10 July 2014

South Africa: Op-Ed - Does Building Non-Racialism Mean Being Colour-Blind?


Building non-racialism is one of the values of South Africa's democratic constitution. But it is not something that will be realised overnight, and what it means to build non-racialism may change under different conditions.

It requires recognition and awareness that race remains both a social construction and part of the fundamental structural design of our society. It demands an awareness and sensitivity to the experiences of different sections of the population, particularly those who have suffered and continue to experience racism and resultant inequalities.

This week saw controversy surrounding an advertisement by the NGO Feed A Child SA depicting an apparently affluent white woman feeding an African child sitting beneath her table, much as one might feed a dog. In asserting their bona fides, the organisation's spokesperson, Alza Rautenbach, explained: "Like a child, I don't see colour; like a child, I don't see race or politics... "

This was presumably to depict her concern as entirely humanitarian, only focusing on children. But can one act in a truly humanitarian way or as a humanist in a racist society when one does not "see" colour or race?

When one says one does not see race, one is also...

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