Scrap AA in University NOW!
TO be clear, I am an EFF Comrade and a fellow Citizen working to BUILD. I am both a garden boy for the madame and an ANC Cadre. I am all these things, at this moment, because I believe that all these parties can carry this message forward: the time has come for a non-racial policy in University Selection.
Before all you (so-called) neo-NATS start cheering me for being a black man who sees the injustice of AA – let me open with my underprivileged, economically disadvantaged youth EFF stance. I will also include my ANC ‘address the racial imbalances of the past’ mantra too: Affirmative Action no longer helps disadvantaged blacks get into the best Universities. Maybe it did once, but unless we move to a poverty (or rather access-to-resources) based system, then we will not help lift the poor/disadvantaged blacks out of poverty. Allow me to explain.
The whole idea is that we want talented kids from the townships who didn’t have the fanciest lab equipment and such to get into a tertiary institution like UCT and study Medicine and come back and work as doctors in their communities: Finally, the bounty of South Africa for all! But if our admissions system is primarily based on race and UCT has maybe 200 spots for their MBchB course, this won’t happen. If a University’s main mission is to look good by producing excellent doctors and results, they will hire the best. If our only constraint to help the disadvantaged is race, then they will hire the best in each racial group. So who will they fill their quotas with? Not impoverished black students who never had access to proper science equipment and loads of extra-curricular stimulation – but rather the black kids (coloured kids, indian kids – what have you) that did. A primarily race based selection scheme pits Khanya from St. Charles College against Tshepo from school in rural Eastern Cape. It pits them as equal by the colour of their skin and gives the selectors free reign to choose. The really disadvantaged people are being lumped together with the not-so disadvantaged blacks who have made it out of that group and with the ultra-rich blacks who can’t even identify with that group and told to compete – it will help you. So, Comrades, for the sake of our poor and for the sake of the previously disadvantaged minority, let us switch to a system that will genuinely look at resources and advantage and talent and not just race!
But neither should we be ashamed to cry ‘unfair’ and attack AA from a white perspective. When we talk about ‘white people’, there is such a vast range to pick from. Of course, on average they are much richer and of the white people many of them are very rich. But people aren’t just numbers. The black middle class has equaled the white middle class in spending power. We have started to see that within the centre we are nearing our goals ever more – of a multi-racial country. The real problem is at the extremes. In any case, there are two friends: Chad and Anaso. Go to the same reasonably good school and have roughly the same monthly income (middle class). Chad is being told that because people of his skin colour are rich, he has to work harder. Anaso is told that because people of his skin colour are poorer, he doesn’t have to work as hard because he’s probably not as good as Chad anyway – despite having access to the same resources. If I were either of these kids (and I kind of am) I would be outraged.
And as for the Indians and the Coloureds – could somebody please direct me to the Apartheid-O-Meter that decided how much discrimination was too much? I understand there was a separation and a little bit of a difference, but within one generation the difference has pretty much disappeared (within the disadvantaged group, I’m not talking about the difference between ‘advantaged’ and ‘disadvantaged’). So then what’s the justification for making Indian students and Colored students have to work a little bit harder than blacks?
This system may have been really great once, but I wasn’t there – I am here now and I know it’s not good at all. It marginalizes people and not even for a good cause. I could stand a few white people feeling unfairly treated if it meant that hundreds were being lifted out of poverty with every batch of Medicine, Law, Engineering and Business candidates that pass through our best Universities – but that’s not necessarily the case. So then the question becomes: why?
Again my fellow Comrades, my fellow Africans, my fellow Citizens, my fellow members of the Blue Machine, let’s replace a primarily racial division with one that actually addresses economic situation and access to resources to spot the talented kids in dilapidated communities and helps them out. And to my fellow Model C’s, for the sake of all the people who are directly and indirectly hurt through AA, tick the ‘Other Box’. Do it to leave that disadvantaged space for a disadvantaged person. Do it in solidarity with your fellow priviledged whites and coloureds and Indians. Do it for the people of this country.
Congratulations to WITS for what I hope will be the start of something good: http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/New-scholarships-for-poor-pupils-20130824
Viva Dr. Max Price, Viva! http://www.uct.ac.za/usr/admissions_debate/2013/UCT_new_admissions_policy.pdf http://www.uct.ac.za/usr/admissions_debate/2013/revise_race_based_policy.pdf
No offence was meant by picking on UCT. I recognize they are only human and are also working through to help transform our Universities to unlock talent in poor areas. I used them only to make a point.
And of course:
--- Simply use the Ctrl+F command and Find ‘Black’. It should give you a wealth of paragraphs explaining their policy for the 2013/2014 Cycle. Note that this policy is going to be revised for the 2015/2016 cycle so let’s not go be bullies on the UCT Forums. Again, it’s just to make a point.
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