Apartheid, the political system in South Africa from 1948 to 1994, systematically disenfranchised and dehumanized black South Africans, as well as, other minorities.  The National Party, Afrikaners (white South Africans) enacted Apartheid to guarantee their own prosperity and security.

As the demographic shift occurs the GOP has attempted to forge an Apartheid like society to ensure their own affluent future.  With the use of tactics such as fear mongering the GOP has garnered support to pass clearly oppressive legislation.   These apartheid like conditions are most evident in voting legislation, education, and the prison system.

Voting Restrictions

Apartheid gradually stripped non-whites of the right to vote through the passing of several bills. Without the right to vote their voices were effectively silenced in the nation’s politics.

The GOP is seeking to limit minority representation through Voter Id laws. The Voter ID law is expected to result in approximately 23 million citizens being denied the right to vote.   These 23 million citizens will most likely be low-income, disabled, minority, young, and older voters.  Bear in mind there is an additional 5.3 million disenfranchised citizens due to felony convictions. (The United States and Belgium are the only democracies that disenfranchise citizens for lengthy or indefinite periods after completing prison sentences.)

The GOP has attempted to convince the public that Voter ID laws are needed due to excessive voter fraud.  Yet this myth has largely been debunked by non-partisan research.

Voter Id laws real objective is to curtail the minority vote and therefore their power.

Limited Education

The Bantu Education Act of 1953 created a separate education systems for black South Africans and other minorities. This system lacked funding, proper facilities and prepared students for menial labor jobs at best.

Currently, there is a strikingly similar system in the US.  Most recently a study highlighted New York City’s school system deeming it Apartheid like. New York City’s school district unfortunately is not an anomaly,  this occurs all across America.

This has transpired due to the “result of corporate and foundation activities and conscious local, state, and federal policy decisions.   For example, oppressive zoning laws limit education options and have produced an educational system that is highly segregated by race and income.  According to “A Rotting Apple: Education Redlining in New York City” report schools in low-income areas are “likely to be taught by teachers with less experience and education and their schools are more likely to experience high rates of teacher turnover.”

These schools tend to be underfunded as well. The New York City Department of Education  spends 19 percent more to educate students living in wealthy communities than it does on poor children. Once minorities are in these poorly funded and failing schools they only have a 29 percent chance of graduating with a diploma which means they too are only prepared for menial jobs at best and the prison system at worst.

Prison System

Pass laws required all non-white South Africans to carry a pass, similar to an id, at all times.   A person could be stopped without cause at anytime or anyplace and be forced to show their pass with threat of imprisonment.  Furthermore, police were given free reign and could act without due process.

 Being black or a minority was criminalized in South Africa just as it is in America now.

According to a report by The Sentencing Project the United States is in violation of its obligations under Article 2 and Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to ensure that all its citizens—regardless of race—are treated equally under the law.  With about 2.2 million incarcerated the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world.

Minorities are approximately 30 percent of the US but are 60% of the prison population.   Racial profiling and policies such as New York Cities Stop-and-Frisk, supported by Mayor Bloomberg, lead to a higher percent of minority arrests.  Once in the system minorities tend to get harsher sentencing than their white counterparts.

Chariese is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire