Two recently released movies make me incredibly embarrassed and ashamed to be a white South African, to have that stigma and that past. It is not enough that I am haunted every day by the effects of this hate between white and black all over the world, especially locally, for me as a white person from a perceived racist country writing interracial love stories, well. I am shunned. By all. Not many people accept what I do. No publisher wants to publish interracial romances as there is ‘not a big enough market for it’. So, if that is true, this world is inhabited by racists. Billions of them.
Movies like these, stories like these which need to be told can cause a lot of additional hurt and anger by remembering the past – but they can mend fences if people look into themselves and BE the change. Remember history but change the future, make it better. Don’t dwell on the bad too much.
The films I refer to, are firstly A United Kingdom, the story of Sir Seretse Khama and his wife Ruth, former Regents of Botswana,
wherein almost unbelievably, it is shown that the governments of South Africa and Britain interfered in their relationship (1947) and tried very hard to split them up. South Africa threatened to withhold gold and uranium from Britain if King Khama was allowed to return to Bechuanaland (Botswana) with his white British wife. As if the happiness of this special couple would have affected anyone badly? What a crazy notion.
Skin is the story of Sandra Laing, (played as adult by the lovely Sophie Okonedo) a dark skinned girl born to white South African parents during the height of Apartheid in 1955. It shows her struggle with mainly white male South Africa (some females too though). I can identify with her, white males have also made my life miserable, but so did females. Of all colours. But light skinned people are not all bad.
Racism in all its forms HOWEVER is not specific to this country, South Africa, this skin colour white – I see it and chauvinism happening especially in America, through the years of slavery, and after – just for one example take Denzel Washington’s first movie, the deeply and offensively, stereotypical racist comedy Carbon Copy (1981) – not so long ago. Are Americans so proud of who they are, of what movies they make? Or maybe they feel better about themselves by making South Africa the ‘most evil ones’. Racism is everywhere, in North Africa, India, Arabia, China, Europe… etc. Remember the Holocaust? Genocide in Zaire, Rwanda? A certain group of people deciding to annihilate the other. The different.
For non-South Africans, both of these films may give a glimpse into my world, the world in which I grew up. The world ruled by the South African government. I was born only nine years after Sandra, but neither of us asked to be born during this time, in this intolerable situation. I was luckier than her though, my skin matched that of my parents. I did not suffer like her, not then. I was white in a white dominated country, (not number-wise as the black races were always in the majority in Southern Africa, but the white people were ‘in charge‘ then. Now, the black people are ‘in charge‘ and the white people are by far the minority. We are still hated though, internationally. Twenty three years after democracy.
I wonder if that will ever change. It does not seem to matter to anyone whether you as an individual are a racist or not, it is all about the colour of your skin. Try as you may to change the opinions of you as a person…some people just want to perpetuate hate. I know that Apartheid was unacceptable, horrible and caused enormous pain and suffering. And death. Terrible things happened. I know. So many lives were lost. I can’t fix the past, nobody can. But we can try and fix the present and the future.
We all inherited this racist world. A world where even today, after so many years of integration, so many years of racial freedom, freedom to be with whomever you want to be, to marry whomever you want to marry without fear of the police kicking down your door to arrest you for contravening the laws, people still tend to keep away from and be scared of or offended by interracial couples. The Immorality Act, the Group Areas Act or the Separate Amenities Act, they were all designed to enlarge the divide between people of different races, those with different skin colour and features. You could not choose with whom to associate, it was decided for you, but really, these laws don’t exist anymore. There is no need to kill every white person now, or any section of the community. If you doubt me, google white genocide in South Africa. It is a horrific situation. It must stop. We are not all bad.
A world where white hates black and black hates white is not acceptable.
Not that it has changed at all – racism is alive and well. Sexism too. It is just not illegal anymore to associate with other races or sexes. The deep division will always be there, prejudices of the past. If we let it. And not only in South Africa, everywhere. http://www.apartheidmuseum.org/node/48
Democracy, equality, reconciliation, diversity, responsibility, respect and freedom. Can we not all live with these truths?
Why is it so bad for the majority of white and black people, to accept that love across the colour lines do exist, can be very strong, more so than with people of the same skin colour? One of the most beautiful interracial couples for me was Seal and Heidi, and I was devastated when they broke up. I would be so happy if they got back together.
If people can just understand and accept, we are not all a certain kind of bad or good depending on our skin colour. Not all white people are a certain way, not all black people either. Looks, personality, character, income, quirks, intelligence, education – it is not dependent on skin colour – it is dependent on circumstance, on birth not choice. For instance, not all white people are poor/rich/racist, not all black people are rich/poor/racist. You get racists everywhere.
Stop the hate please. Don’t perpetuate it.
Don’t let this happen again. Anywhere. Please.
Colour should not be the deciding factor. Individual merit should be. We may be different in some ways but we can work together to overcome this stupid colour feud. We all want to love somebody and be loved back. People who are attracted to each other in whatever way, love, friendship, shared interests, anyone should be allowed to be together with anyone, no matter what.
I will say again, as in my books, I wish we were all one colour. Blue, green, purple, it does not matter. I would prefer purple though 😉