Apartheid and appropriation

In 1947 a policy was introduced in South Africa which officially began in 1948 called apartheid. It was the segregation of Europeans from the non-Europeans.

The non-European did not have any choice in this. They could not be polite, well educated, use money or any other means to gain access to places from which they were segregated. 

Zero choice. The colour of their skin said NO, you cannot access this place. No you cannot marry that person. No, you do not have rights to that education.

Segregated, belittled, cast aside, perceived as non-human…because of race. 

Today we have elements of the population appropriating the word apartheid and using it to describe their own feelings of being given restricted choice. (To be clear, not the same as zero choice.)

Like any form of cultural appropriation, this act negates the incredibly painful and shameful history of those people who suffered under the apartheid regime. 

Those people who have claimed apartheid as the regime they are currently suffering under might consider the history of apartheid, they might take time to inquire as to what it really did to people and communities who did not have any choice.

They might consider the roots of apartheid, and understand it was not about all-community wellbeing, but suppression, power and control over humans based on race. Do not conflate the two. You may not agree with the all-community wellbeing aspect, you may think there is another way, yet the laws that have been named by some as apartheid are about public health, not suppression, violence and control. 

If you do not agree with the way the public health issues are being addressed, propose clear other pathways that protect the vulnerable and immune-compromised.

To speak only of your rights, without considering the other’s rights, is more akin to the regime that implemented apartheid than to those without choice who were subject to it.

To claim rights we need also to claim responsibility. 

Photo taken December 1st 2017

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