HRC hearing: White people have lost faith in racism discussions

Ernst Roets, Deputy CEO of AfriForum, said during a presentation to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) that many white people have lost faith in discussions over racism because not all people in the country are judged by the same yard-stick. Roets also said that many media institutions are selective in their reports on racism. 

“Crimes of violence where white people are the victims and black people the perpetrators are mostly dismissed as ‘ordinary crimes’, even if there is proof that the crime was motivated by a racist, anti-white agenda. Cases where a white person is the perpetrator and a black person the victim are summarily described as deeds of racism, even in the absence of any proof of racism.”

Roets made various comparisons in his presentation to illustrate that white racism is aggressively condemned, while black racism is often overlooked.

“In South Africa, telling a black school girl that she is not allowed to wear her hair in an Afro at school is exponentially more newsworthy and, according to the media, more deplorable than a black person murdering four white people and then publicly stating that he did so because they were white.”

Roets also compared the statement of the economist Chris Hart to that of Lulu Xingwana, Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities.

“Former Standard Bank economist Chris Hart was rebuked and fired from his job after he had tweeted an economic observation, based on his research, suggesting that many black South Africans had an entitlement mentality, which had a negative impact on economic growth. On the other hand, Lulu Xingwana, the Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities went on international television falsely stating that young Afrikaner men brought up in the Calvinist religion believe that they own a woman, they own a child, they own everything and therefore they can take that life because they own it. Xingwana also apologised, but still continues with her duties in Cabinet.”

Roets also emphasised how different the reaction would have been if a white person had made the same statements as Xingwana. He also said that he viewed her statements as extremely offensive, as it insulted the core of his identity as an Afrikaner.

Roets said that AfriForum will continue to combat racism and participate in discussions on racism. The organisation will soon announce the details of an increased campaign against racism.

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