One can be forgiven for thinking that all South African’s are racist morons who spend their days trying to contain their fear and hatred.
Our country is a violent one to be sure – but is that the whole mucky picture?
I am a middle aged white woman of modest means living in this country. I was not raised to be hate-filled, but I was raised ‘white’.
Most everyone I knew while growing up was white. The only exceptions were our nannies and gardeners.
I think I was 18 before I had my first real conversation with a non – white person – mind blowing isn’t it?
The path for our country has been one paved with blood and tears, but for me personally it has been one of awakening.
Our family, like so many others, accepted the status quo regarding the seperation of races.
We never questioned it. We gave to charities, took great care of the people who worked for us, but never thought to stop and think about the ‘whites only’ signs that were up everywhere.
It never occurred to us that there was something implicitly wrong with 1st car train carriages for the whites and 2nd and 3rd class for the ‘others’.
When my older brother started high school and developed a social conscience we listened to him and shrugged, because ‘that’s just the way things were’. We never considered ourselves racist, in fact we just never considered anything past our own middle class lives. We lived in a little white bubble.
We would have been appalled if someone had accused us of racism – truly, and that’s the sadness of it. One always points fingers at the hardcore tyrants abusing their workers and enslaving the races, but what of those of us who never took a stand, who never even thought to do so?
There’s no such thing as neutral when it comes to love. Being on the fence is not possible when it has an impact on the freedom of others.
It was a shocking lesson to learn, and one I hope I’ll never forget. Whether one is actively or passively involved in the change in this country, we are all accountable.
Everything we DO and everything we DON’T do, has an impact, somewhere, somehow.
I may not know how to become involved in bringing about the changes this country so desperately needs, but at least now I’m aware that change is needed.
I do what is in my power to do. It’s not much, truly, but one human being at a time is my belief.
I am awake now, I see, I feel and I care…..I will add to that as time goes on….