Friday, June 12, 2009

Some Thoughts on Postapartheid Racialization(s)

For all the talk about creating a non-racial postapartheid society there is actually very little to suggest that South Africa is anything but a thoroughly racialized nation-state.

In fact, if the political move from white rule sought to invert its racialization and race-sensibilities then our liberation must be measured to be far from complete.

But even as I write these thoughts it must be said that racialization, the process of attributing racial characteristics to groups of people, is not just undone by political goodwill or official talk about creating a non-racial society.

What I am thinking tonight is brought on by the inescapable angst of living inside the vexing contradictions of race in the postapartheid moment.

These contradictions are made worse by the attachment of racialized identity supplements which in effect fortify the divisions between races.

Take for example the official position that embraces the racialized categories of coloured, Indian, and white as distinct and legally separate from the racialized construct of African.

To be a legally recognized African in South Africa means you cannot be Indian, coloured, Chinese, or white. An African in the new-yet-old thinking is someone drawn from the historically pejorative Bantu construct.

The new part is that Africans, Indians, coloureds, and now some Chinese too, can be considered black in a hierarchy of racial value that favours Africans when Affirmative Action is considered, for example.

The old part for me is that my South African, and African, identity is still a matter that is contained and constrained by my racialization.

Onward!

2 comments:

groundwork said...

True. This sh-t drives one crazy.

Ridwan said...

You said it absolutely right Groundwork.

Makes me resentful a lot more than not.

Thanks for looking in. I have stopped by your impressive spot too.

Peace,
Ridwan