Apartheid only ended twenty years ago, so it’s no surprise that race continues to dominate political discourse in South Africa. The student wing of the Democratic Alliance Party put out a poster showing a black woman embracing a white man with the caption “In OUR future, you wouldn’t look twice.” The poster has drawn support from many young people, but anger from those who see the poster as “an abomination.”

Traditionalists on both sides of the racial divide object to the depiction of a half-nude interracial couple. Predictably, some pine for the old apartheid South Africa, with one commenter objecting that “we weren’t created to be a mixed race,” and another posting a blonde, white family with the comment “this is how it should be.”

On the other side of the fence are black leaders who find the image of a white man dominating a black woman offensive.

“The poster says, ‘Join the DA to have an affair with a white person,'” provincial secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, Zet Luzipo, told the South African news service. “It entrenches the white supremacy that we fought against during the liberation struggle. We will not be excited with having an affair with a white person; we will not be enticed by that.”

To put things in context a bit, the Democratic Alliance is a centrist party that has grown in recent years and added a youth branch in 2008. This ad is meant to attract new members and increase political involvement of the university-aged set by appealing to the hope that one day tolerance will not be an issue. But along with that appeal, many of the advertisement’s detractors accuse the ad of being pornographic and inappropriate for its intended audience because of the implied nudity. Is that complaint just a cover for how uncomfortable this image makes people?

South Africa and the United States are the only countries that have had institutionalized racism in the past few decades, so I have to wonder how different, if at all, the reaction to an advertisement like this would be in America. My guess is not very.


What do you think?

Read more at The Washington Post.




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