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The Conversation

Why is whiteness seen as the norm and blackness as the “other”?

The year 1994 did not free SA from the control of colonial capitalism, says the writer. White monopoly capitalism is still in control, because it feeds off a docile, low-wage working class to extract as much value as it can. File picture: Kim Ludbrook

Norma Craven explains why she thinks whiteness is seen as the norm and blackness as the “other”.

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How to overcome racism in South Africa

Shafiq Morton More than 300 years of colonialism and four decades of apartheid can’t simply be airbrushed out of our collective psyche, writes Shafiq Morton. Racism – as defined by the UN in 1966 – is discrimination against another person on the basis of their race, or an event that reduces human dignity through actions […]

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Let’s talk about sex education: race and shame in South Africa

Sarah Emily Duff, University of the Witwatersrand There are many ways for young people to learn about sex. In talks between parents and children, in the sharing of information between peers, in initiation schools and in ceremonies preceding marriage, young people have learned about sex and sexual reproduction. They also learn about how societies define […]

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Why culture, not race, determines tastes in music

Music is culturally - and not racially - ingrained. Reuters/Andrew Winning

Winfried Lüdemann, Stellenbosch University One frequently hears questions such as: Why do different races generally listen to specific genres of music? Why do music genres have a huge racial divide? In societies obsessed with and manipulated by the notion of race, these questions are understandable. But it is also understandable that, for many forward-thinking people, […]

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How science has been abused through the ages to promote racism

Tim Crowe, University of Cape Town Race in human taxonomy – the science of classifying organisms – has a long, disgraceful history. Individuals have used race to divide and denigrate certain people while promoting their claims of superiority. Some of these individuals were, and are, respected in their time and their fields. They include philosopher […]

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It’s time to take the curriculum back from dead white men

A pyrotechnician lights a flaming depiction of William Shakespeare during a firework display at the Royal Shakespeare Company marking the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth in Stratford-upon-Avon, southern England April 23, 2014. Known as the Bard and regarded as England's greatest playwright, Shakespeare, whose 450th birthday is celebrated on Wednesday, let his imagination roam as widely as his characters.    REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett (BRITAIN - Tags: SOCIETY) - RTR3MDLX

Sarah Pett, University of York Dead white men rule the roost at South African and British universities. They preside over open spaces and lecture halls. They clog up reading lists and dominate the syllabus, particularly in subjects like philosophy and English literature. In eight years of university teaching in the United Kingdom and South Africa, […]

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Racism defies logic – so don’t go searching for any

Adam Goodes

Many commentators have found it difficult to define the actions of spectators in the Adam Goodes booing affair; are these actions racist or not? This confusion is understandable because racism is best described as irrational – and irrational events often defy definition. Many have tried to use logic to support racist thinking. In the 19th […]

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