The unveiling today of a dedicated ‘Racism is NOT the problem’ website launches the latest campaign by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) to check the onslaught of racial politics that divides South Africans and to make the case for non-racial solutions that better match the real sentiments of most citizens.

The campaign draws on IRR survey data showing that over 95% of South Africans do not identify racism as the major problem, 80% have not personally experienced racism in the last five years, and that most people think ‘politicians are talking up racism and colonialism to excuse their own failures’.

Furthermore 80% of South Africans think merit, not race, should be the deciding factor in appointing jobs.

The IRR argues that ‘acting on this common sense means scrapping all race-based policy’.

‘Race-based law is the root of distraction politics. Socially it demands that poor black South Africans live vicariously through politically connected billionaires who “enjoy the fruits of liberation” on behalf of impoverished millions. Race-based policy also demands that poor white South Africans think of their personal destitution as payment for the sins of earlier generations.

‘Economically, race-based policy incentivizes crony capitalism and halts value-add investment. Politically, race-based policy turns every government failure into an excuse for the government to seize even more power from citizens to solve mythical, “everywhere-racism”.’

IRR analysts point out that ‘(seen) for what it is, South Africa does not emerge as a rosy utopia, but rather as a failing state in which most youth are unemployed, crime is terrifying, corruption is widespread, basic services are undelivered and public education amounts to child abuse – exactly the major problems topping most people’s agenda’.

‘That presents an opportunity, the third step of the Racism is NOT the problem movement. Once citizens bring the law back in line with our common values, ordinary people can pressure government to meet real NEED.

‘Non-racial Empowerment for the Economically Disadvantaged is a policy framework drafted by the IRR that connects tangible, demonstrable and widespread problems with practical solutions in work, education, crime-fighting, health, and more. Drop the racial fixation and address what people NEED.’

Read more at the ‘Racism is NOT the problem’ website here.