Hold your tongue if it's a racist one
Johann Rossouw: When nearly two-thirds of Afrikaners voted in the 1992 referendum for a new political dispensation, they did it after more than 40 years of controlling the South African state.
State control gave at least two generations of Afrikaners an experience of safety, good public services and political shelter.
These are things of which Afrikaners up to the mid-20th century had little experience, like the majority of South Africans up to today.
Nearly 20 years after that referendum, it can be seen that more than 40 years of state control were good and bad for Afrikaners.
Good in the sense that their living standards, economic progress and cultural self-confidence reached higher levels than ever before 1948.
But bad in two important respects. First, Afrikaners began to identify to such an extent with the state that they fell into the habit of measuring their well-being according to whether the state was doing well or badly.
This was a habit unusual among Afrikaners before 1948.
Second, Afrikaners were so alienated from the reality of the majority of their compatriots that they still struggle to practise effective alliance politics with other groups in the country, as was often the case during the 19th century.
Perhaps the most important, lasting consequence of more than 40 years of state control was that, in renouncing their dominance in 1994, Afrikaners were cast into a condition of fear, uncertainty and anxiety about their future and that of the country.
Where they could still overcome the decay in public services by buying it privately or rolling up their sleeves, the insecurity they experience today - on levels they last felt in the 19th century - is a source of enormous tension and fear.
So it is understandable, to a certain extent, why some Afrikaners sometimes lose their good judgment, failing to look beyond their own disillusionment and fear.
That tempts them to try to deal with their collective fear through all sorts of psychological strategies, including the revival of crude racism against other South African communities.
But even if this revival of racism among some Afrikaners is "understandable", it is not only morally reprehensible, but leads them towards political suicide.
A community that is confident of itself and its future doesn't need to crudely stereotype other communities as part of its conduct and future agenda.
The uncertainty and fear manifesting as racism among some Afrikaners can easily lead to a state of self-paralysis, where they start convincing themselves that they are a "handful of civilised people" delivered to an "uncivilised, vengeful majority".
Sadly, this mentality not only destroys the conditions for effective alliances with other South Africans of other cultural or racial persuasions, but causes paranoid delusions where one starts to believe that violence and a race war is inevitable.
The worst of it all is that such Afrikaners blind themselves to the phenomenal achievements that Afrikaners on their own - as well as with other South Africans - have produced since 1994.
These include growing economic self-reliance, astonishing growth in the Afrikaans arts, a huge contribution to poverty relief and a growing consensus in civil society that a better country than that offered by the corrupt governing party is possible.
Against this background, the last thing Afrikaners need is to revive racist language in any form.
Prominent Afrikaners, including my friend Steve Hofmeyr, have a particular responsibility in this regard, since their conduct is often seen by the rest of the country and the world as representative of all Afrikaners.
If such prominent members of the Afrikaner community can't exercise this responsibility with self-control and discernment, they should take the wise, honourable step of rather not expressing themselves on the position of Afrikaners.
If they continue to behave as if they're speaking on behalf of their community, they can do significant damage to Afrikaners and to the country.
Just as we don't need racism from politicians, we don't need it from prominent Afrikaners. On the contrary, they can play a more constructive and forward-looking rule in nurturing good neighbourliness.
Notable Afrikaners should understand that any racist conduct or the perception thereof would lead to their conduct being used to, once again, make us look like the undemocratic, racist fools we are not - much as Eugene Terre Blanche was used for a good two decades as the stereotype of Afrikaners.
That is why Hofmeyr should rather let Ons Sal dit Oorleef die a silent death. That is why, instead of paralysing ourselves with morally reprehensible, politically deadly hate speech, Afrikaners should in every possible way take action to create a better future for themselves and their compatriots.
We need to be a conscientious, self-reliant community, rather than racist victims.
Rossouw is an Afrikaans political philosopher