Gopolang Moloko
1 minute read
3 May 2018
12:33 pm

How racism survives in the digital age

Gopolang Moloko

A discussion by a panel about racism in the digital age was held at the Nelson Mandela Foundation head office in Houghton.

A debate about racism at the Nelson Mandela Foundation on Wednesday. Image: twitter/kevinMalunga

“People say things on social media which they otherwise would never say in person,” said Stuff magazine publisher Toby Shapshak during a discussion about racism in the digital age, hosted at the Nelson Mandela Foundation on Wednesday evening.

The discussion analysed social media’s role in and impact on racism.

The discussion by a panel about racism in the digital age was one of the topics debated by University of Johannesburg vice-chancellor Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, geneticist Professor Musa Mahlangu and Stuff SA’s Shapshak.

Shapshak said people didn’t use social media, but were used by it for the purpose of advertising, adding that social media aided social ills such as racism, misogyny, death threats and even rape threats.

He questioned algorithms on YouTube, Google, Twitter, including how Google Maps programmed speech.

Mahlangu said race arose in the 19th century when European thinkers defined human beings in categories of race to create false ideas of superiority and inferiority.

He said there was a clear scientific indication that everyone on the continent was mixed in terms of race, as there were variations between groups of people.

A myriad other topics were discussed with regards to social media’s role in society and, in particular, perpetuating racism.