Helen Zille defends retweeted cartoon that satirises race generalisations

31 December 2019 - 14:34 By Kgaugelo Masweneng
Helen Zille has stirred the pot again for pointing out the 'fallacy and racism behind race generalisations'. She retweeted a cartoon showing two people being accused of serious crimes, based on their race.
Helen Zille has stirred the pot again for pointing out the 'fallacy and racism behind race generalisations'. She retweeted a cartoon showing two people being accused of serious crimes, based on their race.
Image: Gallo Images/Sunday Times/Esa Alexander

DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille took to the airwaves on Tuesday to defend tweeting a cartoon at the weekend that has ignited a fierce debate around race generalisations.

"This aptly captures the fallacy and racism behind race generalisations," she wrote in a post on Sunday. The cartoon showed two people being accused of serious crimes, based on their race.

The cartoon depicted a black man wearing a red beret and telling a white man to "give back the land you stole". The white man retorts: "You should be jailed for raping my wife."

"But I didn't do that," says the seemingly shocked black man. "Exactly," is the response.

The post caused a rumpus on Twitter as observers weighed in with their views on the matter - including EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

Zille, responding to the furore during a morning interview on Radio 702, said people always tried to find something to be offended by.

"Many people today who happen to be white are accused of stealing land, when they may not even own any land or may never have been involved in any injustice to anyone," she said.

"To generalise a historic injustice is a very serious problem and is not solving anything. Obviously, you have to be crazy to assume that cartoon suggests that all [black] men are [rapists].

"The question is the generalisation. Of course rape happens - rape is a very serious crime - but to generalise that crime to every individual on the basis of race is a total outrage." 

Zille said one cannot generalise about crime on the basis of race, which the cartoon intends to portray.

"The most basic reading of the cartoon is that the cartoonist is rejecting that stereotype. It's satire - maybe satire is a form that is not appreciated in South Africa.

"It's two people accusing each other of crime they did not commit on the basis of race. Any person with a primary school education would have read that and understood that."

Zille said she was not the one who drew the cartoon and should not be blamed. "I don’t even remember if the cartoon showed colour. Outrage culture is meant to silence people."

She said people who generalise about whole categories of people on the basis of their race are those that divide.

"The tweet showed the foolishness and racism of doing so. Every moderate person in SA should surely agree with this," she added in a subsequent tweet.


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