Sunday, July 01, 2007

Is deracialization the best future for non-indigenous?

Melissa Steyn
In African Studies Review, Thomas Blaser reviews Melissa Steyn's book Whiteness Just Isn't What It Used to Be": White Identity in a Changing South Africa. Steyn advocates a future for whites in South Africa that involves transcending concepts of race. Blaser is skeptical:

I agree that deracialization is the objective, but perhaps we will have to settle for a mutual acknowledgment of differences that minimizes conflict. Steyn does not approve of such a multicultural approach to race and ethnic relations, for it leaves the white master narrative untouched. Nonetheless, to shed the skin of white identity and move beyond imaginaries of the Other requires processes that take time. It also is not clear what makes white people adopt the narrative of hybridization.

Thomas Blaser  'Changing South Africa'

So is there an alternative between white supremacy and deracialisation? Perhaps it is worth seeking meanings for whiteness that already exist in indigenous cultures.

1 comment:

Thomas Michael Blaser said...

I think we already make progress when white people understand that their way of being is not neutral, that a way of doing things is manifest in being white. Having said that, we should be cautious not to load too much significance into that 'black' box of whiteness for it will foreclose any event or movement of change within white identities. The tricky question remains: how to assess changes within white identities?