CROS S-CULTURAL RACISM IN SOUTH AFRICA – DEAD OR ALIVE?

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Abstract:

Race, discrimination, prejudice and stereotypes remain emotive words in numerous societies around the globe. Racism implies that a definitive social/psychological process exists through which individuals are categorised, despite the fact that there is often no clear delineation, and this causes chaos in setting evaluative parameters for the structuring of this categorisation process. A non-racial world can exist only if theories and postulations re race are rendered irrelevant. Subsequent to the 1994 South African elections, it became imperative to do this. This artificially polarized society had the opportunity to develop racial unity and hegemony. To assess the relative status of racist paradigms in students, 265 students completed a questionnaire which attempted to measure ethnic group identification and particular interracial attitudes. Results were disappointing, indeed distressing. Significant indications of racist stereotypes were found in all racial groups, with a strong bias towards subjects'own racial groups. The primary conclusion is that racist perceptions and stereotypes remain very prevalent and active in the South African society. A number of recommendations to address the issue are made, e.g. school curricula should include particular components to develop greater understanding/sensitivity re other racial groups; social emphasis should be on cultural solidarity rather than on cultural diversity; national governments should contribute funding towards setting up an international forum to study/combat racism, etc.

The concept of race, and the existence of the phenomenon in the minds of perceivers, must be attacked and discarded on an international level if the world is to achieve a state of racial harmony.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2001.29.2.125

Publication date: January 1, 2001

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