Thursday, January 23, 2003

Suren Pillay writes in the Mail and Guardian Online

Its not that race has become politicised. Race, after all, has always been a “political” issue — not only in South Africa. The political, economic and cultural effects of race as a classification, and their meaning in social practice, are bound to both history and location. In other words, the challenge might be to understand the particular ways in which race, both as a concept and as an experience, changes historically across time and space.

In South Africa we know that there were at least two broad responses to the state imposition of racial identity. Both responses from within the liberation movements sought to resist the imposed identities. One did it through redefining victims of apartheid as black, as a political experience, rather than a racial identity — the Fanonian inspired response of Steve Biko and others. Another response was to seek to go beyond the recognition of racial identity altogether by promoting “non-racialism”.

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