Reconciliatory Hope: The Aesthetics and Ethics of Passing

March 8th, 2011|

Consciously, I know I’m in a South Africa that is politically, but not socially, post-Apartheid. Even so, the little old white lady’s racist comments surprise me. Complaining about the incompetence of black employees in grocery stores, she proudly notes how she nevertheless carefully pronounces the names on their nametags because they like it when we do that. We use their names – treat them as human – because we love the Lord. And then she tucks her purse under her arm and totters away with a smile and a wave to the three black pastors waiting in the adjacent room for my next interview. I don’t think she knows their names.