'I was raised in a racist family': A former army officer shares how he changed his life

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My sons, too, were raised by example without any anti-racist teaching or motivation.
My sons, too, were raised by example without any anti-racist teaching or motivation.

Parent24 is inviting families to share their experiences of racism. If you'd like us to publish your story, mail us at chatback @ parent24.com. We accept anonymous contributions.

Here former army officer and parent Malcolm Moore shares his Damascus moment.


I am 62 and have lived a full life, both in the 'Old' and 'New' South Africa. 

I was raised in a racist family where it was evident that this had been passed down from one generation to another, without it ever being questioned, and where even religion and in particular the Bible was used to justify such a way of life. 

I was ruled by a racist government, travelled in racially segregated transport, sat on racially segregated park benches, attended racially segregated schools.

I became an officer in a racially segregated defence force and fought a war that was motivated and justified by racism.

I attended a racially segregated university. 

While still residing at home, whilst doing my university studies and having entered my education wanting Mandela dead and buried alongside Biko, it was here that the penny dropped. 

Exposure to a world of information and critical minds far bigger than me made me realise that those before me and I myself had it all wrong.

Fortunately for me, it was a Damascus experience where the light blinded me, flooded in and changed my life forever. 

Without once preaching, protesting or banging on about anti-racism, I made the conscious decision to live anti-racism by example.

As a result, I have made hundreds of friends of colour and worked with colleagues of colour over the years, without them ever once questioning my racial stance. 

My sons, too, were raised by example and without any anti-racist teaching or motivation, befriended and brought home numerous children of colour.

These became their very best and respected friends, and best men at the wedding.

My younger son is in a relationship with a beautiful lady of colour. 

The point that I’m trying to make is that while tackling generational racism requires more listening and fewer excuses, it above all, requires parents who live a genuine and non-negotiable anti-racism example in every single facet of family life.  

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