What commentary about racism and fear does Gordimer make through her story "Once Upon a Time"?

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This story centers on the attitudes and behaviors of a young couple, and though their race is not stated explicitly, it is clear that they are white. They live in a suburb and therefore feel relatively safe from the riots that are "outside the city, where people of another color were quartered."

Further, they have a neighborhood watch sign posted, but the malefactor's face is covered by a mask and so one cannot tell what race he is; for this reason, they feel, they cannot be accused of being racist. Once persons of color begin to crowd the streets outside the couple's house, they begin to take steps to protect themselves from these individuals: they install burglar bars, build a high wall around their home, and even set up an alarm system.

In short, they make a prison of their own home as a result of their fear of others. Rather than take steps to correct the economic and racial injustices that have led to the problem of homelessness and joblessness among persons of color, this white couple seeks only to protect themselves. Ironically, their racism and fear not only harms those persons of color outside their door but also themselves as well when their son is horribly wounded by the barbed wire that they set up to protect themselves.

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