Suppose apartheid is not past, but future?

As John De Gruchy, who studied at Chicago Theological Seminary, bluntly put it for Christians in South Africa, Apartheid is a Heresy.

It is telling that the  Facebook page of alleged Charleston shooter Dylann Roof shows him wearing insignia that signals support for apartheid in South Africa.

Could Apartheid be a heresy gaining ground in the United States? Yes, I fear so.

Looking at this photo, I asked myself: taken as a whole, what do the recent series of murders of unarmed African Americans and increased racialized violence portend? To me, it is beginning to suggest that while people of conscience regard racial apartheid as part of a hateful, but bygone era, there are an increasing number who may think apartheid is a desirable American future. And combined with a society awash in guns, and prone to excuse abusing or killing African Americans, this future is actually more of a threat than perhaps many might imagine.

President Obama and sensitive journalists (not you, FOX News), have been quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words delivered after the deaths of four young girls in a Birmingham, Alabama church. King prophetically asks us to focus “not merely those who murdered them, but the system, the way of life, the philosophy that produced the murderers.”

Apartheid is one name for that system, that way of life, that philosophy.

South African Apartheid did not drop from the sky. While racial segregation began in colonial times in South Africa, it was not until 1948, in post-WWII economic turmoil, that the legalized racial segregation and deprivation of the rights of the majority African population were put in place.

Economic turmoil in the U.S., and the continued deterioration of economic opportunity, combined with increasing racial diversity are engines of the increase in white supremacist organizations and violent actions. The election of an African American president greatly accelerated this hateful and dangerous trajectory.

South Carolina is home to 19 known hate groups — including two factions of the Ku Klux Klan and four “white nationalist” organizations, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

If these groups, and those they influence, have their way, apartheid could be an American future.

If we do not want to see this future, it is absolutely critical to denounce white supremacy in the U.S. for the heresy it is.

 

 

 

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