Racism behind foreigners attacks in South Africa

Posted on February 27, 2017 12:00 am

Close to two million foreigners are said to be living and working in South Africa, a country where its common to see official posters in the streets telling people that illegal migrant workers bring in diseases and crime. There has never been outrage about such. South African police were said to have used rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse anti-immigration demonstrators and their opponents in Pretoria. Many jobless South Africans have accused foreigners of taking their jobs and a local group actually marched two days ago to signal their indignation, especially against Nigerians, Zimbabweans and Congolese. When challenged on this continuous racism, most South Africans will deny that they are racist and some will say it is the “SA way”. I was disgusted to see South African intellectuals say that to discuss these things is just political correctness that doesn’t make sense, of cause how can it make sense when your not affected? Ain’t affected as well but morally i hold a different view from the so called professors at South African Universities. To me, the real political correctness is the enforced grovelling to the elites. All this is the result of the constant socialisation of South Africans by the ruling elites which reinforces jingoism every morning and night when the national anthem is played. South Africa is the richest, best and everyone else is foreign and inferior, is the message. It is also a sign of the weakness of a progressive country that late Nelson Mandela envisioned.While South African racists grovel to those in power they look down on foreigners. And I am one of those who believe that South African working class would never liberate itself while they continued with racist attitudes to other Africans. They cannot liberate themselves while being racist about other Africans.The current confusion in South Africa is understandable because racism is best described as irrational and irrational events like the one going on in South Africa often defy definition.

Most racists in Gauteng region use pseudoscience to support their theorising while others see racism as merely a series of basic errors in thinking. Non racists South Africans all know that the visual appearance of a person does not identify what kind of person they are or how they will behave. There is no direct relationship between what a non South African looks like and who they are. A Nigerian or Zimbabwean who has dark skin is not innately different from or similar to any other South African.The idea that Africans who belong to the same cultural group, who look the same, are all the same is just nonsense and in my view no one is ever the same as anyone else. For example, your blogger by racial category suits African description which is perfectly correct with me. But thats not the case with racists who believe that humans are grouped into distinct races with very similar abilities and behaviours that allow each group to be ranked against another. Those attacking fellow Africans in South Africa always believes that they are a member of the superior race but historically, there are no examples of evidence being put forward by race theorists that a South Africans blacks are superior to Nigerian blacks.South African racism remains socially and economically significant because it is a basic tribalism that allows local jobless groups and individuals to imagine that they are superior. It is clear to see that racism in the country involves local and contextual actions that rely on the shifting interplay of values within contemporary society.This interplay allows extreme views and racially motivated opinions to be used as a feature of free speech, violence and demonstrations. In all of these political social and contemporary discussions, the deeper aspects of racism are overlooked in South Africa.There’s no doubt in my mind that racism harms individuals because it singles them out for abuse or attack based upon things about themselves that they cannot change. For example, i can’t change my race just as it is not easy to change from black to white, it is not easy to change culture and belief. The aim of racial dominance is not social reform in South Africa and in my view it is simply dominance. Current racial attacks on foreigners are informed and justified by who the victims are, not what they do. Therefore, regardless of the kind of the attacks taking place, it has impact upon the victim’s sense of self. South African racists are in dire need of a positive self-image to survive with their wellbeing intact and live healthy lives because racism will deprive both the victims and perpetrators of positive self-images.

South African racism is like any other irrational behaviour and it has developed distinct features because people are ashamed of acting alone in strange ways in public thats why gangs and thugs are ganging up together to attack foreigners. Intense racism in the country usually involves gangs or secret societies who act together reinforcing each others’ false awareness and undertaking racially motivated projects like taking over businesses owned by Nigerians or Zimbabweans.Experiencing racism is part of the everyday lives of many foreigners in South Africa. What is it like to negotiate daily life in a material South Africa that often excludes poor locals and foreigners, or selectively seeks to control them?In the grand scale of things I think most South Africans are pretty great at accepting other cultures, colours and creeds. Those South Africans I know pride themselves on being less racist than Americans or Europeans, but let’s be honest, that is a pathetically low bar. It’s like being proud of beating the Namibia at ice skating.Growing up, I was blissfully unaware of any racial tension. We lived under a system of racial harmony.However since moving to different parts of the world like Africa, Europe I can’t help but notice a quiet undercurrent of unnecessary nastiness towards minorities and recent immigrants and thats why am not surprised by events in South Africa over the past few days.I say recent immigrants, because my view is that we all came to this Island paradise from somewhere else. I wish South Africans could focus their negative energy towards politicians who aren’t doing enough to acknowledge child poverty or companies that don’t play tax. I’ll never forget an email I received that complained that there was a “a thief from Harare but not a thief from Mpumalanga!” I sent back the most condescending message I possibly could: “There’s no race or religious difference in thieves ya dimwit!” I often wonder how these people even figured out how acquire and then use a computer. I worry that African countries are on the verge of very icky situation where immigration is becoming one of the biggest issues in the continent politics as has been the case with Tanzanian nationals facing torrid times in Mozambique.From South Africa’s pathetically xenophobic attacks, to record high level of general immigration, things are already getting a bit crazy. I ask that people try and make their political arguments about population growth and the economy. If you have a problem with a culture or a specific type of people then for me, you’re not an African and you should go hang yourself!

Contador Harrison