#TakeOnRacism- We need love, not hate

2016-03-14 16:38

We live in times which require a vigorous approach and fearless stand for rule of law, human rights and equality in South Africa and everywhere else. These are very explosive times we find ourselves in. There is too much latent anger and aggression during economically challenging times and some people are not aware when they are being rude or making fools of themselves.

In this regard, I would like to let the directors of Clicks Group know how much I appreciate the professional and mature manner in which the pharmacists and the assistant staff at a clicks store in Pietermaritzburg handled a potentially explosive situation. Both remained calm and cool and continued with providing their professional service inspite of the irrational comment made by a customer.

So while we pride ourselves on being a diverse and inclusive society and that we have progressed since the dismantling of apartheid, we still have a slew of individuals who have yet to embrace Ubuntu and its imprimatur to transform and realize that South Africa belongs equally to all her citizens.

What transpired was unacceptable and was indicative of a discredited abominable conduct reminiscent of the apartheid era mentality. It’s so sad that such abhorrent behaviour still takes place today. In fact, they are still serious issues that we need to critically dialogue and resolve.

Racism has existed throughout human history and can take many forms or outlines towards certain communities because of skin colour, nationality or language. It often manifests through unconscious bias or prejudice. On a structural level, racism serves to perpetuate inequalities in access to power, resources and opportunities across racial and ethnic groups.

The belief that a particular race or ethnicity is inferior or superior to others is sometimes used to justify such inequalities. At its most serious, racism can result in acts of harassment, intimidation, physical or verbal abuse and violence.

Racism, classism and gender based issues are heated and sensitive subjects for many people and can be difficult to discuss in a peaceful and analytical manner; however, we definitely need to talk about these issues. If not challenged in an objective, professional manner it could destroy the arduous efforts of nation building undertaken by our former human rights role models.

Racism stops because of the actions we take individually and collectively. We all have a role to play in taking action against racism wherever we see it and supporting initiatives to stop it from happening.

The Ahmed Kathrada and Nelson Mandela Foundations have launched a national campaign titled Anti-Racism Week between March 14 and 21 to address the incipient racism that continues to plague our country. This initiative is not only important, but is needed in order to heal from our atrocious past.

To pledge your support please visit the website of Anti-Racism Network South Africa (ARNSA): http://www.arnsa.org.za/takeonracism

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