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School uniforms homogenise and counter difference-based violence

The debate here, in South Africa, is about a girl who refused to remove a nose-ring on the grounds that it was an expression of her religion. In fact, in that religion a belly-ring is and expression of religion and a nose-ring is an expression of culture. Her parents have taken the battle through Equality Court and are now at the Supreme Court.

A 702 caller phoned in and said that the missionaries introduced their Western uniforms during colonial times when apartheid first started and now Blacks view uniforms as a symbol of domination. A valid point. I wouldn't want to have a vacuum cleaner sewn into my hip or a stove as a breast implant.

I think uniforms are a good thing, though. Especially at school. As a student you get to know everyone else as equals, and slowly get to know them and gradually find out all the things that divide you. As time passes the feeling you have for that person is great enough for you to consider tolerance of their religion, sexuality, nationalism or whatever as the various issues come up. Take America, they have no uniforms and have columbinesque shootings at school, a problem with bullying and classism, en ek weet nie wat alles nie.

Conversely, I tend to have a strong "Fuck off" reaction to people that I meet for the first time who assume that because I am white I am racist and that I will collude with their opinions. I tend to chuck those people and therefore never have a chance to influence their opinions from the in-side.


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