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Tutu and Franklin: The Future

ARCHBISHOP TUTU: I've often been a little concerned by people who say they are color-blind, people who claim, in some ways, not to be aware of race, and I hope that those who will be looking for a vision of the future will be a little more honest, and say race actually does matter.

DR. FRANKLIN: You know, there are two types of people, I think, who, who claim that a color-blind society is the ideal society. One is like the Justice of the United States Supreme Court, who, in 1896, said we are a color-blind society. What he was speaking of was an aspiration.

ARCHBISHOP TUTU: Yes.

DR. FRANKLIN: But he was arguing that if we think about ourselves as belonging to a color-blind society, that itself is a constructive approach. The other kind of person is one who wants to insist that we are already in a color-blind society, and therefore, we don't need to do anything about the problems that we have, just, just think color-blind and the problems will themselves disappear. Now, obviously, in neither case is this a valid position to take, and I would say, with you, that what we need to do is not to claim that we're in a color-blind society, perhaps not even to aspire to a color-blind society, but to recognize--

ARCHBISHOP TUTU: Yes; yes.

DR. FRANKLIN: --the exis--the differences that do exist and that cannot go away, will not go away.

ARCHBISHOP TUTU: Yes.

DR. FRANKLIN: And do the best we can with these differences, even to the point, as our President said, last year, of celebrating--

ARCHBISHOP TUTU: Yes.

DR. FRANKLIN: --the differences.

ARCHBISHOP TUTU: Well, I, I would want to have to say it is a glorious thing. I mean, the acknowledgement that this person is English, white, or French, or German, this is Portuguese, this is Rwandan, this is Senegalese, this is a black South Africans. To, to speak of those positively, to say that they have characteristics, each one of them, that the others almost always do not have, and, and that there is a, there is a, a complementarily about it.

What I think most of us would want to assert very firmly is that race should not be used to claim privileges and rights for one group, exclusively, which are denied other different groups. Then that is an illegitimate use of race, and, and I would say our struggle against apartheid was precisely because people were seeking to say a value attaches to people because of this biological and, at this point, one would say a biological irrelevance.

DR. FRANKLIN: Yes. We've had a lot of that in our country, the United States, of course. We've had people who have used biological differences, who have used ethnic differences, to, to make a distinction, and to give one group an advantage--

ARCHBISHOP TUTU: Absolutely. Yes.

DR. FRANKLIN: --over another group.

ARCHBISHOP TUTU: Uh-huh.

DR. FRANKLIN: And that is a perversion--

ARCHBISHOP TUTU: Yes.

DR. FRANKLIN: --of what ought to be an asset. Or at least a, a, a favorable position, or condition. There's no reason in the world why black should not be regarded as a, as an attribute that is not degrading but is, is positive. There's no reason in the world why any person should think that white is degrading.

ARCHBISHOP TUTU: Yes; yes.

DR. FRANKLIN: But positive. And I suspect that the--so many of us, of different colors, have looked at our color in a way that we seek to find in it particular advantages,--

ARCHBISHOP TUTU: Yes.

DR. FRANKLIN: --particular privileges, particular opportunities that we want to claim only for ourselves--

ARCHBISHOP TUTU: Absolutely; absolutely.

DR. FRANKLIN: --and not for others, and that, it seems to me, is a perversion, whether it's used by blacks or whites or greens or yellows, or whatever.

ARCHBISHOP TUTU: Yes. I, I, I would hope, too, that those who may be watching this documentary would get to have a sense of the wonder of belonging in the family of God. That even one family is made up of individuals who are different. You know, I mean, you have tall people sometimes, you've got some who are not bright, too bright. Others are bright and some are beautiful; others are not so beautiful. But they, they belong in this family and, and the family affirms them, and I would, I would really, myself, hope that we could, we could have a vision of the world community, beginning to understand, more and more, that we were put on this planet to realize that we were family.

And, and, you see, sometimes--you see, sometimes, when there is a great disaster, how compassion and caringness come from so many different quarters, and people show a generosity for people who are in trouble. Now I, I think it's a bit too costly, if we're going to wait for disasters,--

DR. FRANKLIN: Disasters.

ARCHBISHOP TUTU: --for these particular attributes to come out. But the scientific, technological discoveries and adva--advances that are being made, are, are bearing on us, and, and making us realize that we actually are occupying this as our island home. All of us together.

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