Tuesday, 13 April 2010
Death of a Fat Racist Brings Out The Racist in The News
One downside of having a beautiful girlfriend born in South Africa, is that I now care rather a lot about South Africa and have been eagerly consuming literature and knowledge on the complex and difficult history of what is a fine, fine country.
This complexity seems to have passed much of our news by, which, with the forthcoming World Cup and now the death of a vile, daft racist; has been turning it's poorly informed lens onto the country. I was away in Paris when Eugène Terre'Blanche was bludgeoned to death by some of his workers, whom he'd stiffed on payment, thus I had only access to CNN, Sky News and the trusty BBC for reference and none of them shrouded themselves in reportage glory.
First up, they fell for the myth that South Africa would now plummet into some Charles Manson, Helter Skelter scenario of blacks killing whites...or angry whites killing blacks...or someone killing someone else...please? Basically, South Africa was on a race-hate knife edge and the murder of a fat, daft racist was the spark to ignite the touch-paper; so get your popcorn, roll on the 24 hour news coverage of blacks killing whites. Oh I can see the blood now and the Africans fulfilling their stereotypes, as the journalists churn out their material...
But it got worse, when it became clear that the media invented race-war would not occur because, let's face it, why should it when a daft racist has been killed (imagine if, God forbid, Nick Griffin got beaten to death for example. It would not spark a race-war, more of a street party), they tried to hype up the funeral as the next thing to pull the blacks-smite-whites hair trigger.
Apart from it didn't.
And then the penny dropped as to why the Western media was being so spitefully presumptuous, it was riddled with a deep-set racism.
Racism that confused the extremist and fringe beliefs of Eugène Terre'Blanche and his dolt followers with all white South Africans. Racism that was ignorant to South Africa's large and growing black and coloured middle-class and preferred to imagine all the non-whites as machete welding savages living in tin huts, just desperate to hack some whitey meat to bits as revenge for Apartheid. Racism that refuses to shine a light on the 3,000 white farmers murdered since the end of Apartheid (my blog post on this can be found here) for fear of appearing, perversely, racist, whilst at the same time never truly engaging with the plight of 'the Poors' in South Africa, offering merely vengeful soundbites.
It embarrasses me a great deal that our media cannot grasp or fathom that fine country and when South Africa does not fulfil it's grim stereotype and confounds all myopic media expectations, all that can be offered is a repetition of the mantra, in the vain and insidious hope of perhaps making it become a reality.
After all, South Africa wracked by a race-war would make just divine news darling...