Lessons From Apartheid – A cautionary tale of segregation – by Cian Ashling

BenchLast week, the OVC (Online Vampyre Community) was shaken by the claim, made in a series of passion-filled arguments in a popular international VC forum, that “most” Sanguinarian vampyres wish to divide the existing VC along the lines of sanguine and psychic or energy Vampyres, so that each interacts solely in their own separate community. This was followed with repeated admonitions to Psi-vamps, ‘hybrids’, Therians and Otherkin, that they should follow suit and separate into distinct little subculture clusters of their own, isolated from the Vampyre Community at large, since they “should never have been allowed to participate in the VC in the first place”.

I sat back and watched it all transpiring on my computer screen, and I had vivid recollections from one of my anthropology classes. When the idea of Apartheid was first toted about, its focus was on the slight perceived differences. Yes, your skin is darker and hey, your nasal bridge is not quite high enough, therefore you are not like me – and thus, for our mutual good, we should live apart. People neglected to realise that ‘race’ is a fabrication to explain differences that are merely superficial. At this point, I must say that I fear the path which some Sangs are walking. Looking back retrospectively at South African History, as a South African, perhaps we have some insight, not shared by our foreign kin, as to what may happen if these people had their way, and the OVC ever separated into factions.

Now for some context. Apartheid, though officially started in 1948, was based upon and influenced by many factors in South Africa’s history, including the power being held by an elite minority.

“The rise of apartheid in 1948 was a complex phenomenon. Some historians view it as a 20th-century development, closely linked to the peculiar evolution of South African capitalism… [o]ther scholars believe apartheid was a product of earlier racial prejudices and policies imposed by Dutch and British settlers. Recent explanations point to a combination of several factors ─ colonial conquest, land dispossession, economic impoverishment, and exclusion from citizenship of Africans ─ that paved the way to apartheid.” 1

It is important to note that the problem facing the OVC, or perhaps the VC in general, is different to that of Apartheid South Africa. Lady CG (a Canadian) clearly states the problem, from her perspective in an article she wrote for Real Vampire Life – an E-magazine.

“The most difficult part of being a blood drinker is that there is no politically correct way to get the blood we require to feed. We require blood. It’s dangerous to take it from donors (disease, accidents) and it’s cruel to use animals… We’re threatened with criminal charges, we’re attacked for our feeding methods on all sides. We’re told by some that we should “evolve” to feed on methods that do not suit our nature, we are expected to live up to the expectations of those who do not need blood and when we can’t magickally conjure it out of thin air we’re damned for incidents of rage, dramatics and expected to behave like normal people, no matter the results of our inability to feed, especially if that inability to feed creates media worthy incidents that draw negative attention to the Vampire Community.” 2

I can sympathize, and I can place myself in a Sang’s shoes. I am fortunate enough to be a Psi vampire who can feed off of ambient energy at a push, so I will never know starvation like one who is dependent on blood might. But, in separating and losing the identity of “Vampire” as Lady CG later Proposes as a solution, I fear that stigma and resentment will grow on both sides.

“Segregation is not necessarily associated with prejudice, since it may be maintained by the institutions of society, independently of the attitudes of individuals. But in general, systems of segregation draw support from the prejudices of individuals and indeed foster those prejudices.” 3

As it presently stands within the community, Psi’s are told (usually by Sang’s) that they aren’t ‘real Vampyres’, Sang’s are told they are ‘un-evolved’ – and the Omnivores, Adaptives or ‘Hybrids’ are sitting in a very awkward position in the middle, sometimes belittled by some Sang’s and Psi’s.

The elephant in the room that I believe we are not seeing here, is that we are all Vampyres. We all have a deficiency – and we all need to fill that deficiency through feeding.

The tiny boxes and labels that we have whittled out for ourselves, are based on the methods by which we feed.

Enmity, rivalry or hostility towards each other, based on feeding methods, seems ridiculous.

For example, the white rhinoceros and black rhinoceros feed in two very distinct ways. One is a grazer, the other is a browser. Each has an adaptation to suit the method by which they feed. No one claims that one rhino is more evolved or less of a rhino for feeding the way it is adapted to, than the other. We have, in our own drive to classify and to understand what we are, what makes us tick, created our own segregation.

The danger in this lies in fostering an “us versus them” mentality. Most of the time, that type of paradigm increases prejudice, suspicion and tension between groups.

I believe that in order to improve the lives of all Vampyres, and the way in which we all interact – whether in tight-knit covens and groups, or online in global sanctuaries, we need to shift our paradigm from exclusivity based on feeding, to a frame of reference where our differences make us neither more, nor less – a frame of reference where we can learn how to support each other in a way where all individuals feel equal and at home.

But, perhaps I am just an idealist.

Biliography:

  1. Unit 2 – Colonialism and Segregation: The Origins of Apratheid. Michigan State University. http://overcomingapartheid.msu.edu/unit.php?id=65-24E-2&page=1
    [accessed 06 October 2014]
  2. Sang vs Psi: Making a Case for Separation (or, I Want My Blood, and Drink it too!). Lady CG. 2014. Real Vampire Life. http://realvampirenews.com/special-edition-sang-vs-psi-making-a-case-for-separation-by-lady-cg/ [accessed 07 October 2014]
  3. Kuper, L. International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences; 1968. http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Segregation.aspx
    [accessed 07 October 2014]
  4. Boundless Sociology. https://www.boundless.com/sociology/textbooks/boundless-sociology-textbook/race-and-ethnicity-10/prejudice-and-discrimination-82/segregation-481-7937/
    [accessed 07 October 2014]
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About Octarine Valur

Octarine Valur - Founder: House Valur, South African Vampyre Community, South African Vampi(y)re Alliance (SAVA), SA Vampyre news (SAVN). View all posts by Octarine Valur

5 responses to “Lessons From Apartheid – A cautionary tale of segregation – by Cian Ashling

  • wingedwolfpsion

    This is a very difficult subject. Initially, my stance was to call the proposal a harmless experiment, and encourage it for those who wanted to try it, but I’m also coming to see that it may not be as harmless as it first appeared.

    Now, the intent of the initial proposal was not to divide the OVC, but to create specific areas for sang vampires where they could discuss their very specific issues without receiving criticism from non-sangs. This was suggested because young sang vampires are being shut down when they attempt to discuss these things in general areas, and are not receiving the help and education they really do require.

    That problem still remains to be solved – but I never thought that creating separate groups was actually a likely way to solve it. So, I’m now coming down against the idea of closed groups of that type. (Not that this is going to stop anyone from creating them, if they want to – some of those types of groups have always existed, which is part of the reason why I found the idea fairly innocuous, if rather unhelpful).

    Instead, the issue seems to be, as you have pointed out, a pervasive racism. It’s a climate where the black rhinos are told they ought to eat grass, and the white rhinos are told they ought to be called elephants… and so on. That problem should not be fled from – it should, instead, be confronted.

    The community doesn’t need to split up into factions – it needs to come together and condemn the behavior of the people who are actually causing issues by telling others that the things they have experienced aren’t valid, and the way they need to live isn’t proper. In other words, psy-vamps need to publicly accept that sangs feed on blood, and sang vampires need to publicly accept that psy-vamps need to feed on energy.

    This doesn’t mean anyone has to change their beliefs. It only means they have to be respectful enough to give others the benefit of the doubt, and NOT to call them out in public because their views and beliefs differ. The community is becoming terribly dogmatic and conservative, and it needs to stop.

    Essentially? If you don’t have any experience with an issue, then don’t answer when someone asks for help from people who’ve experienced it. If you don’t like what someone’s doing (such as feeding off of rabbits), then block them, or just walk away. If you believe everyone would be better off if they just learned to live off of Earth energy, then write an article on how you do that, and when people tell you that they can’t, ACCEPT what they said, and let it go.

    Stop being a bunch of jerks to each other.

  • Lily

    While I was not privy to this, as I was entertaining guests at my home so had no time for such frivolity.. I don’t advocate segregation, but it does not help when mundanes questioned those within the OVC when they try to discuss something in order to better understand themselves.. While I agree we are all made of the same stuff our feeding preferences may be for different reasons.

    As a group on a whole we need to come together and help those who are awakened and yet the naysayers are there lurking.. even I have had my run ins do to inadequate lingo not being what would constitute the mainstream ideology.

    C’est la vie

  • Octarine Valur

    “The SAVA does not, and never has, condoned different rights or treatment – either preferential or detrimental – for Vampyres based upon which feeding methods they use.

    We do not classify Vampyres according to their feeding methods, or treat them differently according to these, and we actively promote (as we always have) the practice of non-discrimination in all arenas in which we as the SAVA interact with other groups, bodies or communities inside or outside of the VC.

    This applies universally to any Vampyres who identify as sanguine, psychic, tantric, omnivorous feeders (‘hybrids’) or adaptives.

    In any SAVA arena, all Vampyres will be regarded equally as Vampyres, disregarding any and all attempts to segregate the community into different camps based upon something so pedestrian as how we eat.” – Octarine Valur, Regent of the SAVA.

  • Becka (Verdena)

    I agree. I actually pointed out similar things in VAMPIRES. I find it funny that the young ones are shut out or told to buck up when we have older people getting upset or running away as well. Taking a note from Morgan Freeman in the area of black and white. If you want to stop having racism, the best thing to do is not to put a label. Black or white. Same with vampires. It should just be Vampire. When it comes down to it we all NEED something to sustain ourselves…Although some sangs would disagree with psis in that matter. Saying they are not real. I also found it funny how, the sangs are stating how they are hurt but ignoring how some sangs treat psis. It’s like saying,”Jimmy hit me!” What did you do about it? “Well, I hit him back.” It’s similar to how people also say,”I don’t want to hear your problems…but here let me go on about my own.” That is something I dislike about society in general. I agree that tutoring is lacking. In fact, I added that to a list I composed and gave to a certain member whom has stated they found the list to be quite good. But having complete segregation does nothing but reinforce old stigmas. It doesn’t help the sang community. Seeing the article was truly upsetting and I felt such a sadness. I had also stated long ago that the groups that make you divide you. That selfishness will be your undoing and you will fall apart. It is better to come together, talk and reason, than to fly away on a tangent. What example are we setting for the youth?

  • Anthony Hogg

    Lily, as a “mundane”, myself (a term I absolutely despise), naysayers *should* be welcomed to the VC. A society without criticism, checks or balances is one that leads to segregationism in the first place.

    On one hand, you want to be accepted; but on the other, you also advocate discouraging free speech.

    My stance has always been that debate and disagreements should be encouraged, so long as they’re done respectfully. And think of it this way, what “qualifies” anyone to be a vampire in the first place? Who decides? What are the symptoms? How do you know they don’t have something else?

    Considering how many variables there are in the VC, itself, a more open-minded (yes, even a critical one) should be embraced.

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