The simple phrase "pencil test" appeared a long time ago in South Africa. At a time when the territory of the aforementioned state was dominated by apartheid - a policy in which the non-white population was limited in rights, the test carried out with a pencil was a way of graduating the population. The test is based on a distinctive feature of the “colored population”, the so-called “African degree of curliness”.
The essence of the test with a pencil is as follows: the pencil was inserted into the subject's hair, if the pencil did not fall out when the head was tilted - this indicated that the subject belonged to the "colored" one, because African Americans by nature have very thick curly hair. At the same time, the curls of blacks are small, this distinguishes their "hairstyles" from the curly hairstyles of people of other races.
Since the "colored" themselves were divided into blacks and simply colored, the test was continued to identify this gradation as well. It was necessary to shake his head during the test, if the pencil fell out, the person was classified as a colored person, but if he held firmly in curls, then such a “colored” person was called black.
This test was officially approved in 1950 and was applied formally until 1994. After the abolition of apartheid, the need for it disappeared. The pencil test was not the only measure of race. But it won its popularity due to its simplicity. Neither any specific conditions nor special equipment were needed. At the same time, he gave an unmistakably correct result.
The historical prerequisite for dividing the country's inhabitants into whites, colored and blacks was the law on population registration. According to which, people had to live in groups of the same race.
Racism and reservation creation
Such a need to divide the population has matured due to the fact that more and more people of mixed origin appeared. There are numerous cases when members of the same family were assigned to different racial groups and were obliged to live separately.
The mixing of races dates back to the eighteenth century, when Afrikaners, or settlers, appeared, not all of whom had women with them. They had sexual relations with black women of the fairer sex, who had mixed offspring.
With the expansion of agricultural holdings, where blacks were considered nothing more than a labor force, the process of racial discrimination only increased in scope. Racism was also reinforced by wars with the border tribes of the Kosa and Zulu.
Such an important historical moment as the law on population registration in South Africa is highlighted in modern cinema. The film "Skin", filmed in 2009, shows the tragedy of an entire country, based on the example of the fate of one girl, Sandra Laing. The heroine of the film, born into a white family, was forced to live away from them.
This theme is reflected in animation, for example, the animated series "Multreality" shows a kind of pencil test for blacks.