Race still matters

2010-10-23 16:33

I have observed that most white liberal academics and social scientists, particularly at institutions of higher learning, tend to promote the notion that race no longer matters in analysing South African society and that only class analysis of South African society matters.

There’s a misconception among many South African university professors in social sciences that the so-called achievements of 1994 have eroded racial inequalities and brought about a new era of intra-racial inequalities that they in turn refer to as class differences among black people.

It is fallacious to assume that the rise to power of the ANC has fully addressed the racial imbalances that were created by both colonialism and apartheid.

My argument is that race matters in South Africa.

It is an unavoidable argument to take race seriously alongside class because class division in South ­Africa is not the only basis of inequality and oppression. Moreover, it was not the only premise of collective action that South Africans favoured in their fight against apartheid.

Black South Africans were ­racially oppressed by the white apartheid regime, the division was racially motivated and 16 years ­into democracy one cannot just start to be one-dimensional and analyse South African society on the basis of class division and ­ignore race.

Race is the mask of class in the final analysis. It is high time that most white academics are enlightened on their reductionist analysis of South African society.

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