‘92% of South African whites are racist’

I read the previous column by Jonny Steinberg on Oscar Pistorius. In my view that article was too general and gave an incorrect view on the opinions of blacks.

Though I now stay in an upmarket suburb, I spend lots of my time in the townships. In those circles, the majority of people I have spoken to are not really concerned about Oscar but are concerned about the judgment itself. It really confused them. It created more doubts than certainty about the legal system in our country and the interpretation of laws. In a nutshell, most middle-class and informed Africans were embarrassed by it. They are even reluctant to talk about it. However, the most fortunate part of our judicial system is its corrective mechanisms. To err is human.

On the current article I wish to remind Mr Steinberg that not all whites still live in the past. Maybe, about 92% of them still do. It is expecting too much from the 92% (this figure is an estimate) of white people to embrace reconciliation and not be racist. Why would they now do that? They have failed to do so in the past 600 years of the history of mankind. During those years most white people have enforced and supported slavery, racism, colonialism, apartheid and other forms of prejudices against blacks, and Africans in particular.

In my view reconciliation is too abstract a concept to embrace or even attempt to “enforce”. The best way would be for government to, among other things, enforce and implement laws that would make economic growth possible, make equitable economic redistribution possible, expedite cultural emancipation for Africans and outlaw any form of racism and/or prejudice in this country.

It is unfortunate that most of my fellow countrymen cannot define what racism is ( or other forms of prejudices such as tribalism, sexism ). It has become the most abused term; especially by the majority of white South Africans. Maybe it’s because they have never experienced racism. – Thulani Ngcobo Midrand (Originally published as a letter in Business Day)