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The Other


A friend — during a recent visit to South Africa — had a discussion about Apartheid with a man born in 1977. This man had lived in both the old and new South Africa and had reason — my friend believed — to have a unique insight from the inside. But this man was puzzled by her interest. He admitted that he hadn’t really noticed Apartheid until it was officially repealed. Life had seemed normal to him. The separation and subjugation of indigenous peoples had been completely invisible.

I wonder how much of our own treatment (and mistreatment) of others is similarly invisible. I wonder how our progressive but infrequent stands “for the other and marginalized” look to those who are genuinely “other and marginalized.” And I wonder if it’s possible for those of us on the inside to work for change.

he hadn’t really noticed

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