Racist Nutcases Not Wanted on "Voices"

2012-09-25 15:29

As a fairly new "Voices" contributor, (nine articles so far), I still stand open-mouthed and Somewhat Strictly Dazed, in the words of David Bowie, by the racist rantings flowing in to the comments boxes. My last piece about Reporting Under Fire in Zimbabwe and South Africa saw a decent amount of compliments (thank you) but sadly, also a rash of claptrap which accused me, among other things, of being a "White Supremacist", an "Unrepentant Boer", a typical white man writing from the safety of another country."

Well yes, I am writing from the UK and as I indicated in other blogs, my move here was for health reasons. Not that that seems to sink into the skulls of nutcases who look for racism under every rock - especially under the ones under which they hide, known as nom-de-plumes, or as I like to call them, "coward's names".

There's one character who allegedly writes from the U.S. West Coast - God help them - whose rantings border on libellous but who, quite frankly, wouldn't be worth litigation, even if he had the brains to understand the process. This character (you know who you are) is the most hateful propagandist, unreconstructed racist since Goebbels in his heyday. In fact, Goebbels would have been proud of him.

Sadly, many of the people who take the time to read my pieces take the bait and initiate their own slanging matches and then, even more sadly, my site becomes a forum for vicious attacks and counter attacks and the whole point of trying to kick off a reasoned debate falls by the wayside. Name calling becomes the order of the day as little minds struggle with limited vocabularies to express the little thoughts they have.

Before anyone at News24 asks, no I don't want any persistent offenders blocked. Not in an era of free speech where one is expected to take the blows as well as delivering them. But there comes a time when it becomes necessary to point out that while reasoned criticism is always welcome, racist rants are not. I'm the first to admit that I get it wrong sometimes (don't we all?) and I've said so in print whenever necessary, sometimes coupled with an apology. There's no shame in that but I take great exception to seeing my labours transformed from initiating a hopefully informative forum into a hotbed of of uninformed slanging matches and racist taunts which are hardly doing anything to generate trust between the races in S.A.

Political opinion, no matter how gross may be unpleasant but it is, remember, someone's opinion and deserves more than a burial under an avalanche of trite crap. The French philosopher Voltaire, it was, who said: "I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Uncomfortable as that might be sometimes, it's a rule I've always tried to follow since I began my career in journalism some 40-odd years ago.

So, keep the comments coming by all means, they're aye welcome, but please, in the name of all that's precious to us, try and keep personal hatreds, both past and present, out of it.

I'd appreciate it and then I might be able to move on to better, more appropriate commentaries instead of issuing appeals like this.

To the idiots out there - get out of it - you're not wanted on these pages.

I now, White, 61 and Proud, anxiously await their rabid replies.

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