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Racism? What Racism?

Seriously. What are you all talking about? South Africa has a problem with racism? NO! Say it isn’t so?!!!

Ok, I may have been a little generous with the facetiousness with that one. However, I was a little taken aback by the recent storm in a teacup that happened last week. For those who missed it, local model Jessica Leandra tweeted something about being harassed by a man in Spar and dropped the k-word. Later she backed this up (seriously) by asserting that these are the people who rape women and she wished she had hit him. The tweets were removed, but it was too late.

To me, now that it has been three days since the tweet-cident, I’m wondering… What’s the big deal?  Was it the racist rant that was the problem; or was it the fact that she tweeted it and exposed the appeasing side in the rest of us who now have to condemn and prove that we are nothing like her? I actually can’t decide for myself because the general reaction was that she was an idiot as well as a bigot and that this should not be tolerated. Rightly so. She was dropped by FHM magazine and a diet product for which he was the spokesperson. And then we all patted ourselves on the back.

But this genius still has over 5,000 followers.

I tried looking at this from another angle and am now left wondering if this fool does not represent more than a sizable minority than we care to admit. “Of course we are not racists. How can we be? We appreciate freedom and think that the new South Africa is a much better place… for us.” Do we say things like these to make ourselves feel better, or do we actually believe it?

I thought about myself and where I fit in this. I’ve never really thought of myself as a bigot. But then do the jokes my friends and I make count as racist? Does it count as not racist because said friends are black? To me, it all comes down to intention. My friends and I have an understanding, so jokes about black people loving meat and not being able to swim and coloured people being expert mechanics are among the things we laugh about. But then can we get mad when others do it? Cue the joke about humour no longer being black and white… Anyone? No? Moving along.

I am personally so bored with this debate and the fact that it keeps rearing its big multi-coloured head. But then I get angry when people ignore blatant racism. Also recently on Twitter, I replied to some young lady who said that people need to get over themselves because Apartheid is over, “so get over it and move on” was the gist of her solution. I chimed in and said that she’s delusional because we are clearly still living with the legacy.

Will it ever get better? Only if this remains an open debate, not an occasional Twit-fest where people rant what is lurking beneath the pretty façade. If we keep talking about it and get ALL people to a place of better opportunities, then maybe things will improve. Until then, it’s probably bound to be fodder for a fight.

<p>Author <a href=”https://plus.google.com/102128103971030481396” target=”blank” rel=”author”>Jerome Cornelius</a></p>

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