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Thoughts on Bigotry in SA

In South Africa we have been inundated with news of murders, riots, attacks, and countless acts of violence ever since I can remember. People keep blaming racial issues. But there’s one problem with that: They’re not racial issues.

The truth of the matter is that they are human issues. We are so currently fixated on the colour of one’s skin that we have forgotten about the person underneath that skin. All we’re looking at is melanin, or the lack thereof. We’re not looking at our fellow human beings; we have removed each other’s humanity. That needs to stop.

We need to stop looking at how dark or fair someone might be. We need to stop looking at others as the enemy before we even learn their name. We need to stop attacking and murdering each other. We need to stop this, and we need to do it this very instant.

We cannot live in such anger, fear, and resentment of each other. No, I have not lost anyone in my immediate circle in these acts of violence, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t see or hear the arguments on both sides. Regardless of who the victims might be, we can’t fight violence with violence. What good does retaliation bring about? How does a vengeful murder or act of violence honour those who have already been affected? As Gandhi said;

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

Retaliation violence is not the way to answer the violence that has led us to this moment. We cannot honour the dead by killing others.

I fully understand the pain and anger. I can understand how being peaceful or non-confrontational seems like the worst idea. I know that frustration. However, if we want to end this, we need to start taking the high road. We all need to lead by example. The more we elevate ourselves and our behaviours, the more we will elevate others to that same level. Regardless of colour, let us all become beacons of light and love. Let us prove that there is more to people than simply their skin tone.

We need to reconnect as the only race being the human race. As much as it disgusts me, I know that we can never fully eradicate hatred and bigotry. I hate that fact, and I will certainly continue to do my best to create some level of acceptance and harmony. If we all do that, we will severely outnumber the bigots. That has to be our goal. It is an attainable goal by all means. But it is a goal that we all need to work on together.

So the next time you see someone, don’t look at their skin. Look at who they are as a human being