Friday, November 28, 2008

Racism is alive and well!

Ugh! I grew up in Cape Town, fairly liberal town where being gay, lesbian, black, coloured or Indian didn't mean much to white people, colour and sexual orientation was just another part of your life. Until the forced removals in the 60's, we all got along with everyone and life was great until the government stepped in. The day that Nelson Mandela was released I drove alone to Cape Town, drove through the masses of people waiting to see this great icon of the struggle against Apartheid. Of course I never got to see the man, there were just too many happy people. It was a great day for South Africa, and living in liberal Cape Town totally reinforced it for me.

That is, until we moved to Pretoria. I finally understood what it meant to be black in this country, how white people could be so filled with hatred towards a people whose only crime it is to have a black skin. Many white people here still carry within them that seed of blind hatred. It's scary. I worked with a woman who prays on her knees every night that none of her children will come home with a black friend, that none of her children will come home saying that they want to date a black person. She'd rather her children become gay and live with a white partner. She prays for this every night.

We live next door to one of the few black families in our community. The day we moved into our home, one of our neighbours came over to introduce herself and to inform us that we better lock our valuables up as we had black neighbours. Our black neighbours have been nothing but friendly, they've looked after our mail whenever we've been away, seen that nothing is out of place and informed our security service of anything strange in the area. I highly doubt our white neighbour has ever done the same.

I tell you all this because this morning, as I left the school grounds, I overheard two white women complaining about the inherent laziness of black people, how it must be because they are black that they have this dislike for hard work.

I sometimes wish that human beings had been created colour blind, where everyone looks the same.

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