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A conversation is recounted in the book # Shantaram  in which the character, Khaderbhai, says: “There is no such thing as believing in #G...

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Saturday, 16 January 2016


Although more than enough has probably now been said about the unfortunate #racist comments of #PennySparrow, and we can feel grateful for the lancing of the festering boil and debate she has sparked, there is one perspective in respect of which I want to say a little more.

Penny Sparrow made comments which are unacceptable in any decent society, perhaps more so in our own with its difficult history and understandable sensitivities. She ticks the racist box, which by my definition is something like "any person who universally and prejudicially judges or treats any group of people according to the colour of their skin or their origin". 

That she is both white and a member of the Democratic Alliance has now caused many members of our society (principally those who are black and have other political allegiances) to conclude that all whites must therefore be racists and that the DA must be a racist party. 

Those two leaps of logic are, with respect, both b/s and opportunistic. That is right up there with the conclusion that every Muslim is a terrorist because some Muslims have been involved in terror attacks, or every German is a Jew-hater, or every child is a thief just because one child steals some candy from a shop. You might as well go in the other direction and say every man and woman in India is a saint because that is where Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa originate. Or conclude that every ANC politician is corrupt because our President has a lot to answer for in terms of Nkandla (and many other question marks).

The biggest single favour we can do each other as a society right now is for everyone to stop judging others for being black, white, dishonest, racist, violent, fat or whatever other unhelpful judgments are being put on people. Judgments are simply divisive and foster the deep wave of unhappiness under which we are currently drowning. It was white judgment of the black race as a whole that originally set the scene for apartheid, Hitlerian judgment of Jews that set the scene for the holocaust and it is on-going judgment which has the potential to rip apart the now-tenuous notion of the Rainbow Nation.

So how about we all take a step back, stop trying to score points and simply stop judging? We might just have a different perspective and experience if we simply see each other for who we are: human beings sharing the same feelings, fears, hopes and aspirations. Just saying.

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant Andrew. You need to write for the newspaper.


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