I too decided to jump onto this bandwagon (weeks after the hype has died down – late bloomer much?!) wrought with racial slurs thrown this way, that way and the other way. What a way to get into the year 2016! Quite naturally when such commentary occurs, we are inclined to clutch our pearl strings and defend our races with all our might. When one thinks of the word ‘race’ the first thing that comes to mind is white vs. black and not at all the formula 1 race dominated by the likes of Louis Armstrong. The word race is responsible for the divide we face in our society. In the South African society in particular, it leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of those on the receiving end of crude racial slurs. Let’s face it, the likes of Penny Sparrow who sparked a nationwide controversial statement about her disgust at the ‘monkeys’ filling up the beaches of Durban dig a deeper hole into the racial dynamic. While we have made great strides as a country to overcome divides, some instances as the Penny Sparrow debacle incite or rather remind people of the scars that were healing one day at a time. In a progressive country as SA, the last thing the country needs is to have racial divides when there are other more pressing issues to address.
Here is the thing: Statements uttered with such palpable disgust at other races say a lot more about you than they do about what you meant to say to begin with.Believe it or not, when you have a hate for a group of people so much so that the very sight of them disgusts you, you are inadvertently transferring that energy to yourself. Rather than hate, why not tolerate and respect. Being ignorant is one of the worst traits you can possibly impose on yourself. Why be ignorant when you can be knowledgeable. With knowledge comes power. What ignorance does is it shuts all your doors and you are confined in that little corner you erroneously call your sanctuary. Your sanctuary may ‘shield’ you from outside forces, but you are not immune to them.The truth is both black and white races are guilty of racial crudeness. Taking a step towards being a better person by being open-minded will expose you to so much more than you would ever know if you stay in your cocoon.
Somewhere along the line, your true colours will be dying to come out of that cage. In comes Penny Sparrow, Chris Hart and others who came out of the woodwork and expressed appallingly racial statements directed at black people. Think about it. Their views are rigged with ignorance and a horrendous parochial view on societal constructs. It is a widely known and rather painful truth that the Apartheid Era in South Africa played a major role in causing the great divide between white people and black people. Without getting into the history of apartheid and how it scarred black people in particular, it should be known that this is no light issue as it is apparent that there are simmering comments expressing hate and outright disgust when the opportunity arises.
Let us stop this burning desire to hate others.
When are we human beings going to learn that being human is far more important than being classified under a particular race? We should learn to understand that we are all capable of achieving more than what we think we can. We all have struggles, lessons we wish were not imposed upon us, shame in actions we wish we hadn’t taken, mistakes made from fool-hardy endeavours that were not as fruitful as we thought they would be, families that think the world of us.
At the end of the day no matter what racial classification we stratify ourselves under; we should be cognisant that human needs and desires are the same. We all need to eat, have shelter and clothe ourselves. We all have the desire to have fun and enjoy precious moments with family and friends. Having a fun day at the beach with your family and friends should not be an issue at all.
We should adopt a culture of open-mindedness. In that way you get to learn so much more than you would had you not been open to different perspectives. Being open-minded means quashing ignorance and making an effort to learn how other people behave. The likes of Penny Sparrow would not be sharing such views had an open-minded approach been adopted from an early stage. It is never too late to choose open-mindedness. You will learn more than you think.
Will the racism ever end? We sure hope it will, but the reality is that there is a long way to go still before there comes a time when race will not be an issue. Rather than castigate other races, why don’t we adopt a culture of open-mindedness towards other races. Breaking new ground where race is concerned will start the day we adopt a culture of learning about one another and how our culture influences who we are and become.