This past weekend, my family and I had the privilege of visiting a very quaint holiday resort in the country side. The weekend flew by quickly and soon we were heading home, along with some sixteen million other holidaymakers.
Pretty soon we get stuck in traffic at a railroad crossing. As we patiently wait for the train to pass, I notice the passengers in the vehicle in front of us tossing empty beer bottles, cans and even the cardboard box out the windows.
Immediately I'm irritated by this behaviour, but it's only when my nine year old daughter commented on the race of the perpetrators, that I started getting concerned. I explained to her that people of all races, colours and backgrounds could be litterbugs.
So, on we continue with our journey..., through one of the dirtiest little North-West towns I've ever seen. Shortly after leaving the town there is a traffic light (in the bloody middle of nowhere), strategically placed to allow traffic from the totally deserted mine (adjacent to the road) to merge with the main road. As we waited in the middle of nowhere, for traffic that did not exist, I noticed (to my horror) the passengers of another vehicle in front of us, discarding tissues, toilet paper, etc. from their car.
As I glanced over my shoulder at my daughter, I could almost hear what she was thinking. "Yet again, the same race". I assured her that this is just a coincidence, and that she should not jump to conclusions on this issue.
We arrive safely at home and the briefly-forgotten work stress once again starts to dissolve my relaxed weekend disposition.
Heading off to work this morning I'm momentarily "parked" behind a mini-bus taxi at (what must be) the lengthiest traffic light in the southern hemisphere. With my mind already focusing on work priorities, I noticed a popular chicken take-away container flying out the window of the taxi. Man, was I glad my daughter wasn't in the car with me!
The point of this article is: I'm trying my absolute best to encourage my children to not stereotype people; be it along racial lines, age, body types, gender, sexual orientation, mental capacity, etc.
BUT..., I need some help! If you don't want to be boxed into a certain category, don't act the part. What really defines you is your character, not your physical characteristics. This is applicable to all South Africans across the board, not just within the context of this story.
Let's all show some character, for the sake of my/our children and the future of this country.
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