step forward or a step backward. We have a choice. We can either help to build this country up, or to break it down. It’s up to us.

The postmodern world that we live in is one where people are focused on serving themselves. Everywhere you look the message that comes across is to serve yourself. Although there is a difference between selfishness and selfcare, I do believe the way forward in this country is to choose a path where we can serve each other. That means abstaining from hurtful and racist comments.

We have one chance to get it right. There is no second chance! We have to act now and start building bridges. Let’s reach out to each other. The pain of the past can be healed, but then we’ve got to take responsibility in order to move forward.

Instead of a “me” generation, we have to become a “we” generation. We have to look inside ourselves and cast out the notion that we are superior to other people because of the colour of our skin.

The building blocks of a healthy society and a prosperous country lie within our inner landscapes. We can choose how we act and react. We can choose how we influence those around is. Instead of polarizing the people of our country, we can choose to be a uniting force. I do believe that it’s within our abilities to overcome hatred and the legacy of the past.

South African people are a nation with a lot of potential. We are a rich, diverse society, but that can make us stronger. Instead of allowing our diversity to become a dividing force, we have to make space for each other and for our differences.

Let’s take the chance and start today to take the first step towards embracing our cultural differences. Who knows what may happen next. Life just might surprize us. Let’s open ourselves up to the possibility that there may be a new dawn, a new beginning.

Yes we do have a lot of problems, but let’s look at it as challenges instead. Let’s reach out and embrace each other, because a polarized society is a broken society!

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