The infamous era of apartheid in South Africa shares a strikingly parallel path with racial apartheid in present day America. One is globally notorious, the other sophisticated and subtle.
Economic historians increasingly agree that racial economic inequality in America is worse than it was at any period in ancient Rome, or in slaveholding, colonial America during the late 18th century, or at the height of apartheid in South Africa.
South Africa’s apartheid regime is remembered as one of the worst crimes against humanity of the 20th century.
Today, America is exhibiting many of the racial excesses of apartheid South Africa: extreme racial income inequality, apartheid schools, a racialised for-profit prison system, institutionally racist police practices, and residential re-segregation.
Residential apartheid is, without question, at the heart of the U.S. system of racial oppression. For almost a century, America has been racially divided into two societies: one, predominantly black and poor, located in the inner cities; the other, largely white and affluent, located in the suburbs. White Americans have kept their residential neighborhoods white since roughly 1920. Initially, by simply murdering African-Americans trying to move in.
Then, the black ghetto was created by whites during the first half of the twentieth century in order to isolate growing urban black populations. Historian Kenneth B. Clark explains how: