Term coloured is racist — activists

“They refer to us as a mix, mix of what? This simply means we are not black or white enough. We cannot say we are isolated or a part of the majority either,” said Glen Snyman, founder and leader of People Against Race Classification (PARC).

This follows their petition to parliament on Thursday, demanding that the government gets rid of the use of the word “coloured”.

PARC, a group of activists, appeared before the select committee to state their discomfort caused by the word, saying it was confusing, derogatory, and racist.

In the petition, PARC says the word must be removed from all government forms, private institutions, and the Employment Equity Act as they do not want to fit into the four blocks. Snyman told Sunday World that they were born and classified by a word that was associated with apartheid.

“The word carries racial connotations, that is why we want it removed. White and black people belong to a certain group, they are whole, and we are called a mix? We tole-rated this word for as long as we have lived because we wanted to belong. We want to be identified as human and South African,” he said. He further criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa for not acting on the matter sooner.

“We have tried reasoning with the president on the issue in 2019, but he didn’t take any action. The Human Rights Commission was supposed to be there on Thursday but they disregarded the seriousness of this,” he added.

Snyman said coloured people were divided. “The most difficult part would be to try to unite us. We have no political desire to unite coloureds but we want the racial referrals to be cut out.”

However, Patriotic Alliance party leader Gayton McKenzie shared a different view, saying the word “coloured” did not portray hatred or racism.

“I have no problem with people who would like to be identified as Khoisan and call themselves Khoisan, or whatever other identifier they prefer for the group I am part of and the community I was raised in,” said McKenzie.

“There’s nothing wrong with it. The problem is that not all coloured people have a problem with the word,” he elaborated.

Select committee on petitions chairperson Zolani Mkiva said they would assist in facilitating a national debate on the matter.

Good party’s Brett Herron said the organisation will be debating its position on the continuing use of colonial and apartheid racial classifications, identities, names, and symbols at its national elective conference later this year. “Our positions will be guided by our people and communities,” he said.

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