“Frustrated” South Africans ar

“Frustrated” South Africans are lashing out at one another; IRR

According to the Institute for Race Relations (IRR), recent online scraps are about much more than just racism on social media.

“Frustrated” South Africans ar

Unemployment, the impotent economy and disgraceful service delivery standards are all to blame for the pressure build-up in Mzanzi. In turn, these add to the already volatile racial dynamics locally and the result is a populous frothing at the mouth, baying for blood.

Unfortunately this week we’ve seen just what can happen when you give a racist access to social media, which in turn led to a nationwide ignition of racial tension bordering on outright conflict.

Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media are the perfect platforms for incitement, be it bigotry, sexism or racism and some folks will use them for just that. Penny Sparrow’s comparison of black people to monkeys set in motion a chain of events that has now almost become a self-sustaining monster; but racism isn’t the only evil to blame here.

According to the IRR’s Mienke Steytler, locals are lashing out for a few other reasons too.

“South Africans are in a state of readiness to fight because they are under increasing strain – our economy is weak [well below 2%], and the rate of unemployment is very high [at 34.9% if the expanded definition is used], and young black South Africans are suffering most.”

According to Steytler, SA needs a combination of both policy reform and individual responsibility if we’re going to move into a space where true reconciliation is possible. On top of this, she added that race is very personal and translates into how children are taught at home and how South Africans feel about each other.

Individuals should take responsibility for their actions online and think twice about what they’re posting.

“Is what I am saying/posting/writing contributing to the good of South Africa as a whole?”Steytler added.

“The government has a responsibility to bring about policy reform in order to drive South Africa towards a non-racial future, and each and every South African has an individual responsibility to treat their fellow South Africans well, no matter their race, gender or background.”