[DEBATE] : Race and class
Devan.Pillay at wits.ac.za
Mon Feb 18 11:29:55 GMT 2008
This did not come through over the weekend - I thought of just leaving
it and ending this exchange (as no-one is coming to my defence), but I
hate being misunderstood.....;(
"This distortion of the issue seems to stem from your misconception that
when African people talk of racism they are referring to personal
NOT guilty (you're misreading me, I'd like to think; or I am just
failing to express myself clearly.....).
On Suzman and her servants: Is it Race, or is it really Class (e.g
Biko's sister who I knew very well in EL during the 1970s, had a maid
from the countryside, but referred to her as their 'niece'. So did many
other middle class black families. Many more of course do so now (my
neighbours across the street, for example), with our huge unemployment.
Are they 'racists' according to you and Sean.......?
The policy implications of an over-emphasis on race is an over-emphasis
on BEE and AA [please note the word 'over']- i.e black people vying for
positions of privilege occupied by white people (often using
revolutionary phraseology), within the same structure of inequality and
exploitation - rather than tackling the roots of class-based
exploitation (and don't forget patriarchy).
Azwell - remember it was Dominic (from Cosatu/SACP) who posted Zille on
Debate - I already said that ordinarily Zille is not our cup of tea
politically (although we can agree on some issues, like the basic income
grant, or fighting corruption)- so I don't know why you're beating this
particular horse. I however do not think she is a 'racist' as such(for
reasons I have already outlined) - but you and Mandisi seem to have gone
beyond the DA liberal faction to extend your racist label to most white
people, including those within our ranks. That's where I am pleading
for circumspection and a degree of humility (look at out own prejudices
- are we saints?) when dealing with fellow comrades:
My simple plea is for all of us (who believe in an egalitarian,
tolerant, non-sexist, non-racist society) with our various limiting
socialisations, to address our weaknesses and failings in a comradely,
inclusive, fashion, while we pool our resources to fight a common
enemy. For me, having grown up in the 'non-racial' congress/Marxist
tradition, that means focussing on the structures of oppression and
exploitation, and taking along as many people along with us as
possible, in the belief that people's prejudices (of race, language,
gender, religion, 'ethnicity' etc) dissolve with new experiences and new
Surely something we should not still be debating in a leftwing
forum..... (I am going back in time here....)
Indeed, this discussion is becoming tedious, so lets end it, shall we?
I am sure if we all find ourselves in a room together discussing this in
person we will wonder what the 'debate' was all about.....
PS: On emotions: I was pointing five fingers back at myself when I
mentioned that (but Azwell to ignore this to make his rather ahem
'emotional' point about 'intelligence'). A simple point - but lets
leave it at that shall we?
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