He walked the easy path of indifference to the uplands of tolerance.’ Thus wrote Winston Churchill of King Charles II, who did more than any other man in Britain to promote religious freedom – by caring nothing about religion. He thought religion was tedious nonsense. Is it possible today to promote racial tolerance by becoming indifferent to race?

After the death of Cromwell, who was a revolutionary with fierce religious convictions, the monarchy was restored in 1660 and the crown placed on the head of Charles II, who had no religious convictions at all. Whereas Cromwell had stoked religious hatred with his fervour, Charles II brought religious peace by being too lazy to bother about it. (He preferred food, drink and women, with the emphasis on the last.) It needs a lot of energy to maintain hatred. Can we overcome racial hatred by laziness and indifference?

From 1642 to 1658, the British Isles were racked with the bloodshed and hatred of the Civil War, caused fundamentally by religious differences. In the British Isles today, nobody cares or even knows about these religious differences. Few care much about religion at all. The single exception is Northern Ireland, and there it is becoming more and more difficult to sustain hatred between Catholics and Protestants. The entire Northern Ireland problem, which has cost so much blood, would fall away if the few zealots on each side would become as indifferent to religion as the great majority of their countrymen.

Racial differences, unlike religious differences, have a biological basis. The races are genetically slightly different, as you can see by skin colour, DNA and other minor variations. Humans, like many other animals, have a natural tendency to group themselves into hostile camps based on any suitable difference they can see or invent. Religious and racial differences are often a cover for fighting over other reasons such as power, money, territory or jealousy. Race has a more physical reason for antagonism than religion but, from a scientific view, the reason is equally silly.

Would have seemed strange

The racial bigotry of our forebears seems as absurd as their religious bigotry. Fifty years ago in South Africa, it would have seemed strange for a group of black and white people to come together in a social or business gathering, and their differences would have seemed enormous. Today it seems normal and you hardly notice the differences unless some zealot, black or white, insists on pointing them out.

The primary cause of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ (BLM) campaign in the United States (US) was the fear that racial differences were fading away, jeopardising the careers of the racial justice warriors. The purpose of BLM is to put race back on centre stage and foster the belief that white America is uniquely evil and black Americans are helpless, doomed victims. BLM has put an awful lot of energy into this campaign, looting and rioting in US cities, and has been successful. Rich, privileged, powerful white Democrat politicians just love BLM and agree that all other whites, especially Republicans and police, are racist monsters. (It is quite extraordinary that in this month’s Democratic National Convention, there wasn’t a mention of the violent chaos in the inner cities)

Black Americans are more prosperous than in the past and free of the horrid racist laws that hobbled them. Materially and legally, they’ve never had it so good. They have problems with high crime rates, inner-city poverty and, worst of all, the failure of the black family. I believe that by doing nothing very much except to encourage black education and enterprise, and improve policing and municipal services, most of these problems would fade away. Natural progress will improve further the lot of black people and reduce racial antagonism. This happy prospect horrifies BLM, and they have fought like tigers to resist it.

Racial hatred is carefully nurtured

In South Africa, racial hatred is carefully nurtured by the ruling power for its own good. Everyone knows that affirmative action, BEE and employment equity stir up racial antagonism and harm poor black people, but the African National Congress (ANC) imposes them on us for political ends and because racial antagonism is central to its ideology. The ANC elite condemns poor black children to schools with affirmative action black teachers and sends its own children to schools with white teachers appointed on merit, and then complains loudly about racism in the white schools. (Racism in the Model-C or private schools in Cape Town is the regular headline in the Cape Times and Cape Argus, both owned by Iqbal Surve, always anxious to curry favour with the ANC.)

 ‘I’ve forgotten why we’re meant to hate each other. Please remind me.’ Being too lazy to bother much about race or religion, I sometimes find myself thinking this when I’m among people of different colours and a racial activist gets deeply hurt over something or another.

Hatred is hard work. Can’t we get a bit lazy and start liking each other – or at least being indifferent to each other?

[Picture: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay]

The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the Daily Friend or the IRR

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  1. I like the idea, but it doesn’t work if the dominant political party which as been in charge for 26 years now is not indifferent. The effects of AA, B-BBEE, EE and the inter-racial animosity ANC and EFF keep stoking regularly with help from the media are quite real for a large number of people, many of whom were deprived of promotion, employment and financial benefits until they got fed up and started doing their own thing or emigrated. That’s the thing, you can ignore something only until it becomes a problem.

  2. Nice try Andrew. You are not going to escape racism with indifference. You see, racism is not about skin color, DNA or genetics. It is about equality. Equality as in possessions, money and comfort. Places where the inequality of races are visible, like SA and USA, racism will for ever be with you. Your skin color doesn’t make you white. Your comfortable suburbian house in picturesque Fishhoek, makes you white. Indifference to inequality is not going to help you. Sell your house (better still, give it away) and become equal. Or move to Japan.

    • Beg to differ Dawie. Andrew Kenny makes much more sense. It’s a matter of entitlement desired by the now majority ethnic group that has nothing more than a majority of numbers and an identity marked by melanin to bring to the party. The blame game and a chip in the shoulder are the only other last resorts of the false race science they preach.

  3. Surprising that Andrew, normally liberal and fact-based, could write such rubbish as “The primary cause of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ (BLM) campaign in the United States (US) was the fear that racial differences were fading away”

    It arose from the murder of several blacks by police — racists with badges — spurred on by the racism of and amorality of Donald Trump, spokesperson for US whites who fear that their imaginary golden age rights are being eroded by foreigners, blacks, gays, women, communists, etc, “others” whom they really did not bother to distinguish and which no red-blooded redneck could tolerate, similar to the mindset of many who supported apartheid.

    This was against a background of US blacks falling on the wrong side of most statistics, education, career, wealth, jail, police-frisking etc with Jim Crow lynchings only a generation or two away.

    • Eish, you watch too much CNN, MSNBC and that lot, I’m afraid…
      I suppose to you all the riots and burning and lootings and tearing down of statues (incl one of a dinosaur) were “mostly peaceful”?
      As old Sleepy Joe would say: “Come on, man.”

    • Sorry buddy ,Andrew kenny is right because the crime stats in America disprove the argument that blacks are targeted by the police. In fact twice as many whites and hispanics are killed by cops than blacks but the main stream media will avoid the truth to push their agenda.

  4. Agree with Andrew 100%. It’s nothing but hatred because for some reason or other the racist thinks they are inferior. It is also that thinking one has to have billions of money units which will make you superior. Money does not make you better than anyone else.

  5. It’s the comments that make this piece so perefct an example of that rare thing: A knowlege of history married to commonm sense. Kudos Andrew!

  6. Well – too lazy yes. Too lazy to even bother trying to refute the actual arguments around race in South Africa. Instead it is made out to be all about all of us being colour blind to physical appearance and wait for it…not being racist based on skin colour. What can you say – but that this explains why South African liberalism has so little appeal beyond people that prefer to be blind?

    Really Mashaba reflected the issues much better in his “boardroom” example from the launch speech. This with Crouse’s even worse 2nd article on Kolisi pretty much underscore why the DA and this brand of liberalism will never find much traction or continue to be rightly perceived as tone deaf…

  7. This is a good piece in general but specifically how our liberal’s doesn’t even understand the own limits of their liberalism.


    Two of the best paragraphs:

    Liberalism, for Fukuyama, if severed from its pre-liberal roots, is destined to fail. “Stable democracy re­quires a sometimes irrational democratic culture,” he cautions, “and a spontaneous civil society growing out of pre-liberal traditions.” Indeed, there is in The Last Man, a striking distaste for the blandness of liberalism, an aesthetic and moral disgust with the world liberal principles has brought into being that goes beyond conservatism into reaction.

    “Liberal economic princi­ples provide no support for traditional communities; quite the contrary, they tend to atomize and separate people,” Fukuyama warns. Contrary to the assertions of absolute equality which, at least rhetorically, govern the liberal order, Fukuyama argues that if liberalism attempts “to outlaw differences between the ugly and beautiful, or pretend that a person with no legs is not just the spiritual but the physical equal of someone whole in body, then the argument will in the fullness of time become self-refuting, just as communism was.”

    There is a lot of pretending in South African liberal circles – no more than this notion that race is not a significant political and social indicator in South Africa…


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