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Efforts always made to explain away white criminality and humanise white criminals at every turn

Pauw a beneficiary of redemption, a bedmate of white privilege

When people talk about white privilege, they point to the economic inequalities that define our society. They speak of the historical land and economic dispossession that continue to have a devastating impact on black people or the patterns of accumulation that continue to favour white people. Perhaps, because of the pervasiveness of economic inequalities in our country, our discourse on white privilege is largely economistic. But there is another layer of white privilege that we do not often speak about which the Jacques Pauw story so pellucidly reflects: redemption.

Two weeks ago, investigative journalist and bestselling author Pauw wrote an article for the Daily Maverick in which he told how he was brutalised by police at an exclusive restaurant at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. The profoundly moving article detailed how Pauw, drunk, could not settle his bill due to problems with his bank card and therefore asked the restaurant for permission to go and withdraw the money from an ATM. Upon his return, he wrote, he found police were waiting for him. He was subsequently arrested and brutalised by the police, who proceeded to steal money from him...

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