Lifting the hood on suburban fear

Blog Suburban Fear has been raising eyebrows over the past week.

Suburban Fear, a group dedicated to South African Facebook civic organisations. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - Controversial blog Suburban Fear, which highlights Facebook groups across the country that make use of racial profiling in certain neighbourhood watches, has been raising eyebrows over the past week.

In the wake of a spate of race motivated attacks in Cape Town, Terry-Jo Thorne wrote her own blog post about how she had intended to leave the suburb Harfield, Cape Town which in turn, inspired Suburban Fear.

According to her post, Harfield residents had taken to a community group to profile people racially and alert one another of suspicious characters in the community.

The website's creator, who wishes to remain anonymous, says the blog was started after reading Thorne's post.

The author felt that someone needed to document the crazy things that are said on community networks and neighbourhood watch groups on Facebook.

The purpose of the blog is to show that racism and discrimination is still rife in the country, and not just in places like Ventersdorp, but in the suburbs of Cape Town.

The blogger claims the blog shows the extent of the discrimination and how it perpetuates itself into the consciousness of individuals.

"If I had a five-year-old child, and had to warn him/her about suspicious individuals, based on the descriptions given on the blogs, the child would grow up fearing or always being suspicious of black people."

The author says many white people have not really thought about how their engagement in these neighbourhood watch groups affect other residents who are people of colour.

"Many people are happy that white people are finally talking about race and privilege, in terms of what is right and what is wrong."

The blogger says there has been feedback the blog is merely a storm in a teacup and that it would blow over soon enough, yet they believe that the conversations are merely beginning and that there is still a long way to go.

The blog's creator believes it's been successful in achieving its goals, which was to build was to build on the conversation started by Thorne.

The author believes that revealing their identity to the public would be a mistake, considering some of the backlash the blog has received.

Thorne was interviewed on Cape Talk on 3 December. You can listen to it here: