Apartheid, or "apartness" was a system of laws in South Africa set in place by white settlers back in the 17th century that separated black and mixed-race people from white people. The laws were later expanded to include Asians, just to be sure.
We're guessing exceptions were made.
The different non-white races were segregated into separate neighborhoods (a term which here means "ghettos") and separate schools, and the ruling party even created race-specific jobs to ensure that white people never had to see them. Any blacks belonging to native tribes were denied all representation in the government, and if you were black and didn't belong to a tribe, one would be helpfully created for you. Those who resisted these injustices were beaten, imprisoned and murdered.
The most unfortunate were forced to meet Celine Dion.
How'd They Make it All Better?
The heavily criticized Truth and Reconciliation Commission was set up to try and repair the schism between blacks and whites in South Africa. And to be fair, many apologies were made by the individuals responsible for perpetuating Apartheid and shitting all over basic human rights. However, these individuals only apologized once they were given immunity for all their crimes against humanity, which they were by the thousand.
Sort of like the bad guys in Lethal Weapon 2, only Danny Glover didn't shoot any of them in the face.
Another, more ridiculous problem arose when the commission heard from witnesses about the horrors and abuses they had seen during Apartheid. Many of the witnesses to violence, killings and acts of racism didn't speak the language, and since translators usually just laconically repeat what is being said to them, the intense emotion of the victims' words was lost. This lead to the entirely farcical attempt to have the translators actually imitate the witnesses, which in no way made everyone involved look like goosefucking morons.
"Great. Now can you do it like Christopher Walken?"
Wait, it got stupider. To show just how incredibly sorry he was over the whole mess, a former security minister for the white side of the Apartheid situation named Adriaan Vlok showed up unannounced at the house of Apartheid victim Reverend Frank Chikane. Vlok told him he needed to be like Jesus and wash Chikane's feet. This was apparently the only way he felt he could truly be forgiven for his wrongs.
What "wrongs" you might ask? Oh, just sending a death squad to try and kill the anti-apartheid activist two decades before. This symbolic gesture was so powerful in Vlok's eyes that he didn't feel the need to apologize to any of the other countless victims.
If you've ever taken a history class, watched movies or television, read a book, or not been in a coma, you've probably heard of the Catholic Church, pretty much the most powerful entity in the entire world for over 1,000 years. Not surprisingly, hand in hand with that power came unbridled cockstained douchebaggery.
Sometimes douchebaggery looks a lot like kicking freaking ass.
With its 20-century long track record of ham-fisted dick moves, the Catholic Church makes every other entry on this list look like Gandhi rescuing an asthmatic kitten from a burning tree. The Inquisition, the Crusades, the oppression of modern science and equality of the sexes, and the condemnation of homosexuals... there's a lot of ground to cover there.
Any apology for every violation of human rights the Catholic Church has committed over the past 2,000 years is obviously unfeasible--it would take months to address, and no one would be able to take off enough time from work to hear it.
Unless it was read by Morgan Freeman.
How'd They Make it All Better?
In early 2000, Pope John Paul II announced to his inner circle his intention to apologize for EVERY BAD THING THE CHURCH HAD EVER DONE.
Rosary sales skyrocketed.
In a short but sweet apology, the Pope managed to categorize all the wrongs of the past two millennia into seven classifications, such as terrible things done to women, terrible things done to Jews and terrible things done to people in general.
However, in this sweeping apology, the Pope failed to mention almost any specific instances of what exactly the Church had done wrong; no Galileo, no Inquisition, no Crusades.
John Paul didn't even suggest that the Catholic Church had ever mistreated gays in the slightest manner, and he steered clear of the whole "not taking a stance on the Holocaust for six decades" issue altogether.
Rather than an apology to the world, this was more of an "our bad" to God, wiping the slate clean for Catholicism heading into the 21st century. Despite being the most half-assed apology since Jerry Seinfeld brought Michael Richards on Late Night with David Letterman, the Pope -- Mr. Infallible, head of the entire Catholic Church -- did promise that such abuses would never occur again.
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For more asinine apologies, check out The 6 Most Insincere Apologies of All-Time . Or learn about some people who should be begging for humanity's forgiveness, in 7 Inventors You Didn't Know You Wanted to Punch In the Face .
And stop by our Top Picks (Updated Today! Shit!) to see our apology to L.A. for that thing that DOB did that time. You know. The thing.