Tag Archives: racial identity

Race is too much of a sloppy concept to assist us in answering the coloured question

The “coloured question” revived itself, again. This time, not by politicians hoping to gain sympathy votes from the coloured majority in the Western and Northern Cape provinces. Jamie Petersen, a 22-year-old Cape Town resident, writing about her experiences of “being coloured in a black and white South Africa” sparked this latest wave of the debate….

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If you think you’re white, liberate yourself now

In case you were not aware, the white nation is dead in South Africa. It does not exist, not anymore. In fact, there has not been a time in over three centuries when so-called white people have been so on the defensive and their superiority complex shattered. After all, the only thing that made most…

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The intimate and unbearable shackles of racism

You know this scene all too well: you’re in a supermarket and the person in front of you whispers a racist epithet under their breath. Apparently black shop clerks are to blame for shopping rush hours. Or you stumble into a serious debate where accusations of racism are used as a distraction to shut down…

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Who is black and who is not?

There has not been a time in the history of racial identity in this country when the number of people who describe or define themselves in terms of their race or language group or tribe has been so low. Far too few people continue to see themselves as black (or white even) (8.8%) compared to…

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The black double agents among us

By Tshepo Mogotsi “You speak English so well, where did you go to school?” That could easily rank in the top five annoying questions asked to products of the “Model C” system. And when I answer “Hillview High” (a name that has never and will never feature in any Easter Rugby tournament) a dense cloud…

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Black to white migration: Why black South Africans are moving away from black

Sometimes I wish my skin were lighter, my nose more narrow, hair that would allow a pencil to fall freely when slid into it, with my forehead slopping back a bit, a pair of ocean blue eyes and cap it all off with the white man’s accent. At least that would make my shopping experience…

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The hair debate must end

While watching Gillian Schutte’s documentary “It’s my hair … I bought it”, I thought the hair debate must come to an end. It’s banal and redundant. Talking about black women’s hair needs to stop being a question of national importance. Our hair is not all of who we are. Why have I never seen a…

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The problem is not black and white

It was 1994 and a Canadian comic at a South African festival thought that given our apartheid history, he’d be edgy by poking fun at race. He got mere titters and derisory silences from the audience. He didn’t realise: we got race. We South Africans had been through race, come back and turned it inside…

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Black middle-class, middle-child guilt

Black middle-class South Africans suffer from a wide spectrum of self-inflicted psychological ailments, which you need to be black and middle class to truly understand. Each generation suffers from its own variations of these — only black syndrome, first black syndrome, (my favourite) bad black syndrome, black guilt — often discussed with close confidants, far…

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