Neville Alexander’s Unity Movement opposed the now defunct, multi-regionalist theory of human evolution and proposed that all of humanity was the result of a common stream, not separate and distinct ‘race groups’. Given that non-racialism is now the basis for our Constitution one would think that Alexander’s ideas were relatively secure on our nation’s campuses?
Not so, according to Nicoli Nattrass and Jeremy Seeking, who write about the influence of a “contemporary American antiracism … being promoted with a missionary zeal.”
They write in the Daily Maverick: “American antiracism does not simply mean being anti or against racism. It means adopting a racialised and profoundly American worldview that frames all disadvantages experienced by “black” people as the result of “systemic racism”, meaning the institutional and cultural promotion of “white supremacy”. Contemporary American antiracism entails a rejection of non-racialism. It emphatically asserts an essentialist apartheid-style understanding of ‘race’.”
“At the University of Cape Town (UCT), in a city where anti-essentialist ideologies of non-racialism — including radical as well as liberal and African nationalist ideologies — have a long history”, this contemporary American antiracism, they claim, is being promoted as a religion.
The imported, ‘racist conception of race’ flies in the face of science, since as scientists have elegantly put it, ‘adaptive traits such as hair and skin colour are not indicative of a separation between the species’, we are all one race, the human race, or as the late Robert Sobukwe put it, ‘there is no plural in race’. Issues such as discrimination, whether institutional or otherwise, are thus the product of racism, not race per se, since clearly race, is the ‘child of racism not the parent’.
Consider the Apartheid regime’s ‘separate and distinct’ race groups were tragically claimed to be the product of spontaneous human evolution, which they alleged had arisen in isolation on different continents. Race theorists, early paleontologists and bureaucrats such as Piet Koornhof, the so-named Minister of Plural Development, a man often drawn in cartoon caricature, spent their time on SABC pronouncing upon the classification of black persons as Non-White. ‘Plurals’ and similar such pseudoscientific nonsense, were terms often cast in direct opposition to apartheid’s many critics.
As a direct result of the Unity Movement’s interventions — and whilst Alexander was incarcerated on Robben Island, and a story often told by Alexander — the ANC adopted non-racialism as one of its central pillars, his having persuaded Madiba of the merits of the idea. Alongside a discourse similarly advocated by Sobukwe, the history of our country is in reality, an epic journey from the oblique multi-racialism of the Freedom Charter to the clear non-racialism of our Constitution. Nevertheless, the racist conception of an essentialist race identity persists.
You can read about my dis-enrollment from the ‘white race’ here. And the manner in which an anti-racist bigot and oxy(moron) on the bench acting in cahoots with the apartheid system, has censured me for simply advocating Alexander’s ideas, this whilst over-ruling several acts of Parliament, all of which provide a legal basis for non-racialism.