Roger Young recently co-designed a T-shirt with the wording: I benefited from Apartheid. Naomi Meyer asked him about this project.
Hi Roger, is that the correct description – your “project"?
You can find some information here.
Why the T-shirts?
See above. I truly just find myself quite irritated with people who say things like, "Apartheid was 20 years ago, why can’t just we get over it?" The fact is that white people in general can be very lazy about transformation, and the lazier they are, the more vocal they are on this level.
Is apartheid really and truly over? And if not, why the past tense ("I benefited ...")?
Legally, yes; economically we’re very far from it. And the time when we can hope the government will fix everything is over. All South Africans need to participate in our democracy on a more hands-on level.
So about the past tense: it’s a sticking point. I still benefit, it’s true, but we thought the present tense might be too much for some people to take on board. Maybe that should be our next shirt.
What is the next step, after we’ve been there and worn the T-shirt?
That’s going to be different for everyone. Should people even wear the shirt? I don’t know. The idea was to start a conversation about white privilege and what we should be doing with it. I just wanted to make them so that I could start conversations with very specific people. Those conversations have been very fruitful.