South Africans are getting ‘more racist’




African News Agency


EVEN though it has been close to 30 years since laws perpetuating racial discrimination and racism based on colour were abolished, extensive research continues to point towards the harsh reality that people in South Africa are becoming more racist. Dr Gregory Houston, chief research specialist with the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), speaking at a one-day dialogue session on “Race and Racism in Post-apartheid South Africa” held at the Ditsong Cultural Museum in Pretoria on Thursday, said they wanted to get more people to participate and talk about of racism. Houston said this was because they discovered, through research, that although people were becoming more “race conscious” 30 years into democracy, many people were, in fact, becoming more racist. This could be evidenced by the repeated incidents of racism on social media and a lot of research they had done as the HSRC on social attitudes. For the dialogue, Houston said they took a look at Milton’s Paradise Lost, and how it deals with race in a way that would make it irrelevant in communities. “At the moment we are dealing with issues such as corruption, load shedding, and there’s this issue of race and racism, which is a critical issue in the sense that we have not achieved something which is so important and serves as a social compact to say this is where we want to go. “Whether we like it or not race is a major factor behind why we have not achieved the social compact we need to move forward and put the past behind us. “We need to start looking at each other and deal with the issue of race as a starting point in order for us to move forward instead of looking at each other through the lens of colour.” Houston said the reality was that while it couldn’t be denied that the country had a lot to deal with at the moment, race had been put on the back burner when it needed to be at the centre of everything. “The purpose is to take an uncomfortable topic and start to deal with it every day. We need to feel uncomfortable until it becomes something we can talk comfortably about, because if we don’t talk, it’s not going to be dealt with.”