The definition above, from Wikipedia, is my rationale for using the word in my previous post. I was describing a system that forbade the mingling of peoples in the most common of living situations. If you read closely, you would see that I deliberately singled out two aspects of real apartheid that are practiced in schools. That was the sole intent. Not only was I not trivializing apartheid, I was noting how base and inhumane it is to ban intermingling in eating and going to the bathroom. In any venue, and especially in real apartheid.
That was my rationale. I intended no disrespect in any way to freedom fighters and to those who overthrew apartheid. No trivialization was intended at all. I have always been against all apartheid, and personally, as a child, spoke up about separate water fountains in Washington DC.
However, it is clear from some of the angry comments directed my way that I was insensitive or at least unthinking about using such a term to make a point. I am sorry for the anger and upset I have caused to anyone offended. My goal, indeed, was to generate thought and discussion – as always – and so for those who were properly angered I clearly failed on two counts. I apologize for my thoughtless choice of language.
The great thing about a blog and the Internet is that you can learn from others. I pride myself on so doing. I usually thank my critics, and I take my lumps publicly. (It is I, after all, who moderates my own blog. I publish almost every comment, and I typically respond to even my worst critics.)
Let’s keep talking.
At the suggestion of a concerned reader, I took down the offending post and re-wrote it to make the same points in a more helpful way.
PS: Some readers are not satisfied with the apology and my removal of the offending post and related comments (though removing the offending post was done in response to one of the critics; the deleted comments referred specifically to that post, so I deleted them. People were free to re-post but didn’t and have made all sorts of accusations of me as a result). And a fairly extensive harsh criticism of me made its way into Twitter, for those of you who wrote saying ‘most people were probably not offended.’
At the request of one critic, I have re-posted the original article.
Readers: before we put this post and its history to bed, what are your thoughts? What lessons can we all learn here?