We don’t all hate each other‚ says Institute of Race Relations

21 March 2018 - 09:00 By Timeslive Reporter
The study found that relations between South Africans of different races are mainly positive‚ with an overwhelming majority believing that “the different races need each other for progress and there should be equal opportunities for all”. File photo.
The study found that relations between South Africans of different races are mainly positive‚ with an overwhelming majority believing that “the different races need each other for progress and there should be equal opportunities for all”. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

A study conducted by the SA Institute of Race Relations (IRR) has revealed that there is an improvement in race-related issues in the country‚ with 77% of black respondents saying they have not personally experienced racism.

The report - titled Race Relations in South Africa: Reasons for Hope 2018 - is based on a study released on Tuesday‚ ahead of the Human Rights Day. It found that relations between South Africans of different races are mainly positive‚ with an overwhelming majority believing that “the different races need each other for progress and there should be equal opportunities for all”.

But Anthea Jeffery‚ author of the report and head of policy and research at IRR‚ said this did not mean South Africa could be complacent on the issue of race.

“It is important to guard against complacency on race issues‚ for 61% of black respondents also agree that ‘South Africa is now a country for black Africans and whites must take second place‚” Jeffery said.

Key findings in the poll are that:

- 63% of black South Africans think race relations have improved since 1994‚ while 16% think race relations have remained much the same since then;

- Close on 80% of all respondents - and 77% of black South Africans - agreed that better education and more jobs would in time ‘make the present differences between the races steadily disappear’;

- Creating more jobs‚ improving education and fighting crime were the three top issues which most South Africans wanted the government to focus on;

- Only 5% of all respondents - and 4% of black South Africans - wanted the government to concentrate on ‘fighting racism’. In addition‚ a mere 1% of black respondents wanted the government to focus on speeding up affirmative action‚ while the same number wanted government to concentrate on ‘speeding up land reform’;

- More than two-thirds of all respondents (67%) agreed that the focus in hiring should be on merit‚ rather than race‚ with 62% of black respondents endorsing this view;

- Two-thirds of all respondents agreed that politicians are exaggerating the problems posed by racism and colonialism in order to excuse their own shortcomings. A high proportion of black respondents (62%) agreed with this statement; and

- Almost 60% of all respondents agreed that‚ in selecting sports teams‚ the best players should always be picked‚ even if race representation was not evident. Support for this was particularly strong among whites (91%)‚ coloureds (77%) and Indians (67%). A little over half of black respondents (51%) also endorsed this perspective.

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