Anybody who believed that news and general talking topics would be hard to find during the lockdown was quickly proven wrong in a matter of days. From #ZoomingWithZumas right down to debates about the lockdown itself, Twitter has had no shortage of trending hashtags over the past few weeks. However, very few were as divisive as Tuesday and Wednesday’s explicit search term for the word kaffir – a South African racial slur which reared its ugly head again following an altercation between two women.
It all began with a car accident and things quickly heated up until unpleasantries were exchanged between the two women. The verbal scuffle became physical and just when we thought things couldn’t get worse, the older woman in question, who happened to be caucasian, then resorted to using the word kaffir in her rant against her newly formed adversary.
While the incident itself was ugly to watch, it’s a third character in this entire exchange who has caught the attention of the masses: the boyfriend who urges his girlfriend to calm down and effectively back off after the K-word has been used against her.
The debate around his lack of involvement caught our attention, as many South African tweeps questioned why he didn’t do more to defend his lady from her racist attacker. Take a look at some of the commentary below.
We asked a few of our followers if they felt as if he should have done more and here was the general consensus
Is it a boyfriend’s role to defend his woman in an attack?
We have been conditioned to think of men in society as protectors, fighters and the first line of defense once the household comes under attack. The old school code of chivalry suggests that a man should be able to show his loyalty to a woman by jumping in front of fire for her and coming out on top in physical combat. As a result, a lack of machismo is often interpreted as we
In recent years, however, this line of thinking has been reviewed and it was evident through some of the rebuttals that many women and men could see the sense in the man’s calmness.
A case for the passive boyfriend
While it’s possible to say that some were disappointed in his lack of action, it’s equally possible to point out how many people lauded the man for being able to keep his cool in a situation that was clearly spiralling out of control. The ability to keep calm during the height of pressure is an often underrated character trait.
Had he retaliated violently, the encounter could have quickly become a nasty brawl, which would certainly have landed the man in jail. Instead, it was the racist woman who emerged in the spotlight of the incident and who is most likely to face legal punishment. The boyfriend, in his bid to avoid further clashing, kept himself and his partner out of trouble.
What about honour?
Shouldn’t he have defended his woman out of honour? So what if it lands him in jail – it would have sent a statement that racism is not tolerated in South Africa under any circumstances.
While that may be the case, his refusal to stoop to his assailant’s level should not be viewed as a dishonorable act. Instead, whether he thought of this at the time or not, the justice system will be able to protect his and his lady’s honour.
Do you think he should have fought back?