ANALYSIS | 'Swart man' ruling: Come on, racists, at least try to show remorse
South Africa’s highest court has ruled that a white man who called a colleague a “swart man” was justifiably dismissed, primarily because he lied about saying those words and then showed no remorse for his conduct.
This ruling is likely to be used as a basis for alarmist arguments that political correctness has gone too far. But that interpretation completely misconstrues what is again a powerful warning to those guilty of racist conduct to own up, take responsibility and genuinely apologise – or face the consequences.
It also makes a powerful statement about how South Africa’s apartheid past, and the social dynamics it gave birth to, must be a factor when considering whether conduct is racist or not.
The ruling follows the effective two-year sentence imposed on real estate agent Vicki Momberg, who was caught on camera using the k-word 48 times.
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