This post (originally posted on my Facebook) moved me to write my piece on Huffington Post: “Dismantling Racism in South Africa: Jokes, Jabs and Justice“
Racism isn’t a series of “isolated incidents,” it isn’t random occurrences of hatred… racism is a systemic and structural scourge gnawing at the very core of society.It is this system of racism that allows Chris Hart to blame economic decay on what he terms hate-filled and entitled black people.
It is this system that allows Penny Sparrow to refer to black people as littering monkeys who blemish *her country.
It is this system of racism that sees 12 Apostles hotel still welcoming patrons with nary a slap on their metaphorical wrists.
It is this system of racism that allows Justin van Vuuren to express his disgust at blackness and to tell black people to “go back where you came from” (without even an ounce of irony).
It is this system that sees estate agencies like Trafalgar continue to thrive even though time and time again they have shown their xenophobia and racism.
It is this system that has Dianne Kohler-Barnard condoning statements supporting apartheid and getting “fined” R20 000 (a measly fraction of what she earns as an MP)…
It is this system of racism that has Sarah Britten-Pillay asking people if what we are mad at is what racist people spew or whether we are are just mad we saw/read it… the same system that has Kanthan Pillay (yes, a relation) suggesting that enlightened black people are hypocritical for daring to holiday in Cape Town.
It is this system that allows Swim4life Cape Town to get away with racism because a school with “10% black children” is representative aaaand apparently doing better than most of its kind.
It is this very system in which people can confidently be racist knowing full well they are “protected.”
These things don’t happen *just because of a few recalcitrant social miscreants. No. These things happen because the environment of racism created, nurtured and still promoted by a culture of apartheid didn’t end with the casting of ballots.
It happens because much as apartheid ended in official practice, its deplorable legacy is a stain that can’t be removed with fake smiles and “You speak so wells”…