I interrupted a rant about #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh

Credit: IOL / Phil Magakoe

A woman was ranting about the Girls High story yesterday morning in the queue where I stopped to get coffee on my way to work. I couldn’t help but interrupt her and explain it in terms she’d understand.

Yes, I was a little condescending there, but back to the point:

“Morning ma’am, I do get some of what you’re saying. Schools have rules for a reason, yes. I wanted long hair in high school and the rules wouldn’t allow it. I had to shave because even a little fuzz meant a throwaway razor and cold water.”

“Those rules have some rationale behind it. At that time it felt unfair. I felt singled out every time I got called out for my hair being over my ears, however, discipline is one of the reasons you send your kids to school is it not?”

“But, not once was my identity, my heritage, and culture attacked at the same time. Not once was I told I can’t speak my mother tongue. My dreams of long hair were in fact completely against what was deemed acceptable in my ‘culture’ back then.”

“The two are not the same.”

She kept quiet after that. I know this only covers about 10% of what’s going on, I only had so much time and I didn’t know the woman, but I hope it made her think a little harder.

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