Embracing democracy, being tolerant are not synonymous: iLIVE

07 February 2013 - 10:35 By Raeez Jacobs
LOUD AND CLEAR: Protesters carry a banner against racism in Auckland Picture: GIL HANLY
LOUD AND CLEAR: Protesters carry a banner against racism in Auckland Picture: GIL HANLY

Embracing democracy and being tolerant are not synonymous, and contrary to what many like to believe, racism is not an issue birthed from society, it is for the most part innate.

Some people even harbour resentment for their own race, in a mode of racism called, intrinsic racism.

If you look at social structures in modern day South Africa, and how we have placed ourselves geographically, and look also at the way people born after the abolishment of the apartheid regime have partitioned themselves; places like Oranje, and the how we still term certain areas and genres of music as "white" and or "black" or "ghetto", you can tell that even though we are not enforcing prejudices upon other people, as a nation, we still haven't learned how to address each other without referring back to ethnicity, class, race, sex, gender, and even age.

Primarily, racism doesn't need to surface or be reported for it to exist – people are racist in the familial sphere and as families are rather subjective about their sentiments towards other races, and then suddenly when they are in social situations, they become tolerant again.

Also, most people are a reflection of where they grew up and what they grew up around; influence from family, religious groups, and friends can play a pivotal role, in the manner by which one is socialised, to either accept or reject certain notions.

All of these things are what grant people like Zama Khumalo that sort of brash audacity that he models, and the advent of social networking platforms coupled with the freedom of speech, is what allows people to permeate those boundaries we subconsciously, though mostly consciously wish to break through, aggravate or altogether annihilate – remain all the while oblivious to the responsibility preceding that very freedom.

Obviously, no one is forced to abide by the laws of the country, and by that I mean, if someone does not wish to be democratic, they shouldn't be. That however, does not entail, that this person may act on the prejudices they keep or exercise them in anyway, because it's not the time and place to do so. If those are your grievances, then entertain them in a space where they will not have an effect on people who beg to differ.

Khumalo doesn't need to apologise, and there's nothing Facebook administrators can do in terms of censoring such posts, unless they're reported by friends, associates, or human rights groups; Khumalo only needs to realise that, no matter where his intentions stemmed from, he has undoubtedly placed himself in the arms of dozens of critics, enraged activists, random teenagers on the web, and every other person for that matter, especially in a place like South Africa, where there's a tremendous amount of attention to, and a staggering interest in situations of this nature.

Those affected on the other hand, without sounding cavalier or pejorative, need only be ignorant to what has been said, because over and over it has been proven, and history holds those clues, that counteracting political foolishness and wanton perjury, can only result in mundane war, civil conflict, and the revival of old and outdated vendettas, that could very well have remained that way.

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