Racism? We must seek out the origins of hate

2017-03-14 19:47

Racism is embedded in the DNA of SA society. If you doubt this then study our history from the time Van Rebeeck set foot in SA to today and let’s not delude ourselves, it wasn’t eradicated in 1994. It merely retreated deeper into the crevices of our society stubbornly subsisting on hate and prejudice. With social media its being proliferated and is so virulent that unless the Hate Bill becomes law soon SA is going to lapse into a violent state.

This morning I chanced upon to read the article "social media can divide but also unite, say experts" (Mercury 14.3.2017) and I applauded it for publishing this article during anti -racism week. Here is what I believe. There should a broader engagement on a regular basis certainly across all the printed news media platforms.

I reiterate. Racism is embedded in the DNA of SA society. And yes, again I say that if you doubt then study our history from the time Van Riebeeck set foot in SA to today and let’s not delude ourselves, it wasn’t eradicated in 1994. It merely retreated into the crevices that our founding fathers left for posterity to deal with. If we recognise this sooner than later being exposed when the likes of Dawie Kriel and Obatala Mcambi spew their venom on online and off line platforms I believe we can achieve substantial peace and tolerance.

I read the entire article but what I couldn’t find was the origins of hate translated through racism. Laurence Rees has penned an absorbing book entitled “The Holocaust- A New History” which I recommend you to read alongside Daniel Goldhagen’s “Hitler’s Willing Executioners” if you are to understand the nature of the beast. Both books constitute chicken soup for a very sick nation for Obatala Mcambi isn’t going to be the last person to emerge from the crevices I alluded to earlier on. Harmful stereotypes are very often hotwired into narratives surrounding crime and corruption and if we unpack the subtext of these narratives we begin to identify the origins of hate through racism. This is what the experts didn’t factor in their analysis.

In 1949, it was the Indians who were the target of a racist pogrom unleashed by the colonial white masters. The outcome is well documented and therefore what is happening in SA to foreigners recalls that odious era. People turn on minorities , blaming them for what is eminently caused by political conditions that these foreigners are not responsible for. We need to identify the causes and deal with them and the way forward is through newspapers with a large presence in millions of households.

That article has that potential but articles to be persuasive must speak to the people in a simplified language they understand.

Our Constitution which is an sacred, aspirational document without equivocation declares that SA belongs to all who live in it. This has to be unpacked for ordinary people who are bewildered as to why is it that a mere 5% of South Africans reported have 95% of the country’s wealth and demand that the implosion in the form of the recent SASSA debacle be addressed and what exacerbates everything is the foot dragging by government that leaves 17 million contemplating what unleashed the fury behind the French and Russian revolutions.

With the proliferation of online platforms such as twitter and Facebook, as your experts say, social media can divide as well as unite. I would add, without our input as civil society its going to become much worse going into 2019 as factions within political parties gird their loins and prepare to wage a war on ideas. When that happens common sense and truth are often mugged and left to die.

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