When the hashtag #PennySparrow first made an appearance, it was calling out one person’s obnoxious opinion on the annual ritual taken by many underprivileged people who save up all year to spend a day or two at the beach. While Penny Sparrow referred to the beach goers as ‘monkeys’, the social media backlash snowballed, ultimately creating a space to call out others who had done the same along with open dialogue about the overt racism people of colour are accustomed to.
For some, yesterday was just the first day back at work, but for others, it was time to get a handle on the situation. Here is what went down:
I just don’t know what to do and I don’t want to say anything because I don’t want to get into trouble.
I asked her what she was thinking and she just said that she didn’t mean anything by it and she doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about. It’s just litter, paper on the ground.
She is a diabetic and she got very sick over this. There is a huge concern for her safety and people have sent terrible, terrible messages. She has even had death threats.
There is a huge concern for her safety and people have sent terrible, terrible messages. She has even had death threats. I want nothing to do with this.
Every year it is the same story; it’s their [black people] day and we don’t go in the beach, we don’t interfere, we let it be. We all know it and there is nothing wrong. We stay out of the way and stay at home.
I am sorry that it has taken such a viral turn, but it was just a statement of how it was. I made the mistake of comparing them [black people] with monkeys. Monkeys are cute and they’re naughty, but they [black people] don’t see it that way, but I do because I love animals.
I wasn’t being nasty or rude or horrible, but it’s just that they [black people] make a mess. It is just how they are.
I put an apology up to say I didn’t mean it personally. That day on that beach it was all black people, I’m sorry to say it, but it is a fact of life. I said it as I felt it and I know it was wrong to do it on a public thing [Facebook] like that. I don’t know how it got out and we were all saying it.
They also degrade black people as people not deserving of using the beaches in their country of birth. They further accuse the majority of our country, who are mostly black, as having a sense of entitlement and hatred towards the minority
Pan African Congress of Azania:
What is wrong when African people enjoy their ancestors’ land and its beautiful nature, clearly other people have a problem. Penny believes that something should only be exclusive to one superior group of people.
The political party has laid charges against Penny Sparrow – who is a member of the DA – but the country called the party out for unfair treatment when Kohler Barnard’s expulsion was lifted in December after she shared a post on Facebook that supported PW Botha.
I get it, as a white person you have been socialised into accepting certain truths: an “Us vs Them” situation. Inherent principles about your existence have never been the subject of discrimination. But your access to a privilege you are fortunately born with doesn’t mean you have to let your ego get in the way. If you think you are educated, act that way. Seek to learn more, reflect on what is happening and open your mind to a different way of living.
Too preachy? I’ll stop when you realise.
In the meantime, take a listen to social expert Emma Sadleir on how you are directly representative of your employer and what not to do on social media.
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