ISSUES AT STAKE: Generalisation a dangerous weapon of racial division

WHEN it was revealed that embattled British public relations firm Bell Pottinger reportedly used an intentional hateful and sinister campaign to divide South Africa along racial lines, there was an expected public outcry.

The global PR firm was accused of colluding with Indian business moguls, the Guptas, to manufacture news and promote the notion of white monopoly capital, racial division and exploitation, among others.

It angered ordinary South Africans as this fabricated narrative was also fervently preached by politicians.

What the Guptas had actually funded was the subtle disintegration of the rainbow nation we once knew, with seeds of discord planted on every public platform.

It’s easy to level blame at the foreigners for their vindictive campaign that South African may find hard to recover from, but what narrative do we follow now?

Twenty-three years post democracy and the race card is still being fiercely dished out from almost every political podium.

The problem with these outbursts is that they are generalised racial statements that further fuel racial hatred and incite violence.

It is a selective application of facts – a move that is dangerous and a far cry from nation building.

Much has been said this week about EFF leader Julius Malema’s latest rant against Indians while addressing supporters during the EFF’s fourth anniversary celebration in Durban on Saturday.

Malema said Indians had monopolised the economy, accusing them of racism and exploiting African workers.

In every society there are perpetrators who exploit others and they must be dealt with harshly as Malema so rightfully pointed out, but an entire racial group cannot be painted with the same brush.

Not all whites canvassed for apartheid. Not all Indians are corrupt business owners and likened to the Guptas. Not all Afrikaners should be regarded as racists.

By trying to ‘correct’ injustices, are we not indirectly harming the good work done by our predecessors to unite all the people of South Africa?

One should never condone businesses that do not respect South Africa’s labour laws or exploit workers. But at the same time, generalisation of a racial group is a dangerous weapon of division.

The last thing our country needs right now is further segregation.

The majority of South Africans, no matter which racial or cultural group they belong to, work side by side daily with the same ideals and goals.

In light of our painful past, we should be focusing on people and not their colour.

It goes without saying that any form of racism or exploitation is wrong. So we should rather attack the issue and not the racial group.

Building a non-racial, non-sexist society with equal opportunities for all should be our prime objective.

Ronelle Ramsamy
Deputy Editor

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