Jamaican News

South African white woman faces social media storm after Facebook comments described as racist

By Christopher Torchia


South African white woman faces social media storm after Facebook comments described as racist

JOHANNESBURG _ Many South Africans reacted furiously on Monday to what they described as the racist remarks of a white woman who criticized black beachgoers in a Facebook post.

Even political parties are commenting on the case, which has ignited fresh debate about South Africa’s legacy of white minority rule. Apartheid ended with all-race elections in 1994.

Authorities should prosecute the woman, Penny Sparrow, for “infringing the dignity” of all South Africans and “dehumanizing” blacks, the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, said in a statement. The party said it plans to suspend Sparrow’s party membership.

Sparrow wrote that some people celebrating the new year at public beaches were making a mess.

“I do know some wonderful thoughtful black people,” she wrote. “This lot of monkeys just don’t want to even try.”

Later, Sparrow told News24, a South African news outlet, that she “said it as I felt it” and that she had intended to comment on littering by black revelers rather than make any offensive remark. She also said her phone had been inundated with angry messages.

In a separate case, Standard Bank on Monday suspended one of its economists in South Africa for remarks that the bank described as having “racist undertones,” South African media reported.

The economist, Chris Hart, tweeted Sunday that “the victims are increasing along with a sense of entitlement and hatred towards minorities” more than two decades after apartheid, the African News Agency said. Hart later tweeted an apology, saying his comments were “meant to be read in context of slow growth.”

The ruling African National Congress party said it was troubled by the social media comments.

“Mr. Hart and Ms. Sparrow should have known better and should not be allowed to polarize our society,” the party said.


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