Was the Red Cross poster racist?

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The Red Cross swimming safety poster.

People are very quick to make judgements, especially in our current society which seems to favour outrage as a response. This happens especially quickly when it comes to topics like sexism, racism and so on. These are all real problems which affect many people but we must be wary about jumping to conclusions without sufficient evidence.

There is an article in Slate magazine which talks about the Red Cross and racism. The starting point of that discussion was a 2014 safety campaign poster which was pulled last year for being “super-racist.” It earned that dubious distinction because:

A “cool” blonde girl waits her turn by the diving board, for example, and a “cool” fair-skinned dad minds his small child. The vast majority of the “not cool” rule breakers, meanwhile, have brown skin: One boy runs through a puddle, another dives too close to a swimmer, and a little black girl pushes a white girl into the pool.

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A Mexican flag in America!

I’ve mentioned, quite a few times, on this blog that causing offence should not be a reason to limit someone’s speech. Just because someone takes offence at something doesn’t mean that it is offensive. That is quite clearly illustrated by a particularly bigoted woman in California.

Tressy Capps was so offended by a house flying a Mexican flag in the United States of America that she actually stopped her car, went up to the house and told them off. She called it disrespectful and that if the house wanted to fly the Mexican flag then they should move to Mexico! I hope for her sake that she never travels to New York because that’s where the headquarters of the United Nations is and there are 192 foreign flags flying proudly. Continue reading

Was Varsity Newspaper’s article racist?

UCT's dating poll (source: News24)

UCT’s dating poll (source: News24)

It seems a graph in UCT’s student newspaper, Varsity Newspaper, has caused quite a bit of a stir after publishing a pie chart with the title, “UCT votes on most attractive race.” (Story on News24 and iol.)

With South Africa’s extreme sensitivity to racial issues it didn’t take long for people to start denouncing the paper. According to News24:

Some Twitter users, including human rights activist Zackie Achmat, voiced their disapproval. @ZackieAchmat referred to the chart as “racist nonsense”. Another user, @ednake89 tweeted “this is the kind of bullshit UCT’s Varsity newspaper publishes”.

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Divisive views promoted by the President

South African Coat of Arms

You would think the president would make an effort to unite people to create a stable country where people can go about their lives in peace and equality. You’d be wrong. What we actually get is the president saying this:

Let us solve African problems the African way, not the white man’s way.

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A replacement to affirmitive action should address the effects of Apartheid

In the past weeks there have been two big news stories surrounding affirmative action and racism. First was the story that South African Airways was rejecting applications from Whites for their cadet pilot programme which was followed by news that Woolworths was excluding Whites from it’s recruitment process. SAA later ammended the programme to allow White applicants while Woolworths has denied the accusations of racist employment practices as they are in line with employment equity policies. SAA for example claims that 85% of it’s pilots are White compared to 9,2% of the general population so it was just trying to address the imbalance. While there may be an imbalance I believe that this is entirely the wrong way to go about fixing it. Continue reading

Manufacturing offence

JS Roundhouse mids (source: Yahoo!)

I’m, rather slowly, working my way through Nick Cohen’s You Can’t Read This Book which is all about censorship in the modern and Western world. In it one of the things he says censors must do is manufacture offence. If you don’t like something pretend it’s offensive and blow it completely out of proportion, even if whatever you’re being offended about is totally innocuous. I’ve found there’s a great example both of manufacturing offence, blowing something out of proportion and then using that commotion to bully people into doing what you want. It’s all because of some new Addidas shoes… Continue reading

Inter-racial relationships

Well this was good timing. A few days ago I posted about, among other things, inter-racial relationships and how they weren’t as common or as accepted as you would expect if race didn’t matter. I hear now that the Democratic Alliance Student Organisation made a poster on the same theme and was accused of racism! It’s really depressing how, if someone disagrees with something in South Africa, they automatically call it racist whether there’s a reason to do so or not.