Racial Mixedness in the Contemporary United States and South Africa: On the Politics of Impurity and Antiracist Praxis

Posted in Africa, Articles, Media Archive, Philosophy, South Africa, United States on 2016-07-18 23:26Z by Steven

Racial Mixedness in the Contemporary United States and South Africa: On the Politics of Impurity and Antiracist Praxis

Critical Philosophy of Race
Volume 4, Issue 2, 2016
pages 182-204

Desiree Valentine, Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Philosophy; Department of Women’s Studies
Pennsylvania State University

This article is motivated by a concern about the increasing embrace of apolitical and ahistorical notions of racial “mixedness” and “impurity.” It draws on recent examples from the United States and South Africa in order to direct attention to the difficulties of identifying logics that, on the face of it, seem to evade conventional claims of racism, but nevertheless, as it will argue, rely on racist notions that must be challenged. These include examples in the United States and South Africa of individuals self-identifying as a stand-alone mixed race category (and furthermore espousing this as a “pure” category of belonging) as well as white Afrikaners in South Africa uncritically appropriating claims to mixed heritage. This article is critical of these phenomena because of what it finds to be a lack of politically and historically situated understandings of the notions of purity and impurity and their relation to racism.

Read or purchase the article here

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The Myth of White Purity and Narratives That Fed Racism in South Africa

Posted in Africa, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, South Africa on 2016-07-16 15:25Z by Steven

The Myth of White Purity and Narratives That Fed Racism in South Africa

The Wire
2016-06-18

Nicky Falkof, Senior Lecturer in Media Studies
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


An apartheid-era sign from South Africa. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The rhetoric of racial purity is full of suggestive terms like illness, weakening and dilution. These imply the medicalisation of the nation.

In this extract from her book The End of Whiteness: Satanism and Family Murder in Late Apartheid South Africa, Nicky Falkof explores how ideas about disease, risk and danger that the apartheid government applied to black people were transposed onto fears about Satanism during the 1980s.

The grand apartheid regime’s most pressing fear was gelykstelling, an Afrikaans word that means “equalisation”. It believed that this would bring on the “mishmash cohabitation” and eventual bloedvermenging – blood mixing – that threatened the purity of the white race.

During the run-up to the 1938 election, the National Party campaigned on the argument that the ruling United Party’s policy of allowing mixed marriages would cause mass miscegenation. This, in the words of Afrikaans intellectual N.J. van der Merwe, would lead to “mixing of the blood and the ruin of the white race”.

During the 1970s Afrikaans genealogist J.A. Heese uncovered records of more than 1,200 European men in South Africa who married non-white women between 1652 and 1800. Through this he determined that approximately 7.2% of Afrikaner heritage was non-white. This complicated history was not admissible within the apartheid imaginary…

Read the entire article here.

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Marrying Black Girls for Guys who aren’t Black

Posted in Africa, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, South Africa on 2016-07-16 14:48Z by Steven

Marrying Black Girls for Guys who aren’t Black

Jacana Media
October 2013
256 pages
198 x 130mm
Paperback ISBN: 9781920601287
d-PDF ISBN: 9781920601294
ePUB ISBN: 9781920601300
mobi file ISBN: 9781920601317

Hagen Engler

White guy Hagen Engler had been married to his black wife for a couple of years before he realised he was still a racist! Marrying Black Girls for Guys Who Aren’t Black describes his journey from being the whitest person this side of a Smokie concert to being slightly blacker, if not visibly so. Combining anecdotes, rhymes, essays and freestyle political discourse, the book charts a personal route to an integrated society in Unit 2, Sandown Court, Johannesburg. As the newly disenfranchised minority in his lounge, Hagen has gained a fresh insight into the struggles of the oppressed. Living with a gorgeous, militant black woman has helped this armchair liberal understand cultural and economic reality and also realise that while he can appreciate the kwaito-house works of Oskido and the later releases of Letta Mbuli, he will never enjoy Basketball Wives, Kenny Lattimore, or boiled tripe. The jury’s still out on umleqwa too. Once you make your peace with skin colour, does race even exist? Or is culture what distinguishes us? What happens when a surfer/bungee-jumper/rock ’n’ roll goofball hooks up with a black-diamond struggle veteran and shoe fetishist?

It’s hard to be a neoliberal hardliner when your partner’s real-life experience undermines all your prejudices. It’s cultural exchange over the TV remote; race relations in the contested space between the sink, the toaster and the microwave, as yet another mixed marriage cocks up the race debate. Hagen Engler learns about himself and our emerging, common culture as much as his lovely black wife in How to Marry a Black Chick for Guys who are White.

He has surfed Hawaii, run the Comrades, climbed Kilimanjaro, been sued by a clown and eaten a praying mantis. So a lot of the bucket-list boxes have been ticked.

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End of Whiteness: Satanism & Family Murder in Late Apartheid South Africa

Posted in Africa, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, South Africa on 2016-07-16 02:11Z by Steven

End of Whiteness: Satanism & Family Murder in Late Apartheid South Africa

Jacana Media
March 2016
240 pages
235x155mm
Paperback ISBN: 9781431423279

Nicky Falkof, Senior Lecturer in Media Studies
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Satanism and family murder – bizarre responses to fear of change. This book examines the effects that apartheid may have had on those who benefitted from it the most.

The End of Whiteness aims to reveal the pathological, paranoid and bizarre consequences that the looming end of apartheid had on white culture in South Africa, and overall to show that whiteness is a deeply problematic category that needs to be deconstructed and thoughtfully considered.

This book uses contemporary media material to investigate two symptoms of this late apartheid cultural hysteria that appeared throughout the contemporary media and in popular literature during the 1980s and 1990s, showing their relation to white anxieties about social change, the potential loss of privilege and the destabilisation of the country that were imagined to be an inevitable consequence of majority rule.

The ‘Satanic panic’ revolved around the apparent threat posed by a cult of white Satanists that was never proven to exist but was nonetheless repeatedly accused of conspiracy, murder, rape, drug-dealing, cannibalism and bestiality, and blamed for the imminent destruction of white Christian civilisation in South Africa.

During the same period an unusually high number of domestic murder-suicides occurred, with parents killing themselves and their children or other family members by gunshot, fire, poison, gas, even crossbows and drownings. This so-called epidemic of family murder was treated by police, press and social scientists as a plague that specifically affected white Afrikaans families. These double monsters, both fantastic and real, helped to disembowel the clarities of whiteness even as they were born out of threats to it. Deep within its self-regarding modernity and renegotiation of identity, contemporary white South Africa still wears those scars of cultural pathology.

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Trevor Noah: ‘It’s easier to be an angry white man than an angry black man’

Posted in Africa, Articles, Arts, Media Archive, South Africa, United States on 2016-04-02 16:59Z by Steven

Trevor Noah: ‘It’s easier to be an angry white man than an angry black man’

The Guardian
2016-04-02

Lanre Bakare, Deputy Arts Editor


Trevor Noah photographed at the Daily Show offices.
Photograph: Christopher Lane

Six months ago the South African comic took on the trickiest task in comedy; replacing Jon Stewart as host of the Daily Show. What’s he learned so far? Always keep your cool

Trevor Noah is perched on top of a bank of chairs in the Daily Show conference room. It’s a Friday, which means there’s no live show, and Noah has time to clown around, undergoing half-a-dozen tie changes while being photographed by the Guide. This room is usually the hallowed space where the writers share their ideas and hone jokes for America’s best-known political satire, but right now Noah has his arms outspread and is tottering around as if he’s about to fall over. “That’s good,” says the Guide’s photographer. “Keep doing that airplane thing,” he adds as Noah regains his balance. “Airplane?” asks Noah with faux-incredulity. “That’s what you thought that was? Interesting. This is like a Rorschach test: you see whatever you want.”

Since the 32-year-old South African took over from Jon Stewart, who retired last August after 16 years in charge, his tenure at the Daily Show has been open to interpretation too. Some see a confident, charismatic comedy talent and a welcome point of difference in a bland – and white – late-night landscape, while others see him as an unwelcome reformist who has defaced the Daily Show that Stewart built…

…“For me growing up as a mixed-race person, you’re forced to see both sides,” he explains. “I grew up in a house where my mother was Xhosa, my dad was Swiss, my stepdad was Shangaan, my friends were Zulu. I lived in such a melting pot that I never grew up with a preconceived notion of ‘people’. Because of that it helped my comedy because I could play within the nuance of that world.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed-race children are not ambassadors for anti-racism

Posted in Africa, Articles, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, South Africa on 2016-01-23 16:32Z by Steven

Mixed-race children are not ambassadors for anti-racism

Parent24 (News24)
South Africa
2016-01-21

Aneshree Naidoo

Why it’s unfair to lay the responsibility to prove that “love conquers all” on their little shoulders.

The events of the past few weeks have spurred a shift in South Africa, from tight smiles and blank faces at work and dinner tables, to voices now being raised very loudly against racism, and – as is inevitable and still somehow shocking – for it.

One particular act of anti-racism has me quite concerned though.

I have in the past few weeks seen pictures of interracial couples and their mixed-race children, or white families and adopted black children, circulated as ‘proof’ that love conquers all. That some sort of interracial utopia exists when we love and have sex across the colour line and birth biracial children.

It’s a dangerously naive sentiment, and places responsibility on tiny shoulders that do not ask for such, nor need it thrust it upon them…

Read the entire article here.

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A note on race and racism

Posted in Africa, Articles, History, Media Archive, Social Science, South Africa on 2016-01-10 22:09Z by Steven

A note on race and racism

Medium
2016-01-08

T.O. Molefe

This week in South Africa has made it clear there are many people who have a limited understanding of race and racism — two very different things. Either that or they are working with different definitions (and moral theories) and don’t know it, or lack the diligence and honesty to reconcile their definition with those of others.

This note outlines a few points on race and racism that guide my thinking and writing. I’m committing it to the internet in the hopes it might help others think through the issues and let readers of my work understand some of its underpinnings.

  1. Race is meaningless. The categories (race groups) of human it creates are based on characteristics that are largely superficial and often not exclusive to that group. If the borders of the categories are porous and the categories don’t tell you anything essential to the being of what is categorised, then the categories are meaningless.
  2. Race was conjured into existence from virtually nothing, and backed with military might and untruthful intellectual projects, to perpetuate slavery, justify European imperialism and colonialism, and defend white supremacy — ideologies all founded in a belief in the individual’s right to property to the denial of others. Without the individual’s right to property, no person could own another. No person could land upon a shore and lay claim to it as theirs alone. No law could be enacted and enforced denying people this right…

Read the entire article here.

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Krotoa-Eva’s Suite: A performance by poet Toni Stuart

Posted in Africa, Arts, History, Live Events, Media Archive, South Africa, Women on 2015-12-02 01:56Z by Steven

Krotoa-Eva’s Suite: A performance by poet Toni Stuart

Goldsmiths University of London
New Cross
London, United Kingdom
Caribbean Studies Centre
Top Floor, Education Building
2015-12-03, 18:30-20:30Z

Join the Centre for Caribbean and Diaspora Studies and the Centre for Feminist Research for a performance by poet Toni Stuart and a ‘Stories are Medicine’ discussion circle.

Toni Stuart (@nomadpoet) is a poet, performer, festival organiser and educator from Cape Town, South Africa.

She’ll be performing poems from her collection in progress, Krotoa-Eva’s Suite – a cape jazz poem in three movements. This is the re-imagined story of Krotoa-Eva, a Khoi woman who played a pivotal role in South African history in the 17th Century, when the first European settlers arrived at Cape Town, as it is known today. The poems give voice to Krotoa-Eva’s “interior” life, and aim to offer a counter-narrative to the male, colonial perspectives through which her story has previously been told.

The performance will be followed by an informal discussion circle around the role of self-care and healing in our work as feminists. And, it will explore how stories and the creative arts might facilitate and support this practice.

For more information, click here.

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‘We have a right to determine how our histories are told’: An interview with poet Toni Stuart

Posted in Africa, Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, South Africa, United Kingdom on 2015-12-01 16:08Z by Steven

‘We have a right to determine how our histories are told’: An interview with poet Toni Stuart

Goldsmiths University of London
News
2015-11-25

Sarah Cox

On Thursday 3 December the Centre for Caribbean and Diaspora Studies (CCDS) and Centre for Feminist Research host a spoken word performance by Toni Stuart: poet, festival organiser and educator, recently named on the South African Mail & Guardian’s list of inspiring young South Africans. Toni is also a Goldsmiths graduate, completing her MA Writer/Teacher with us this year as a 2014/2015 Chevening Scholar. We caught up with her to find out more about her work and Goldsmiths experience.

Toni was first introduced to Goldsmiths by friend and fellow poet Raymond Antrobus while he was studying for his MA Writer/Teacher here. Raymond was also taking part in our Spoken Word Educators Programme (SWEP), working with school children to develop their confidence, self expression, oral communication and literary skills.

Invited in to teach for the day at the school where Raymond was based, Toni got a taste for what being poet-in-residence was like and also learnt more about our MA – a course taught by the Departments of Educational Studies and English and Comparative Literature.

“It sounded like exactly what I wanted,” she says. “A course that allowed me to develop my creative writing and teaching practices simultaneously, with a specific focus on developing my own pedagogy and ‘poetry syllabus’. I don’t know of any other course like it in the world. And, the SWEP – started by Peter Kahn and now with Jacob Sam-La Rose as director – is the only one of its kind in the world as well.”

After her performance at Goldsmiths this December, Toni and her audience will be taking part in a discussion circle exploring the use of stories as medicine. As a 32-year old mixed heritage South African woman poet, she believes her work – and that of her generation – is to heal the wounds that they have inherited from their parents’ generation and from the past.

“Sometimes these wounds are apparent and we’re able to address them directly, other times they are unconsciously passed down through many generations,” she says. “My experience of working in the NGO sector in the past, and in the arts sector now, is that self-care is fundamental if we hope for our work to have a meaningful impact in our communities, and, that in order for our work to be sustainable we need to ensure we are taking care of ourselves first…

Read the entire interview here.

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Whither ‘non-racialism’: the ‘new’ South Africa turns twenty-one

Posted in Africa, Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, South Africa on 2015-10-05 18:29Z by Steven

Whither ‘non-racialism’: the ‘new’ South Africa turns twenty-one

Ethnic and Racial Studies
Volume 38, Issue 13, 2015
pages 2167-2174
DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2015.1058511

Deborah Posel, Professor of Sociology
Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA)
University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

This brief essay reflects on the meaning and significance of ‘non-racialism’ in South Africa’s recent past and present. I consider the version of non-racialism that shaped the transition from apartheid to a constitutional democracy as having had dual dimensions, ethical and strategic. Ethically, non-racialism has signified a principle of human recognition that exceeds the mere tolerance of difference. Strategically, non-racialism has afforded ways of managing and disciplining the historical realities of racial differences. The politicization of race in recent years has rendered the project of non-racialism more precarious: both its ethical and strategic dimensions merit further scrutiny, if the project is to be revitalized.

Read the entire article here.

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