Sala’s knee-jerk moralism on Annelie Botes award

As submitted to The Daily Maverick

There is a difference between being moral and being moralistic. Whether or not we ever reach consensus on what it means to be good, I don’t think it could ever be a good thing to replace debate and discussion on morality with simple – and simple-minded – tut-tutting and finger-wagging that is premised on a belief in moral certitude.

Examples of individuals who claim this sort of moral authority are easy to find. From Mary Whitehouse’s campaign against the “permissive society” in Britain to local examples like the homophobic Errol Naidoo, these individuals tend to treat moral dilemmas as black or white issues, and are always at the ready with unambiguous solutions to those dilemmas. Continue reading “Sala’s knee-jerk moralism on Annelie Botes award”

How should we respond to racists?

As submitted to The Daily Maverick

There are various undeniable facts that should inform any thinking or talking about racism, and South African racist attitudes and behaviour in particular. Key among these is the fact that white privilege persists, and that any number of high-profile tenderpreneurs who are black cannot elide the reality of race-based class inequality in South Africa.

As a result of this historical and current inequality, as well as population demographics, black South Africans are statistically more likely to be poor than white people. This also means that black South Africans are less likely to have equal access to educational facilities, and also that they might receive lower levels of service, and have access to goods of inferior quality. Continue reading “How should we respond to racists?”