Saturday, July 19, 2008

Honest Writing

I removed a post from yesterday (July 18) that dealt with Professor Jonathan Jansen's thinking on Afrikaner youth and their "anger" after two comments prodded me to look deeper.

I have spent much of my day doing exactly that.

I still think that Jansen spends too much academic time focussing on white students and their experiences in this the era after official apartheid.

I also believe that his thinking about the manner that white youth are racialized is somewhat naive and even apologetic to whiteness.

Nontheless, I can't claim to be absolutely informed about what his position(s) on reforming higher education looks like in total. Jansen has published a lot of academic work apart from his press articles.

Unfortunately, in the process of deleting the post in question I also lost the two comments that pressed me to weigh Jansen more carefully.

Nontheless, thank you Anil and Moosa for commenting and providing a kind of blog peer review :)



alleman said...

Prof I'm very interested to know your opinion about what Jansen wrote about the Bruin Belange Inisiatief:

Ridwan said...

Hello Alleman:

Thanks for looking in again. I trust you are well.

I read through the Jansen article you linked. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Jansen is all over the place with this article. The ruse he experienced is no more South African than it is Indian or American.

I have a friend who was 'rolled' in much the same way in New Orleans a few years ago.

This incident happened in Pretoria where he works (Tukkies). But this does not stop him from colouring the folks as bergies, inclusive of assuming the money was for dop.

There is a danger here. He is raising stereotypes as racial fact.

And he is attributing deviance via racial lines in much the same way.

What is coloured identity? There really is not one identity so what about the "Die Bruin Belange Inisiatief" rubs him so wrong?

And how are the Bergies related, other than assuming race?

The post I removed was very critical of Jansen. I think he speaks down from essentialized race notions.

I thought this while reading some of his articles a year or so ago.

When I read the piece on white fathers and deviant (racist) youth I thought he was hanging on a limb that was deterministic and quite naive.

What about Afrikaner men, in particular, must be 'fixed' by 'us' so that "angry youth" (mostly white men) can be saved?

He produces this discussion and it is the subject matter of his forthcoming book.

I wrote in that post that I hoped white men (fathers), and Afrikaners in particular, call him on his nonsense. I still do because I think he speaks down to Afrikaner men (fathers).

Just like I think he is speaking down to coloured folk in this piece.

The complexity of identity is lost in this type of narrative.

There is no definitive essence of race that explains white racists or deviant thieving coloureds.

He makes it seem as if there is though. He should know better.

I am not ever going to contest that there are folks who are abusing AA, BEE, etc.

But where are the routes for "cashing in" and how does this implicate all Blacks, coloureds, or Indians?

I wonder what he thinks about the recent decision to declare some Chinese as Black?

There is a need to point to greed, crime, and political corruption, and do so without playing race like it is a biological reality.

I don't see him doing this in the article you linked, and he did not do so in the IOL article I linked.

Sorry about the long ramble :0)

Please tell me what you make of this article and the "angry white youth" article when you have time.

Best wishes Alleman.


alleman said...

I looked at it more in terms of politics as opposed to the racial politics that you used. And it struck me that he so does not want the Bruin Belange Inisiatief to exist that he came up with this vile insult. Unfortunately for him, most people cannot read properly - the commentators on the Times article mostly saw it as a funny story about Bergie mishief hahaha - and not as an article about the BBI.

I can see that the insult he chose might be - as you say - due to his notions of race. But I'm not sure he is merely a 'prodigious kisser of white ass', because the question remains why he so does not want the Bruin Belange Inisiatief to exist.

And I thought maybe he is now such an establishment man that he wants the Coloured people to remain loyal to the ANC and to keep quiet when the ANC does not deliver what they need.
I think their existence embarrasses him with the establishment, and he tries to hide this snobbishness behind a story of how he drinks non-snob Frisco coffee.

As for Jansen's article on 'angry Afrikaner youth' - maybe I'll write about that some other time. Your article about that still lives in my feed reader!

Ridwan said...

Hello Alleman:

I have read mostly what Jansen says in the press. I do not think he is ANC-friendly.

I am not sure why he is so anti-Bruin Belange Inisiatief. Does not make sense partly because I do not know what the group believe/advocates.

Jansen often uses what you call "race politics" so I read him through that lens.

Still, I see what you are saying and will pay attention to see if anything else from Jansen emerges.

The Sunday Times though may have put that article up because the newspaper is not exactly ANC-friendly.

On another note, the ANC knows that it is losing support among coloureds. There has been some noise about maybe losing the Northern Cape and the Western Cape.

I have heard some coloured folks who were UDF stalwarts and ANC converts from 1992 onward say they will not vote ANC at the local of national level (ever again).

This is a time that will test the ANC as a broad church in all respects, including race inclusivity.

OK, I will look to hear more on your thinking.

Best wishes and peace,