In Praise of Apartheid
Mykel's Post MRR Column #53
by Mykel Board
I write this sitting at a table in a library in Wellington New Zealand.. There are three chairs at the table: The one I sit in, one holding my coat and hat.,the other empty. Two tables away, a young man with blond hair and sunburned cheeks pecks at his cellphone.
It's the day after Roy Moore lost his senate bid. Why? A pre-election accusation of touching a 14 year old... Forty years ago. Meanwhile, a congressman resigns for, among other things... hugging and “bumping hips” with his secretary. Elsewhere, Danny Ray Johnson, a Kentucky legislator puts a bullet through his brain in response to harassment accusations.
I'm happy to be away from the lunacy as actors, legislators and TV personalities are targeted by (mostly) women... coming out of the woodwork like ants from a log tossed onto the fire. Like a bout of beer-induced diarrhea, I know it will pass. But like that same bout, I'm glad not to be in the middle of it.
In a take-no-prisoners assault... everyone from Roy Moore, to Al Franken to that most banal of characters, Charlie Rose, are thrown into the vaginally charged meat-grinder and spit out as landfill. From a distance of 12,000 miles, this finger pointing assault looks more terrorist than any NY Bangladeshi with a pipe bomb strapped to his chest. I have that to go home to? Maybe I should stay here and milk Kiwibirds.
What's the way out? There's got to be some insurance that will guarantee that this can't happen again. That the smudged finger of harassment can never again touch the pristine white robes of womenhood. The answer hits me like a beershit stomach cramp: APARTHEID.
I know. Apartheid has gotten a bad name over the last 70 years or so. The word comes from Dutch.. and is clearly related to the word APART or separate. It originated in South Africa and legislated in two parts: Petty Apartheid and Grand Apartheid.
Petty Apartheid was day to day separation of the races. Separate drinking fountains. White and Colored restrooms... Different sides of the bus station waiting room. Grand Apartheid was more sweeping. It defined neighborhoods and employment opportunities by race. It required a special pass for when low status groups (“natives” and “coloured”) entered areas designated as high status (white) areas.
Apartheid in South Africa kicked the bucket in 1990. But the word's bad rep struck again in 2006 with Jimmy Carter's book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Here, Carter argued against the growing power of Israel in separating conquered lands into Jewish and Muslim Areas, with the Israelis building a wall to create Palestinian ghettos. Like in South Africa, low status groups (Muslims) needed a pass to enter the territory of the high-status group (Jews).
Israeli apartheid continues today. Most of the world condemns it. Again, the world uses the word apartheid in a negative way. As if it were synonymous with “discrimination” or “exploitation.”
But Apartheid is like a hammer. It can be used to break a window or build a house... to mug an old woman or to save her bare feet from a protruding nail. Here's my vision of how apartheid can stop the scourge of sexual harassment.
FLASH TO New York City 2020 in Apartheid America: I walk down fifth avenue. The depressing grayness of the city is gone. Everywhere is a splash of color. Two colors especially: Pink and Blue.
First a bit of orientation. If you stand at the southern end of Fifth Avenue, you'll be at Washington Square Park. Famous in movies and literature for Avant Garde, hippies, and small drug deals.
Looking North, I can see the avenue divided. On the right, the sidewalk is as pink as a cherub cheek. The buildings too are pink... at least the sides facing the street. Women and girls walk on this side. On the left, the sidewalk is as blue as the sky on a clear spring day. It's the men and boys side.
When the screen comes on I press the SHORT button and the variable height wallhole opens up. It's about an inch too high for me, but I can reach it standing on tip-toe. The vacuum pump whirs. In a second or two I feel its pull on my hardening flesh. Deposit made, I zip up and return to the street.
Across the street, on the pink side, I spot a young girl with her mother. They wear matching yellow dresses... pink ribbons tied around the waist. Everyone on that side of the street wears a pink ribbon. It's the law.
The ribbon can be tied around the waist... worn in the hair... as a bracelet... even daintily bowed on top of a shoe. The only requirement is that it's easily visible. No question... no reason to be pulled over by the gendercops. Men and boys, or course, wear blue ribbons.
It's 3PM. The sun is in the west. That means the blue side of the street is sunny. In front of each of the crowded cafes and bars is a big bouncer checking ribbon colors on entrance. I stop into Knickerbockers for a Kingfisher. Luckily this old bar landed on the blue side after the division.
Sitting outside, I watch the street traffic. Since this place is near a gender-crossing, there's always a chance to see an attractive newbie making the transition from one side of the street to the other.
On the pink side, I watch an “office lady” looking woman enter the SEPARATE-BUT-EQUAL Employment Agency. I've seen their ads on late-night TV and know they specialize in executive head-hunting for pink-oriented companies. And on my side, I can just see the avant-garde entrance to The Museum of Degenerate Sex Mixing. With old photos and videos of mixed-sex couples... and trios... doing everything from hand-holding to kissing to The DEED itself.
On the walls hang pictures of politicians, actors, directors, all those early twenty-first century-ites felled by the horrors of misexgyny. One popular gasp-inducing display shows a video of children... some as young as five or six-- forced to hold hands with any gender... forming a big circle... chanting about “pockets full of posies” and... ALL FALL DOWN. Yes! They fall in a heap... child on child... before they were old enough to shave or protest the patriarchy. That was the old days where the perils of sex-mixing were long known... but unacknowledged... when people were afraid to propose the obvious solution.
Things are better now-- both petty and grand. There is peace in the once-troubled land. People are happy. Not like in the old days.
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