IN THEIR OWN WORDS | UCT furore: Nattrass talks transformation, black academics say racism remains

A general view of the University of Cape Town on January 21, 2020 in Cape Town.
A general view of the University of Cape Town on January 21, 2020 in Cape Town.
Gallo Images/Jacques Stander
  • Nicoli Nattrass, a professor at UCT, has been accused of racism after she published an academic piece.
  • UCT’s Black Academic Caucus says racism at the institution is being ignored.
  • Read both side of the argument here.

A storm has erupted around University of Cape Town (UCT) academic Professor Nicoli Nattrass after a paper she authored, titled “Why are black South African students less likely to consider studying biological sciences?” was published in the South African Journal of Science. 

She has been accused of racism and perpetuating stereotypes by her critics, while she has rejected this and said her paper contributes to a greater understanding of societal transformation.

Nattrass has penned a defence of her studies, which we published in full. Alongside her submission we also published a statement by the Black Academic Caucus, who are her most vocal critic. We also included our reporting on the matter for the full context as the matter unfolded since last week.

NICOLI NATTRASS:

“Many of us (older, white) scholars have been pushed to re-examine our assumptions and behaviour. Most of this has been for the good. But the continuing push for transformation has a Manichean underside of intolerance: If you do not comply with the approved vision of the future, you must be pushed aside. At UCT, a section of the Black Academic Caucus, together with some student activists, appear to want to institutionalise a new and intolerant hegemonic project."

READ IT IN FULL HERE

UCT’S BLACK ACADEMIC CAUCUS: 

"As black academics at UCT we have long since learned of the futility of expecting the university to take claims of racism by our white colleagues seriously. When we do raise the alarm about racism, accused white colleagues weaponize the rules and regulations of the university to bring counter charges of racism against us. In many instances the arbiters of these cases end up being white bodies who unsurprisingly judge that the racism claimed by black students and academics are imagined."

READ IT IN FULL HERE



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