Tuesday, 6 August 2013

I would have been a racist

I would have been a racist
6 August 2013

I've given it some thought. 

And had I been a member of an ethnic majority, in a country ruled unfairly by a different ethnic minority, chances I would have been a raging racist.  Why wouldn't I?  Especially if the minority ruled and governed over me unfairly.  If their treatment was inhumane and unjust and made me feel like I was less of a person.  If they were cruel and their handling of me felt like it attacked my self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.

If they told me where I could go, what I could do, who I could do it with, where I could live, where I could work, what type of job I could do, etc. all based on the colour of my skin, I know for a fact – I would have been angry.  It would have fostered feelings of hatred and injustice.

And given all of the above, I find it remarkable that not more people of colour in South Africa are racist.  And hate one another. 

Oh, there are some that do.  But even more people that don’t.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not something I want to encourage.  I merely marvel at people’s ability to forgive.  To move on.  To look on the bright side.  To not hang on the past.  Because without this ability, we’d be doomed as a nation.

In the past, people were subjected to awful circumstances, due to the simple “misfortune” of their skin colour.  How exceptionally shallow a distinction to make?

I am proud of our efforts to regress the wrongs that were done.  At the attempts made at reconciliation.  At the justice that is being done.

We can’t deny that mistakes were made.  However it is important to look at the many rights that have been done since them.

I do not want to be judged on the mistakes of a generation before me.  I am not part and parcel of their ideals.  I do not want to be labelled as a racist, simply because of the colour of MY skin.  And because many years ago, people of the same skin colour were cruel. 
Why?  Because I do not subscribe to racism.

As a nation we are stronger because of our past.  Of the lessons we have learnt.  Of how far along we’ve come.

We’ve been through the wars and have the scars to prove it.  At great personal sacrifice to many great people.  And ordinary average people too.

But hopefully some of the lessons learnt, were that we should never follow this path again.  Nor should others.  That all men, women and children were created equal.

And should be treated as such.

I am proud to be a South African.  And a member of our rainbow nation.

I am proud of the forgiveness of people and their ability to not bear grudges.

And just perhaps, had the roles been reversed, I would not have been a racist at all.  But practiced encompassing forgiveness instead.  At least that's what I'd like to believe.

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1 comment:

  1. Hope I set my kids a good example as my folks set me!