A group of white students at a university in South Africa tricked a group of black students into eating a funky stew (by pretending that it was for a Fear Factor-esque program) laced with a peculiar secret ingredient: urine.
Apparently, this incident took place back in September but the video has only surfaced in the last day or two (Editor's note: I wonder what the over-under is on how fast Rev. Al Sharpton will find his way down to South Africa to speak out against these atrocities? I've got my all money on 5 minutes ago).
This all got me thinking... as recently as segregation was still allowed in America (40 years), it has been an even shorter period of time since it was still acceptable in South Africa. How screwy is this whole thing? At the very base of it all, one can be hated simply for possessing more melanin than another. Not because of a heinous crime committed (although in their blind hate, some would peg an African-American for an offense without knowing a thing about him/her) or anything else that could justify such outright disdain -- but because of a person's skin color. Does being dark (or not) dictate how intelligent, thoughtful, classy, respectful, diligent, productive or good (or not) a person will be? Is one predisposed to a life of crime, prison, illegitimate children, manual labor or an otherwise unfulfilled life just because of the hue of their epidermis? I'm no anthrology, sociology or history expert, but I'm truly curious to know what was passing through the minds of the first people to say "Hey, look at them... why are they that color? They're different so I hate them and will teach my offspring and their offspring to hate them in perpetuity."
When broken down to its simplest form, racism is unfounded to a large degree and probably only exists now because it has existed for so long and has been passed to generation after generation.
I want to take the time to make this statement: Minorities can be racists, too. We can "discrimihate" (thanks, André 3000) on ourselves and others like us for reasons unknown. Some refuse to socialize or procreate with other minorities. Some viciously attack other minorities out of spite. Are they lashing out because of how they've been treated? Do they see a dark face and decide to release their anger and frustration? I'm probably way off-base, but I'm just trying to get a discussion going here.
I'm no deity or saint (and won't purport to be), but I know I'm a good person that treats everyone with respect. I'm no criminal... I have a college degree, a great job, a house, a car and multiple bank accounts -- I even have a 401(k), for goodness sake! But do you know what? Somewhere, a white person hates me because I'm black and a black person hates me because I'm doing something with my life. Mind you, I'm NOT insinuating that ALL white or ALL black people behave a certain way, but those that exhibit these behaviors know exactly who they are (and are probably proud of themselves).
I'm probably just being uber-pessimistic right now (this article sure did set me off), but the world is in sad shape. I just can't see world peace -- ever. Hate without reason is a very deadly weapon. A day without hate anywhere in the world is a day when we've all simultaneously fallen asleep or died from global warming and/or some massive explosion from deep in the Earth's core. Just look at all the centuries of tribal battle in the Middle East and Africa -- so senseless. Many of the battles are based on religious beliefs; others have simply been raging on for so long that children are reared to hate the opposition with no real rhyme or reason.
Racism (and most other -isms) has absolutely no place in society. I can only hope that my pessimism proves premature and that something will change... but I promise you that I will not hold my breath waiting.