Race Obsession

If The Mercury’s March 16 edition was placed in a time capsule for posterity to examine, the only conclusion that could be drawn would be that by 2018 South Africa had become a race-obsessed state.

Apart from the Classifieds and Legal pages and page 7, eight of the twelve pages concerned the race issue. Here’s a brief summary: front page: white-owned sugar farm torched by black protesters; page 2: Bill approved criminalising racial remarks; page 3: title deeds and black land ownership; page 4: land ownership based on race; page 5: racial discrimination against Gandhi 125 years ago; page 6: fury at Aussie sympathy for white SA farmers; page 8: editorial on race and white farmers; page 9:op.ed articles on race in cricket and political parties.

Although officially non-racialism is proclaimed constitutionally, socially and politically, race obsession prevails and is as entrenched as it was before 1994. The reason for this is the ongoing restructuring of society on the basis of majoritarian representivity and profiling. Such social engineering promotes the law of unintended consequences: insecurity, resentment, and resistance. In a word: racism.

In most of the articles cited above, focus on demographic identity ensures a corollary that is about racial disparities and differences. Distinctions and differences in multi-ethnic,multi-cultural societies are an inherent reality.

Where different groups are in contention, tensions are guaranteed within a framework which promotes majoritarianism. Things could be very different within a framework premised on merit.

Sent into The Mercury and published, March 18, 2018.

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