Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pledge to take back the racial middle ground in South Africa

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My friend Patrick Madden wrote a call to action in April of this year, which was a period of intense racial animosity and uncertainty in the country. He crafted this pledge as a way of restoring some sanity to the discourse surrounding the national question in South Africa, and it bears repeating. See Patrick's explanation as well as the original pledge here.
  • I recognise the feelings of tension and anger felt between people of different races in South Africa today.
  • I recognise that nurturing these feelings undermines our mutual best interests and our highest ambitions for ourselves, our communities and our nation.
  • I recognise my interdependence with all South Africans. I affirm that South Africans of all races and cultures can work together to improve the conditions of our lives and our environment.
  • Recognising our common humanity, I pledge to relate to all South Africans with compassion and respect and to work with them in an atmosphere of openness and mutual recognition.
  • I aspire to create a South Africa that is safe and caring for all. Therefore, I personally vow to refrain from violence and from violent speech towards anyone, regardless of their race or culture.
I was particularly moved by the statement concerning the inherent interdependence of different racial groups. The goodwill of the World Cup went some way towards pushing these concerns aside, but the issues Patrick raises are no less cogent today than they were six months ago. It is the responsibility of all of us to treat others with dignity and respect and to view our interests not simply as a zero-sum racial game.

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Original image: Poplicks.com

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