What We Can Learn from Charlize Theron, Elon Musk, and Trevor Noah

What We Can Learn from Charlize Theron, Elon Musk, and Trevor Noah

By Ipsa Liberalis

When I am on the internet, as I frequently am, and when I am reading comments, which I try not to do but sometimes happens, I see things that irritate the ever-living-shit out of me. One of those things is: "There are people from South Africa who are white. Aren't they African American?"

This line of thinking makes me feel like I am hemorrhaging brain cells. It has happened quite a bit lately, what with all the race debate that has been had. So, I am going to put this here, for perpetuity, and you can use it as a link the next time someone is uttering such ideas, if you want.

Fact:
Europeans took the empire all over the non-white world. To say that all people on one continent have x-y-z traits, such as complexion, is to ignore all of imperial history.

Fact:
South Africa has a long history of white supremacy. Go to Wikipedia. Search for Apartheid. Read.

Fact:
The same kinds of privileges that "European-Americans" enjoy in the U.S., the "European-South Africans" enjoy in South Africa.

Charlize Theron was born in South Africa. Elon Musk was born in South Africa. Trevor Noah was born in South Africa. Yet, of these three brilliant, talented, successful people, only one was born a crime in South Africa.

And in the United States, only one, the same one, might have reasonable, serious fear about being in the wrong place with the wrong cop at the wrong time. It's not the beautiful, pale actress. It's not the inventor and former presidential advisor. It's the young, half-black man who has known the imbalance of skin tone since day one.

Time is not just what the clock displays. It is an enormous, flowing river. I am standing in it. You are standing in it. We cannot just look at events as they flow away from us, but we must also know where they are from, these moments. If someone out there wants to cite geography over history, it's the height of ignore-ance. Don't do it.

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Notes from the Post-it Wall — Week of October 8, 2017

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