The world as we know it, has endured many different ages during its existence, forming the basis of the manner in which we live in it.
The issues at hand normally dictate the way people live, in that they lead us to collectively decide what is important to us. People then adjust the level of importance they attach to a certain issue, based on or normally in retaliation to, what the majority views as important to them.
Simply put; our division amongst one another is systemic and alive, simply because they either divide us, or creates unity.
When you look at the world thousands of years ago, you can argue that it all started with the strong, uniting against the weak, as it was purely a survival game leaving no place for the weak to live in.
The definition of what was regarded as “strong”, quickly moved to intelligence levels, rather than physical strength when considering the arrival of Homosapien, gradually at the cost of the Neanderthal. On a sidebar, I know that there exists fair amounts of controversy surrounding the above, but for purposes of my argument, please bear with me if you don’t agree.
Intelligence allowed Homosapien to adapt to surroundings, and focus moved from individual survival to collective human development, once again focussing on group skills, rather than individualism.
Fast forward to around 2 000 years ago, and the division between people had already become far more complex than “survival”, as class differences between groups of people was the source of division, closely followed by religion.
True, religion has been around for much longer than 2 000 years, but it was only around that time that it truly caused fundamental divisions between people, fuelling wars and power struggles. Christianity became so powerful, that the rulers of the time, being the Romans, seized its influence via the Roman Catholic Church; a move that would see them secure another half a millennia as the world order.
Race always played its part, even though people of different races within a group, let’s say, black and white Romans, felt this to a much lesser degree.
It’s the middle of the 20th century, and yet another source of division emerges via political ideology, where communists and capitalists divide the world to such a degree that it fuels the fastest stage of technological development the earth has ever seen.
In some developed countries this breaks down the race barrier to a certain degree, as white and black capitalistic westerners, oppose the threats of communism collectively, even though the underlying racial tension is Omni-present.
The above is even more underlined with the defeat of German and Italian Fascism during the Second World War.
Whilst this is an open stamp of approval by multi cultural nations such as the United States against divisions based on race, which, in essence, Fascism truly is, small scale racial tensions are still felt by certain minorities.
These minorities include white and black in the form of white supremacy movements such as the Ku Klux Klan and black liberation movements such as the Black Panthers.
It's 1994, South Africa, and one of the last remaining official racially dividing systems is overcome when the ANC defeats the National Party in national elections, preluded by a referendum that effectively marked the end of Apartheid.
Racial tensions in South Africa are eased to a certain extent, especially amongst the masses of the country who bask in a glorious victory over white oppression, and for a while, racial peace and tolerance marks a new dawn with the economic rise of an African superpower.
It was this rise during the 90’s and early 2000’s that created a collective feeling between South Africans for the first time, even forcing some of the pessimists to concede a thought of ...
”Maybe we can pull this off”, even though no one could deny the existence of some underlying racial tension.
But then, during the latter half of the first decade in the 21st century, the underlying starts to become the obvious, as political tensions within the ruling party threaten to destabilise years of hard work and reconciliation efforts by most citizens as the bulging pimple of racial tension threatens to pop.
Many issues divide South Africans to such an extent that logic is summarily dismissed in favour of race preference...something both whites and blacks are equally guilty of.
It seems that South Africa is far from unique in this occurrence, as even liberal European nations such as the Netherlands experience a rise in rightwing political parties and movements that marginalise any non-Aryan nation.
Even worse than that, Anders Breivik, self proclaimed Norwegian right wing extremist, murders 77 people in a combined bombing and gunfire massacre, in a country considered to be ultra liberal in all its doings, and one of the staunchest anti-apartheid governments during the 80’s.
To add insult to injury, Breivik now uses his trial as a platform to spread his Aryan propaganda to all who is willing to listen.
No one can deny the fact that racial tensions in the world has reached an all time high, and it would seem that this is due to increase during the years to come. Whether we like it or not, we have reached the age of racism.
Our underlying tensions, stretching over thousands of years is finally surfacing, possibly so we can start dealing with it for once and for all.
But at what cost?
Could it be that the world needs to be dumped into open physical conflict over racial tensions before the wounds can heal? Or would history tell us that no one ever truly wins a war, and that we would only divide ourselves more than ever?
Personally, I believe that the source of all this tension was initiated by the world wide recession and economic decline.
As long as people made money, racial tensions could be managed as they were unified by class. But, when times are tough, the first nations to feel it, are the previously disadvantaged.
This is simply because these nations have not had the time to build the wealth and influence needed to adequately whether the storm, making them...us (as a nation)...far more vulnerable.
It’s a simple fact, we revert to everything that bothers us in tougher times due to frustrations caused by something completely different.
Divorce normally follows when a well off family is suddenly dumped in poverty, simply because the cause of one tension fuels all the others.
But... we know this, and still we continue our conflict by blaming one another for the situation we find ourselves in.
On the one hand, whites are accused for the amount of black people living in poverty in this country, and on the other hand the size of the South African economy exploded, experiencing exponential growth since 1994, a by-product of foreign investment due to democratic leadership.
The financial pie is much larger than it was pre 1994, granting more than enough opportunity to black business to make a killing, especially when considering the boost government supplies via BEE programs.
So, who is right? Answer: no one.
As long as we continue on this path, embracing the age of racism, we will simply remain a melting pot of racial tensions which makes us stagnant.
The sooner we take the lead, and show the world that, notwithstanding cultural differences, we are strong enough to resist petty insults and racial over-sensitivity, to become a collective, the better off we will all be.
I don’t think there is one correct answer to our problems, as to what we should do. What I do know is what we shouldn’t do.
But then again, so do most of us...