THE BLOG

Silence When It Comes To Tackling Racism And Labels Is Dangerous

We do not feel the need to speak out on behalf of other people, if they are different than us. This is a problem that racism is thriving on.

18/05/2017 03:59 SAST
Zametalov / AOL Library

I think we all can agree that racism is one of the major problems we as a country face today. Twenty-three years after the dawn of democracy we have been unsuccessful in stopping the dangerous cycle of racism. We haven't even succeeded in slowing it down, because it seems racism was like a small tree in 1994, and now it's a massive oak tree. You see, the difficulty with racism is in most cases not the absence of acknowledgement, but the absence of action. Ask any person if they think racism is a problem in South Africa, and they will tell you: "Yes, it is".

That is where it stops unfortunately. We have a dangerous culture in South Africa, today where we only feel the need to speak out against an issue if it affects us personally. I fear that racism will for always live on, if we do not address this problem. We are quick to speak out about an issue if it affects our own people. An example would be, that white people only speak out against racism, if a white person is the victim of racism. The same goes for any other race. We do not feel the need to speak out on behalf of other people, if they are different than us. This is a problem that racism is thriving on.

What is even more frightening is that people are dismissing other people's experiences and pain, just because that person is not the same race as them. There is a complete lack of compassion and empathy. Yes, one person cannot understand the experiences and pain of another person, unless they themselves lived through it, but what stops that person to at least try to understand it. Sometimes people even question other people's pain and experiences with racism, calling it pretentious and calling the person sensitive. There is no space in the ultimate South Africa, for those who cannot understand that some people in our society, have faced far greater struggles than other people.

Just imagine a world where the labels we give each other, did not exist. More importantly, who would you be if the world did not label you?

South Africa will heal, once we all possess empathy and compassion for people that are different from us, and stand up and speak out on behalf of victims of racism, even if they are different from us. One thing that has always amazed me is that babies are all born equal, they do the same things and cry in the same way. If you take them to the playground, they have no difficulty with connecting to any other child there. You see racism is taught at home, nobody is born hating another person because they are a different race than them. Racism was created to divide all people on earth, and whoever created it, did a marvelous job.

Just imagine a world where the labels we give each other, did not exist. More importantly, who would you be if the world did not label you? We would be one. If we keep on letting a label define who we are, then we choose sadness over happiness and we are minimising ourselves. Division inevitably means conflict, and we as a nation need anything but conflict at this very moment. We were not meant to be divided, but we have allowed labels to divide us, for far too long. We were meant to connect on a deeper level, than any of us can imagine. We were meant to love each other and in the South African scenario, we were meant to all possess the amazing culture and spirit of Ubuntu.

If you want to call me an overly optimistic individual, I do not blame you. You, like so many others are too blinded by the fiction the world has sold us. Before a beautiful tropical bird is born, it lives in an egg. It cannot see the outside world, and you who may be dismissing my optimistic thoughts are still living in that egg. If you will join me, and be brave enough to hatch into a world, where we are one, where we love each other and care for each other, you will be delighted at the results of your commitment. You will spread your wings, and you will fly in a glorious fashion, you will be free. Your colourful and beautiful wings, will reflect your future. It is bright, just like South Africa.