The Los Angeles Times reports that in Johannesburg, South Africa, two young models — one black and one white — have illustrated the country's lingering racial tensions with social networking statements that are as shocking for how casually they were made as for their hateful content.

First, Jessica Leandra Dos Santos, a 20-year-old blond model, using a highly offensive racial epithet known in South Africa as the k-word, told more than 6,000 followers that she had just "taken on" an "arrogant and disrespectful" black man in a supermarket. "Should have punched him, should have," her tweet ended.

Although she apologized and blamed the remark on anger over being sexually harassed, her timeline revealed another message in the same spirit: "Highlight of my weekend? Almost punching an #Engen petrol assistant. No tolerance for rude African monkeys whatsoever," it read.  

Tshidi Thamana, a young black model and actress, responded to the offensive language with a classy reply that put into perspective how painful and pointless racism is. Oh, wait, scratch that. She actually chose to escalate the animosity by publicly fantasizing about violence against whites.


"Dear Mr Peter Mokaba," she said, referring to a former leader of the African National Congress youth wing. "I wish All White People were killed when you sang 'Kill the Boer' we wouldn't be experiencing Jessica Leandra's racism now." (Mokaba popularized the song "Shoot the Boer," a reference to white farmers.) Thamana also apologized Sunday, saying, "Yes, racism is wrong and I apologize for the "kill all whites" tweet. It was tweeted in anger and yes, condemnation of each other is wrong."

How many more of these disturbing (and, often, career-ending) incidents will it take before people who harbor intense racial animosity start taking 10 deep breaths before sharing their 140-character messages with the world?


Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.