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Monday, August 13, 2007

Summer Reading: When She Was White

In 1965, Sandra Laing was expelled out of her all-white boarding school classroom in South Africa and sent home to her parents. Why? Because the principal considered her appearance "definitely that of a person with mixed blood between a white person and a Bantu." Born to middle-class Afrikaaners of European descent, Laing had the appearance of a mixed-race girl in a white only school. Laing, who was a darker complexion than her white parents, sparked international interest as it served as a poignant example of South Africa's apartheid at its nuttiest. When She Was White chronicles the legal and social battle Sandra went through to be reclassified from white to coloured and back to white again. The book will certainly leave you questioning just how arbitrary racial classification was in South Africa's apartheid era.