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Whiteness Is the New South Africa

Qualitative Research on Post-Apartheid Racism


Christopher B. Knaus and M. Christopher Brown II

In 1994, the world joined South Africa in celebration of the results of its first democratic election. The results, emblazoned on the world’s memory with President Nelson Mandela waving to a multiracial crowd, signified the end of apartheid and an emerging new era of hope. However, Mandela’s recent death has given birth to a more critical view of his «Rainbow Nation.» No matter how examined, education in South Africa remains steadfastly unequal, with many White children retaining the educational privileges inherent to apartheid. White children in South Africa overwhelmingly attend wealthy, fully resourced schools, while the vast majority of Black and Coloured children attend woefully underresourced schools.
Based upon three sets of studies in schools in and around Cape Town, Whiteness Is the New South Africa highlights drastic racial disparities, suggesting that educational apartheid continues unabated, potentially fostering future generations of impoverished Black and Coloured communities. This book suggests that South Africa remains committed to stifling the intellectual, emotional, and economic development of Black and Coloured youth, while simultaneously investing in White children.


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acknowledgments Both authors would like to thank Mr. Chris Myers of Peter Lang and Dr. Shirley Steinberg of the University of Calgary for providing us an oppor- tunity to examine South African racism in education. Additionally, we would like to thank Chrysalis Consulting (i.e., Cultivate the Writer Within) and Dr. Vernetta K. Williams, who edited this entire volume with clarity and deep insight. The multiyear task of producing this volume included many friends and well-wishers; below, we try to acknowledge some of them. Christopher B. Knaus: This book is the result of a commitment to live in South Africa so that I could learn. I immersed myself in studying, reading, eating incredible food, listening to impassioned music, and connecting with beautiful people, all so that I could better understand how we collectively move from our global racism to local- ized solutions. This book is thus informed by thousands of students, educators, and residents of South Africa who, through side conversations, intellectual debates, formal interviews and observations, and the sharing of personal sto- ries, helped shape the work. I will certainly fail to acknowledge everyone who played a role, but let it suffice to say that my entire purpose is to help support the continued effort towards South African transformation; just about every interaction during my time in South Africa deepened my resolve, helped me xii whiteness is the new south africa rethink what I thought I knew, and reminded me of the need for sustained, critical thought around South Africa’s...

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