The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation is appalled at two racist incidents that took place on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean last week. On 15 May, at Stellenbosch University in South Africa’s Western Cape province, an 18-year old white student was filmed urinating on the furniture of a black student. He reportedly said, “This is what we do to black men.” The previous day, an 18-year old white man drove to a supermarket in Buffalo, New York’s black community and opened fire with a rifle emblazoned with the n-word, killing 10 people. According to the killer’s “manifesto”, he was motivated by his hatred of black people and Jews. The AKF condemn the murderous assault in Buffalo and the racist incident in Stellenbosch. Such incidents should foster greater introspection about what makes them possible. The question that should be asked is: How do young people learn to become racist? What part of their world views were shaped at home, in the schools they attended, their places of worship, social circles, or on the internet? It is likely that in all these areas, notions, policies and practices of racial superiority would have been learnt, tolerated, and even reinforced. Similar mindsets are likely to have led to the assassination of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh last week, and are what drives the persecution of Muslims, Christians and Dalits in India, and rising xenophobia in South Africa and in many parts of the world. The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation welcomes the decision by Stellenbosch University to suspend the student, but calls on the university not to exclude the possibility of expelling him, and the filing of hate speech or other charges against him. “It is important for institutions and organisations to show that racism will not be tolerated,” said Executive Director at the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Neeshan Balton.



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