Powerful photos from a South African university riot.

They call it a "black tax."

For black South Africans, it means that if you have a job, some of your earnings should go to your struggling family.

It's not a government-instituted fee, but more of a deeply entrenched cultural responsibility set upon young black citizens.


Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images.

This idea of paying it forward is certainly well-meaning, but it can trap young people in a discouraging cycle of poverty. Many are happy to support their families but often have to set aside their personal ambitions to do so.

Black students in South Africa see one opportunity to break out of the vicious cycle of poverty: education.

So when universities announced that tuition fees would continue to rise ... this happened.

Photo by Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images.

This is a protest outside the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, locally referred to as "Wits."

Photo by Mujahid Safodien/AFP/Getty Images.

Things turned violent, and after the alleged harassment of university staff members, the police were deployed to the scene, where they used tear gas, rubber bullets, and stun grenades against the protesters.

Photo by Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images.

Cars were flipped, rocks thrown, fists swung, and at least two students were arrested.

Photo by John Wessels/AFP/Getty Images.

What you're seeing isn't just a riot — it's the result of an economic pressure cooker and decades of systematic oppression.

Less than 30 years ago, South Africa lived under apartheid — a set of laws and systems that kept black South Africans physically separated from whites.

Photo by Keystone/Getty Images.

Apartheid ended in the 1990s under Nelson Mandela, but racial tensions and inequities didn't just disappear. In fact, racial economic disparity has grown since the end of apartheid, and black income has nearly flat-lined.

Add to that the notion that education may soon become financially inaccessible to many, and the result is a palpable anger.

Photo by Mujahid Safodien/AFP/Getty Images.

Americans know some of this pressure, too, because many young people are buried in student loans, and tens of millions graduate with debt.

In the U.S., students have to lean heavily on government loans to attend college. Then they graduate with, on average, $35,000 in debt and little to no job opportunities. Student debt is the single largest debt in America, and it's still growing.

There's no excuse for violence, but the anger is understandable.

Photo by Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images.

There have been several proposed solutions to student debt, and it's been one of the many key issues discussed in the 2016 presidential election.

Plans range from forgiving loans to lowering interest rates to even making tuition-free colleges. All of those proposals have pros and cons, but one thing is clear: A college education is now practically necessary for success in our society, and something needs to be done to make it affordable.

A student debt protest in California in 2012. Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.

After that, economic growth needs to continue so the millions of people who graduate college every year have somewhere to take their skills and a feasible economic ladder to climb.

You can only put so much financial burden on young people while simultaneously cutting opportunity before something boils over.

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I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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