Editorials 24.8.2018 08:50 am

Confront the reality that racism is far from dead and buried

Adam Catzavelos seen in a racist video he posted online, 20 August 2018. Picture: Twitter

Adam Catzavelos seen in a racist video he posted online, 20 August 2018. Picture: Twitter

Someone like Catzavelos would never have grown into the public racist he has were it not for the ‘enablers’ around him in his community.

It may sound outrageous, but Adam Catzavelos may have just done South Africa a huge favour.

The racist businessperson’s video rant on a beach in Greece – celebrating that there were no black people present, and using the “k-word” – has ignited a firestorm of comment. In the age of social media, the video went viral and provoked the digital activists to track down and reveal his family business connections, along with those of his wife and their addresses.

The result has been a virtual implosion of the family food business, despite his relatives publically distancing themselves from him, firing him and removing his shareholding.

We do not at all condone the implied threats and intimidation against his family – including his children.

But the favour he has done this country is that he has forced all of us – particularly the white community – to confront the reality that racism is far from dead and buried.

His vile and repulsive display will not be in any way lessened by the knee-jerk “what-aboutery” expressed by some white people, pointing to alleged incidents of racism against their community. It also serves no purpose to protest, as some whites have done, that “he does not speak for me”.

Someone like Catzavelos would never have grown into the public racist he has were it not for the “enablers” around him in his community: the people who look the other way, remain silent, or even chuckle when outright racist conduct surfaces in a “safe” environment (that is, when there are no black witnesses).

After an incident like this it is very difficult for whites to respond to black people asking “what has changed?” in this country since 1994.

Racism is wrong. Racism begets racism. All of us must face that reality and change our ways.

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