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  • We can't serve you.

    After waiting 20 minutes to order drinks and getting nowhere, Tinashe was fed up and frustrated. “Wait here babe, I’ll go try to order them”. Said Julia.

    This simple frustration about ordering drinks was how Julia and her boyfriend Tinashe’s night began as they walked into the local bar, Bohemia, on a beautiful South African night. It would quickly escalade to being about a lot more than slow bartenders on a crowded night.

    “Excuse me! Two Black Labels please?” Julia asked.
    “I’m sorry Miss, we can’t serve you that” stated the bartender.
    Noticing Julia’s puzzled look, he continued, “You’re boyfriend is black.” And walked away.

    Completely shocked and taken aback, Julia stood there stunned for a moment before grabbing Tinashe’s hand and walk out.

    Julia knew the history of South Africa, but never did she think that she would experience it so first hand, so blatant, so honest in her face…and either did I.

    Although this incident did not directly involve me, it forced me to take a step back and appreciate the fact that equality has always surrounded me. Based on how much this incident shocked me, it made me aware of the high expectations that I have for myself, other individuals, and society as a whole.

    Taking myself out of the equation, it is interesting to see how other’s view the situation – it shows how removed my beliefs and social norms are compared to others’ because of the society in which I was raised.

    The action is the hardest part of this incident. Seeing as I was a visitor, an outsider coming into another country and another culture, I was unsure as to how much I could really place myself in this situation and how far I could act without being invasive and overstepping boundaries. Considering all aspects and circumstances, my friends and I informed everyone we knew of the incident. We would not again go to Bohemia, and we asked that they all do the same if they believed in what we were standing for.

    If this incident happened again, I would act in a similar way. If in my home country, I would stand up for what I believe in in a stronger way, and try to make more of an impact, but considering the fact that I am an outsider, I do not believe that it was my position in that situation to act much more forwardly.
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