Tinyiko Maluleke writes that whether or not eNCA report Lindsay Dentlinger is white, yellow, brown or black, if she has discriminated in opposition to anybody, she must be known as out.
Throughout the 2021 SONA, President Ramaphosa tried to uplift the spirits of the nation by invoking the resilient Fynbos Biome and immersing the Covid-19-battered souls of his fellow South Africans with the poetry of Maya Angelou. To not be outdone, Minister Tito Mboweni concluded his Funds Speech with a passionate name to motion: Gloria est consequenda – glory have to be wanted!
However just a few moments later, senior eNCA journalist Lindsay Dentlinger was seen interviewing a mask-less FF-Plus chief, Dr Pieter Groenewald, solely to insist just a few seconds thereafter, that UDM Deputy President, Nqabayomzi Kwankwa ought to hold his masks on earlier than she may interview him.
This explicit scene despatched ripples of shock and outrage throughout the nation.
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Instantly, novice video editors, took to the web and to the arduous drives of their TV decoders, looking for comparable footage, in order to determine whether or not there was a sample of behaviour by Dentlinger.
Quickly, montages of videoclips of Dentlinger’s interviews went viral.
Basically the video clips used within the montages emanated from interviews performed over 5 totally different days: 28 October 2020, 11 February 2021, 18 February 2021, 22 February 2021 and 24 February 2021. Within the interval lined by these dates, Dentlinger performed at least 27 interviews that are doubtlessly related to the allegations of prima facie racism levelled in opposition to her.
So, right here is the speculation which must be disproved: In nearly all of these roughly 27 interviews in query, evidently, each time Dentlinger elected to or remembered to ask her interviewees to put on masks, the interviewees in query had been black.
The 28 October 2020 the Put up-Medium Time period Funds interviews:
Occurring earlier than the eNCA coverage of necessary masks for interviewees, the 5 interviews performed by Dentlinger on 28 October 2020 ought to, strictly talking, be irrelevant to the dialogue.
Except if there was proof that Dentlinger had handled black and white interviewees in another way even on that day. On this present day, she interviewed, amongst others, Pieter Groenewald, Steven Swart, Geordin Hill-Lewis, Nqabayomzi Kwankwa and Pemmy Majodina – all of whom had been mask-less and all of whom weren’t requested to put on a masks. It’s due to this fact mischievous and unfair that the clip of the Hill-Lewis interview from 28 October 2020 has been included in a number of video clip montages that pertain to 2021 Dentlinger interviews.
11 February Put up-SONA interviews
On this present day, Dentlinger interviewed, amongst others, Natasha Mazzone, Khumbudzo Ntshaveni, Mkhukeko Hlengwa, Shaun August, Kenneth Meshoe, John Steenhuizen and Zweli Mkhize. All of those, had been already sporting masks, so there was no want for Dentlinger to ask for masks. Apart from Shaun August, who gave the impression to be the one black particular person interviewed by Dentlinger and not using a masks of the interval in query. However on the finish of that interview, Dentlinger reminded August to put on his masks henceforth.
18 February Put up-SONA Debate interviews
On this present day, Dentlinger interviewed, amongst others, Steenhuizen, Hlengwa, Kenneth Meshoe, Corné Mulder and Ntshaveni. Steenhuizen didn’t put on a masks, however Dentlinger asks Hlengwa to “please hold your masks on, although”. The remainder of the interviewees already had their masks on.
22 February Western Cape Excessive Court docket interview of Bongo
On this present day, when Bongani Bongo answered the primary query, he was not sporting a masks, however Dentlinger intervened saying: “Can I simply ask you to place your masks on earlier than you proceed. We try to respect Covid-19 protocols and set a great instance. Over your nostril too, please, sir.”
The 24 February 2021 Put up-Funds interviews
On this present day, that Dentlinger interviewed, amongst others, Groenewald and Kwankwa – the previous and not using a masks whereas the latter was requested, “Please can you retain your masks on, sir”. Her different interviewees had been, Wayne Thring, Geordin Hill-Lewis, Paul Mashatile, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Shaik Imam, William Madisha, Brett Herron and Edward Kieswetter. The entire latter had been already sporting masks. Nevertheless, Dentlinger did ask Thring to “cowl your nostril please, sir”.
The Dentlinger defence league
Of their first assertion on 25 February 2021, eNCA identified that Dentlinger was beneath strain as this was a stay broadcast. However they arrive wanting admitting to any oversight, both on hers or on its half. Extolling her credentials as a journalist, eNCA concludes that Dentlinger’s conduct was “not racially motivated or with malicious intent” and that “this incident represents an inaccurate and unfair picture of her work”.
Throughout an interview with JJ Tabane, Dentlinger described interviewing a mask-less Groenewald as “an oversight” by way of which she “erred in not following firm coverage”. She put all of it all the way down to the pressures of stay broadcasting.
She introduced that she had apologised to Kwankwa and Hlengwa as a result of that “40 second clip has made it seem that ostensibly, I disrespected them each”. However she challenged her detractors, asking:
“… what in regards to the unconscious bias of the individuals who have based mostly this complete furore on the truth that they understand me to be white and so due to this fact I used to be performing in a racist method?”
Whether or not Dentlinger is white, yellow, brown or black, if she has discriminated in opposition to anybody, she must be known as out.
Whereas the fact-checking of a few of the video montages has been useful, particularly in distinguishing 2020 interviews from 2021 interviews, it requires no rocket science to see that the video clips within the montages got here from totally different instances and locations. To level this out is to state the apparent.
It’s somewhat smug merely to claim, that Dentlinger was not racially biased, with out presenting any corroborating proof on the contrary. That a number of white (and black) interviewees approached Dentlinger already sporting masks is not any proof of advantage on the a part of Dentlinger.
South Africans have an interest within the mask-less interviewees, whom Dentlinger elected to or forgot to remind to put on their masks. We’re involved that evidently Dentlinger elected or remembered – somewhat disproportionately – to remind her black interviewees to put on masks.
READ | Redi Tlhabi: Subliminal racism on the root of eNCA masks furore
In explaining her “oversight” and “error” in relation to the Groenewald interview of 24 February, Dentlinger seems to be defending him when she says: “Mr Groenewald didn’t have a masks anyplace on his particular person earlier than I began to interview him.”
She nonetheless went forward and interviewed him. Regardless of her twenty years of expertise she proceeded, “to crumble within the second and to not keep in mind to inform everybody to put on a masks”.
A number of defenders of Dentlinger forged her within the mould of a sufferer. Some even go so far as to say, she deserves an apology. Now, that may be a little too wealthy.
So, the speculation which, to my thoughts, has but to be disproven, by Dentlinger, eNCA and her military of defenders is: In nearly all of these roughly 27 interviews in query, evidently, each time Dentlinger elected to or remembered to ask her interviewees to put on masks, the interviewees in query had been black.
So, how come eNCA appears to not care that Dentlinger has, over the interval in query, repeatedly forgotten to remind white interviewees to put on their masks? Why ought to our fellow South Africans – the white interviewees – obtain such life-threatening neglect presently?
– Tinyiko Maluleke is a Senior Analysis Fellow on the College of Pretoria Centre for the Development of Scholarship. You possibly can comply with him on Twitter @ProfTinyiko