Home > Petty Apartheid > Apathetic Ignorance

Apathetic Ignorance

I’ve never liked the idea of segregation. Its seems so stupid and self defeating. For most of my schooling I went to a whites only school, it was only in Std 9 when I went to a private school that I realized how closeted I’d been. Suddenly I was sharing classes with every colour, class and creed – and it was amazing.
But even before then I’d never liked the idea of ‘exclusive’ schools. All boys schools or all girls schools, Catholics only, Jews only, rich people only, how can anyone expect their child to get a grasp of the wider world around them when they’re only interacting a specific set of people? It can only lead to ignorance, narrow-mindedness and above all fear. Fear of something you don’t understand.

Is fear a reason for apartheid? Or ignorance? Or is it rooted in intolerance and hatred?

While chatting about this subject a couple of weeks ago on a forum, someone suggested that going to an exclusive (read: all white) school was actually a good thing, because how could you become a racist if you’ve never had interaction with a black person… How could you hate something you know nothing about? That doesn’t sound right to me, in fact, I know it’s wrong, but yet…. But yet… there seems to be something there.
None of the people I went to school with are racists. At least I don’t think so, but at the same time they live in small secluded little worlds that don’t allow them to interact with people of different colour or ethnicity. It’s not hatred… it might be fear… I simply think its ignorance. Is that the same thing as racism?

I don’t know.

I do know this: I don’t like segregation. I don’t think it’s good for the country, or the community or the individual.

And yet I still see it all the time. My nephews go to an all Jewish school – and they have little to no interaction with kids of different faiths or class or colour. To them life is all about keeping up with the Jankolowitz’s.

How sad I think, in a time when it’s cool to diversify, to be a part of something bigger, to be exposed to a larger world.

I love my childhood friends, we’ve grown up together, been through so many of life’s important moments, and I see the same traits in them. And it bugs the hell out of me.

Is this the legacy of segregation? Not hatred, but simply apathetic ignorance.
Shit, I hope not. It’s gonna take a long time to sort out this country, any country, if it is.

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  1. avatar
    Andrea
    September 29th, 2009 at 14:12 | #1

    You should’ve gone to a Waldorf school!! 😉

  2. avatar
    Cloudgazer
    September 29th, 2009 at 14:24 | #2

    Nah, those schools are exclusively for space cadets, bunny huggers and sprouts devotees.

  3. avatar
    Chatsubo
    September 29th, 2009 at 17:44 | #3

    Here’s one that boggled me…. Toronto, Canada, has introduced a school specifically for black students:

    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080129/black_focused_school/20080129?hub=TopStories

    You do hit a point that I’ve been musing about. It seems that segregation is some kind of inherent basic human condition. Especially when mentioning religious segregation… whole countries are formed by it. I’ve noted lately the flaring up of the religion in schools debate, having heard it being debated on radio and online…

    http://www.skeptic.co.za/content/view/215/1/

    From what I can gather, lots of religious folk insist that their own viewpoint should be promoted in schools at the exclusion of others. Then very rapidly boils to the surface the idea of having separate schools based on secular beliefs, Ie. leave us alone to have our own schools! This is just another form of petty apartheid, no? Albeit self inflicted.

    That’s why it seems to start distilling, to me, that people want to be separated from anyone of a different arbitrary viewpoint/ethnicity/heritage/etc to theirs. There seems to be a fear of having your own values/viewpoints diluted when allowing yourself to be “influenced” by others. Now some of us would say that’s a good thing. However you can’t help but notice the vast majority kicking and screaming when the prospect rears it’s head. (Xenophobia anyone?)

  4. avatar
    Cloudgazer
    September 29th, 2009 at 17:58 | #4

    yup, its crazy, Chatsubo.
    The mere fact that governments have such close ties with religion is a real problem.
    As an example Zuma says the ANC will rule until Jesus second coming, WTF?
    How can an organization such as theirs be tied to what is essentially a ‘white’ religion?

    I don’t believe that segregation in an inherent human condition. I think it’s something we’ve learnt. There’s a quote from the Zeitgeist movie that I love:
    There is no such thing as human behaviour, only human conditioning.

    As for Canada’s school for blacks only, maybe they’re worried Brendan Huntley will attack them.

  5. October 1st, 2009 at 08:22 | #5

    I think saying Zuma will rule till Jesus comes makes me wish Jesus would come soon…

  6. avatar
    colleen
    October 1st, 2009 at 09:13 | #6

    nicely written Cloudy. I agree with your main point. Well done.

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