I See Color, Humanity’s Collage

Humanity plays thoughtless, yet dangerous game with skin color.

There are four recognized races that is, white i.e. of European origin, black, i.e. Africa’s people and all other black skin people, yellow, i.e. Asian people and red, i.e. American Indian or Alaska Native people. One can add to the race list the multiracial mixed race people category, whereby two people, members of different race category bring to the world a child who carries both parents’ racial genes, i.e. a person born to one black and one white couple, in Brazil such person is named mulatto and in South Africa he or she is a ‘colored’ person; or, a Eurasian person, born to one white and one yellow couple, etc.

Introduction to South Africa

In my early 20s’, in the early 1980s’, I arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa, from a predominantly white skin society. Until that time, I never met a black person.

I vividly remember the introduction to the black people team – the cook, the housemaid and the gardener – all who worked at my host’s house. I was taken to the kitchen and there three very dark skin black people smiled at me with very white teeth and as if they were trained for that introduction, in unison they said, “hello madam.”

That introduction was like an injection poked into my soul. Each time I look back, that introduction scene remains so potent in my mind.

Symptoms of Life in Apartheid South Africa

Apartheid was a system of institutionalized racial segregation that existed in South Africa and South West Africa from 1948 until the early 1990s.

There I was forced to see skin color. What do I mean?

Here is some of my recollection of South Africa’s skin color symptoms.

A black person will call me ‘Madam,’ never by my name;

In a house the black people will enter the house from the back door only. In a flat (apartment) dwelling, there was a ‘servants’ entrance door next to the main entrance door.

The black people who were employed by whites lived in ‘servants’ quarters’ at the back of their ‘master’s’ house, in this case my host. Or in a case of a flat, the ‘servants’ quarters’ were at the top of the building where their ‘master’ resided.

Black people were not allowed to live in white people’s city unless they held a permit. Certainly not roam in white people’s city streets if such permit afforded them to remain in the city all the time. Their ‘master’s’ home was their city limit, unless they were accompanying their ‘master’ or ‘madam.’

My toddler son with his nanny Belina of the Zulu tribe, September 1976 - photo Nurit Greenger
My toddler son with his nanny Belina of the Zulu tribe, September 1976 – photo Nurit Greenger

If driven by a white person in his or her car, a black person will sit only at the back seat of the car, never next to the white driver.

When I was training to drive in South African, where the drive is on the left side of the road not the right side as in my homeland, I asked my host’s black driver to supervise me somewhat in order to get accustomed to such driving system. One time, after we rode together – I was driving and he was watching my driving – I came out of the car happy I was getting used to the new driving method and I gave the black driver an appreciation hug. I was reprimanded by my host who told me, “You cannot behave like this in this country.”

A black person who worked for a white person had to have a special permit to stay in white city ‘city limits’. If there was no permit, the black people had to reside in their townships, or shantytown, the like of Soweto, an English syllabic abbreviation for South Western Townships, the township of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality in Gauteng, South Africa, bordering the city’s mining belt in the south. Or, Alexandra Township, which I could see well from my host’s home on the hill. Informally abbreviated to Alex, this [black people’s] township in the Gauteng province of South Africa, located near the upper-class suburb of Sandton in the city of Johannesburg.

On a country trip, my son is doing forbidden mingling while visiting with Zulu craal (village) kids, May 1976 - Photo credit Nurit Greenger
On a country trip, my son is doing forbidden mingling while visiting with Zulu craal (village) kids, May 1976 – Photo credit Nurit Greenger

If a black person worked in the city he or she had to leave the city grounds by a certain hour after work and if caught by law enforcement it was not a pleasant scene.

The townships were crowded and poverty-ridden. They were slums, build of mostly corrugated-iron type dwellings that arose with the arrival of black labourers from rural areas, in particular in the period between World Wars I and WW II. Growth was haphazard, and the emerging township lacked municipal services and government. Slow slum clearance and permanent-housing programs began there in 1948, at which time local as well as national authority was established. Crime pollution was widespread in the shantytowns.

Though illegal, I visited Soweto twice. Fortuitously, I befriended Ewert Nene, a black person, who was the co-founder of Kaizer Chiefs top tier soccer club in 1970. Ewert was not only flamboyant but also an astute businessman who will be remembered – Ewert was murdered, I believe out of envy, stabbed by a black person while in a business meeting – for his contribution he made in the development of what is currently the greatest sporting brand in the African continent. Ewert invited me to Kaizer Chiefs training sessions and games and I snuck into the Soweto Township twice as his guest. There I witnessed, firsthand, how the black people lived, away from their oppressors, the white people under the Apartheid system. My visits to Soweto could be described as surreal and full of fear for my life, out of mind out of reality.

At the nearby public park, where my toddler son went to play and to where his black nanny took him almost each day there were benches clearly assigned for whites and for blacks.

There were elevators designated for whites and for blacks.

Restaurants in the city of Johannesburg served whites only.

Hotels in the city of Johannesburg served whites only.

Theatres and movie houses in the city of Johannesburg served whites only.

The city general hospital served mainly black people; white people used their private hospitals.

City public transportation buses, green color for black people and red color for white people. If my son, accompanied by his black nanny, had to travel by bus they took the red bus and were only allowed to sit at the seat bench at the very end of the bus.

In businesses there were WCs (toilet) for white people. Black people who worked in that business had their own WC.

A multiracial person, meaning, born to a black and white mixed-race couple was called ‘colored’ and he or she was in purgatory, not “assigned” to any particular race. My secretary was a colored person and she could not live in a black township nor could she rent an apartment in the white city. Our firm rented the apartment for her in our name.

Indians, from the country of India, of dark skin but not considered black, had their own skin color issues in apartheid South Africa and so did the Asians. Both fell and were treated under ambiguous undetermined race category.

South African was a police state with very stringent censorship laws, all implemented in order to protect the country from outside influence or local rabble-rousers, all seeking to destroy the apartheid system.

Much unfair treatment of the black people by white people law enforcement was prevalent. But that was the legal system and if you lived in South Africa you were compelled to tolerate it.

The above listed apartheid rules are what came to mind as I was penning this op-ed. Whether I agreed with the apartheid system of not is immaterial. During the years when I lived in South Africa I had to abide by its laws and so I did.

Out of South Africa

In the mid-1980s’ I left South Africa. My first stop was Canada. In the hotel where I stayed I met an American black man, a wise professor with whom I carried out long conversations. I was fascinated by his good looks and his brilliant mind. The skin color was magically erased and intense intellectual conversations took over. By then as an unmarried person a thought even snuck into my mind that I could date the black man if such opportunity was given to me. I felt free of the color of the skin limitations South African’s apartheid imposed on me. That feeling was emancipating and uplifting.

Coming to America

My final destination was Los Angeles, California. While living in South Africa, I visited the United States several times and with my business partner at that time we eyed settling in the land of the free and the brave.

For me, becoming an American had no skin color nor ethnicity segregation. For me it was only E pluribus unum, the Latin for ‘out of many, one, or ‘one from many,’ the traditional becoming an American motto of the United States.

But that was not the case at all. All of a sudden I found out that there was a hyphenated Italian-American who never been to Italy; an African-American who never been to Africa; an Irish-American and all sort of other émigrés, all Americans but hyphenated. I was confused and disappointed. America was not so E pluribus unum.

The hyphenation brought about the current state of the not so cohesive America.

In the years leading to first black president Barack Obama I personally did not see skin color. I saw Americans in America. But Obama managed to remind me that America is divided between two skin color people, white and black. The divide was clearly defined. And ever since Obama, who has a radical politically Left ideology the American skin color divide deepened to arrive at the current eruption of unrest, caused by police misconduct.

The cause for the June 2020 divide and violent rioters all over the United States

I am a white skin person and though not born in America, I turned out to be a very patriotic American.

Unfortunately, three generations of Leftism, progressivism, anti-America brainwashing in America’s learning institutes have finally paid off.

When you remove out of the public sphere God, proper parental guidance and government authority you get a burning America. The burning America we have been seeing these past few weeks.

When you remove out of the educational curriculum patriotism, nationalism and the original essence of the American Republic and its constitution, the meaning of unifying statism, you get a deeply divided America with a very foggy future.

When you make a skin color a political agenda, you are burning your national future.

America wake up!

During the 2006 second Lebanon War, Nurit Greenger, referenced then as the "Accidental Reporter" felt compelled to become an activist. Being an 'out-of-the-box thinker, Nurit is a passionately committed advocate for Jews, Israel, the United States, and the Free World in general. From Southern California, Nurit serves as a "one-woman Hasbarah army" for Israel who believes that if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.

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