EFF national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi divided social media users on Tuesday after claiming all white people were racist and trying to get the hashtag #AllWhitePeopleAreRacist to trend.
He was responding to suspended Schweizer-Reneke teacher Elana Barkhuizen’s statement she read out at a press conference held by union Solidarity.
Some on Twitter were quick to tell Ndlozi that his statement was overly generalised and irresponsible, though he also enjoyed support.
Last week Barkhuizen shared a picture of a classroom at the North West school that caused outrage for seemingly depicting children divided along racial lines.
However, Barkhuizen said the picture had been used by “opportunists” who “mercilessly” exploited the situation, further calling herself a “good” teacher.
“People who know me say I am a good teacher. People who know me fight to have their children in my class. People who know me know that I put my whole heart into my work for my learners.
“I do not know what the people who tried to ruin my life wanted to achieve. I had to endure insults and I was told that I may never teach again.
“I had to watch how people who have never met me tell me that they know exactly who I am. How they dragged my good name through the mud and then kept on kicking me while I was down just for the fun of it,” she said.
But the EFF spokesperson said one of the main problems with Barkhuizen’s statement was in her describing herself as a good person. This, according to Ndlozi, made it hard for her to see her alleged racism. He further said “anti-black racism” was especially dangerous when it came from those whose position in society put them on a “good” pedestal.
“All white people are racist,” said the EFF spokesperson, using a hashtag.
“But anti-black racism is particularly dangerous when it comes from “good” people: bishops, rabbis, judges. Declaring yourself “good” is already a problem that makes it hard for you to see your racism. Fact: #AllWhitePeopleAreRacist; that is why they want to be called white!”
The EFF on Friday called for Barkhuizen’s dismissal. In a statement, the party further called on the South African Council of Educators to revoke her licence and not permit her to teach in South Africa.
“This act singles [out] the teacher as an anti-black racist who should not be educating any of South Africa’s children. We call on the school to dismiss the teacher to demonstrate that anti-black racism does not belong in our classrooms. The country must show zero tolerance to anti-black racism, particularly when executed on innocent and unsuspecting children,” it said.
It further called on the department of basic education to appoint a special unit to monitor private schools.
“There are grounds to believe that these schools continue to perpetuate racial discrimination throughout the schooling years of children and learners. To dismantle this, there must be constant visits, surveys and interviews to monitor anti-black racism in schools.” The Citizen