God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

Racism – the original sin one cannot escape?

Visiting the Duke University with its vast history of racial divide and coming together there can’t be any evening meal with lecturers of history without at some point touching on the question of racism in the USA. Stories told about black movements on Duke campus – and those experiencing equality and black conscience movements in Montgomery and in other parts of the South States of the USA – for a German living in South Africa an intense evening of sharing the pain and questions arising from history and the challenges future will hold.

While it seems that my US American friends have made peace with the fact that as a white man, one cannot escape the original sin of racism purely by being born from a white mother and father -I still grapple with the fact whether it is fair to be again and again put in the structural and personal white privilege and somehow racist corner – no matter how engaged or involved one has been in healing the racial divide.

Recognizing the past, acknowledging structural privilege is one thing – making it the Cain’s mark of every white person for the foreseeable future is another. My question was on this eve and still remains whether talking in the same “termini” our forefathers have done will assist in overcoming a racist past and leading into a non-racist future. While under Obama and Trump here in the USA seemingly the topic is discussed much more prominent and controversial – so different from the usual US American way of being nice , shallow on this subject and avoiding conflict – we also going in South Africa and I guess in many parts of the world through a renewed debate on this topic. Yes, maybe it is true that we on all sides have to speak out and speaking out might even hurt – not only the listener, but also the speaker acknowledging truth we can’t allow for this seemingly original sin to linger and therefore darken the future of future generations.

Maybe the debate, the pain ,the accusations are a necessary redemption to be in the future saved from the evil of racism – maybe the revolution of social media taken note of all the racist acts and laying in bare in the public to see, to judge, to mourn, to decry – maybe all this is necessary in the development of a human civilization, which at the end only knows one race, the human race – later looking back on today’s debate and yesterdays history in sheer non-believe that racism was even a possibility to entertain for so long in history.

For me, this question remains after this eve as painful as ever – and the question-marks keep nagging how to approach a seemingly original sin which keeps on poising societies in our times. My experience at Duke University was a reminder how much had been done, and how much still has to be done – and how many circles we have already run without really moving in-depth forward on this question.

Filed under: Africa, General, HOPE Cape Town USA, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, South Africa, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , ,

Welcome in Manenberg

This afternoon the World AIDS Awareness Expedition was due to have a reception in Manenberg after a Round Table at the German Consulate General. Unfortunately the team did not make it yet till Cape Town, still stuck somewhere between Kinshasa and the border to Angola – so the latest news. The kids of the Amy Biehl Foundation – RC Church afterschool care had prepared for this big event and so the organizers of HOPE Cape Town had decided to go ahead with the programme. Instead of the team it was my task to take the kids to follow the route of the expedition so far and to tell them about my experience with the almost 5 weeks, I joined the team in the Americas. Photos and video clips made the talk an easy to follow one and it was great to see those present feel to be part of a bigger picture, of a closer coming world, of a global village we often forget to realize in all the dramas of daily struggle.
Three team members, awaiting news from the team and supposed to join in Cape Town, almost the whole board of the HOPE Cape Town Association, HOPE Community Health Workers joined the parishioners and kids as well as Fr Wim. For me it was great to see how kids have learned on their instruments since beginning of the year. And the hiphop dancers were really marvellous. Not to forget the catering, so that nobody had to go home hungry. I guess we went home all with the feeling that ‘move the world” also takes place in Manenberg, thanks to many who assist within and outside the community.

Yesterday evening I gave a talk for students of the Duke University at the Mediterranean Villa – interesting to engage with young adults from the US, especially as two of the students are volunteer at our organisation. Once again worlds came together which are normally far away. Also that moves the world in many ways.
So as I write this blog entry, I am deeply moved by what I have seen, heard and encountered the last 24 hours. It is indeed a blessing to be part of bringing worlds together and maybe assist, together with others, to make the world a better place.

And for the expedition we all hope that they find a good way to continue they trip and their very important mission for the world.

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Networking, , , , , , , , , ,

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