In Born a Crime, Noah gives evidence that the classification system in apartheid was not always cut and dry. Discuss how Japanese people were classified versus Chinese people and why being "colored" was in some ways worse than being Black.

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In Born a Crime, Trevor Noah highlights the effects of a society stratified according to arbitrary racial designations.

One of the inconsistencies he notes is the difference between how Japanese and Chinese residents were classified. Japanese people were privileged as "honorary whites," meaning they had the most freedom under...

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In Born a Crime, Trevor Noah highlights the effects of a society stratified according to arbitrary racial designations.

One of the inconsistencies he notes is the difference between how Japanese and Chinese residents were classified. Japanese people were privileged as "honorary whites," meaning they had the most freedom under apartheid, while Chinese people were often classified as "colored." This was not because of perceived differences between people from these two countries, but because of differences in South Africa's geopolitical interests in them—an example of the system's arbitrariness and corruption.

In Noah's case, though passing as Colored technically meant he had access to more social freedoms than those classified as Black, the circumstances of his daily life rarely allowed him to exercise them. His existence was proof of his parents' illegal race-mixing, which meant that he could never be seen in public with his mother, a Black Xhosa woman. Since she raised him in her own all-Black community, this also meant that he was a perpetual outsider, even in his own hometown.

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